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80/20 Guide to Chinese Pronunciation -- Part 2

By Kah Joon Liow

To continue with Chinese pronunciation...

1. Consonants

There are 24 consonants in pinyin which are pronounced a lot like in English.

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

Chinese pronunciation of Consonants

b as in boy


p as in pine


m as in mother


f as in food


d as in dig


t as in talk


n as in none


l as in loud


g as in good


k as in kid


ng as in song


h as in hot


j as in jeep


q like "ch in cheat


x like a sound between the "s in see and the "sh in she


zh like "dg in sludge


ch as in children


sh as in shake


r as in raw


z like "ds in words


c like "ts in eats


s as in son


y as in Yao Ming


w as in we

2. Vowels

There are 6 simple vowels.

a, o, e, i, u, "

Chinese pronunciation of Vowels

a as in mama


o as in drop


e as in earn


I as in sit


U as in look


like the u in the French rue

3. Vowel Combinations

In Chinese pronunciation, basic vowels can form vowel combinations with each other or with a nasal consonant.

Chinese pronunciation of Vowel Combinations

- ai like eye


- an sounds like "ah with an emphatic "n at the end (NOT like "an in can)


- ang sounds like "ah with a soft "ng (NOT like "ang in hang)


- ao is like "ao in Tao


- ei is like "ay in bay


- en is like "u in sun


- eng is like "ung in sung


- er like "ur in purse


- ia is like ya


- iang is like young


- ie is like yeah


- iu is like the "ou in you


- ian like yen


- iao is like "eow in meow


- in as in "in in gin


- ing as in "ing in sing


- iong is like pinyin "yong"


- ong is like "ong in kong


- ou is like "ow in low


- ua is like "ua in guava


- uan like one


- uang like "oo + ang


- ui is like way


- un is like "wou in would and ending in "n sound (woon)


- uo sounds like "wo as in wall


- uai is like why


- ua is like "wa"


- "an like yuan and written without two dots


- "e is like "yue ("we in "wet")

Now, I know you're going to ask...

Get the rules and tips of using pinyin at http://www.living-chinese-symbols.com/chinese-pronunciation.html

About The Author

Kah Joon Liow

Want to learn Chinese for pleasure and profit in less time? Like to discover the culture of Chinese characters and enhance your life? Liow Kah Joon is your guide. Sign up for his free Chinese Symbols ezine at http://www.living-chinese-symbols.com.


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