ai ei ao ou ~0 Jt,J X:f.

an en ang eng ong
ia iao Ie iu"'''' ian in lang ing
ua uo uai ui*'" uan un*'" uang ueng
., ~an . , t.7J b,:l..v-t
4!le lItn
er ~rt -i
Simple Finals
a 0 e
I~ 0
b p m
d t n
g k h
~ q ~7!. x
z c s
. zh ch sh
y w14
Compound Finals z: \'V) 32 (~ t ! \_ tv +

yl ev 1ln S~ wei n~ '&' btt j-iu S·~( (U\l)







J ~ X ~

JU XV\!2~~ V


.JIA ~ ~l{

2..'1 c1 ~'l

zA'\ ~I ~'J

L-ea.vnrj ClA.lVu2d vevy -ea5y.


*"'iu = iou The main vowel 0 is omitted in the spelling of the final lu, Therefore iu represents the sound lou

*"'ui=uei The main vowel e is omitted in the final ul. Like iu above, the e sound within ui is quite conspicuous in third and fourth tone syllables.

*"'un=uen The main vowel e is omitted in un.

<" ..- j(ffu V Orb \
e·y -'9-J d- ~~ e e e
I )
.~ (~}jO..!-e 5Jek v\lt~
eY 2
jl y(' v "
yi 'if
~I -& <VJP 45 ~ I
_... ID- - --'- 11\11 noA ~ r .. _o" Lesson one

Chinese Pronunciation:

We use PINYIN to help Chinese sounds

Each Chinese character has on,e syllable

Each Chinese syllable consists of three elements:

• A Final

• An Initial

• A Tone

Structure of Chinese Syllables

Initial Final
(Consonant) Medial vowel Vowel (Ending)
(i u v* medial) (a e 0 i u v) (nng) *There is no v in Chinese pinyin. Because we have a pinyin u with the umlaut (two dots) above and we don't have it on the keyboard so I use 'v' instead.

Simple Finals (six)






Initials Consonants (23)


b t

. d i

ey can e ca egonze mto seven groups
U naspirated Aspirated Nasal Fricative Voiced
1 Labial b p m f
2 Alveolar d t n I
3 Velar g k h
4 Palatal j q x
5 Dental sibilant z c s
6 Retroflex zh ch sh r
7 y w Notes:

1. Labial: (speech sound) made using one or both lips

2. Alveolar: (speech sound) made by putting the end of the tongue at the top of the mouth just behind the upper front teeth.

3. Velar: (speech sound) made with the back of the tongue against or near the soft part of the top of the mouth.

4. Palatal: (speech sound) made by putting the tongue against or near the hard palate. (palate: the top inside part of the mouth)

5. Dental: (speech sound) made by putting the end of the tongue against the upper front teeth.

6. Sibilant: (speech sound) made by forcing air through a constricted passage.

7. Retroflex: (speech sound) made with the tip of the tongue curled upwards and backwards.

8. Aspirated: (speech sound) made with audible breath accompanying the articulation of the sound.

9. Fricative: (speech sound) made by impeding the flow of air through a narrow channel at the place of articulation.

10. Voiced: (speech sound) made when the vocal cords vibrate.

The following two groups are pronounced like their English counterparts:

1. Labials: b p m f
ba bi bo bu pa pi po pu rna mi mo mu me fa fo fu
2. Alveolars: d t n
da de du ta ti te tu na ni ne nu la li le lu 3. Velars: g k h

The letter g sounds similar to the 's' in 'go'. The letter k sounds similar to the 'k' in 'king' The letter h sounds similar to the 'h' in 'happy'

ge gu

PRACTICE ka ke ku

ha he hu

4. Palatals: j q x

The letter j sounds somewhat like the 's' in English 'gesture' or the 'j' in 'jeep' The letter q sounds like 'ch' in English 'cheap'

The letter x sounds somewhat like 'sh' in English 'sheep'. Note: that rq~ and x are never followed by the [u] sound.





