An Introduction to Pinyin Initials and Finals

What I forgot to mention in the video!

OK. This is important. After you make your two columns (one for initials and one for finals) you’ll need something to listen to so you know that you’re saying it right. The initials are all pretty easy, except for c, zh, r, q and x. Just don’t worry about those for now.

As for the finals, you can actually listen to those on the listening guide I have listed below. The only problem is that the spelling will be a little different. For example, “uan” is spelled as “wan.” Look at the right side of the table on Pinyin.info for a complete list of final spelling (when they’re standing alone). Then you can look them up on the listening guide.

In this weeks lesson I focused introducing pinyin and the concept of initials and finals. Pinyin is a mandatory building block for learning any level of Chinese. Whether you just want to do basic things like take taxis and order food, or you plan on doing serious business negotiation it’s vital that you master listening to, pronouncing, reading and writing pinyin.

Getting Your Pronunciation Corrected

It’s going to be important that you eventually get your pronunciation corrected by a native speaker (or someone with native speaking abilities). We will tackle that problem in the future. For now, focus on getting the basics of the initials and finals down as well as you can working by yourself.

If you have access to native speakers, ask them for help! If you diligently practice on your own and work with a native speaker once or twice a week, you’ll make really good progress. Even if you don’t have a native speaker close to you, you have the internet (I know you do because you’re reading this 😉 ). We’ll cover ways to establish relationships with language partners in the future, but don’t feel like you have to wait for me. Hit up Google and start looking if you’re ambitious. 😀

Pinyin Learning Resources

[Pinyin.info Chart] – Go here to get an overview of all of the initials and finals.

New Concept Mandarin Listening Guide – Use this guide to see what the combination of initials and finals sounds like. Just focus on doing everything using the first tone for now (if you’re new).

[PracticePinyin.com Initials and Finals Test] – After you’ve drilled the list of initials and finals into your head and have spent a lot of time using the listening guide, try testing yourself.

Keep Things Fun!

Don’t work too hard guys! Always keep things fun while your practicing and if you go hardcore (like I used to) remember to take breaks/power naps. 🙂 If you have any questions or problems let me know in the comments!

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9 Responses to An Introduction to Pinyin Initials and Finals

  1. sandra says:

    Thank you so much. I can tell you put a lot of work into this for us.

    • miltownkid says:

      Thanks! I’m glad you noticed. I actually spent all day messing around with different websites and systems for learning pinyin. 😛 I’ll be better prepared next week. I don’t have anymore websites to launch. 😉

  2. Penney Morse says:

    That seemed very thorough to me. I doubt I’ll have time to practice much, so I’ll just read the comments of people who do.

  3. Kevin says:

    I know a native speaker, but she only knows Cantonese. Will she be of any help?
    Also heres a useful site I use:
    http://www.popupchinese.com/

    • miltownkid says:

      She would only be of help if you wanted to learn Cantonese. She might be of help when you start reading and writing, but… All of her pronunciation would be in Cantonese.

      I just clicked through to PopupChinese.com quickly. Does their free service have many cool features or are you paying?

  4. Magdalicious says:

    So what was the final conclusion about aniki (for the others) and can you share data bases with each other for it?

    • miltownkid says:

      Anki is super sweet and I’ll be reviewing it in future lessons (probably not this week as it not useful for the lesson and I haven’t played with it enough yet). Not only can you share databases with each other, but you can make them available online for download (through the program). You can also use their online service to sync your learning across multiple devices.

      I’ll do some tutorials for setting it up when it gets to flashcard time.

  5. aahz says:

    Well, as a person who is trying to learn Chinese, i really did find it very helpful. I learned about why the x appears with i but no other vowels, and the sh – i has a different sound than what you’d expect. Very nice to know! 🙂 So I do appreciate that and I liked the video. You have a good presence.

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