06 November 2010

Introduction to Pinyin

Before one can start to learn Chinese, it is critical that one learns Hanyu Pinyin. Pinyin is the standard Romanization system for Chinese. It is used to help students pronounce Chinese characters. It is mostly the same as phonetic English with some exceptions.
Below are the letters of the alphabet along with the way they are pronounced in Pinyin in bold inside a sample word.
  • a       father
  • c       its
  • e       hen
  • i        pin [and in some contexts] he
  • o       go
  • q       cheat
  • r        urn
  • u       July
  • x       sea
  • z       bits
Combinations of some letters can change the overall sound, they include:
  • ao       how
  • ch       church
  • ei        hay
  • ou       no
  • sh       shit
  • ui       wait
In some cases ‘i’ can be silent when coming after a “c” “q” “s” or “z”.
As in:
  • ci       its
  • qi       chip
  • si       swing
  • zi       bits
That’s mostly all there is to it, except for accent marks that are used for tones. If you’re a beginner, you shouldn’t worry about tones till later.
  • ā       First tone
  • á       Second tone
  • ă       Third tone
  • à       Fourth tone
  • å or no mark Fifth (neutral) tone

1 comment:

  1. At least make a note that this is for learning Mandarin.