5. Dental sibilants: z c s

The letter z sounds like 'ds' in English 'lads' The letter c sounds like 'ts' in English 'cats' The letter s is very similar to's' in English 'son'

za ze zu ZI

PRACTICE ca ce eu ci

sa se su si


6. Retroflexes: zh ch sh r

This group is pronounced by curling the tip of the tongue to touch the front of the hard palate, leaving a narrow opening between the tongue and roof of the mouth to allow some air to flow through.

zh sounds like 'g' in English 'gerrri' ch sounds like 'ch' in English 'church' sh sounds like 'sh' in English 'shirt'

r is pronounced like the 'r' sound in English 'pleasure', 'treasure', 'leisure'


zha zhe zhu zhi sha she shu shi

cha che chu chi

re ru n

7. y w

Y - i are same sounds w - u are same sounds

When i, u and v are not preceded by any initials, their pinyin presentations are y, wand y, respectively, e.g., ye, wo, and yu. If they are preceded by an initial, they are presented as i, u, v (as medial element, not the main vowel), e.g., liang, guo and lve.


ya ye yi yu

wa wo wu

Compund Finals (38)
aI eI ui
ao ou iu
ie ve er
an en in un(uen)* vn(ven)*
ang eng ing ong
la lao ie iu(iou)*
Ian in
lang ing tong
ua uo ui(uei)* um
uan un (uen)*
uang ueng
ve van vn(ven)* Special PINYIN Rules

1. i u v without initial consonant:
i -7 y e.g., ya ye yao yan yong you yl yin ymg
U-7W e.g., wa wo wai wang wu wei wen
V-7Y e.g., yu yue yuan yun 2. When the final 'uei has an initial, it is written as 'ui' uei -7 ui e.g., dui tui gui kill hui

3. When the final 'iou' has an initial, it is written as 'iu' iou -7 iu e.g., liu niu jiu qiu xiu

4. When the final 'uen' has an initial, it is written as 'un' e.g., sun. uen -7 un e.g., zun cun sun zhun chun shun

5. The initials j q x are only followed by -i and -v, They are never followed by -u.

Therefore, whenj q x are followed by the v sound, the umlaut (two dots) above the u is omitted.

e.g., JU qu xu

juan quan xuan

jun qun xun

6. Initials z c s and zh ch sh r are only followed by -i and -u. They are never followed by the v sound.

7. When the initials are I and n, the two dots on the v sound have to be present in order to differentiate it from the u sound.

e.g., lv ~ 'green' nv "f;l:, 'female'

lu 1m 'road'

nu ~ 'diligent'

8. Retroflex final-er: In Mandarin Chinese, sometimes we can see a final [er] attached to another final to form a retroflex final. There are some special rules for the sounds as illustrated below. These rules are listed here only as a reference. Note that the final [er] sound occurs more frequently in northern China.

When -er attaches to another final:

a. add -r, the -e sound is omitted:

Huar ~)L (flower) (hua + er -7 huar)

(hua - 1 st tone above a, er - 2nd tone above e)

zher )! J L (here) (zhe + er -7 zher)

(zhe - 4th tone above e, er - 2nd tone above e)

b. with -ai -ei -an -en, drop the last letter and add -r, the -e sound is omitted:

nanhar ~fj:JL (boy)

war mJL (play)

shugen ~:fiVL(root)

(nanhai + er -7 nanhar) (wan + er -7 war) (shugen + er -7 shuger)

c. with zhi chi shi ri, drop -i add -er.

shuzher WftJL (branch)

sher • J L ( matter)

(shuzhi + er -7 shuzher) (shi + er -7 sher)

d. with -in, drop -n and add -er


~JL (message)

(xin + er -7 xier)

e. with -ng ending, drop -ng and add only -r, -e sound is omitted

dasher bander

j(FE JL (louder) :+&~J L (stool)

(dasheng + er -7 dasher) (bandeng + er -7 bander)

9. When two syllables come together to form a word and the second syllable begins with a vowel, they are sometime separated with an apostrophe" , "

xi an

il!i* (a city in China) *EI~ (love each other)

-7 xiang'ai

-7 xi'an

xiang ai

With out an apostrophe, [xi'an] il!i~ and [xiang'ai] *~~ may be misread as [xian] $t (first) and [xian gai] st~ (to build first)