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Mandarin
Mandarin Chinese Initials and Finals

 

In speech, Chinese words are created using just 21 beginning sounds called initials, and 37 ending sounds called finals. Initials and finals, of course, combine to create the basic sounds of Chinese.
For example, consider Beijing:
  • bei: b is an initial, and ei is a final.
  • jing: j is an initial, and ing is a final.
Bear in mind, however, that not all combinations of initials and finals are possible. As well, some finals may stand alone without an initial, such as an and ai. In many of these cases, pinyin rules will add "placeholder" initial consonants, so that "un" becomes "yun," and "u" becomes "wu." Strictly speaking, however, "y" and "w" are not initials.
 
Note 
Occasionally when someone hears a Chinese speaker say the city name "Beijing," they ask why it doesn"t sound like the news anchors say it. That"s because the media in the English-speaking world typically gets it wrong (along with most other Asian place and proper names).

The sound "jing" does not begin like the French sound in Je, or in the name Zsa Zsa.

The "ji-" in "jing" is closer to "Gee," as in, "Gee, these are major networks with lots of money. You"d think they could be bothered to get it right."
If you don"t have time for the complete tables of Mandarin initials and finals right now, the following table gives you some examples using just six of each.
 
 
 
a
ei
ong
ia
iong
uan
b
ba
bei
 
 
 
 
d
da
dei
dong
 
 
duan  
zh
zha
 
zhong
 
 
zhuan
r
 
 
rong
 
 
ruan
j
 
 
 
jia
jiong
juan 
g
ga
gei
gong
 
 
guan
 
   
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