Topic outline

  • Pinyin Initials

    Pinyin is the Chinese language phonetic system. It is used to mark Mandarin Chinese pronunciation by the Latin alphabet. In Chinese, every character corresponds to one single Pinyin syllable. Therefore, one Pinyin syllable marks the pronunciation of one character. 

    A typical Pinyin syllable consists of three parts: initial, final and tone. The initial is always put at the beginning of a syllable. You can only use one initial in a syllable. Each initial is made up by one or two letters. There are 23 initials in all. They look like consonants in European language. But it doesn't mean they always sound similar.

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  • Pinyin Finals

    The Pinyin final is put after the initial. You can only use one final in a syllable. A final can be a syllable by itself without the initial or the tone. Each final is made up of one to four letters. There are 36 finals in Chinese. 6 are simple finals and 30 are compound finals.

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  • Pinyin Tones

    Mandarin is a tonal language. in order to differentiate meanings, the same syllable can be pronounced with different tones.

    The Pinyin tone notification mark is always added above the final (to be specific, the vowel in the final). You can only use one tone in a syllable. Sometime the neutral tone is used. There are 4 main tones and 1 neutral tone in Chinese.

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  • Pinyin rules

    When we spell the Pinyin syllables, there are some rules we need to master, which can help us pronounce correctly.
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