If you’re a redditor, you probably saw this on the front page a couple days ago:
Here’s what it sounds like:
If you weren’t already aware, Mandarin Chinese is tonal language; the way in which you speak certain ‘words’ changes the meaning. The classic example: 妈, 麻, 马, and 骂 are four different characters with completely different meanings (mother, hemp, horse, and scold, respectively) yet they are all pronounced ‘ma’. What distinguishes them is their differing intonation; this video does a pretty good job explaining it.
For non-native speakers, this is probably the hardest thing to master when you are trying to learn the language. And as you can imagine, inability to distinguish tones can often cause awkward, lost-in-translation type situations (I can personal attest to this – more stories to come).
Chinese is hard -__-