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Difference between revisions of "Pinyin: the "j" "q" and "x" sounds"

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{{Pronunciation Box}}
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#REDIRECT [[The "j" "q" and "x" sounds]]
 
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You've reached the end of the road! We've saved something special for you, though. The Chinese sounds represented by "'''[[x-]]'''", "'''[[q-]]'''", and "'''[[j-]]'''" in pinyin '''''do not exist''' in English'', and require you to train your mouth to make ''totally '''new''' sounds''. Hopefully that sounds like fun! It's not as hard as you might imagine.
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== Pronouncing Pinyin's "x" Sound ==
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To learn to make these new sounds, start with the pinyin "[[x-]]" sound. You may have heard that it's pronounced like English <span class="enpron">"sh"</span> or seen it written as the somewhat confusing "''hs''." Neither of these is particularly helpful; you just have to learn to make a new sound.
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To make the pinyin "[[x-]]" sound, try to make a <span class="enpron">"sh"</span> sound while the tip of your tongue is down, below your lower front teeth. This will ''should'' feel weird, because this is not something you normally do in English. Of the ''tip'' of your tongue is down, however, the ''middle'' of your tongue will rise to the roof of your mouth to make the sound.
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One way you know you're making the "[[x-]]" sound correctly is that you can comfortably smile while you make it, whereas it's a bit difficult to do this with the <span class="enpron">"sh"</span> sound. A good syllable to practice the "[[x-]]" sound with first is "[[xi]]". Then move on to the super-common word "xièxie" (meaning "thank you").
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== Pronouncing Pinyin's "q" Sound ==
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Once you can make the "[[x-]]" sound, move on to the "[[q-]]" sound. Again, the pinyin "[[q-]]" sound is not the same as the English <span class="enpron">"ch"</span> sound, although it may sound similar to you at first, and some inaccurate pronunciation guides will tell you they're the same. (If they were really the same, why concoct a "[[q-]]" sound at all??)
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Pinyin's "[[x-]]" and "[[q-]]" sounds are very similar to each other, in the same way that <span class="enpron">"sh"</span> and <span class="enpron">"ch"</span> sounds are similar to each other (in English as well as in Chinese). You're basically adding a "t" sound to the front of the "[[x-]]" to get the "[[q-]]" sound. A good syllable to practice the "[[q-]]" sound with first is "[[qi]]".
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== Pronouncing Pinyin's "j" Sound ==
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Finally, move on to "[[j-]]", which is not the same as the English <span class="enpron">"j"</span> sound. The tip of your tongue should be down behind your lower front teeth when making this sound, just as it is for the "[[x-]]" and "[[q-]]" sounds. If you try to make an English <span class="enpron">"j"</span> sounds with your tongue in this new position, you should be to make the pinyin "[[j-]]" sound. A good syllable to practice the "[[j-]]" sound with first is "[[ji]]".
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== Pinyin Chart with Audio ==
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In the chart below, you'll notice that a bunch of the vowels are missing. There is no "[[a]]" vowel, no "[[o]]" vowel, and no "[[u]]" vowel. Those is because '''pinyin "[[j-]]", "[[q-]]", and "[[x-]]" simply do not combine with those vowels at all'''. Every time you see a "[[u]]" vowel in the chart below, it's actually a "[[ü]]" vowel written as "''u''" for convenience (and a quick check of the column title will make that clear).
