Chinese Pinyin Table
April 29, 2013
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate
I read about this pronunciation table in Yong Ho’s book Beginner’s Chinese. Mandarin has amazingly few sound combinations—only around 400 different syllables, versus many multiples of that in English—so they can all be stuck in a single manageable table for your examination! The four tones help boost the number of meaningful sound permutations to about 1,600, and that’s it.
Isn’t that kind of reassuring? Master those, and you will know every syllable that could possibly be included in a Chinese word.
Now, it isn’t easy for speakers of tone-free languages to acquire tonal skills, but this Chinese pinyin table can help, by playing for you all the different sound possibilities in Mandarin. Click a syllable in the table—lou, for instance—and you can hear each of the four tones associated with that syllable.
The table isn’t pretty, and there’s pop-up advertising, but it’s free!