Pinyin Alphabet

Why would I write this article for Pinyin Alphabet

There will be Audio on this page.
I just check out the basic rule for Pinyin Alphabet on wikipedia(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinyin), which is the first time for me as a native one to go over it, it turns out to be a hell for me, I can’t even believe I am actually using all this stuff without awareness, to be honest, I can’t get it, and it’s such an academic way. I don’t think all adult learner can follow the exact mouth muscle movement like what the wikipedia said. Just like I always have difficulty to pronounce the uvular letter ‘r’ (something like ‘h’ in Hello) in French even I have learned what the mouth, tongue and muscle are supposed to do. I just simply can’t , so what I did to practice that is to listen to the real wording containing the sound of ‘r’ from a native french on youtube.com (I have to say, I love youtube.com so much!!! Bisou! Bisou !)

I think the same way go to Pinyin Alphabet and Mandarin, simply don’t care too much about the technical skill about you mouth and tongue, just try to imitate the real sound from the native one you heard , such as, from youtube.com , it need repetition in the real world meaning in the Pinyin combination, and as I mentioned in previous article about Pinyin, please don’t be struggle the rule or the logic for the pronunciation of the combination, in some case, it just sounds weird to you, but you would feel natural after some times.

As my daughter is studying Pinyin Alphabet in the kindergarten, I took some shot for her homework which seem more natural and human to me to talk about it.

Check out the quiz, and the Pinyin Alphabet paper

I sort them out below:

The basic Pinyin Alphabet list

Name IPA(International Phonetic Alphabet)
Initials b,p,m,f – d,t,n,l – g,k,h – j,q,x – zh,ch,sh,r – z,c,s,y,w
Finals a,o,e – i,u,ü
Finals(Diphthong) ai,ei,ui – ao,ou,iu – ie,üe,er – an,en,in,un,ün – ang,eng,ing,ong

After I go over all the pronunciation suggestion from wikipedia, I think it is kind of misleading for most Initials and Finals, so I decide to re write all the alphabet pronunciation reference for English speaker. (Can I update the exact wiki page directly?? probably yes I remember… never mind.)

IPA

Notes: My 5 years daughter help me with the most of the audio samples without being aware of that, I think the voice of the child is more clearly than the adult one, such as myself.

