Chinese Pinyin (phonetics)
        Chinese Pinyin also consists of two parts: 21 consonants, 24 vowals and 2 semi-vowals.


    The old Chinese way of writing Pinyin was quite different from the international standard way we do at present:

    The second line shows the way in which people uesed to write Pinyin.

            In the above explanations of the table show that there are altogether 21 consonants in Chinese Piyin and the above table formulate the order and the pronanciations of them. In the table the order and the prononciations of the consonants are quite different from the letter in the alphobatical table. The differences appear in the vowals which are added to the original sounds. The vowals added to the consonants are as follows:
          those with the vowal [o] (like English [w]): b, p, m, f;
          those with [e] ( like English []): d, t, n, l, g, k, h;
          those with [i] like English [i:]: j, q, x;
          those with -[i]: zh, ch, sh, r, z, c, s.

    According to the standard international phonetics, the consonant table should be like the following:

    Fricatives Nasals Laterals
    Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated Voiceless Voiced Voiced Voiced
    Bi-labials b p         m  
    Labio-dental         f      
    Apical     z c s      
    Blade-alveolar d t         n l
    Blade-palatal     zh ch sh r    
    Dorsal     j q x      
    Velar g k     h   (ng)  
    Note: In standard Chinese, "ng" is not used as a consonant but as the end of a vowal.
            Besides the above 21consonants, there is another syllable in Putonghua (the standard Chinese) which is called "Zero Consonant". That is to say a syllable which has no consonant.


    Syllables with "Zero Consonants" are as follows:

    1. The whole syllable is a, o, e or begins with a, o, e.

    2. e.g. 
    3. The whole syllable is i or begins with i.

    4. e.g. 
    5. The whole syllable is u or begins with u.

    6. e.g. 
    7. The whole syllable is or begins with .

    8. e.g. 
              In fact, these syllables begin with , the letter "y" serves as sound separater.


           In Chinese Pinyin there are 24 vowel phonemes including 6 pure vowels (a, o, e, i, u and ) and 18 diphthongs (ai, ei, ui, ao, ou, iu, ie, e, er, an, en, in, un, n, ang, eng, ing, and ong). In the following table we can see both the old way and the standard way of writing the vowels.


            In Chinese Pinyin, there are four tone symbols like -, /, \/, and \ which are marked on top of the main vowel. Besides there is another tone which is called light tone and usuallly it is not marked.
            When a syllable is followed by another one with the beginning of a, o, or e, to avoid syllable confusion, a sound separater ( ' ) is usually used, e.g. pi'ao ( fur-lined jacket ).

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