Forum Rocket Chinese Chinese Vocab Correct pronunciation of shì?

Correct pronunciation of shì?

Jeanne--18

When I pronounce the word "shì" in Chinese, the vowel sounds more like the "e" in the French words "ne" and "le." But other American Chinese learners have corrected me and said "shì" should be pronounced like "sher" with a hard emphasis on the "r" sound. What is the correct way to pronounce it?

Robert-C7

I am assuming you are talking about 是 (shì). This should be pronounced as 'shi' without the 'er' and with a falling tone using the short "i" like in "this". The other pronunciation "sher" sounds regional to me.

Lin-Ping

你们好!

此发音问题常见!I have seen this question a lot. The pronunciation of shì should take place in the upper-front part of the mouth, just behind your top front teeth. As for the 'r', which we refer to as 儿化(érhuà) is generally accepted as pertaining to the Beijing accent. However, since standard Chinese is based on the Beijing dialect, 儿化 has permeated most regions in China. Nowadays in China you are likely to here one version just as much as the other. 

My advice at this stage is to stick with the basic pronunciation and learn simply to recognise 儿化. I say this because the suffix 儿 can have other uses, so it's best not to mix too many concepts.

If you have any further questions just let me know! 有其他问题的话,直接跟我说一声!

林萍

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