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j

Sounds kind of like "j" in English "jeep", but with the tip of the tongue behind the lower teeth.

jiā

home

jú​zi

tangerine

橘子

IPA: [t͡ɕ]

q

Sounds kind of like "ch" in English "cheap", but with the tip of the tongue behind the lower teeth.

qián

money

to go

IPA: [t͡ɕʰ]

x

Sounds kind of like "sh" in English "sheep", but with the tip of the tongue behind the lower teeth.

xiǎo

small

yě​xǔ

perhaps

也许

IPA: [ɕ]

z

Sounds kind of like "ds" in "bids", but voiceless.

zì​jǐ

oneself

自己

zài​jiàn

goodbye

再见

IPA: [t͡s]

c

Sounds kind of like "ts" in "cats".

word

cè​suǒ

bathroom

厕所

IPA: [t͡sʰ]

s

Sounds like "s" in "sick".

four

sān

three

IPA: [s]

zh

Sounds kind of like "j" in "jerk", but voiceless and with the tongue further back in the mouth.

zhī​dào

to know

知道

zhào​piàn

photograph

照片

IPA: [ʈ͡ʂ]

ch

Sounds kind of like "ch" in "chirp", but with the tongue further back in the mouth.

chī

to eat

chū​qù

to go out

出去

IPA: [t͡ɕʰ]

sh

Sounds kind of like "sh" in "Shrek", but with the tongue further back in the mouth.

shí

ten

shēng​huó

life

生活

IPA: [ʂ]

ü yu

Sounds like "ee" as in "bee" but with the lips rounded like "u" as in "rune". Same as "u" in French "tu" or ü in German "über".

female

fǎ​lǜ

law

法律

yuǎn

far

yīn​yuè

music

音乐

IPA: [y]

an

Sounds like "a" as in "palm" + "n" as in "no".

nán

difficult

nián

year

IPA: [an ~ ɛn]

en

Sounds similar to "en" as in "often" or "un" as in "sun", but slightly different.

mén

door

miàn​fěn

flour

面粉

IPA: [ən]

ang

Sounds like "ong" as in "song".

láng

wolf

piào​liang

pretty

漂亮

IPA: [ɑŋ]

eng

Sounds similar to "ung" as in "lung", but slightly different.

děng

wait

péng​you

friend

朋友

IPA: [əŋ]



Single-syllable audio courtesy of the AllSet Learning Chinese Pronunciation Wiki, used with permission.

HSK word audio courtesy of Audio-cmn. (CC BY-SA 3.0)