Ting Yi Ting; Listening Makes Perfect (tingyiting.ku.edu)
Image courtesy of Pixabay.
The acquisition of lexical tone is often cited by Anglophone learners of Mandarin Chinese as the most daunting hurdle in learning the spoken language. Indeed, the challenges of lexical tones, in addition to the opaque writing system, contribute significantly to the classification of Mandarin Chinese as one of the most difficult for English speakers to learn. Hanyu Pinyin is a highly useful tool that enables learners to look up new words in a bilingual dictionary, to type Chinese characters, and to read and pronounce the names of unfamiliar people and places. However, because instruction in Pinyin is not communicative in nature, and extensive work would impinge upon valuable class time, it is usually given scant attention as a learning tool. Ting Yi Ting (Listening Makes Perfect) is an online guide that enables learners to hear and identify phonemic categories in Mandarin, including lexical tones, in a variety of phonetic contexts, and to associate those phonemes with correct Pinyin orthography. The project presents a new approach that is specifically geared toward native speakers of English and includes extensive audio examples and computer-graded comprehension checks.