The Chinese Pinyin Alphabet
In the late 1950s, Chinese people began to use the Chinese phonetic alphabet. There have been many different systems of transcription for learning to pronounce Chinese. A syllable in Chinese is composed of an initial, which is a consonant that begins the syllable, and a final, which covers the rest of the syllable.
* Chinese people read m, f, n, l, h and sh as in English. * d like “d” in “bed” (unaspirated) j like “g” in “genius” (unaspirated) z like “ds” in “beds” zh like “j” in “job”
b like “p” in “spin” (unaspirated) g a soft unaspirated “k” sound
x like “sh” in “sheep” but with the corners of the lips drawn back r somewhat like “r” in “rain”
* You should pay more attention to the pronunciation of the so-called “aspirated” consonants. It is necessary to breathe heavily after the consonant is pronounced.
p like “p” in “pope” t like “t” in “tap”
k like “k” in “kangaroo”
q harder than “ch” in “cheap” c like “ts” in “cats”
ch (tongue curled back, aspirated) * Distinction between certain initials: b / p d / t g / k j / q z / c zh / ch
y: yes yellow
w: what why