Pinyin in 6 Minutes!

Learning pinyin can be funny!

Chinese Phonetic Alphabet
 Hànyǔ Pīnyīn Fāng'àn.

Learn pinyin the funny way!

Pinyin in 6 minutes


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

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

The Finals :
  i u ü
a ia ua  
o   uo  
e ie   üe
ai   uai  
ei   uei  
ao ia    
ou iou    
an ian uan üan
en in uen ün
ang iang uang  
eng ing ueng  
ong iong    

Finals are all sounds after initials.

Some finals are single vowel, e.g., ‘a’ ‘o’ ‘e’ ‘i’ ‘u’ and ‘ü’.

Some finals are compounds, e.g., ‘ai’ ‘ei’ ‘ao’ and ‘ou’.

Some finals end with ‘n’ or ‘ng’, e.g., ‘in’ ‘en’ ‘ang’ and ‘iong’.

The pronunciation of vowels is similar to English or some European languages. But the vowel ‘e’ needs special attention. It is pronounced as 'ir' in ‘shirt’, or 'ur' in 'turn' without ‘r’ sound, not English 'e' [i:]

You don't have to learn these individual sounds now.

Listen to recording or your instructor carefully and pay close attention to these sounds.

Sounds are best learned in a connected speech.