Pronunciation of 参 - cān

Could someone please explain the pronunciation of the pinyin cān to me? I always thought that "c" sounds like "ts" and that this word would sound like "tsan". But when I've heard it pronounced it sounds to me like "shen".

April 4, 2019


It's got more than one pronunciation. Sometimes it's “shen", sometimes it's "tsan." But the pronunciation really depends on the context that it is being used in.

April 5, 2019

Thanks! That's the confusing part of Duolingo. The pinyin it is paired with in the exercise is "cān" but when you click, the audio is "shen". The context is 参加. I guess I should just remember every time something similar happens with a character on Duo is that the pinyin is what I need to go with in that one exercise and the audio is correct too, but in other words or contexts.

April 5, 2019

It's the same case as 了, when it's pronounced as Le or Liao sometimes.

April 18, 2019

it has more than one way to pronounce, depends on the meaning of the word. When it pronounced as “can”, it usually means "join", "participate" ( 参加, 参与 ); on the other hand, and "shen" means “Ginseng” in most cases, if not all.

May 11, 2019
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