Mandarin Chinese: Jū Qū Xū

Any inaccuracy with Chinese tones may leave your listener wondering what exactly it is you're trying to say. Here, I try the first tone for three different Pinyin sounds: jū (home), qū (bent), xū (beard). For those of you with Western ears, you'll probably agree that it can be tough to tell the difference between correct and incorrect. With qū, for example, a tonal miss can change the meaning of the word from the adjective "bent," to the noun, "river channel," to the noun, "song," to the verb, "go," or to the adjective, "interesting," depending on the tone.