Meet Jiayu Yan, the Voice Behind Your Chinese Lessons

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You have already heard her voice so many times, but you have no idea who she is!

It is her voice that gives life to the complicated Chinese characters. It is her voice that guides you to pronounce Chinese like a native speaker.

She is the voice behind LingoDeer’s Chinese lessons – Yan Jiayu (闫嘉煜).

Yan Jiayu, the voice of LingoDeer's Chinese Lessons
Yan Jiayu, the voice of LingoDeer’s Chinese Lessons

Q: Tell us about yourself!

A: Hello everyone! I am Yan Jiayu, the voice of LingoDeer’s Chinese lessons. My English name is Sherry Yan. I have an MA degree in Chinese International Education. LingoDeer’s old friends might be familiar with my voice, since I have worked with LingoDeer for a long time.

English is my second language. When I first started learning English around 20 years ago, I could only practice by reading and listening to recordings. However, nowadays LingoDeer makes language learning like a game. Also, the tips explain everything I need to know while learning. LingoDeer is changing how people learn foreign languages.

Aside from English, I can also speak a little Japanese. In the multilingual environment of LingoDeer, I am trained to do the audio post-processing with any language such as English, French, Japanese, Spanish or German. Yes, all the voices you hear in Lingodeer could be the results of the cooperation among the language teacher, sound recorder and me. Give us a “Like” if you enjoy learning with LingoDeer!

大家好!我是汉语录音员,闫嘉煜,英文名是SherryYan。我是汉语国际教育专业硕士。说起来,LingoDeer的老朋友可能对我的声音比较熟悉,我是LingoDeer合作很久的录音员了。

英语是我的第一外语,我学习英语有20年的时间了,那时学习方式只是读书听录音,而LingoDeer在语言学习中引入了游戏机制,各种贴心小Tips也能及时解答语言学习时遇到的困惑,LingoDeer提供了一种全新的学习方式!

除了英语外,我还会一点点日语,在LingoDeer多语环境下,我锻炼出了无论是英、法、日、西还是德语等任何一种语言,我都能帮忙做音频后期处理。是的,你们听到的所有声音可能就是对应语言老师、录音员和我合作的成果。如果您真的受益于LingoDeer,请给我们比心点个赞吧!~

(This is how Sherry normally speaks Chinese. Feel free to use it as a listening comprehension material. ^-^)

 

LingoDeer is changing how people learn foreign languages.
LingoDeer is changing how people learn foreign languages.

Q: What would you do to prepare for a recording? 

A: Before recording, I will confirm the recording time, the contents and quantity of the recording texts, and also check the state of my voice. If it is done at a recording studio, the sound engineer will help to adjust the recording equipment, and will help to ensure that the pronunciation is clear and there is no background noise. While during this special period of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have to record at home. I will find a room with good sound proofing and no echo. I usually do the recording at night, when there is less noise outside. Of course, sometimes I will record the same text several times until I get a high-quality audio.

录音前我会确认汉语录音内容、数量,确定嗓子状态声音状况,确定录音时间。如果是录音棚的话,录音师会帮忙调试好录音设备,录音时会和录音师相互配合确保没有喷麦、发音清晰等;如果是20年上半年这个疫情特殊时期,只能在家录音,我会寻找一个没有回声的隔音效果好的房间,等夜深人静时,户外的噪声降到最低,我就准备好录音设备开始工作啦,当然录得不满意有时候会反复录好几遍直到声音质量达到最佳为止。

 

Recording Studio, image from Will Francis on Unsplash

Q: Is there anything in Chinese that you consider particularly hard to pronounce? Anything particularly beautiful-sounding?

A: Maybe the syllables with initials/ j/, /q/, /x/, /r/, and those containing the unique vowel of ü will need special attention of beginners. I personally think that there is no difference in the level of difficulty between different sounds. The mother tongue has a great impact on anyone who tries to learn foreign languages. You feel certain sounds are especially difficult just because you have not encountered them before. All you need to do is to practice more by listening, shadowing and speaking. Take j as an example. Many people may pronounce /j/ as J in English. If you want to pronounce it correctly in Chinese, you need to press the tip of the tongue against the lower incisors, and keep the front part of the tongue close to the hard palate. The airflow will rush out from the narrow slit and create a sound. The tongue (except the tip of the tongue) is almost parallel to the hard palate. Please listen to this sound /j/ again.

A particularly beautiful-sounding word could be ài (love). As the saying goes, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Maybe you have never learned it before, but you can pronounce it correctly. “Love” makes our lives better. Our love for language and LingoDeer gathered us together.

可能声母为/j/,/q/,/x/,/r/的音、韵母中含有/ü/这个汉语特有的音,相对来说需要特别注意,我个人觉得没有难易之分,母语对每个人的影响较大,这些音只是大家以前没接触过而已,多听多模仿多练习,会了就不难。以/j/为例,很多人可能会读成英文的J,但汉语中发音时,舌尖抵住下门齿,舌面前部紧贴硬腭,气流从窄缝中冲出,摩擦成音。舌头(除舌尖外)与硬腭整体上近乎平行。请再听一遍这个音/j/

特别好听的词,可能就是“爱”ài(love),所谓“大道至简”,也许正在看这个词的你虽然没学过,但也能正确发音,“爱”让我们的生活更美好。我们对语言的热爱,对LingoDeer的喜爱,聚到了这里。

 

How to pronounce j in Chinese
How to pronounce j in Chinese, image from 普通话学习

Q: If a LingoDeer user travels to China, please recommend an interesting activity to them and explain the reason. 

A: It is too difficult to pick just one activity! If you travel to China, please come at the end of December. You can go skiing in Harbin Ice and Snow World, go seeing the lanterns in Beijing, eat Xiaolongbao in Shanghai,climb the Yulong Snow Mountain in Yunnan, and go fishing in Guilin Yangshuo Lake. At the end of the journey, you can go surfing in Sanya, Hainan (please prepare clothes for all seasons). From north to south, you will get a vivid feeling of China’s vast territory, abundant resources and inclusiveness of various cultures.

只能推荐一项活动的话,这太难了!如果大家来中国旅行,请选择12月末来,请先去哈尔滨的冰雪大世界滑雪、再去北京看花灯、之后去上海吃小笼包、然后去云南大理爬玉龙雪山、桂林阳朔游湖钓鱼、最后落脚海南三亚冲浪(请准备好四季衣物哦~)。从北至南直观感受中国的地大物博、包容并蓄。

 

Harbin ice world
Harbin Ice and Snow World, image from ChinaDiscovery

Q: Are you fascinated by any films, TV or books recently? Please tell us about it.

A: I recently read a book “Understand the Psychology of Dogs by Pictures”. This book helped me to understand my puppy. It is called Xiaoqi and is 2 years old. I have been pretty busy recently, and have no time to watch TV or films.

最近读了一本《看图读懂狗狗心理》,这本书帮助我了解我家小狗,它叫小七,今年2岁了。其它的暂时没有,最近比较忙,没时间追剧了。

 

Yan Jiayu and her beloved puppy Xiaoqi
Yan Jiayu and her beloved puppy Xiaoqi

Last but not least…

If you find LingoDeer’s lessons helpful, please give us support and love by subscribing to our membership plan! Thank you so much.

最后,如果觉得LingoDeer对您学习语言有帮助,请多多支持我们~谢谢您使用LingoDeer~

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