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Chinese Pronunciation
Initial Sounds
p as in 'pie'
b as in 'bun' ('p' is breathy, 'b' is not)
t as in 'tie'
d as in 'dear' ('t' is breathy, 'd' is not)
k as in 'cough'
g as in 'gamble' (the 'g' is hard)
c as the ts in 'nuts'
z as the dds in 'adds'
h as in 'loch' but very softly
f as in 'stuffy'
zh as the J in 'January'
j as the g in 'genuine'
ch as in 'challenge'
q as the ch in 'chew'
x as the sie in 'siesta,' a cross between 'see' and 'she'
sh as in 'shelter' but with lips withdrawn
r as in 'rent,' but first make an 'sh' sound, vibrate the vocal chords, then change to 'r' while keeping the voiced vibration
Finals
a between 'father' and 'at'
an as in 'bun' rather than 'ban'
ang as the ung in 'bung'
ai as in 'aisle'
ao as in 'out'
e between the e in 'exit' and ear in 'earth'
en as the n in 'rock'n'roll'
eng as the un in 'hunger'
ei as in 'lay'
ou as the ou in 'soul' not as the ow in 'cow'
i as the i in 'chlorine' but after 'r' 's(h)' 'c' or 'z' more of a grunted 'eh'
u as in 'zoo'
ong as in the German 'Jung'
ian 'yen'
ui 'way'
'yew'
 
[adapted from: About Chinese by Richard Newnham]
 
Tones. There are four tones in spoken Chinese. The first is a high steady pitch, often marked with a flat line "- " above the primary vowel. The second is a rising tone, marked with a "/" above the primary vowel. The third is a dipping tone, from mid pitch to low and back, marked with a "v" above the primary vowel. The fourth is a falling tone, marked with a "\" above the primary vowel.
The Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School
c/o Dr. Jay Dunbar, Director
15 Timberlyne Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-1522
919.968.3936