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Learn chinese - Lesson 1 - Introduction to Mandarin Chinese Course, part I
The construction of chinese syllabs: initials and finals
Chinese syllab is composed of initials, which is very often a consonant at the beginnig of the syllab and the final at the end.

There are 21 initials and 38 finasl. We used [ ] to show pronunciation drills.

a. initials

b, p, d, t, m, n, f, l, g, k, h, j, q, x, z, c, s, zh, ch, sh, r


b. finals

a, o, e, i, -i, u, ü, ai, ei, ao, ou, en, ie, an, ang, ing, iu, eng, ong, ia, iao, ian, in, iang, iong, er, ua, uo, uai, ui, uan, un, uang, ueng, üe, üan, ün

Pronunciation drills
In Chinese we can distinguish so-called "aspirated" consonants. To pronounce it correctly it is necessary to breath after the consonant, the sound is simillar to "h" in "hahaha". In this lesson we use [h or *] to distinguish aspirated consonants.

b - p[h]

g - k[h]


How to read pinyin

1. Consonant`s pairs:

d - t*, da - ta

g - k*, gao - kao

z [like ds: beds] - c* [like in cycling], zao - cao

b - p*, bao - pao

j [like in a genius] - q [not english "q", harder than ch] * ju - qu

zh [like in a jump] - ch*[like chocholate but aspirated] zhi - chi

aspirated (*)

2. x » very soft "sh", xian

y » like "y" in '"you", yao

w » like in "worm", wo

sh » hard "sh", like "show", shi

r » like "r", like in French name: Gerard ren

3. o in -ong = u, xiong

a in -ian = e, xian

4. -ng like English -ing in "going"

5. i after: ch, sh, zh, r, z, c like "i" in a name "Cicero"

chi, shi, zhi, ri, zi, ci

6. u after: x, j, q like German ü xu, ju, qu

7. w before u and y and i is not pronounced, like "u" in "Ukraine" wu

8. ending -ui like -uei, like in a "stay" hui