- 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.