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Lesson 12 Pinyin Finals - Part 3

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In the next lesson of the pinyin finals series, learn all about the first section of the finals that start with the letter 'i'. This group can be a little tricky so make sure to pay attention and practice!
Lesson Audio Review
In the next lesson of the pinyin finals series, learn all about the first section of the finals that start with the letter 'i'. This group can be a little tricky so make sure to pay attention and practice!

Comments (54)

Hello. Why do you put a "y" in Pinyin before the finals starting with "i", if the stand on their own? What is the logic behind it?
israfil.akman 4 months 1 week ago
It's just a general rule when there's not a consonant* before the i.
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 4 months 1 week ago edited
I think you meant "consonant", instead of "constant". I would guess that the designer of pinyin wanted to avoid situations like: shu yi being written as "shu i", then being mistaken or "shui". An apostrophe would disambiguate that case, I suppose: "shu'i", but the use of apostrophes is pretty rare in pinyin as it is, I think, and without the leading consonant, there would be a lot more need for apostrophes. The same is true for "wu" vs. "u", for example, "qi wu" vs. "qi u" "qi'u" "qiu".
Corey 4 months 1 week ago
Yes sir! :) That's a good way to think about it Corey. I guess it'll be a slippery slope if we didn't write down any of the silent parts of words.
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 4 months 1 week ago
Good lesson teacher, this is getting better and better, i never thought that my spanish would help me with the pinyin.
dlopeza15 1 year 6 months ago
Pinyin sounds quiet similar to Spanish.
Kazuke Li 2 years 1 month ago
I say the same thing!. Good for me because Spanish is my mother language.
dlopeza15 1 year 6 months ago
It is funny you should say that. Pinyin seems to be roughly based on the international phonetic alphabet which has its roots in Latin based languages like Spanish. Also, the letter "i" and the letter "y" are actually the same thing. The "i" came from Latin and the "y" came from Greek but both represent the sound /e/ as in the work "keep".
Hodge 2 years 1 month ago
Also, Spanish does not like to leave "i" all by itself if there is not a consonant to start the syllable. The suffix -iendo (ing) is spelt "yendo" when it is alone without a consonant to start the syllable. That is also the same reason why the word "and", "y" in Spanish (pronounced "ee") is spelt with a "y" and not a lone "i": hence "yi", "er", "san" etc. Number one is not spelt "i". Pinyin and Spanish spelling definitely do have some correlations.
Hodge 2 years 1 month ago
However, the letter "e" is a huge exception. As Yang Yang shows us, it is easy to be tricked by this one and its variants. I mispronounced "er", "cheng" and the like many many times before I found out the real pronunciation of pinyin. Also, it is easy to get tricked by "yan". You really have to watch out for that vowel too.
Hodge 2 years 1 month ago
Wow, this is very informative. Thank you for sharing, Hodge. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 1 month ago
Hi Yang Yang and team, I just found this coming course from Lesson #19 of the YoYo 300 Characte course. Thank you so much for this - it drives me nuts that pinyin is so inconsistent. How do you remember this: the "a" in "yang" is pronounced like "a" in German or Spanish, but in "tian" or "mian" it is inflected like in English (rhymes with "yen")? - Conversely, the "eng" is pronounced "ang" and "cheng" becomes "chang"?
Hildie 2 years 1 month ago
This is something that frustrates a lot of people! Remember that "yang" (which is actually just the final "iang") has a completely different final than the "ian" final that's found in the syllables "tian" and "mian." Don't single out the "a" there. Just memorize "iang" and "ian" as completely separate but whole sounds, rather than singling out any of the letters.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 1 month ago
Please check out this blog post, https://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/learn-chinese-pinyin-pitfalls-1, which is all about the problems with pinyin that you mentioned, and also spend some time going through the pinyin chart, which allows you to listen to and compare ALL the initials and finals that exist in Chinese.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 1 month ago
The trick is not to treat each letter in a final individually; in other words, treat "ian" as a unique sound, not necessarily related to the "i" and the "a" in the final. The problem faced by the designer of pinyin is that there are only so many vowel letters in the western alphabet, and at some point you have to re-use them. As for your last statement about "eng" is pronounced as "ang", I think you have misheard. I'd suggest listening carefully to these pronunciations in the pinyin chart.
Corey 2 years 1 month ago
Hello, so Yang Yang says to pronounce ia or ian short and sharp so one does not hear the transition from i to the a. But when she talks about the noodles, she says "mi-an" like "mee-an". Is that an exception?
Freezer 2 years 2 months ago
You are right. Yangyang was pronouncing it slowly, so it did sound like "mee-an". But when you are pronouncing it in normal speed, you should not hear the transition from i and an.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 2 months ago
Oh my gosh,I try to say the words correctly before Yangyang pronounces them so I can see if I can say it right before I hear her say it,and I'm still off :-( I really want to learn this language. These videos are so helpful I'm just trying to retain it all. Thank you for the awesome videos Yangyang,this is the best site hands down.
KADIYAH 2 years 4 months ago
Thank you for the nice words. That's a great way to study. You'll be fine, It just takes practice. Good luck with your Chinese studies. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 4 months ago
When my xiǎo péngyǒu says "now", it sounds like xiàn jià, and you have it here as xiàn zài. Have you heard of this alternate pronunciation? This family has very slightly different pronunciations from yours, so it may be a regional thing, but this is the only time the difference is an actual word rather than just a single consonant/vowel sound.
arhzon 2 years 5 months ago
