Chinese Pinyin

Spoken Mandarin Chinese has 4 tones. details »
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Learn Chinese Pinyin

ai

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Example Chinese Characters

Pinyin Table

a ai ao an ang o* ueng* ou e ei en eng i ia iao ie iou* ian iang in ing iong u ua uo uei* uai uan uen* uang ü üe üan ün er
- a ai ao an ang o weng ou e ei en eng yi ya yao ye you yan yang yin ying yong wu wa wo wei wai wan wen wang yu yue yuan yun er -
b ba bai bao ban bang bo bei ben beng bi biao bie bian bin bing bu b
p pa pai pao pan pang po pou pei pen peng pi piao pie pian pin ping pu p
m ma mai mao man mang mo mou mei men meng mi miao mie miu mian min ming mu m
f fa fan fang fo fou fei fen feng fu f
d da dai dao dan dang dong dou de dei deng di dia diao die diu dian ding du duo dui duan dun d
t ta tai tao tan tang tong tou te teng ti tiao tie tian ting tu tuo tui tuan tun t
n na nai nao nan nang nong nou ne nei nen neng ni niao nie niu nian niang nin ning nu nuo nuan nüe n
l la lai lao lan lang long lou le lei leng li lia liao lie liu lian liang lin ling lu luo luan lun lüe l
z za zai zao zan zang zong zou ze zei zen zeng zi zu zuo zui zuan zun z
c ca cai cao can cang cong cou ce cen ceng ci cu cuo cui cuan cun c
s sa sai sao san sang song sou se sen seng si su suo sui suan sun s
zh zha zhai zhao zhan zhang zhong zhou zhe zhei zhen zheng zhi zhu zhua zhuo zhui zhuai zhuan zhun zhuang zh
ch cha chai chao chan chang chong chou che chen cheng chi chu chua chuo chui chuai chuan chun chuang ch
sh sha shai shao shan shang shou she shei shen sheng shi shu shua shuo shui shuai shuan shun shuang sh
r rao ran rang rong rou re ren reng ri ru rua ruo rui ruan run r
j ji jia jiao jie jiu jian jiang jin jing jiong ju jue juan jun j
q qi qia qiao qie qiu qian qiang qin qing qiong qu que quan qun q
x xi xia xiao xie xiu xian xiang xin xing xiong xu xue xuan xun x
g ga gai gao gan gang gong gou ge gei gen geng gu gua guo gui guai guan gun guang g
k ka kai kao kan kang kong kou ke kei ken keng ku kua kuo kui kuai kuan kun kuang k
h ha hai hao han hang hong hou he hei hen heng hu hua huo hui huai huan hun huang h
a ai ao an ang o ong ou e ei en eng i ia iao ie iu ian iang in ing iong u ua uo ui uai uan un uang ü üe üan ün er
Japanese Hiragana
Korean Hangul

Chinese Pinyin - Introduction

Chinese language uses characters instead of alphabets in its writing system.

To represent the phonetic sound for each of the characters, a romanization system called Pinyin was introduced in 1957 in Mainland China, and has been widely accepted as a standard.

Each Chinese character has only 1 syllable, and this syllable is represented by an optional initial (a consonant) and a final (a vowel plus an optional nasal sound or suffix) in pinyin.

Notice that when there is no initial consonant, a semi consonant y or w needs to be added before the vowels i, u and ü. (see spelling rules below).

Pay special attention to consonant z, c, s, zh, ch, sh and r. Their spellings are somewhat related to the English alphabets, but their pronunciations are very different.

All Mandarin Chinese sounds are simply a combination of these initials and finals.

Mandarin Tones and Tone Marks

There are 4 tones (plus a neutral tone) in Mandarin Chinese.

A Chinese character could only be associated with a phonetic sound with tone.

As a result, it is extremely important to distinguish (and be able to say) the 4 different tones in Mandarin Chinese.

A tone mark is usually added on top of the pinyin main vowel to represent its tone:

  1. ˉ (1st tone - high level)
  2. ˊ (2nd tone - high rising)
  3. ˇ (3rd tone - low dipping)
  4. ˋ (4th tone - high falling)
  5. no tone mark for neutral tone

A neutral tone can never be a starting tone in a phrase. Its pitch is entirely determined by the tone of its preceding syllables.

Tone Mark Placement

Use the following rules to determine where to place a tone mark on a pinyin.

  1. It is always placed over a vowel letter.
  2. In complex vowels, the precedence is a, e and then o.
  3. In all other cases (ui and iu), the final vowel takes the tone mark.

Pinyin Spelling Rules

The spelling in pinyin varies in some cases:

  1. syllables starting with i is replaced by yi. standalone i is written as yi.
  2. syllables starting with u is replaced by wu. standalone u is written as wu.
  3. syllables starting with ü is replaced by yu.
  4. ü is always written as u except in 4 cases: lü, nü, lüe and nüe
  5. abbreviations of uo following initial b, p, m, f: although they should be pronounced as buo, puo, muo, fuo, they are written as bo, po mo, fo respectively.
  6. abbreviations of iou, uei, uen, ueng with initials: these should still be pronounced as iou, uei, uen and ueng, but they are written as iu, ui, un and ong respectively.
  7. abbreviations of er: er is often written as r when attached as a suffix to a final.

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