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Lesson 17 Pinyin Letter Ü

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Many sounds in Chinese already exist in English, but some of the new ones can be tricky for English speakers. In this lesson, take a short break from finals and focus on the special pinyin final ü and how to pronounce it.
Lesson Audio Review
Many sounds in Chinese already exist in English, but some of the new ones can be tricky for English speakers. In this lesson, take a short break from finals and focus on the special pinyin final ü and how to pronounce it.

Comments (33)

It is very simple to understand these rules when you apply this concept to the sounds zh, ch, sh, and i. Those four sounds can only be followed by the "oo" sound in the same way that j, q, x, and y can only be followed by the "ü" sound. "ZH" & "J" have the same sound, but ZH-U is pronounced "joo" while J-U is pronounced jü. The beginning letters are what determine the final sound. These are the letters that sound the same, but determine which "u/ü" sound to use: "zh/j" "ch/q" "sh/x" "i/y"
dissolveyourlimits 10 months 6 days ago
Interesting. I have being away for 2 weeks. Glad to be back and take study more seriously.
theodoraijeoma 2 years 3 months ago
Welcome back! :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 3 months ago
Here comes my native german handy, lots similar sounds. Great Course so far, seems like fun.
justme 2 years 5 months ago
Hey, I think I found and explanation for why they don't actually use the two dots at the U when writing the Ü sound after J,Q,X,Y! it is because it is actually not a Ü vowel, it is a real U vowel, it may sound confusing when thinking this way, but after thinking for some time, I found an explanation that makes sense...
artutty 2 years 5 months ago
So, the J,Q,X,Y are actually consonants that you can just speak, when your tongue is close to your teeth, if you see, they can really just be pronounced with your tongue on the front close to your teeth, because when you change it, you end up pronouncing another different letter. So when you try to say the vowel U after this 4 letters, there there is NO WAY to say the vowel U as its own sound when followed by these 4 letter, because your tongue is already in the front, close to your teeth...
artutty 2 years 5 months ago
So when you try to do it, the sound that comes out, is the sound of Ü, but they don't put the two dots because it is actually the U vowel, said right after the letters that have a way to speak that influences in the sound of U... and as a normal consequence, you don't have a letter Ü after those 4 letters, because then you would have the same sound when pronounced the JU, QU, CU, YU and the JÜ, QÜ, XÜ, YÜ... so there wouldn't be a real difference perception! Thanks for reading my theory!
artutty 2 years 5 months ago
Interesting idea, but if you compare the sound of ü and the vowel sound of qu, xu, ju, yu, they are the same. I am not certain, but I think the right answer is that while it really is a ü sound, the double dot is redundant, because there is no qu, xu, ju, yu sound with a normal u sound. That said, it was a poor choice, I think, on the part of the designer of pinyin. Here's an interesting article: http://mykafkeasquelife.blogspot.com/2011/03/taiwanese-hate-hanyu-pinyin...
Corey 2 years 5 months ago
That said, warts and all, it's not bad once you learn these few idiosyncrasies.
Corey 2 years 5 months ago
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this quirky aspect of pinyin, artutty! Giving it some good thought like that is a great way to help remember them too. Your observation and Corey's both ring true when coming up with a reason for why the umlaut is omitted in these four syllables.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 5 months ago
1) It's practically impossible to follow the initials "q," "x," "j," or "y" with the "u" final if you're saying them correctly. Trying to do it, you end up with something that doesn't exist in Chinese but is closer to "qiu," "xiu," 'jiu," and "you." It's much more natural to follow those initial with a ü sound, like you said. 2) Like Corey said, the umlaut is not necessary, since syllables like "q" + "u" don't exist in Chinese.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 5 months ago
One question, is there any advice on how to differentiate the ju from the qu sounds? My mother language is spanish and they sound soooo similar to me. Thanks, great learning material btw.
pcobos 2 years 5 months ago
Hi Pcobos, first let me ask you this: Can you hear the difference between the initials "j" and "q" (covered in lesson 12)? Your tongue is in the same position for both of those, just behind your teeth, but the difference is that you send air out of your mouth when you pronounce "q," but not for "j." Also, when you pronounce "j," your vocal chords vibrate, but not for "q." The same goes for "ju" and "qu," but you just add the "ü" sound on to them. Does that help?
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 5 months ago
Hello Yangyang, and what about lù /green/? I heard that its also pronounced as lü, isnt it?
Timi 2 years 6 months ago
Yes, the correct pronunciation is lǜ, with the two dots, not lù.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 6 months ago
shi shi yang yang
Se Cole 2 years 6 months ago
Did you mean "xie xie"? :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 6 months ago
This. Just. Saved. Me. So. Much. Trouble. Thank you soooo much lol, and I don't think its complicated at all. I just needed to hear it explained. I have been learning to write characters too and I've always wondered how I could know if a word was pronounced "u" with the dots or "u" withOUT the dots. The book I'm using to learn is a great book and it always lets me know the correct pronunciation, but it doesn't explain the j,q,x,y thing to me. Now I know!! Thank youuuuuu :D
msurber7 2 years 7 months ago
Hi, just out of curiosity, which is the book you are using as extra material for learning? Thanks
pcobos 2 years 5 months ago
That's great to hear. Glad that it helped. Thank you so much for the support, msurber7.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 7 months ago
Thank you for YOUR support :D I couldn't do this without the team at YOYOchinese
msurber7 2 years 6 months ago
Is it like the French "u"?
elvis.sikora 2 years 11 months ago
Yes, it does sound like it. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 11 months ago
When I learned the word 'yue' in lesson 5, I didn't know how to pronounce it, but now I do!
Bilchick 2 years 11 months ago
That's great! :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 11 months ago
is it the same as the pronunciation of "you" in english?
khadijahrazli 2 years 12 months ago
Very, very helpful Yangyang. Tku!
bryandang1@hotmail.com 3 years 2 months ago
Thanks so much for these lessons, YangYang! This one in particular really helped me and my pronunciation is better already just after these lessons. Glad that I found this site, and I'll be buying the premium membership soon. Can't wait!
MrNick 3 years 2 months ago
Glad that you found it helpful. Thank you so much for your support! :)
Yoyo Chinese 3 years 2 months ago
My local Chinese teacher, Ying Ying Cheng, has always been disappointed in me for not spending enough time on the pinyin chart. Most of it was not knowing how to study the thing. I am finally making up for it. Thank you, Yang Yang, for these lessons.
Strain 3 years 6 months ago
Glad that you found it helpful! Keep up with the good works! :)
Yoyo Chinese Development 3 years 6 months ago
YangYang thank you,
curiosa 4 years 11 months ago
outstanding
curiosa 4 years 11 months ago
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