Initial-m

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:

ma1

 

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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
Pinyin-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

Summary of Pinyin

It’s fascinating but not surprising to know that Pinyin hasn’t been available until romanization systems has been adopted in the 19th century.  Wade Giles is the most prominent one and is widely adopted by the western countries.

The official Pinyin for Mainland China has been unveiled in 1958.  The basic rules of Chinese phonetic alphabet orthography was first released in 1996 and revised in 2012.  What we are going to learn conforms to this rule.

In the following days, we are going to learn the basic rules. Hopefully you will enjoy it and get the hang of it as quickly as possible!

Stay tuned!