Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Chinese Pronunciation Guide.
In this series, you'll master Chinese pronunciation. Proper pronunciation is essential in Chinese, and in this series, you'll learn it in a fast, comprehensive, and easy way.
In this first lesson of the series, you'll learn about the building blocks of the Chinese pronunciation system that will help you in future lessons.
As you're probably quite aware, Chinese doesn't use an alphabetical writing system like English does. Instead, it uses characters that are comprised of parts which depict physical objects or abstract ideas.
Literacy in Chinese requires the memorization of thousands of components and characters. As you can see, this can be quite daunting for new learners of Chinese.
For example, if you were asked to pronounce this character, where would you even begin?
You'll pick up the writing system eventually, but since we're just focused on pronunciation we need to skip them for now.
We need to start dealing with the sounds of Chinese without the baggage of Chinese characters, and that's where pinyin comes in.
Pinyin is the transcription of Chinese characters using roman letters. This makes learning Chinese much easier, particularly for English speakers. As you begin to learn more characters and improve in Chinese, you'll eventually rely on pinyin less and less. But for now, it's a good place to start.
Now, let's have a look at all the sounds in Chinese.
There are 26 consonant sounds, and 14 vowel sounds in Chinese. You can form every single word in Chinese by using these sounds.
Still seem complicated? Well how about this: of the 26 consonant sounds in Chinese, you *already know* 15 of them. That's right, if you're a native English speaker then you already make these sounds every day.
You can also ignore 7 of the vowel sounds for the same reason.
The only thing standing between you and perfect Chinese pronunciation are 11 new consonant and 7 new vowel sounds. You can handle that!
Now let me introduce Yinru, who will be helping you to master these new sounds.
Throughout this series, Yinru will be giving you native pronunciation examples for you to imitate. But for this first lesson, just sit back and listen to the unique sounds of Chinese:
哪儿 nǎr (where)
小 xiǎo (little)
石 shí (stone)
肉 ròu (meat)
北京 Běijīng (Beijing)
钱 qián (money)
早餐 zǎocān (breakfast)
葱 cōng (green onion)
中文 Zhōngwén (Chinese)
长 cháng (long)
玉 yù (jade)
他 tā (he/him)
累 lèi (tired)
月 yuè (moon)
冷 lěng (cold)
日 rì (day)
楼 lóu (building)
绿 lǜ (green)
In the next lesson, we'll look at the top 5 pronunciation mistakes Chinese learners make. You'll want to make sure not to fall into these common traps.
After that, we'll begin going through the vowels and consonants of Chinese. This is your chance to learn how to correctly say all of the words you just heard.
We'll finish up the series by covering some special topics that will really make your Chinese sound natural!
To close this lesson, here's a question for you.
Why is it important to spend time on learning proper pronunciation, even if you're already an advanced speaker?
The answer...
You will be understood, and this will help you build more confidence as you communicate in Chinese. For beginners, you're creating a strong foundation to build on. And for more advanced students, this is your chance to improve your accent and lose any bad habits you may have picked up.
What is hard about pronouncing Chinese to you? Tell us about it in the comments!
See you in the next Ultimate Chinese Pronunciation Guide lesson!