Pinyin is used for pronunciation in Chinese. Each Chinese character corresponds to one syllable. Chinese syllables consist of three elements: initial sound, final sound and tone. The initial sounds are consonants and the final sounds contain at least one vowel. Some syllables consist only of an initial sound or a final sound.

Pin Yin Pronunciation Guide

The following guide is given in terms of English pronunciation. They are approximate, as there are some sounds of Pinyin do not correspond directly to sounds in English.

a: as “fah” in “father”.
ai: as “ ai” in “aisle”.
an: as “an” in “land”.
ang: as “ong” in “song”.
ao: as “ow” in “cow”.
b: as “p” in “spay”, or “b” in bay.
c: as “ts” in “cats”.
ch: as “ch” in “chiken”.
d: as “t” in stay, or “d “ in day.
e: as ”ea” in “idea”.
ei: as ”ei” in “eight”.
en: as “en” in “end”.
eng: as “eng” in “length”.
er: as “ar” in “bar”.
f: as “f” in five.
g: as “k” in “skate”, “g” in “gate”.
h: as “h” in “hurt”.
i: as “ee” in “bee”.
ia: as “i + a”. Like ya in “yahoo”.
ian: as “i + an”. Like Japanese “yen”.
iang: as “i + ang”. Like ”young”.
iao: as “i + ao”. Like eow in ”meow”.
ie: as “ye” in “yes”.
in: as “in”.
ing: as “ing” in “sing”.
iong: as “i + ong”.
iu: as “you”.
j: as “ge” in “genius”.
k: as “k” in “kick”, but with a stronger aspiration.
l: as “l” in “look”.
m: as “m” in “may”.
n: as “n” in “nurse”.
o: as “o” in “office”.
ong: as “u + eng”.
ou: as “oa” in “boat”.
p: as “p” in put, but with a stronger aspiration.
q: as “chea” in cheap, but without a curling tongue.
r: as r in “round”.
s: as “s” in “sit”.
sh: as “sh” in “sheep”.
t: as “t” in “turn”, but with stronger aspiration.
u: as ”oo” in “book”.
ü: to get this sound, say ”ee” with rounded lips.
ua: as “u + a”. Like “wah”.
uai: as “u + ai”. Like “why”.
uan: as “u + an” or “ü + an” after “j, q, x, y”.
uang: as “u + ang”.
üe(ue): as ‘ü + e”. Nothing close in English.
üan: as “ü + an”.
ui: as ”wei” in weigh
un: as “oon” in “noon”.
ün: as “ü + n”.
uo: as “u + o”. Like ”war”.
w: as “w” in “wood”.
x: as “shee” in “sheep” , but without a curling tongue
y: as “y” in “year”.
z: z: as “ds” in “beds”.
zh: j” in “just” , but with your tongue tip curled far back.

Please refer to Learn Pinyin in 21 days to learn more about Pinyin.

If you are interested in learning Chinese, please take a look at the Free Chinese Lessons that are practical and fun.

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