A free tool for pronunciation practice

Hello fellow Mandarin learners.

While waiting for the Flexi Speaking classes to arrive I created a very simple pronunciation practice tool -similar to Speechling but free and with immediate feedback. This can be used to review sentences after a class - so far I have imported the first 2 of the 5 LTL Mandarin decks. Surprisingly, the tool seems to work on my mobile phone as well.

The tool is far from perfect though. You need Google Chrome or Edge. You need to be online as the processing is done in Google Cloud (and who knows if this even works in China). Also, some of the sentences contain a mixture of simplified and traditional characters which confuses the speech recognition engine. Finally, there is no SRS, sorry :wink: The phrases are selected randomly.

Have fun!


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Oh wow, that looks interesting. How does it recognise the tones and pronunciation? Looks very useful for practicing especially when you have nobody around you to speak Mandarin with.

@Andreas_Admin_Flexi I’m using the the Speech Recognition Web API. It’s quite fun to work with. You can check out the official Google demo. The engine supports quite a few input languages (no Shangainese yet though, sorry).

Disclaimer: There are tons of caveats for relying on this method for improving pronunciation. They basically boil down to 1. just because you get it right doesn’t mean your pronunciation is perfect (since speech recognition is meant to be forgiving) and 2. perfect pronunciation doesn’t guarantee you get it right (this is true especially for monosyllabic words out of context).

However, chances are that if computers don’t understand you, humans won’t either (and vice versa). I think this tool could be very useful if used correctly - for example to review specific material before/after a class.

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absolutely agree. Sounds very interesting. Thanks a lot for sharing

Very nice, especially as it is connected with an Anki deck. :star_struck:
Of course, one must not take the “failures” too seriously.
The first syllable is often a problem, or - how can I say something without producing a full stop at the end. :rofl: :rofl: image

But I often find precious hints of what I could do better.
This is one of my usual games I like to do with the Google translator when I am training my prepared answers for the next lesson.
You need to speak quickly enough!! not to produce too many commas and other marks, you have to avoid all ähs and ums. I discover where I miss a tone or sound, or I can see what is hard to understand for a KI, so that also might be difficult for a Chinese sometimes. I discover what terrible misunderstandings could happen, or I discover that my own sentence might not be the usual way to say something as the KI refuses to understand.
But the really best thing is to speak out loud at all.


I also added a Japanese deck. Japanese is way easier to pronounce than Mandarin.

Coincidence- Yesterday I have tried out Speechling for the first time. For ten recordings per month you get a free audio review the next day.
Really helpful - first of all you can try out to record as often as you like and compare to the given audio. This alone is useful. :wink: Second the review discovers details. I pronounced my tones really well in these easy sentences, - I think, - Google understood the same recordings of me, - but I still had two little mistakes and they were told me. The tone of 人 in 美国人,and the third tone in the 32 combination 起来 wasn’t deep enough。
So, I will go to Speechling once a month and try out 10 sentences. There is also an option for advanced: Instead of reading 10 sentences, you can also answer freely to 10 questions.


What I don’t like in Speechling, it doesn’t show the changed tones.

(Btw I think this is really a big plus in hackchinese @Hack-Chinese-Daniel that you can adjust to always see the “original” tone plus the changed one in combinations. )


Superb work Ben and thanks for sharing. I’m sure with our eagle-eyed students you’ll get plenty of suggestions to help make it even better!


Oh, @Ben-Mandarin-HSK_5, you have added even more decks. Great!

The HSK 1,2 grammar decks are perfect for me.


This is really cool Ben! Thanks!

My first attempt was my pronunciation nemesis, c-sounds… but got there in the end after googling the correct way and listening to that a few times :smiley:

I’ve also now google translated the page (via google chrome) so it’s all in traditional, which is helpful for me!

Really awesome tool!


I think I fixed this bug! Thanks for reporting it :slight_smile:


@Chloe-Mandarin-HSK_5 This is a great suggestion! I use also Google Translate for audio to verify the tool with native-like pronunciation.

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If anybody wants to add a study deck from Anki/Skritter/csv, please send me a message! It’s very easy to do so.

Also any other suggestions, ideas, bug reports are welcome! What would it take to make this tool useful for learners? More study llsts/audio/pinyin/languages other than Chinese and Japanese/integration with other tools? I’m all :ear: :ear:.

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@Chloe-Mandarin-HSK_5 Thanks for your feedback! I added a “Play this phrase” button that should save you the effort of googling the correct way :slight_smile:

It might be the general lack of confidence on my part, but this is REALLY flattering to see the Anki decks I created used in such a way! Thank you so much!

@Ben-Mandarin-HSK_5 One thing that might be a good idea to add there is an ability for the page to record you and play this back to you? That way you can hear and estimate by yourself also whether you pronounced the sentence accurately. I know some apps and resources like ChineseClass101 have such functionality.


@Alexander-Mandarin-HSK_6_1on1 That’s a great suggestion! I will look into it!

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@Alexander-Mandarin-HSK_6_1on1 This actually turned out to be easier than I thought:

(there’s even a hidden “Download this recording” feature).

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record and play back works. :star_struck:

But I only get oops. All my spoken characters were recognized well, but still it is a oops always.
( Of course I had some “errors”, :rofl: I can’t speak a female 她,and 做 and 坐 were both possible :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:.)

@Sonja-Mandarin-HSK_3 I might be able to pull out a few more tricks to minimize the fake oops but I with synonyms like this think we’re reaching the limits of what the speech recognition engine can do right now. Speechling is still needed :wink: