Pinyin/Pronunciation

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Vowels[edit]

Pinyin IPA
a [a]
e [ə]
ê [ɛ]
i [i]
-i (after zh,ch,sh,r) [ʅ]
-i (after z,c,s) [ɿ]
o [o]
u [u]
ü [y]
  • "u" after "j, q, x, y" is pronounced as "ü" (the two dots is omitted in spelling)
  • "e" after "i, u, ü, y" is pronounced as "ê" (the hat "^" is omitted in spelling)
  • "e" before "i" is pronounced as "ê" (the hat "^" is omitted in spelling)
  • "o" before "ng" is pronounced as "u" ("u" is written as "o" in spelling)

Consonants[edit]

b p m f w
d t n l
g k ng h
j q x y
zh ch sh r
z c s

Basic combinations of vowels and consonants[edit]

ai ei ao ou
an en ang eng ong
  • "ei" is pronounced as "êi" ("êi" is written as "ei" in spelling)
  • "ong" is pronounced as "ung" ("ung" is written as "ong" in spelling)

Pronunciation of vowels[edit]

Pinyin IPA Explanation Examples
a [a] as the vowel in "star" without the "r" sound bàba (papa)
e [ə] as the vowel in "stir" gēge (elder brother)
ê [ɛ] as the vowel in "their" xièxie (thank)
i [i] as the vowel in "bit" dìdi (younger brother)
-i (after zh,ch,sh,r) [ʅ] similar to the consonant "r" in "rank", but with the lips spread and with the tongue curled upwards zhīchí (support)
-i (after z,c,s) [ɿ] similar to the consonant in "zoo" zìsī (selfish)
o [o] as the vowel in "law" lǎopo (wife)
u [u] as the vowel in "food" mǔqin (mother)
ü [y] as in German "üben" or French "lune" (To get this sound, say "ee" with rounded lips) yǔyán* (language)
  • The two dots of ü is omitted after "j, q, x, y".

Pronunciation of consonants[edit]

Pinyin IPA Explanation Examples
b [b] b, as in bit Běijīng (capital of China)
p [p] as in English piányi (cheap), piàoliang (beautiful)
m [m] as in English miàntiáo (noodles)
f [f] as in English fācái (get rich)
d [d] d, as in dark dà (big)
t [t] as in English tàipíng (peace)
n [n] as in English nánrén (man)
l [l] as in English lǎorén (old man)
g [g] g, as in gill, never as large guójiā (country)
k [k] as in English kèrén (guest)
h [x] like the English h if followed by "a"; otherwise it is pronounced more roughly (not unlike the Scots ch) hēshuǐ (drink water)
j [tɕ] like q, but unaspirated. (To get this sound, first take the sound halfway between joke and check, and then slowly pass it backwards along the tongue until it is entirely clear of the tongue tip.) While this exact sound is not used in English, the closest match is the j in ajar, not the s in Asia; this means that "Beijing" is pronounced like "bay-jing", not like "beige-ing". You may simply pronounce it as zh and a Chinese may understand it. jiàotáng (church), jiā (home or family)
q [tɕʰ] like church, but with less of the "ch"/"h" sound; pass it backwards along the tongue until it is free of the tongue tip shēngqì (get angry)
x [ɕ] like sh, but with less of the "s" sound. Take the sound and pass it backwards along the tongue until it is clear of the tongue tip; very similar to the final sound in German ich, Portuguese enxada, luxo, xícara, puxa, and to huge or Hugh in some English dialects xiǎohái (child), Xizang (Tibet)
zh [tʂ] ch with no aspiration (take the sound halfway between joke and church and curl it upwards); very similar to merger in American English, but not voiced Zhōngguó (China), zháohuǒ (be on fire)
ch [tʂʰ] as in chin, but with the tongue curled upwards; very similar to nurture in American English, but strongly aspirated chīfàn (have a meal), chǎojià (quarrel)
sh [ʂ] as in shinbone, but with the tongue curled upwards; very similar to undershirt in American English shāmò (desert), Shànghǎi (a big city in China)
r [ɻ] similar to the English r in rank, but with the lips spread and with the tongue curled upwards rè (hot), rèqíng (passion)
z [ts] unaspirated c (halfway between beds and bets), (more common example is suds) zǎoshànghǎo (good morning!), qīzi (wife), Zhāng Zǐyí (name of a Chinese actress)
c [tsʰ] like ts, aspirated (more common example is cats) cǎo (grass), cì, time
s [s] as in sun Lhasa (capital of Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region), Suzhou (capital of the province of Jiansu, near Shanghai)
y [j] as in English yuèliang (moon)
w [w] as in English wàiguórén (foreigner)
ng [ŋ] as in English ng (What?, Huh?)

