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Lesson 19 Pinyin Initials - Part 1

preview
You've learned the Chinese finals, and now it's time to start learning 'initials'. Fortunately, most Chinese final sounds are already found in English! So you can focus on the ones that matter. In this video, get started with 'j', 'q', and 'x'.
Lesson Audio Review
You've learned the Chinese finals, and now it's time to start learning 'initials'. Fortunately, most Chinese final sounds are already found in English! So you can focus on the ones that matter. In this video, get started with 'j', 'q', and 'x'.

Comments (28)

I think these new pinyin lessons are wonderful. The only thing I would add is more emphasis on tongue position. Yang Yang sort of mentions it as an afterthought. Personally, I think a lesson on tongue positions or showing a diagram of each tongue position and giving a good explanation as they are introduced with the corresponding initials would be extremely helpful. At the very least, a diagram included with the lecture notes would help. Thanks for all your hard work! 加油!
Wright 4 months 2 weeks ago
I agree that adding instructions about tongue placement would make these excellent lessons even better!! Please consider that when revising the content. Thanks!
karli.lomax 2 months 3 weeks ago
Hi Wright, thanks for your kind words and for your feedback!
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 4 months 2 weeks ago
Hello! You say that xie. xie sounds like shie shie but when I meet Chinese people they say sie sie? What is the better way to pronounce this word?
Elizabeth Kapustina 1 year 1 month ago
X in Chinese is somewhere between s and sh. We think it's more sh, but keep listening to the sound and watch the video explanation on our pinyin chart for practice. :)
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 1 year 1 month ago
Hi Yoyo, I am confused about the pronunciation of "q" and "j". Are there any differences between them? I listen to the audio review, and I cannot distinguish when you speak "j" or "q" because they are pronounced the same.
Serena Dinh 1 year 8 months ago
They do sound a quite similar. "q" sounds like "chee" in "cheese", and "j" sounds like "jee" in "jeep. You may spend sometimes on our video-based pinyin chart, and practice the pinyin in "j" and "q" column. Hope that helps.
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 8 months ago
Hi Yangyang, I'm trying to nail down these pronunciations, particularly the group j, q & x versus the group zh, ch, & sh. In the former, the airflow is occurring above my tongue, and in the latter, it's occurring below my tongue (but since my tongue is curled back a bit, it's actually circulating in a large airpocket in the front of my mouth). Is this close to correct?
psamet 2 years 5 months ago
Yes, that's very close. You may check our video-based pinyin chart for demonstration.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 5 months ago
What is the difference between jiao4 shi1 vs lao3 shi1? Is this a Northern/Southern Chinese dialect? Or does one word signify a higher rank, like a professor?
Tigger 2 years 7 months ago
They both mean teacher. jiao4 shi1 is more formal and is used when you are referring to occupation, while lao3 shi1 is more colloquial. Professor is jiao4 shou4. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 7 months ago
You mention that the "shee' sound from "sheep" in English is similar to the pinyin "x" - but not exactly the same. Can you describe the difference at all? Is it one of tongue position, lip position, or both? To me it seems as though maybe the tongue is midway between "s" and "sh", and the lips are pulled back a little further, but I am not sure whether this is the right way!
Arkaaito 2 years 8 months ago
x sounds like shee but without too much emphasize on the h. You tongue should be flat and lips not rounded, and you are right about pulling back the lips a bit further. Hope that helps.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 8 months ago
YangYang, interestingly all the sounds in Chinese that you are demonstrating we also have in Polish.
Rafal 2 years 9 months ago
What are the rules for when to pronounce 'i' as 'er?'(As in shi4) Are there any?
Bilchick 2 years 11 months ago
Never mind, I just watched Pinyin lesson 13 and it answered my question.
Bilchick 2 years 11 months ago
For the pinyin letter 'j' how can it be both the sounds 'JEEp' and 'anD Yet?' Aren't those two different sounds?
Bilchick 2 years 11 months ago
I thought that in xie xie the second 'xie' was a 5th tone, but sometimes it has a 4th tone above it. Why?
Bilchick 2 years 11 months ago
Yes, your are right. Usually the 2nd xie is in neutral tone. The standard tone for xie is 4th tone. When the speaker put a lot of emphasis on the tone, it's also correct to have 4th tone.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 11 months ago
To any other students out there who like a little heavier linguistic explanations to these sounds, I've found the Wikipedia page for Pinyin to be very helpful supplement to these videos! Been really enjoying the course.
Malfosse 3 years 5 months ago
The best way I could think of for pronouncing these consonants is to smile and place the tongue forward within the mouth (as opposed to pouting the lips). Is this an accurate method for pronouncing j, q, x?
firstfeel 3 years 6 months ago
Yes, exactly! Good job! :)
Yoyo Chinese Development 3 years 6 months ago
Hi. I find when you say jun1 that it is no or little d in the sound, but in zai4 jian4 it is a lot of d (djjjian4). the same in this lesson, more dj in jiu3 (djjiu) than in ji1. Do you agree? /Björn
sigurdssonbjorn 3 years 10 months ago
Yes, we do agree with you Bjorn. The reason may be that the tones for jun1 and ji1 are first tone, so the sound of "dj" is softer, not as obvious.
Yoyo Chinese Development 3 years 10 months ago
I have tried to pronounce the x in xie and I really cannot conquer this sound. Can you demonstrate how the mouth and tongue should be for this? I want to say it correctly.
cherylynnjohn 4 years 1 month ago
Hi cherylynnjohn, sorry, we have overlooked your comment. It's a bit difficult to explain how it should be pronounced through the text. However, we're going to start doing some webinar soon and we'll try to address this problem. As a temporary solution for now, if you can pronounce "x" as "shee", with less emphasis on the "h", it will still sound fine and Chinese people will be able to understand you. :)
Yoyo Chinese Development 4 years 1 month ago
I think it is like the soft sound for "ch" in German in "ich", "mich", or "nicht" (not the hard sound "ch" as in "Bach" or "Achtung"). When one says "shsh" or "show" in English, the tongue will curl up to the palate (maintain the "sh" sound longer to feel it), whereas here the tip of the tongue should curl down and touch the lower teeth, producing a strange sound the first times one tries it, but with some practice it will sound as it should and will be produced more easily. (xièxie)
Jacko 2 years 10 months ago
Thanks for the suggestion Jacko. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 9 months ago
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