Tough sounds -e

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The Mandarin "e" sound, although not entirely alien to English speakers, does take some practice to get right consistently. Practice the following words and phrases to be sure that you've got a good handle on these tough sounds.

Pronunciation Tips for -e (A2)

This vowel sound feels a little weird for most learners at first. Remember:

The main sound that pinyin "e" makes is a rather unexpected "uh" sound, totally different from both the short "e" sound in "pen" in English, and the long "e" sound in "see".

"-e" sounds kind of like the English "duh" or "uhhh" sound (like someone thinking, or getting punched in the stomach).

Tough Sound Words: -e (A2)

The words in the following table are designed to give you a good pronunciation workout. Practice them on your own and practice them with your teacher.

Audio Chinese Pinyin English
饿 è hungry
zhè this
[general measure word]
to drink
de [structural particle]
chē car, vehicle
可乐 kělè cola
可是 kěshì but
厕所 cèsuǒ toilet, restroom

If these are too easy for you, don't forget that we also have these same sounds at a more challenging intermediate (B1) level.

Tough Sound Video Practice: -e (A2)

Sources and further reading