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{{#widget: Pinyin chart settings}}
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<div class="pinyin-table-audio-container"></div>
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<div class="table-container"><table class="pinyin-table medium" id="pinyin-table">
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<tr><!--  TABLE HEADERS  -->
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<th class="first-row first-col"></th>
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<th title="Click to expand" class="col-i col-placeholder first-row"><strong>-i-</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-i" id="-i"><strong>-i</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-i" id="-i*"><strong>-i*</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-i" id="-ia"><strong>-ia</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-i" id="-iao"><strong>-iao</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-i" id="-ie"><strong>-ie</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-i" id="-iou"><strong>-iou</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-i" id="-ian"><strong>-ian</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-i" id="-iang"><strong>-iang</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-i" id="-in"><strong>-in</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-i" id="-ing"><strong>-ing</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-i" id="-iong"><strong>-iong</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to expand" class="col-v col-placeholder first-row"><strong>-ü-</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-v" id="-ü"><strong>-ü</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-v" id="-üe"><strong>-üe</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-v" id="-üan"><strong>-üan</strong></th>
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<th title="Click to collapse" class="first-row col-v" id="-ün"><strong>-ün</strong></th>
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<th class="first-row last-col"></th>
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</tr>
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<tr><!--  J- ROW  -->
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<th class="row-jqx first-col" id="j-"><strong>j-</strong></th>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i col-placeholder"></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="ji"><div class="table-pinyin">ji</div><div class="table-link">[[ji]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕi]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄧ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chi</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i"></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="jia"><div class="table-pinyin">jia</div><div class="table-link">[[jia]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕi̯ɑ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄧㄚ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chia</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="jiao"><div class="table-pinyin">jiao</div><div class="table-link">[[jiao]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕi̯ɑʊ̯]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄧㄠ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chiao</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="jie"><div class="table-pinyin">jie</div><div class="table-link">[[jie]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕiɛ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄧㄝ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chieh</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="jiu"><div class="table-pinyin">jiu</div><div class="table-link">[[jiu]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕi̯ɤʊ̯]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄧㄡ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chiu</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="jian"><div class="table-pinyin">jian</div><div class="table-link">[[jian]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕiɛn]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄧㄢ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chien</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="jiang"><div class="table-pinyin">jiang</div><div class="table-link">[[jiang]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕi̯ɑŋ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄧㄤ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chiang</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="jin"><div class="table-pinyin">jin</div><div class="table-link">[[jin]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕin]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄧㄣ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chin</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="jing"><div class="table-pinyin">jing</div><div class="table-link">[[jing]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕiŋ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄧㄥ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ching</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="jiong"><div class="table-pinyin">jiong</div><div class="table-link">[[jiong]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕi̯ʊŋ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄩㄥ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chiung</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v col-placeholder"></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v" id="ju"><div class="table-pinyin">ju</div><div class="table-link">[[ju]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕy]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄩ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chü</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v" id="jue"><div class="table-pinyin">jue</div><div class="table-link">[[jue]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕy̯œ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄩㄝ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chüeh</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v" id="juan"><div class="table-pinyin">juan</div><div class="table-link">[[juan]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕy̯ɛn]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄩㄢ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chüan</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v" id="jun"><div class="table-pinyin">jun</div><div class="table-link">[[jun]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕyn]
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</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄐㄩㄣ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">chün</div></td>
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<th class="row-jqx last-col" id="j-"><strong>j-</strong></th>
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</tr>
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<tr><!--  Q- ROW  -->
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<th class="row-jqx first-col" id="q-"><strong>q-</strong></th>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i col-placeholder"></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="qi"><div class="table-pinyin">qi</div><div class="table-link">[[qi]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰi]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄧ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'i</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i"></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="qia"><div class="table-pinyin">qia</div><div class="table-link">[[qia]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰi̯ɑ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄧㄚ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'ia</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="qiao"><div class="table-pinyin">qiao</div><div class="table-link">[[qiao]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰi̯ɑʊ̯]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄧㄠ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'iao</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="qie"><div class="table-pinyin">qie</div><div class="table-link">[[qie]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰiɛ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄧㄝ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'ieh</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="qiu"><div class="table-pinyin">qiu</div><div class="table-link">[[qiu]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰi̯ɤʊ̯]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄧㄡ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'iu</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="qian"><div class="table-pinyin">qian</div><div class="table-link">[[qian]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰiɛn]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄧㄢ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'ien</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="qiang"><div