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Initial

Also known as: 声母 (shēngmǔ).

The word initial is a term referring to the first part of a Chinese syllable (usually a consonant). It is 声母 (shēngmǔ) in Chinese. Most Mandarin Chinese syllables have an initial, but not all. If there is no initial, you might see the symbol "∅-" to signify that.

A Chinese initial cannot be a syllable or a word on its own, and it's difficult to even get recordings of "just the initial" because it's not easy to pronounce an initial clearly without adding at least part of a vowel sound after it.

List of Initials in Pinyin

  1. b-
  2. c-
  3. ch-
  4. d-
  5. f-
  6. g-
  7. h-
  8. j-
  9. k-
  10. l-
  11. m-
  12. n-
  13. p-
  14. q-
  15. r-
  16. s-
  17. sh-
  18. t-
  19. x-
  20. z-
  21. zh-
  22. ∅-


Sources and further Reading