Introduction to Mandarin Chinese Part I - Finals, Initials, and Syllables

This page is an introduction to the basics of Mandarin Chinese. Before learning words and grammar, you should understand the fundamentals of the Chinese language. 

Goal : To understand and be able to pronounce Chinese syllables and finals. 

What you should already know : You do not need to know any Chinese before starting this lesson. If you haven't studied Chinese before, make sure you understand this lesson before progressing into the others. 

Explanation : Because Mandarin does not have a standard alphabet, there are thousands of characters, each with their own sound(s). It is important that you be able to pronounce and distinguish those sounds to understand and speak the language. Please make sure to listen carefully and practice reading until the sounds become easier.

This link will have the resources you need to learn about Chinese. 

1.2 The Structure of Chinese Syllables

Read this page to understand the formation of Chinese words. 

1.3 Simple Finals

Watch the video at the following link once. Watch it again and practice the sounds with the speaker. 

1.4 Initials 

Read the page then go through and listen to each sound. After a sound is played, practice saying it by yourself several times.

1.5 Compound Finals 

Watch the video at the following link. After watching it once, watch it again and pronounce the compound finals with the speaker. Continue by saying what you think the words below would sound like. Then proceed to listen to them and repeat the speaker.