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M's Chinese Course: Pre-Lesson #3 (Finals)

你好! I'm making a (Mandarin) Chinese course for all you people who want to learn Chinese. I hope that this inspires some of you to learn Chinese! Both simplified and traditional characters will be included, too (along with Pinyin). Now that initials are covered, we can move on to finals! I’ll explain: almost all Chinese syllables are made up of an initial + final. A final is the last part of a Chinese syllable (-ang, -o, -en, etc.) And that’s what we’ll be covering. Chinese finals are a lot easier than the initials to pronounce, in my opinion.

Make sure that you don’t overpronounce the “g” in the finals ending in “-ng”.

  • a = like “a” in “father”

  • ai = like “y” in “my”

  • an = like “a” in “father” + n

  • ang = like “a” in “father” + ng

  • ao = like “ow” in “how”

  • e = similar to “ir” in RP “sir”; like “uh”

  • ei = like “ay” in “day”

  • en = like “un” in “fun”

  • eng = like “ung” in “lung”

  • er = like “ar” in “art” (this syllable only appears by itself)

  • i (not before z, c, s, zh, ch, sh, and r) = like “e” in “me”

  • i (before z, c, s, zh, ch, sh, and r) = a filler vowel; it has no/little sound, so emphasize the consonant

  • ia = like German “ja”; like “yaw” in “yawn”

  • ian = like “yen”

  • iang = like German “ja” + n; like “yaw” in “yawn” + n

  • iao = like “eow” in “meow”

  • ie = like “ye” in “yes”

  • in = like “ean” in “bean”

  • ing = like “ing” in “sing”

  • iong = like “yo” + ng, but shorter

  • iu (short for iou) = like “yo”

  • o = like “oh” (short and clipped) by itself; like Pinyin “uo” after b, p, m, and f

  • ong = “o” + ng

  • ou = like “oh”

  • u = like “oo” in “boot”

  • ua = like “wa” in “water”

  • uai = like “why”

  • uan = like “won”

  • uang = “ua” + ng

  • ui (short for uei) = like “way”

  • un (short for uen) = like “when”

  • ueng = like “lung”, but with a “w” instead of an “l” (this syllable only appears by itself)

  • uo = like the “wo” in “wore”

  • ü = like German “ü”; to make this sound, round your lips and try to make an “ee” sound

  • üan = like German “ü” + “en” in “ten”

  • üe = like German “ü” + “e” in “bed”

  • ün = like German “ü” + n

And as a final note, when “ü”, “üan”, “üe”, and “ün” come after y, q, j, and x, they lose their umlaut, even though they’re pronounced the same.

That’s it! :)

I highly recommend looking at this chart for more information on how to pronounce Chinese. It’s really useful.

I hope this helped you! I will make the next lesson soon. And if you liked this, please upvote and leave some feedback; I love hearing what you have to say :)


September 4, 2015



IPA might be an good idea. In my pronunciation of 'yawn', 'water' and 'wore', the vowel sound in virtually the same.


Oh, do you speak British English? All pronunciations are based on American English, unless stated otherwise.

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