Pinyin Approximation Sound Explanation Audio Sample
b Boring [bɔː] wikipedia is not good here, I think the closest English wording would be ‘Boring’ ( the phonetic:[‘bɔːrɪŋ]), [bɔː] is the perfect one.
p Percentage [pə] wikipedia is not good here, I think the closest English wording would be ‘Percentage’ ([pə’sentɪdʒ]), [pə] is the perfect one.
m Mercy [mə] wikipedia is not good here, I think the closest English wording would be ‘Mercy’ ˈ[mərsē] (English, not French), ˈ[mə] is the perfect one.
f Familiar [fə] wikipedia is not good here, I think the closest English wording would be ‘Familiar’ ˈ[fəˈmilyər] ,ˈ[fə] is the perfect one.
d de la [də] ‘de la’ in French, literally means ‘of the (feminine words followed )’ [də, lʌ] (Sorry french reader maybe, the phonetic symbol may not exactly correct in French), [də] is the perfect one. and I currently can’t find a English word with this pronunciation.
t tonight [tə] wikipedia is not good here, I think the closest English wording would be ‘tonight’ ˈ[təˈnīt] , [tə] is the perfect one
n nurse [nə] Actually the sound ‘ə’ for nurse is a prolonged ‘ə:’,and the pinyin ‘n’ should be pretty short for the pronunciation.
l clerk [lə] In English the sound for ‘l’ is not much finished like in mandarin as well as I think, in French, both of which following with clear sound ‘[ə]’
g gorilla [gə] wikipedia is not good here, I think the closest English wording would be ‘gorilla’ ˈ[ɡəˈrilə] , [ɡə] is the perfect
k clear [kə] In English, the sound for ‘c’ in ‘clear’ is pretty slight, but you need to pronounce exaggerated for ‘c’ in Pinyin,
most likely the [kə]
h harassment [hə] wikipedia is not good here, I think the closest English wording would be ‘harassment’ ˈ [hə’ræsmənt]  , [hə] is the perfect
j MUJI Have you ever heard the Japanese famous brand MUJI (www.muji.com/us), the ‘j’ is no equivalent sound in english, so it is hard for you, but if you ever heard the sound for MUJI , the ‘j’ pronounce is exact the half part of MUJI, which is ‘JI’, you can check out my sample audio here, instead of the voice of my daughter
q Hitachi Again, no equivalent sound in english, I have to find a well known Japanese brand Hitachi(www.hitachi.com), which ‘chi’ part is exact the pronunciation of the pinyin ‘q’
x SHISEIDO ɕ Again, no equivalent sound in english, I have to find a well known Japanese make up brand SHISEIDO(https://www.shiseido.com/), which ‘SHI’ part is exact the pronunciation of the pinyin ‘x’
zh wage [dʒ] In wikipedia, it gives the [ʈʂ] for pronunciation, but I think it is more close to [dʒ] with more stronger tone,check out the sample
ch church [tʃʒ] The example from wikipedia church is good for the 2nd ‘ch’ in church, but in Pinyin, [tʃ] should be sound stronger than it in English, so I added a ‘ʒ’ here, check out the sample
sh hash [ʃ] it is more likely a more clear and stronger version of [ʃ], check out the sample
r range [r] it is more likely a more clear and stronger version of [r] also
z friends [ts] The sample from wikipedia is pretty good here. But consider ‘Zebra’ for [z]
c hats [ts] The sample from wikipedia is pretty good here.
s slang [s] The sample from wikipedia is pretty good here also.
y year [j] The sample from wikipedia is pretty good here also.
w worry [wu] The sample from wikipedia about violin is also good.
a father [a] This is easy to pronounce,and exact the same sound in French alphabet ‘a’
o office [ɔ] Wikipedia is good here, I just paste here: approximately as in British English office; the lips are much more rounded
e a [ə] It is close to [ə] like ‘a’ in the phrase ‘a book’, and pretty much same as in French alphabet ‘e’
i bee [i:] wikipedia is good for the sample and accuracy
u wolf [wu] It is pretty much like the first half pronunciation of wolf, which is ‘wo’
ü über(german) [y] I can’t find a good english word closed to the sound, so I use the german example from wikipeida, and this is literally the pronunciation of alphabet ‘u’ in French. just check out the sample
ai aye [ai] It’s pretty much straight forward, aye and eye is both good, but the tone of aye is more close to mandarin
ei April [ei] It’s pretty much straight forward, and April is close to the tone.
ui wait [wei] Just remove the ending sound for ‘t’,you will be there.
ao cow [au] The sample from wikipedia is good here.
ou Omega [əu] The sample from wikipedia is good, but Omega has the closest tone for that.
iu you [jou] it sounds almost like the pronunciation of ‘you’.
ie yeah [je] It’s pretty much like the sound of ‘yeah’ but with different tone.
üe TBD [ye] Just like ü , I can’t find a good English word here, just follow the german [ü] plus a English[y][e], I know it’s hard to be a logical one, please check out the sample
er courtesy [ɚ:] It is more close to [ɚ:]
an uncomfortable [an] The sample from wikipedia for Ban is good, but I think the tone is more close to ‘un’ from uncomfortable
en entrance [ən] The sample from wikipedia for taken is good, but I think the tone is more close to ‘en’ from entrance
in infinite [in] It is close to the word ‘infinite’, but the sound is tending more clear
un went [wən] The ‘won’ from wikipedia is [ʌn],which got deviation from mandarin tone, went is more close
ün [yn]
ang song [aŋ] Sample from wikipedia is good, and close to the tone also.
eng iphone [əŋ] I think it is more close to the second half of the pronunciation from ‘iphone’, just try to change the sound of ‘o’ from [ɔ] to [ə]
ing going [iŋ] It is close to the sound of ‘ing’ from ‘going’ with more clear tone.
ong [ʊŋ]

* Finally I got this, which is more harder for me to finish it than I thought, I know there will still be confusion there, or mistake, just let me know, thanks

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