II. Finals Initials

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by Hsin-Yun Yao

Symbols Pinyin Romanization Place of Articulation Manner of Articulation Examples
1. Medials
These three voewls can be linked with other vowels to form vowel combinations (combinations with F1, F2, F3 are diphthongs). They can be referred to as "medials" since they often follow initials and simultaneously introduce vowel stems and their own sounds are on the border-line between vowels (c.f. i, u, u) and consonants (c.f. (y)i, (w)u, (y)u). They also are known as "semi-vowels".
F1 /(y)i/ front; high unrounded /(y)i/
F2 /(w)u/ back; high lips rounded /shu/
F3 /(y)u/ front; high lips rounded /yu /
2. Simple Vowels
The position of the tongue does not change at all from beginning to end of pronunciation.
F4 /-a-/ central; low lips open /ma/
F5 /-o-/ back, middle lips rounded /wo /
(I, me)
F6 /-e-/ back; middle-upper unrounded half-close /she/
(vehicle; car)
F7 /-ie-/ front unrounded /yue/
3. Diphthongs H
A second vowel is added to the end of One simple vowel. The two vowels blend together to make one sound.
F8 /-ai/ diphthong F4 + F1 /cai/
F9 /-ei/ diphthong F7 + F1 /bei/
F10 /-ao/ diphthong F4 + F2 /pao/
F11 /-ou/ diphthong F5 + F2 /gou/
4. Finals with nasal endings
A nasal consonant is added to the end of a simple vowel.
F12 /-an/ /fan/
F13 /-en/ /men/
F14 /-ang/ /tang/
F15 /-eng/ /ying/
5. Retroflex (or "curled tongue" vowel)
F16 /-er/ central; middle curled-tongue /er/

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