Pinyin: Lesson One

Pinyin: Lesson One
Introduction and Tones

Chinese Phonetic Alphabet
 Hànyǔ Pīnyīn Fāng'àn.

Pinyin Lesson One

Introduction and Tones

Chinese syllabic structure:

The 21 initials - the shengmu "声母 shēngmǔ"
The simple finals
The 4 tones
The neutral Tone

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

An initials is the first consonant of a syllable.

Each initial represent one sound.

Some initials are represented by two-letters, e.g., ‘zh’ ‘ch’ and ‘sh’.

Most sounds are similar to English sounds, but not exactly identical. For example, the sound ‘b’ in Chinese is not voiced. It is a voiceless sound as ‘p’ in English word ‘speak’. The sound ‘p’ is an aspirated voiceless sound as ‘p’ in English word ‘peak’.

Please pay close attention to each sound when you learn. The following sounds need more attention:

 j    a consonant, as 'j' in ‘jeep’ but not aspirated
q    a consonant, as 'ch' in ‘cheek’
x    a consonant, as 'sh' in ‘she’
zh  a consonant, as 'j' in ‘jump’ with retroflexed tongue
ch  a consomant, as 'ch' in ‘church’, strongly aspirated and retroflexed
sh  a consonant, as 'sh' in ‘shore’, retroflexed
z    a consonant, as 'ts' but not aspirated
c    a consonant, as 'ts' in ‘bats’, strongly aspirated