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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]

r

Sounds kind of like "sur" in "pleasure", but with the tongue further back in the mouth. Depending on the speaker, this sound may or may not sound buzzy.

sun

rén

person

IPA: [ɻ ~ ʐ]



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)