Russian-accented Mandarin

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This Mandarin news program was broadcast on July 13, 2016 by Èluósī bīnhǎi xīnwén 俄罗斯滨海新闻 ("Russian Coastal News").



This news anchor's Mandarin sounds really strange. Her tones wander off in unexpected directions, and she pronounces each syllable separately, without any sense of word separation or sentence intonation. It sounds to me as though she has a basic understanding of Mandarin pronunciation but doesn't have much experience speaking the language. She may well be reading off the news in a Pinyin transcription with the syllables equidistantly spaced, not grouped into words.

The anchor's halting introductions to the various sections of the newscast alternate with explanations by a fluent Mandarin speaker, so you can readily get an idea of how different her delivery is from that of a person with native fluency.
Lest Language Log readers get the impression that Russians are not very good at speaking Putonghua / Guoyu / MSM, I hasten to add that I know many of them who speak excellent Mandarin with no accent or a fairly light and not unpleasant one. That this individual who has this weird, unnatural accent is found fit to serve as news anchor is utterly bizarre.



9 Comments

  1. Terry Hunt said,

    October 25, 2016 @ 12:31 pm

    I speak/understand absolutely no Mandarin or Russian whatsoever (nor any other languages close to them), but even to me the delivery sounds weird, and the newscaster's demeanor also looks a little odd. Were it not for the video, I would have suspected the speech to be machine-generated.

  2. Lazar said,

    October 25, 2016 @ 12:50 pm

    Hmm. I'm only getting a Chinese error message with a little spaceman holding a torn power cord, and 45-second timer that doesn't appear to do anything.

  3. Aaron said,

    October 25, 2016 @ 1:37 pm

    This reminds me strongly of a verbal exercise my son used to do with his speech therapist to help his stuttering. He was asked to speak in time with a metronome, causing his syllables to be equally spaced regardless of word boundaries/intonation groups. He was speaking English, but otherwise it sounded just like this announcer.

  4. John Rohsenow said,

    October 25, 2016 @ 2:26 pm

    Took me several tries and then about 5 minutes to load, but I eventually got it. Weird.

  5. anonymous said,

    October 25, 2016 @ 7:12 pm

    I assume that the comment above to odd demeanor means the humanoid shifting and tilting of the head, which indeed is as deserving of comment as the accent. These peculiar but alluring movements do indeed suggest that anchor 那思佳(Nastya?) is a computer generation. Or is such normal on Russian television news? Persons who have experience watching it please testify.

  6. david said,

    October 25, 2016 @ 7:14 pm

    I wonder if the anchor is all (audio and video) machine-generated.

  7. Bathrobe said,

    October 26, 2016 @ 4:54 am

    I'm sure that many Chinese will find the funny accent and strange demeanour an added attraction to the exotic looks of this golden-haired beauty.

  8. Wonks Anonymous said,

    October 26, 2016 @ 11:10 am

    Perhaps because I'm relatively ignorant of both languages, I didn't detect anything specifically Russian about her accent, though it's rhythm was indeed quite noticeably different from the fluent Mandarin speaker.

  9. Xiaoli said,

    October 27, 2016 @ 10:37 am

    The anchor may have a language trainer from North-Eastern China (Jilin or Heilong Jiang) – which wouldn't be surprising since the program is Vladivostok local news.

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