Having already arrived at this site, you have probably noticed the romanization on the flash cards. This is called pinyin. If you cannot read Chinese, this is what you will use to make sense of how the characters should sound when audio is not available. Let’s take some time to go over some of the major sounds in Chinese and how they are written in pinyin:

The “Ahh” Sound in Pinyin

Say “Ahh”

Cha, la, ba, na, ka, pa

The vowel here should sound like when a doctor asks you to open your mouth and say “ahh”.

The “Woh” Sound in Pinyin

W + Oh = Woh

Huo, guo, luo, kuo, zuo, shuo, duo, suo

To make this sound, take the consonant and add “woh”. For instance, huo should sound like “hwoh”. Guo should sound like “gwoh” and so on.

The “Oh” Sound in Pinyin

Mo, bo, po, wo, chou, hou, gou, lou, zhou, mou, kou, sou, rou, dou, tou, you

The vowel here should sound like “oh” as in “oh yeah”. For example, mo should should sound like “moh” and po should sound like “poh”. Even though some of the words have a different spelling between o and ou, you should pronounce this vowel essentially the same. Use the “oh” sound.

Chinese-English- Pinyin -Say This Now

The “Chi” Sound in Pinyin

Chi as in “Bit” or “Lit”

Pronounce the i here as the vowel in “bit”, “kit”, and “lit”.

The “Zh” Sound in Pinyin

Zh as the J in “Judge”

Pronounce zh in pinyin like j in “judge”. So zhou should sound like the name “Joe”. Zha should sound like “Jah” as in Jah Rastafari.

These are a few of the major sounds you will encounter using Chinese pinyin. The more you practice using the pinyin system, the more you will be able to communicate effectively using our flash card system on this website.

Let us know if you have questions and we will discuss them in a further post.