The Chinese Alphabet

Truth about the Chinese Alphabet

It’s important to learn the Chinese alphabet as you learn Mandarin Chinese. But, the Chinese alphabet per se, doesn’t even exist! What you’re looking for is actually Chinese PinYin which is a system of blends that will help you learn Chinese.

Video on the Chinese Alphabet

Basics of the Chinese Alphabet

For just an overview of the Chinese alphabet, you’ll find that there are two main categories.

  • Initials

  • Finals

The initials of the Chinese alphabet begin the sound for each Chinese character and often begin with what we might categorize as consonants.  Then, the finals of the Chinese alphabet usually end the sound for a Chinese character and can be thought of much like our vowels.

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Chinese Alphabet Initials

What Are Chinese Alphabet Initials?

Initials of the Chinese alphabet are much like our consonants in a couple ways.

  • Initials usually begin a Chinese character or sound
  • Initials actually use some of the same letters as our consonants

There are also some differences, though, as you take a closer look at Chinese alphabet initials.

Chinese Alphabet Initials Chart

What do Chinese alphabet initials look like? Well, initials look just like many of our letters in the alphabet, but some of them have different sounds that they make than what we are used to. So, you have to first become familiar with what sound each of the Chinese alphabet initials actually make.  Then, you can begin to combine them with Chinese alphabet finals in order to form one Chinese character in the Chinese language.

Chinese alphabet initials

Above, you’ll see a chart of what Chinese alphabet initials look like. But, to hear what they sound like, you can either

watch the Chinese alphabet video or

listen to the Chinese alphabet audio

(or Chinese PinYin Initials as they are commonly known).

Chinese Alphabet Initials, So What!

What can you do with Chinese alphabet initials? Well, you can combine them with Chinese alphabet finals in order to form a sound or Chinese character in Mandarin Chinese.  So basically, you’re half way to being able to read anything that has Chinese PinYin written below the Chinese characters.

Hope that helps in learning the Chinese alphabet!