The correct pinyin for "now" is xiàn zài. There's no alternative pronunciation as "xiàn jià", may be the regional accent?
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 5 months ago
Wo3 de gou3 xi3huan5 ni3 shuo1 "iao". Did I express that correctly?
Kristi 2 years 6 months ago
Did you mean your dog likes to hear Yangyang says "iao"?
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 6 months ago
Yes! ^-^
Kristi 2 years 5 months ago
I looked through the comments to see if someone else noted the contradiction between Mian as this video has it pronounced and the instructions on how ian is to be pronounced. I almost didn't look and learn. Wouldn't it be well to edit the video so the proper pronunciation is used?
nathan8 2 years 7 months ago
What contradiction are you talking about? It sounds right to me. She intentionally says it very slowly, so it might sound a little unnatural.
Corey 2 years 7 months ago
Hello, i am so thrilled to know that Chinese Characters will launch the first three month of next year.Now i try to like 5 characters a day.you make pinyin very esay to learn, pronounce and to write. i think i can master it in no time. Wijai (Tom)
Wijaitom 2 years 7 months ago
Yes, we are very excited about it too! Than you for your patience. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 7 months ago
Hello..why is four (si) not pronounced see. I thought the I had an eye sound?
litapapa 2 years 10 months ago
When "i" is followed after the special seven: z, c, s, zhi, chi, shi, ri, "i" is no longer pronounced as "ee". "si" is just pronounced as "s". You may check out our google hangout lesson 2 for more detail.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 10 months ago
Why does 'shí' sound like 'sure' and not like the english 'she?'
busman189 2 years 10 months ago
If it helps you, think of the syllables "zhi" and "chi" and "shi" as being more like "zhr" and "chr" and "shr." Because you're right that the "i" in those syllables does not carry the same "ee" sound as it does in other syllables such as in "ji" and "qi" and "xi." I don't have an answer for why that is, other than the linguists who created the pinyin system chose to represent those sounds with those spellings!
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 10 months ago
hi i would like to know how can I learn to put tone marks in a proper vowel or final
cmm028 2 years 12 months ago
You may use this link: http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/webime2_pinyin.php. Hope that helps.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 12 months ago
Talk to me about reliability. I have been using a pinyin table from quickmandarian.com which I like and think it is useful. However, with the iao vowel in your teaching you say it is like meow, but on this quick mandarin site it sounds like oh, not ow. So which is right?
pnichols 3 years 1 month ago
I'm not familiar with the table that you have been using, but the "iao" final, which is also the same as the "yao" syllable, is definitely pronounced more like the "eow" in "meow." The final that sounds like "oh" is spelled "ou" in pinyin.
Yoyo Chinese 3 years 1 month ago
Hi Yangyang. I see that the pronunciation of the Pinyin vowels is similar to the Spanish alphabet...I do speak Spanish language. :)... makes easy to understand for me.
bryandang1@hotmail.com 3 years 2 months ago
Tenga cuidado con el "e" amigo! Espanol - de (day) Chino - de (duh)
bapgobears 2 years 8 months ago
Google translated. Yes, you are right. Thanks. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 8 months ago
That's great! :)
Yoyo Chinese 3 years 2 months ago
it really makes fun to watch your videos!!! thank you for doing a great job!!! :) amber
amber 3 years 2 months ago
Glad that you enjoy the videos. Thanks for the support. :)
Yoyo Chinese 3 years 2 months ago
Hi. I'm a little confused with the stand alone spelling different to he vowel spelling. Can you elaborate? Thanks
WayneManor 3 years 2 months ago
Different spelling, same sound. Similarly, "ie" becomes "ye," "iao" becomes "yao," "iou" becomes "you," "ian" becomes "yan," "iang" becomes "yang," and "iong" becomes "yong." You might want to check out a recent blog post that talks about this and other pinyin spelling rules: https://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/learn-chinese-pinyin-pitfalls-1
Yoyo Chinese 3 years 2 months ago
When Yangyang says "stand alone" here, she is referring to the times when these finals are a syllable on their own, without an initial before it. Pinyin spelling rules say that if a syllable begins with an "i," then the "i" is replaced with a "y." So, for example, when "ia" is used as a final WITH another initial before it, such as in the syllable "xia," then it just stays "ia." But, when it "stands alone" as a syllable on its own, WITHOUT an initial, then it is spelled "ya."
Yoyo Chinese 3 years 2 months ago
Does it matter where you put the tone mark? For instance, you spell dumpling like this: "jiǎo zi". Would it also be correct to spell it "jǐao zi" or "jiaǒ zi"?
mfortson 3 years 3 months ago
Yes, it does matter. In general, the vowel a and e always takes the tone mark. o takes the tone mark in the case of ou. In other cases, the last one takes the tone mark, ex. ui, i takes the tone mark.
Yoyo Chinese 3 years 3 months ago
Thank you!
mfortson 3 years 3 months ago
when you pronounce "mian"(4) you seem to break it into two syllables. didn't you say for vowels it's always kept together as one sound?
anfads21 3 years 8 months ago
Sorry for the confusion. It's just one syllable. Yangyang pronounced it slower so you may hear it clearly.
Yoyo Chinese Development 3 years 8 months ago
The syllables Si and Zi sound more like SUHHH AND ZUHHH instead of how say they should sound like looking at the I's pronunciation (i.e Si Should be pronounced as SEEEE and Z as ZEEEE but there pronunciation is more akin to the pinyin "e") .. Please clarify.
Narang 3 years 9 months ago
Hi Narang, Yangyang had a Google hangout video that cover the pronunciation of si and zi. Please check out this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if9UTOvQkJo.
Yoyo Chinese Development 3 years 9 months ago
what do you mean by "a vowel when standing alone"? like iang becomes 'yang' but is n't it similar to the vowel "ang" ? I'm a bit confused by this.
kellynguyen 4 years 7 months ago
man you are too beautiful
aayushgx 4 years 7 months ago
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