Drinking Straw vs Habit - Listen to the Differences!

Photo Credit: Graham

This is a interesting post highlighting the funny yet not so funny aspects about pronunciation of Mandarin Chinese. I posted this tweet out yesterday drawing the idea from how the first tones and second tone for 'xi' and third tone and fourth tone for 'guan' makes saying two different words if you aren't careful and clear when you speak.

1. "drinking straw" (吸管 xīguǎn)
2. “habit” (习惯 xíguàn)

My personal experience of teaching many different westerners who are mostly English speakers or Europeans is that, Chinese is definitely NOT the most impenetrable family of languages on Earth. The tonal variations do impute vastly different meanings, whether tone rises or falls, just like this example above.

Having said that, there are a big group of learners who actually enjoys the beauty of this language. This post is evident that within a few minutes, already many favourited it!

JODEE LIM is a Singaporean, founder of NihaoHello Initiative and UXSCOOPS: a consultancy, based in Singapore and Estonia. With a vision of providing strategic capacity building, content design and social media planning and implementation services to small medium enterprises in US, Europe and Asia.


NihaoHello aims to cater to the new generation's growing interest to learn Mandarin Chinese. Homeschool and specialise in tutoring English speakers to speak essential but confident Mandarin Chinese. For beginner language learners to readily put to use as soon as the global recession recovers.