Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Hi everybody! Yinru here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Chinese questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: What is pinyin?
Explanation
拼音 pīnyīn is the standard, most commonly used phonetic system for transliterating Chinese, meaning spelling out Chinese using Roman letters. When you look up a word in a Chinese dictionary, there is always pinyin assigned to each Chinese character. It's a way to read and pronounce Chinese words through English letters. For example, hàn, spelled h-à (accent)-n, is the pinyin for the symbol 汉,as in 汉族人 Hànzú rén, “the Han people,” an ethnic group of east Asia. Even though most Chinese people can read pinyin, it’s not a substitute for the 汉字 Hànzì, or the “Chinese characters.” This is because 拼音 pīnyīn is the sound system in Chinese, whereas 汉字 Hànzì is the writing system.
Here’s an example for the sentence “I can read Chinese characters” in 拼音 pīnyīn and in 汉字 Hànzì.
我认识汉字。Wǒ rènshí hànzì. (“I can read Chinese characaters.”)
Sometimes people wonder if they can only learn pinyin and ignore the actual Chinese characters. The short answer is no. Chinese books and newspapers are written with Chinese characters without the use of pinyin, unless they’re written for children who are still learning to read. So, for Chinese beginners, you definitely want to learn Pinyin rules first.
Pinyin is usually made of three parts: an initial consonant, a final consisting of one or a combination of vowels, and a tone. There’s a pinyin chart for beginners to learn and memorize the consonants and vowels. We’ll get into the pronunciations of some of the most difficult pinyin sounds in the later episodes.

Outro

How was it? Pretty interesting right?
Do you have any more questions? Please leave them in the comments below, and I’ll try to answer them!
我们下期再见吧!(Wǒmen xiàqī zàijiàn ba!) See you in the next episode!

14 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
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What Chinese learning question do you have?


P.S. Click here to check our Pinyin Chart with audio pronunciation!

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 12:50 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Phuong Giang,


Thank you for your comment. You can find the pinyin chart here:

https://www.chineseclass101.com/learningcenter/reference/pinyin_chart/


If you have have any questions, please let us know.


Ngai

Team ChineseClass101.com

Phuong Giang
Friday at 12:51 AM
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Thanka for your sharing. I have read in documents of lesson What makes a Chinese Word mentioned Pinyin Chart but I can not find it. Could you instruct for me in detais ☺ Thank you.

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 12:53 PM
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Hello Morgan B.,


Thank you for your positive comment, we're glad to hear it! 😄


Thank you for learning with us, let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Morgan B.
Saturday at 06:26 AM
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I'm learning so much so quickly without being overwhelmed! This and the others from this lesson are super awesome.

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 08:22 PM
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你好 Nikki,


Thank you so much for your kind message! 😇❤️️

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies.


Kind regards,

雷文特

Team ChineseClass101.com

Nikki
Wednesday at 06:46 AM
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❤️️❤️️for this lesson. Can you do a class on like how our Chinese learning schedule be. Please because right now I'm just confused with I should learn first or last. Can you just please help me 😭. I will be really grateful. And also can you tell me how to download a chinese keyboard. I cannot seem to find A Mandarin Keyboard on Setting.

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 05:57 AM
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你好 robert groulx,


谢谢 for posting and studying with us. If you have any questions, please let us know.😄


Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Monday at 05:49 AM
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thanks for the lesson transcript


Wǒ rènshí hànzì. (“I can read Chinese characaters.”)


robert

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 10:41 PM
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Hello 白龙,


Thank you for your comment. I think that the tone marks are necessary. 😉


Let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

白龙
Tuesday at 09:58 AM
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My friend and I are debating whether pinyin can still be called pīnyīn without the tone marks. One of us believes that without the tone marks, pīnyīn should be called "pīnyīn without tone marks". The other believes that tone marks are not necessary and pinyin without tone marks should still be called pinyin.