class="table-pinyin">qiang</div><div class="table-link">[[qiang]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰi̯ɑŋ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄧㄤ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'iang</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="qin"><div class="table-pinyin">qin</div><div class="table-link">[[qin]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰin]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄧㄣ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'in</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="qing"><div class="table-pinyin">qing</div><div class="table-link">[[qing]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰiŋ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄧㄥ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'ing</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="qiong"><div class="table-pinyin">qiong</div><div class="table-link">[[qiong]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰi̯ʊŋ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄩㄥ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'iung</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v col-placeholder"></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v" id="qu"><div class="table-pinyin">qu</div><div class="table-link">[[qu]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰy]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄩ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'ü</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v" id="que"><div class="table-pinyin">que</div><div class="table-link">[[que]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰy̯œ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄩㄝ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'üeh</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v" id="quan"><div class="table-pinyin">quan</div><div class="table-link">[[quan]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰy̯ɛn]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄩㄢ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'üan</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v" id="qun"><div class="table-pinyin">qun</div><div class="table-link">[[qun]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[tɕʰyn]
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</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄑㄩㄣ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">ch'ün</div></td>
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<th class="row-jqx last-col" id="q-"><strong>q-</strong></th>
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</tr>
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<tr><!--  X- ROW  -->
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<th class="row-jqx first-col" id="x-"><strong>x-</strong></th>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i col-placeholder"></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="xi"><div class="table-pinyin">xi</div><div class="table-link">[[xi]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕi]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄧ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">his</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i"></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="xia"><div class="table-pinyin">xia</div><div class="table-link">[[xia]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕi̯ɑ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄧㄚ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsia</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="xiao"><div class="table-pinyin">xiao</div><div class="table-link">[[xiao]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕi̯ɑʊ̯]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄧㄠ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsiao</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="xie"><div class="table-pinyin">xie</div><div class="table-link">[[xie]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕiɛ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄧㄝ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsieh</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="xiu"><div class="table-pinyin">xiu</div><div class="table-link">[[xiu]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕi̯ɤʊ̯]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄧㄡ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsiu</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="xian"><div class="table-pinyin">xian</div><div class="table-link">[[xian]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕiɛn]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄧㄢ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsien</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="xiang"><div class="table-pinyin">xiang</div><div class="table-link">[[xiang]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕi̯ɑŋ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄧㄤ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsiang</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="xin"><div class="table-pinyin">xin</div><div class="table-link">[[xin]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕin]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄧㄣ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsin</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="xing"><div class="table-pinyin">xing</div><div class="table-link">[[xing]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕiŋ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄧㄥ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsing</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-i" id="xiong"><div class="table-pinyin">xiong</div><div class="table-link">[[xiong]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕi̯ʊŋ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄩㄥ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsiung</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v col-placeholder"></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v" id="xu"><div class="table-pinyin">xu</div><div class="table-link">[[xu]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕy]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄩ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsü</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v" id="xue"><div class="table-pinyin">xue</div><div class="table-link">[[xue]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕy̯œ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄩㄝ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsüeh</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v" id="xuan"><div class="table-pinyin">xuan</div><div class="table-link">[[xuan]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕy̯ɛn]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄩㄢ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsüan</div></td>
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<td class="row-jqx col-v" id="xun"><div class="table-pinyin">xun</div><div class="table-link">[[xun]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ɕyn]
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</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄒㄩㄣ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">hsün</div></td>
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<th class="row-jqx last-col" id="x-"><strong>x-</strong></th>
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</tr>
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</table></div>
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After studying these sounds, be sure to take a look at how they fit in with the larger context of the [[pinyin chart]].
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== Key Takeaways ==
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# The Mandarin Chinese sounds written "[[x-]]", "[[q-]]", and "[[j-]]" do not exist in English; don't let anyone tell you otherwise
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# Start with "[[x-]]", if you can make that sound, it shouldn't be hard to make "[[q-]]" and then "[[j-]]"
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# When you make the "[[x-]]" sound, make sure that the tip of your tongue is ''down'', behind your lower front teeth (and same position for pinyin "[[q-]]" and "[[j-]]"), and that you can smile as you make it
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# Whenever you see the vowel "[[u]]" after an "[[x-]]", "[[q-]]", or "[[j-]]", it is actually the "[[ü]]" vowel in disguise
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{{Number in Series|10|Pinyin quick start  guide}}
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[[Category:Pinyin]]
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{{Basic Pronunciation|A1|39|TEST SUMMARY|pinyin|ASP00012}}
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Latest revision as of 13:39, 21 March 2015