Pinyin syllable table[edit]

a e i o u/ü* ai ei ao ou an en ang eng ong n ng
a e o ai ei ao ou an en ang n ng
b ba bi bo bu bai bei bao ban ben bang beng
p pa pi po pu pai pei pao pou pan pen pang peng
m ma me mi mo mu mai mei mao mou man men mang meng
f fa fo fu fei fou fan fen fang feng
w wa wo wu wai wei wan wen wang weng
d da de di du dai dei dao dou dan den dang deng dong
t ta te ti tu tai tao tou tan tang teng tong
n na ne ni nu/nü* nai nei nao nou nan nen nang neng nong
l la le li lo lu/lü* lai lei lao lou lan lang leng long
g ga ge gu gai gei gao gou gan gen gang geng gong
k ka ke ku kai kei kao kou kan ken kang keng kong
h ha he hu hai hei hao hou han hen hang heng hong hng
j ji ju*
q qi qu*
x xi xu*
y ya ye yi yo yu* yao you yan yang yong
zh zha zhe zhi zhu zhai zhei zhao zhou zhan zhen zhang zheng zhong
ch cha che chi chu chai chao chou chan chen chang cheng chong
sh sha she shi shu shai shei shao shou shan shen shang sheng
r re ri ru rao rou ran ren rang reng rong
z za ze zi zu zai zei zao zou zan zen zang zeng zong
c ca ce ci cu cai cei cao cou can cen cang ceng cong
s sa se si su sai sao sou san sen sang seng song
bi bie biao bian bin bing
pi pie piao pian pin ping
mi mie miu miao mian min ming
di die diu diao dian ding
ti tie tiao tian ting
ni nie niu niao nian niang nin ning
li lia lie liu liao lian liang lin ling
ji jia jie jiu jiao jian jiang jiong jin jing
qi qia qie qiu qiao qian qiang qiong qin qing
xi xia xie xiu xiao xian xiang xiong xin xing
yi yin ying
du dui duo duan dun
tu tui tuo tuan tun
nu nue nuo nuan
lu lue luo luan lun
gu gua gui guo guai guan guang gun
ku kua kui kuo kuai kuan kuang kun
hu hua hui huo huai huan huang hun
ju* jue juan jun
qu* que quan qun
xu* xue xuan xun
yu* yue yuan yun
zhu zhua zhui zhuo zhuai zhuan zhuang zhun
chu chua zhui chuo chuai chuan chuang chun
shu shua shui shuo shuai shuan shuang shun
ru rui ruo ruan run
zu zui zuo zuan zun
cu cui cuo cuan cun
su sui suo suan sun
  • "u" after "j, q, x, y" is pronounced as "ü" (the two dots is omitted in spelling), but the two dots of "nü" and "lü" cannot be omitted.

Tones[edit]

There are four tone marks in Hanyu Pinyin and they are essential to correct pronunciation: ā, á, ǎ, à, written above the first vowel of the word (the vowel "a" in this example), or written as a1, a2, a3, a4, respectively. (See also the Chinese wikibook page on using tones).