Certain letters in Mandarin transcription: how they are pronounced

February 25, 2008 at 7:29 pm (Languages, Mandarin)

In the accepted transcription of Mandarin Chinese, known as “Pīnyīn” (拼音), certain letters should be explained:
Q is pronounced like English “ch”.
Ch is also pronounced like English “ch” but is a little more emphatic than q
X is pronounced like English “sh”.
Sh is also pronounced like English “sh” but is a little more emphatic than x.
Zh is pronounced like English “j”.
J is also pronounced like English “j” but zh is a little more emphatic than j.

C is pronounced like “ts”.
Z is pronounced like “dz”.
(In other words, z is a voiced equivalent of c.)

More emphatic, respectively: sh, ch, zh
Less emphatic, respectively: x, q, j

So Zhōng guó (中国, “China”) would be roughly “jong-gwoh” and wǔxiá (武侠, “chivalry”) would be roughly “woo-shyah”.

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1 Comment

  1. van melle said,

    i like it!!

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