The guy who writes Beijing Sounds — 北京的声儿, does his best not to come right out and tell you who he is, but I gather he’s from the USA and married to a Chinese lady (most likely a Beijing rén). It also sounds like he’s living in Beijing and has been for a while. He covers topics from the “r” sound of North-eastern Mandarin to more general issues in learning Chinese (like tones).
The Best Things about Beijing Sounds:
- The writing is smart and fun to read.
For starters, you might go to this post about how everyone who doesn’t speak Chinese pronounces “Beijing” with a soft, French-sounding “j” sound. Or maybe a better place to start would be this post about “Zhonglish.”
- There are authentic, from-the-field audio clips embedded into the posts.
The award for “Cutest Post on a Chinese-learning Site” goes to: this post about the uses of that “r” at the ends of some words. The professor who explains it all is a six-year-old.
- Pinyin and English transcripts for all audio.
This makes the site not only entertaining but instructive as well.
- The post called Where NOT to look for beginning Mandarin lessons.
If you only read one thing from Beijing Sounds, let it be this. And if you only read one of the Top 5 list on that post, scroll down and read (and listen to) number 1. At random times during the day I think back to this post and the audio clip and just start chuckling again.
Here are some things I’d like to see from Beijing Sounds:
- How to pronounce the Chinese name of the blog: Běijīng de shēngr 北京的声儿. It would be nice to have a bunch of audio clips of native speakers saying that.
- A post about the difference between Beijinghua and Putonghua.
- A post about which syllables can take the take the “r” 儿 sound–from that list of all possible syllables on the Pinyin Chart.
- A Table of Contents (like this) so that us new readers can know when we’ve read everything (and whether the things on my wish list have already been done).
In closing, I’d like to remind everyone to go read Where NOT to look for beginning Mandarin lessons.