Thursday, 21 November 2019, 06:25

Pronunciation



There are 23 initials in Chinese and 12 of them have almost the same pronunciation as English.

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

The following consonants: p, f, t, k, h, q, x, c, s, ch and sh are aspirated sounds. There is some special attention to be paid on the so called ˇ°aspiratedˇ± consonants. It is necessary to breath heavily after the original consonant is sounded. If you put your palm in front of your mouth when you are reading out these letters, you will feel the air being exhaled. Read the following consonants after me in the first tone ---- you will be practising your vowels as well.

"b" as in boy

"p" as in poor

"m" as in mother

"f" as in for

"d" as in dad

"t" as in time

"n" as in nurse

"l" as in love or large

"g" as in glass

"k" as in kite

"h" as in horse or hope

"j" as in Jim

"q" as in cheese

"x" No similar pronunciation in English

 

When you read out the following three letters close your teeth, but not too tightly. Place your tongue so that it is just vibrating against the back of your upper front teeth.
N.B: The (here soundless) letter ˇ°iˇ± is placed after z, c and s in written Pinyin as a vehicle for indicating the tones. The vowel ˇ°iˇ± should NOT be pronounced in this case.

  • When you say "z" you should feel a buzz behind your upper front teeth.
  • When you say "c" blow the air out as you make a short buzzing sound.Your tongue should be looser than in "z".
  • When you say "s" close your teeth and blow over your tongue.

"z" as in zoo or disaster

"c" as in cats

"s" as in said or soul

 

N.B: The (here soundless) letter ˇ°iˇ± is placed after zh, ch, sh and ri in written Pin Yin as a vehicle for indicating the tones. The vowel ˇ°iˇ± should NOT be pronounced in this case.

  • For "zh", roll your tongue back in the roof of your mouth. The tip of your tongue should stay pressing up towards your hard palate. Squeeze the air out over your tongue.
  • For "ch", roll your tongue back in the roof of your mouth. The tip of your tongue should stay pressing up towards your hard palate. Blow the air out over your tongue, making a slightly harder sound than in zhi.
  • For "sh", roll your tongue back in the roof of your mouth so that it just touches your hard palate as you say ˇ°shˇ±.
  • For "r", roll your tongue back in the roof of your mouth. It should just touch your hard palate as you say ˇ°rˇ±.

"zh" as in job

"ch" as in China (tongue curled back, aspiration)

"sh" as in Short

"r" as in Russia or rose

 

"y" as in yard or yes

"w" as in worm or wall

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London Kids Chinese Club