A Basic Introduction to the Mandarin Phonetic Symbols

The Mandarin Phonetic Symbols are the standardized system for indicating the pronunciation of spoken Chinese in the Republic of China (Taiwan), thus knowledge of these symbols is a gateway to the study of the Chinese language. Any student of Mandarin who first become well-versed in this system will not only be better prepared to learn Chinese characters, but will also be using a more precise tool to gain an understanding of correct Mandarin pronunciation, thereby establishing a solid foundation for further study of the language.
The 37 phonetic symbols are simple and easy to write. The 21 Initials and 16 Finals, in addition of the four diacritical marks for tones, are sufficient to represent all of the phonemes of Standard Mandarin Chinese (the Bejing dialect). The following outline will introduce you to this system.


  • Initials
  • Finals
  • The Four Tones in Mandarin Chinese
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