Congratulations! Since you have finished the first sound of Mandarin Chinese! If you jumped the gun or loaded on this page accidentally, please go back to the first sound [a].

The reason I want you to learn well [a] is that we will use it frequently in this lesson. Today, we are going to learn [m]. These two sounds are initials(consonantes). So when you combine  a initial with a final, you pronounce a word!

Just like a lot of babies who speak their  first words as Ma (mother/father), today we will learn how to say mother in Chinese.

I like this one. Because as a Chinese, I always have difficulty pronouncing the counterpart of it in English. Hopefully, you will do it very in Chinese.

Now let us combine m and a. Listen and repeat:



Vowels – a

Today we learn the first alphabet, it’s also the first vowels. Interestingly, both Mandarin Chinese and English have this sound. But they are somehow very different. The most conspicuous one is that there are 4 tones in Chinese while the same vowel has several sounds in English.

Vowel a


Before we dive into 4 tones. Let’s just practice how to pronounce the a sound, just like the a in father.



Now you have heard the sound, please write it on a sheet of paper or you can download this Exercise Sheet. Write it and repeat the sound.



The script of a

Now let’s move on to the 4 tones of  a. Please listen to them and see if there are similar sounds in your own language. The sounds are played in order.


Here is an example of hand writing of initial a:

My writting

Random Word- 顿悟(epiphany)

顿悟 (dùn wù):epiphany


  1. 突然明白,醒悟。When you suddenly feel that you understand, or suddenly become conscious of, something that is very important to you(Cambridge Dictionary)
  2. 佛教禅宗用语。通过正确的方法和途径,迅速的领悟佛法。Buddhist term. You understand powerful religious experience by using the correct methods.
epiphany_Chinese meaning



Goose or hen That’s the problem

Goose or hen That’s the problem


There is an interesting part between English and Chinese. They both use the Goose or hen to express some ideas, however Goose used in English will become hen  in Chinese context!! Here are two examples:


1.杀鸡取卵 literally means to kill a hen and get her eggs

kill goose

In English it should be:

To kill the goose that lay golden eggs.

What? In Chinese we use hen while the counterpart in English is goose.

Another example:

Goose bumps(via Wikipedia)


Goose bumps, goose pimples or goose flesh, the medical term cutis anserina, are the bumps on a person’s skin at the base of body hairs which may involuntarily develop when a person is cold or experiences strong emotions such as fear, nostalgia, pleasure, euphoria, awe, admiration, andsexual arousal.[1]

You know what?

Here in Chinese we use hen again! The natural way to express this is:鸡皮疙瘩。

Do you have any clue why this happened?