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Tips for Chinese Pronunciation

Tips for Chinese Pronunciation is a video production presented by Tracey together with New Concept Mandarin. Tracey has been learning Chinese with New Concept Mandarin while producing this video. As a sound specialist she is particularly interested in Chinese Sounds and she is willing to share some very helpful tips and tricks on how English speakers can quickly master Chinese pronunciation. We believe a learner’s perspective to Chinese sounds can be more fun and effective for you.

Chinese Pronunciation

Chinese is not a phonetic language. The pronunciation is not related to the writing of Chinese words (characters). A special tool called Pinyin (pronouncing the sound) is created for people to learn Mandarin pronunciation. Pinyin is a way to transcribe Chinese characters so people can pronounce it. The writing of Pinyin is similar to English alphabet.

If you listen carefully you will find Chinese is a very beautiful language as it has more musical sounds (vowels) than noise (consonants). Except for nasal sound like “n” and “m”, all Chinese syllables ends with vowels. So we call them “Final Sounds”. The consonants at the beginning of a syllable are called “Initial Sounds”.

Most of Mandarin sounds are easy for English speaker to pronounce but some sounds are more challenging and require more practice. Watch the “Tips for Chinese Pronunciation” video shared by Tracey (our Mandarin student) and practice the “Chinese Sound Drills” by following Vivian (our Mandarin teacher), you will master Chinese pronunciation in no time.

Chinese Sound Drills

35 Finals

Finals Similar Chinese Meaning
a a (ah) mother
ai i (like) ài love
ao ow (how) hǎo good
an un (run) kàn look
ang pingpong bāng help
o (uo) o (or) I
ou o (so) dōu all
ong ong (long) lóng dragon
e e (her) drink
ei ei (eight) běi north
en urn (turn) hěn very
eng No similar lěng cold
er ar (car) èr two
i (y) e (he) one
ia ya (yahoo) xià down
iao ao (ciao) xiǎo small
ian ian (Ian) tiān sky
iang young yáng sheep
ie ye (yes) jiě sister
iou (iu) eo (Leo) yǒu have
in in (bin) yīn music
ing ing (sing) líng zero
iong No similar qióng poor
u (w) oo (room) no
ua wa (watt) huā flower
uai y (why) kuài fast
uan one wán play
uang oo + ang wáng king
uo (o) or guó country
ui (uei) way (way) wěi hello
un oo (en) wèn ask
ü (yu) ee + oo fish
ue (yue) ü + e yuè moon
ün (yun) ü + n yún cloud
üan (yuan) üe + n yuán dollar

21 Initials

Initials Similar Chinese Meaning
b b (bed) eight
p p (pad) scared
m m (my) rice
f f (far) fēi fly
d d (door) duō many
t t (tea) he
n n (new) you
l l (love) lái come
g g (go) gǒu dog
k k (key) kāi open
h h (hi) hǎo good
j j (jar) jiā home
q ch (cheese) seven
x sh (she) west
z ds (regards) zǎo early
c ts (students) cài dish
s s (see) sān three
zh ds (cards) zhè this
ch ts (students) chē car
sh sh (shoe) shì be
r r (rude) day

Chinese Tones

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Mandarin Pronunciation Table

All Mandarin sounds (syllables) are listed in this pronunciation table. Click on Pinyin to learn and improve your Mandarin pronunciation.