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Lesson Transcript

Matt: So we got some feedback on our last Pronunciation lesson.
Nicole: Do I want to hear that? Should I be worried?
Matt: Maybe. Some of our listeners said they loved it, but that it was too difficult for them.
Nicole: Can't blame them on this. It was too difficult to teach all the tone changes in Cantonese in one lesson.
Matt: Too difficult? Did you think it was too difficult?
Nicole: Don't ask me. I'm a native Cantonese. But I think it is challenging to a Cantonese beginner.
Matt: That's right Nicole. I think they should be speaking Cantonese by now too.
Nicole: That's not what I said!!!
Matt: Just kidding. Anyway, last class was a bit tough, but it was a high-level overview.
Nicole: In today's lesson, we're going to slow things down so you can practice with us.
Matt: This way you can hear how tones sound when we put them together in different words.
Nicole: Right.
Matt: Let's start off easy.
Nicole: The easiest word! 唔該 (m4 goi1).
Matt: “Thank you.”
Nicole: 唔該. (m4 goi1).
Matt: “Thank you.”
Matt: So that was really easy. Nicole, how about something I can use when I meet somebody I like in a club?
Nicole: 加油 (gaa1 jau5)
Matt: I can't use that. It means "go for it".
Nicole: 加油 Matt.
Matt: We all know you like making fun of me. But that's a good word. Can you say it again slowly?
Nicole: 加油, 加油 (gaa1 jau5). That's the first tone and the second tone.
Matt: Literally it’s “to add oil”. Let’s take a look at our next word:
Nicole: 書店 (syu1 dim3).
Matt: Bookstore.
Nicole: 書店 (syu1 dim3).
Matt: Lets listen to these two characters separately, and then together.
Nicole: 書店, 書店 (syu1 dim3).
Matt: bookstore - high level flat tone, and then a mid level tone.
Matt: I find this word to be pretty useful. Let's try some words that sound pretty close, but not exactly the same.
Nicole: Ok. Let's play a game.
Matt: Another game? What kind of game?
Nicole: I'll give you two words, and you tell me the difference of tones.
Matt: Ok.
Nicole: These sound really close.
Nicole: First word.... 冰水 (bing1 seoi2)
Matt: Ok. cold water
Nicole: 冰水 (bing1 seoi2) “cold water”. 俾冰水我 (bei2 bing1 seoi2 ngo5) “give cold water to me”.
Matt: what about the second word?
Nicole: 陰暗 (jam1 aam3)
Matt: Ok. “dim”
Nicole: What are the tones? 冰水 (bing1 seoi2) and 陰暗 (jam1 aam3).
Matt: They both start with the first tone.
Nicole: 冰 (bing1) and 陰 (jam1).
Matt: But the first word had a second tone.
Nicole: Right. 冰水 (bing1 seoi2). That means "cold water".
Nicole: 陰暗 (jam1 aam3).
Matt: Those were easy, don't you have something tougher?
Nicole: Ok. 好玩 (hou2 waan2)
Matt: Hmmm....
Nicole: 好玩 (hou2 waan2) “fun”
Matt: Second tone, second tone.
Nicole: Right! Listen for the 好玩 (hou2 waan2) here. Notice the way our pitch drops, and starts rising again, 好玩 (hou2 waan2).
Matt: That's a mistake a lot of people make.
Nicole: 好玩 (hou2 waan2).
Matt: It's easy let tones slide into each other and say them wrong. Be careful of that.
Nicole: Right. So practice saying them with us and you'll sound fluent. And don't change tones because you're angry!
Matt: Right. That's a mistake I used to make.
Nicole: Ok now listen to this word. 知道 (zi1 dou3)
Matt: this means "to know".
Nicole: 知道 (zi1 dou3).
Matt: "to know"
Nicole: That's first tone and third tone. If you're angry, you might say it like 知道 (zi1 dou3). short and angry.
Matt: And that is horribly wrong.
Nicole: Right. So say it properly 知道 (zi1 dou3).
Matt: So let's review the words we learned in this podcast.
Nicole: Sure.
Nicole: 唔該 (m4 goi1).
Matt: thank you”.
Nicole: 加油 (gaa1 jau5)
Matt: “go for it” or “add oil”.
Nicole: 書店 (syu1 dim3)
Matt: “bookstore” or “bookshop”.
Nicole: 冰水 (bing1 seoi2)
Matt: “cold water”.
Nicole: 陰暗 (jam1 aam3)
Matt: “dim”.
Nicole: 好玩 (hou2 waan2)
Matt: “fun”.
Nicole: And the last word, 知道 (zi1 dou3)
Matt: “to know” or “to understand”. Great stuff. You sound really fluent, Nicole.
Nicole: Thank you, 唔該 (m4 goi1).