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Lesson Transcript


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: How do I pronounce e, ü, üe?
In 拼音 pīnyīn, there are six single vowels called finals: a, o, e, i, u, ü. There are also numerous compound finals. These are made by combining two or three of the single vowels, or by adding an n, ng, or r at the end of vowels. Here are some examples: ao, ou, ei, ie, iu, un, ian, iong, er, and so on.
Among all the finals, the e, ü, and üe are the relatively difficult ones for non-Chinese native speakers to pronounce.
First, let’s look at how to say the final e accurately. E sounds like the “e” in “the." Make sure your tongue is flat and low. A lot of Chinese learners tend to curl their tongue when saying e, which is not necessary.
Let’s see some examples:
哥哥 gēge (“older brother”), 可乐 kělè (“cola”), 喝 hē (“to drink”),车 chē (“vehicle”).
Unlike the vowel u, ü has two little dots on top. To make this sound, try to round up your lips as much as you can. For example, 女儿 nǚér (“daughter”), 绿色 lǜsè (“green”).
There’s a special rule concerning the omission of the two dots on ü: When it follows the initials y, j, q, and x, it’s spelled as “u," but still pronounced as ü. For example, 鱼 yú (“fish”), 句子 jùzi (“sentence”), 去 qù (“to go”) and 必须 bìxū (“must”).
This rule also applies to any compound finals that starts with ü. For example, 军 jūn (“military”) or 圆圈 yuánquān (“circle”).
üe sounds like the combination of ü and e, as in 省略 shěnglüè (“to omit”), 虐待 nüèdài (“to maltreat”). Just like other vowels that start with ü, you don’t need the two dots on top when they come after y, j, q, x. In this case, we have 月亮 yuèliang (“moon”), 决定 juédìng (“decision”), 缺少 quēshǎo (“to lack”), 学习 xuéxí (“to study”).
这些规律你都学会了吗?Zhè xiē guīlǜ nǐ dōu xuéhuì le ma?
“Do you understand these rules now?”
Duō dú , duō tīng , duō liàn , pīnyīn qíshí bìng méiyǒu zhème nán.
“Read more, listen more, and practice more. Pinyin is actually not that difficult.”


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