Pinyin Initials

Pinyin Initials - Understanding them...pronouncing them

Any Chinese syllable (generally represented by a Chinese character) is made by the combination of two components: a pinyin initial followed by a pinyin final.

You can roughly think of pinyin initials as similar to English consonants. Likewise, you can understand the finals, somewhat as functioning like English vowels.

And then imagine that any Chinese syllable is made with a Chinese 'consonant' plus a Chinese 'vowel'.

Now this is only basis for getting started, as this analogy, while pretty good, only goes so far. You really just need to get familiar without how to pronounce the components and start making the sounds yourself - forming them with your mouth and tongue.

And we have the subset of videos in our complete pinyin course here, dealing with pinyin finals exclusively, to help train you to do just that.

How to Approach the Videos

It's not so important what order you go through these, in fact.

And you will find that some sounds are identical - or nearly so - to sounds in your native language, and thus some sections can be skimmed through, while others which contain trickier 'foreign' sounds may even be worth multiple views.

Nevertheless, it is recommended that you do view all the videos, as even some sounds which to an unitiated ear, you may be quick to associate with sounds in your own language, as your ear gets trained, have subtle, but very critical differences.

Active pronunciation practice such as that provided in the videos will also serve as a critical step in training your ear for these sounds.