Chinese basics Pinyin (拼音)

Chinese is a very complex language. Everything from its pronounciation to the grammar can be pretty tricky for a beginner. But don’t worry! We got you! Pinyin is used in order to learn the way Chinese characters are pronounced.


To understand Pinyin, you need to know that there are 4 tones in Chinese.

The first tone:


The second tone:

Typically used at the end of a question.
move, remove

The third tone:

Used in many phrases, such as 所以 [Suǒyǐ] which means so

The fouth tone:



To pronounce these words, follow the little comma above the pinyin. If it goes up, the tone increase, if it goes down and up, the tone decreases and then increases. If it’s straight, your tone should be stable. For a better understanding, I’ll leave a link for an online page, where the tones are pre-recorded, so you can listen to them yourself.

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In the next step you need to focus on pronouncing other letters, as the pronunciation in Pinyin differs from other languages. Please follow up on the next page in order to learn the exact pronunciation of other letters in Pinyin. In order to speed up the process, I suggest you look directly for the tables with sound records. This way you can skip the long texts that might sometimes confuse you. If you need further explanation about how to move your tongue, do read the text.

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