Free Online Pinyin Course: 20 Short Video Tutorials with Drills


Learn Pinyin With Our Free Online Course

In this free online pinyin course, Audrey, an experienced teacher, will be your guide as you progress through the pinyin tutorials and engage with her interactive speaking exercises. Each video introduces and aids you to master a small set of sounds that make up the whole of pinyin pronunciation.

Once you complete the whole series of about 18 videos (most of the tutorials are less than ten minutes in length) that make up the free pinyin course, you will have covered all the sounds of Chinese. And, if you have practiced along with her as instructed, you can expect to have a good working grasp of the whole Chinese pinyin system.

Build a Lasting Foundation

If you learn pinyin the right way - which means both comprehensively, and with sufficient practice saying the sounds - then you will have for yourself a strong foundation for your Chinese pronunciation. This will serve you well for many years to come.

Before I arrived in China, not knowing any Chinese, the one thing I did prepare was to teach myself pinyin using a book and cd. In retrospect, that was one of my wisest moves in my history of learning Chinese. Whether from Audrey's free pinyin pronunciation tutorials, or by some other method such as a book and cd as I used, you also won't go wrong by tackling pinyin sooner than later.

Without a solid, comprehensive basis for pinyin pronunciation, you will always have holes in your learning, and these holes can encourage mistakes that tend to become bad habits which are hard to break.

About Your Teacher

Audrey and I produced the free pinyin course together - though I mostly just monitored the camera and did the grunt work of editing. Audrey has been teaching Chinese to learners from all over the world for over a decade, and I daresay that if she has any specialization, it is in the area of pronunciation training.

She is very thorough and directed when it comes to training students to speak the sounds of the language, and she had a very clear idea how to design this course to make it effective. There were many times when I urged her to cut this or give less attention to that, always trying to keep the length of the videos down to what online course design gurus recommend as the optimal length of such tutorials.

I lost those battles more often than not as Audrey would explain to me which country's people had special difficulty with such and such sound, or similar arguments that showed her experience.

I'll also add that she was trained in 'standard Mandarin' at the prominent Beijing School of Broadcasting, and worked for a number of years as a television broadcaster herself.

So, in short, rest assured that you are in good hands with Audrey (whom did I mention is my wife?) as your guide in this online pinyin course.

Structure of the Course

The pinyin course begins with a tutorial on the four tones. Then various sounds are grouped together logically, each group being taught in a single video.

Chinese 'syllables' are all composed of what is called an initial and a final. Nine videos cover all the initials and these are followed by another seven videos covering all the finals.

In fact, there is no reason you couldn't go through the videos in any order you please, perhaps choosing to first work on sounds that you know are troublesome for you, or that you may not have any reference for how to pronounce correctly.

And while many of the sounds covered may be identical, or nearly so, to sounds of English or your native language, I would caution about skipping videos altogether. This is so because some sounds, when at this point when your ear may not be attuned well to hearing Chinese, may actually be slightly different than those you are familiar with in your own language. This could be a difference as subtle as the way the Chinese speaker shapes the mouth when making the sound - however similar the raw sound may appear.

In any event, the drills will often hit on sounds and skills that are tertiary to the specifically targeted ones, so there is no harm in being thorough with the pinyin course contents.

Good luck with it and we are eager to hear feedback and ideas on how we can improve or supplement the existing materials.

The free pinyin course starts here with the video on tones, or you can use the navigation below.

You may also choose to register using your email. This will also give you access to the full features of our media player for studying simple dialogues. But if you prefer, the entire set of free pinyin tutorials are completely available on the site to non-registered users as well.