Meet Jiayu Yan, the Voice Behind Your Chinese Lessons

You have already heard her voice so many times, but you have no idea who she is!

It is her voice that gives life to the complicated Chinese characters. It is her voice that guides you to pronounce Chinese like a native speaker.

She is the voice behind ChineseSkill’s lessons – Yan Jiayu (闫嘉煜).

Yan Jiayu, the voice of LingoDeer's Chinese Lessons
Yan Jiayu, the voice of ChineseSkill’s Lessons

Q: Tell us about yourself!

A: Hello everyone! I am Yan Jiayu, the voice of ChineseSkill’s lessons. My English name is Sherry Yan. I have an MA degree in Chinese International Education. ChineseSkill’s old friends might be familiar with my voice, since I have worked with ChineseSkill for a long time.

English is my second language. When I first started learning English around 20 years ago, I could only practice by reading and listening to recordings. However, nowadays ChineseSkill makes language learning like a game. Also, the tips explain everything I need to know while learning. ChineseSkill is changing how people learn foreign languages.

Aside from English, I can also speak a little Japanese. In the multilingual environment of ChineseSkill, I am trained to do the audio post-processing with any language such as English, French, Japanese, Spanish or German. Yes, all the voices you hear in ChineseSkill could be the results of the cooperation among the language teacher, sound recorder and me. Give us a “Like” if you enjoy learning with ChineseSkill!



Q: What would you do to prepare for a recording? 

A: Before recording, I will confirm the recording time, the contents and quantity of the recording texts, and also check the state of my voice. If it is done at a recording studio, the sound engineer will help to adjust the recording equipment and will help to ensure that the pronunciation is clear and there is no background noise. While during this special period of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have to record at home. I will find a room with good soundproofing and no echo. I usually do the recording at night, when there is less noise outside. Of course, sometimes I will record the same text several times until I get high-quality audio.


(This is how Sherry normally speaks Chinese. Feel free to use it as a listening comprehension material. ^-^)

Recording Studio, image from Will Francis on Unsplash

Q: Is there anything in Chinese that you consider particularly hard to pronounce? Anything particularly beautiful-sounding?

A: Maybe the syllables with initials/ j/, /q/, /x/, /r/, and those containing the unique vowel of ü will need special attention of beginners. I personally think that there is no difference in the level of difficulty between different sounds. The mother tongue has a great impact on anyone who tries to learn foreign languages. You feel certain sounds are especially difficult just because you have not encountered them before. All you need to do is to practice more by listening, shadowing and speaking. Take j as an example. Many people may pronounce /j/ as J in English. If you want to pronounce it correctly in Chinese, you need to press the tip of the tongue against the lower incisors, and keep the front part of the tongue close to the hard palate. The airflow will rush out from the narrow slit and create a sound. The tongue (except the tip of the tongue) is almost parallel to the hard palate. Please listen to this sound /j/ again.

A particularly beautiful-sounding word could be ài (love). As the saying goes, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Maybe you have never learned it before, but you can pronounce it correctly. “Love” makes our lives better. Our love for language and ChineseSkill gathered us together.




How to pronounce j in Chinese
How to pronounce j in Chinese, image from 普通话学习

Q: If a ChineseSkill user travels to China, please recommend an interesting activity to them and explain the reason. 

A: It is too difficult to pick just one activity! If you travel to China, please come at the end of December. You can go skiing in Harbin Ice and Snow World, go seeing the lanterns in Beijing, eat Xiaolongbao in Shanghai, climb the Yulong Snow Mountain in Yunnan, and go fishing in Guilin Yangshuo Lake. At the end of the journey, you can go surfing in Sanya, Hainan (please prepare clothes for all seasons). From north to south, you will get a vivid feeling of China’s vast territory, abundant resources and inclusiveness of various cultures.



Harbin ice world
Harbin Ice and Snow World, image from ChinaDiscovery

Q: Are you fascinated by any films, TV, or books recently? Please tell us about it.

A: I recently read a book “Understand the Psychology of Dogs by Pictures”. This book helped me to understand my puppy. It is called Xiaoqi and is 2 years old. I have been pretty busy recently, and have no time to watch TV or films.



Yan Jiayu and her beloved puppy Xiaoqi
Yan Jiayu and her beloved puppy Xiaoqi

Last but not least…

If you find ChineseSkill’s lessons helpful, please give us support and love by subscribing to our membership plan! Thank you so much.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: