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Difference between revisions of "The "ü" vowel"

(Created page with "{{Pronunciation Box}} So you've learned 5 vowel sounds already, but those are not all the vowel sounds in Mandarin Chinese! The “'''ü'''” vowel is a totally differen...")
 
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So you've learned 5 vowel sounds already, but those are not all the vowel sounds in Mandarin Chinese! The “'''[[ü]]'''” vowel is a totally different sound, and it '''''does not exist''' in English''. If you speak French or German you might be familiar with this sound, but otherwise, you probably have to train your mouth to make a whole new sound.
 
So you've learned 5 vowel sounds already, but those are not all the vowel sounds in Mandarin Chinese! The “'''[[ü]]'''” vowel is a totally different sound, and it '''''does not exist''' in English''. If you speak French or German you might be familiar with this sound, but otherwise, you probably have to train your mouth to make a whole new sound.
  
Also, don't think that "[[ü]]" must be basically the same as "[[u]]." They're not the same sounds; those two dots make a big difference!
+
== Pinyin's "ü" Vowel Sound ==
 +
 
 +
Don't think that "[[ü]]" must be basically the same as "[[u]]." They're not the same sounds; those two dots make a big difference!
  
 
To make pinyin's "[[ü]]" sound, make the pinyin "[[yi]]" sound (or the English <span class="enpron">"ee"</span> sound), and then slowly round your lips. That's all there is to it! Your tongue needs to stay tense like it is when you make the "[[yi]]" sound, but your lips '''must be rounded'''. If you're having trouble making the sound, it's probably because you let your tongue relax. (The tongue is totally relaxed when you make an English <span class="enpron">"oo"</span> sound, but you need it to stay tense, like it is for the <span class="enpron">"ee"</span> sound.)
 
To make pinyin's "[[ü]]" sound, make the pinyin "[[yi]]" sound (or the English <span class="enpron">"ee"</span> sound), and then slowly round your lips. That's all there is to it! Your tongue needs to stay tense like it is when you make the "[[yi]]" sound, but your lips '''must be rounded'''. If you're having trouble making the sound, it's probably because you let your tongue relax. (The tongue is totally relaxed when you make an English <span class="enpron">"oo"</span> sound, but you need it to stay tense, like it is for the <span class="enpron">"ee"</span> sound.)
  
Notice that the chart below is ''mostly empty''. That's because pinyin's "ü" sound really likes to combine with the initials "[[j-]]", "[[q-]]", and "[[x-]]", which you'll learn in the next and final section. For this section, be sure to really learn the "ü" sound in isolation, which will usually be written as "[[yu]]" in pinyin.
+
* [[yu]] is just the pure "ü" sound by itself. The "y" is added to make the syllable boundary clear, and the two dots are not written for [[yu]]. The other sounds in the same column, [[]] and [[]], rhyme with [[yu]].
 
+
* [[yue]] is simply "ü" + <span class="enpron">"eh"</span> (similar to [[ye]]). Don't write the two dots on "ü" for [[yue]]. The other sounds in the same column, [[nüe]] and [[lüe]], rhyme with [[yue]].
{{#widget: Pinyin chart settings}}
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* [[yuan]] is "ü" + <span class="enpron">"en"</span> (similar to [[yan]]). Don't write the two dots on "ü" for [[yuan]].
<div class="pinyin-table-audio-container"></div>
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* [[yun]] is simply "ü" + [[-n]], but it might sound better to pronounce it as [[yu]] + [[yin]]. Don't write the two dots on "ü" for [[yun]].
<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-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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</tr>
+
 
+
<tr><!--  ZERO-INITIAL ROW  -->
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<th class="row-null first-col" id="∅-"><strong>∅-</strong></th>
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<td class="row-null col-v col-placeholder"></td>
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<td class="row-null col-v" id="yu"><div class="table-pinyin">yu</div><div class="table-link">[[yu]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[y]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄩ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">yü</div></td>
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<td class="row-null col-v" id="yue"><div class="table-pinyin">yue</div><div class="table-link">[[yue]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[y̯œ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄩㄝ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">yüeh</div></td>
+
<td class="row-null col-v" id="yuan"><div class="table-pinyin">yuan</div><div class="table-link">[[yuan]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[y̯ɛn]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄩㄢ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">yüan</div></td>
+
<td class="row-null col-v" id="yun"><div class="table-pinyin">yun</div><div class="table-link">[[yun]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[yn]
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</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄩㄣ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">yün</div></td>
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</tr>
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+
<tr><!--  B- ROW  -->
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<th class="row-bpmf first-col" id="b-"><strong>b-</strong></th>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v col-placeholder"></td>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
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</tr>
+
 
+
<tr><!--  P- ROW  -->
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<th class="row-bpmf first-col" id="p-"><strong>p-</strong></th>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v col-placeholder"></td>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
 
+
<tr><!--  M- ROW  -->
+
<th class="row-bpmf first-col" id="m-"><strong>m-</strong></th>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v col-placeholder"></td>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
 
+
<tr><!--  F- ROW  -->
+
<th class="row-bpmf first-col" id="f-"><strong>f-</strong></th>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
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<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-bpmf col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
 
+
<tr><!--  D- ROW  -->
+
<th class="row-dtnl first-col" id="d-"><strong>d-</strong></th>
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<td class="row-dtnl col-v col-placeholder"></td>
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<td class="row-dtnl col-v"></td>
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<td class="row-dtnl col-v"></td>
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<td class="row-dtnl col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-dtnl col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
 
+
<tr><!--  T- ROW  -->
+
<th class="row-dtnl first-col" id="t-"><strong>t-</strong></th>
+
<td class="row-dtnl col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-dtnl col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-dtnl col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-dtnl col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-dtnl col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
 
+
<tr><!--  N- ROW  -->
+
<th class="row-dtnl first-col" id="n-"><strong>n-</strong></th>
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<td class="row-dtnl col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-dtnl col-v" id="nü"><div class="table-pinyin">nü</div><div class="table-link">[[]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ny]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄋㄩ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">nü</div></td>
+
<td class="row-dtnl col-v" id="nüe"><div class="table-pinyin">nüe</div><div class="table-link">[[nüe]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ny̯œ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄋㄩㄝ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">nüeh</div></td>
+
<td class="row-dtnl col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-dtnl col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
 
+
<tr><!--  L- ROW  -->
+
<th class="row-dtnl first-col" id="l-"><strong>l-</strong></th>
+
<td class="row-dtnl col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-dtnl col-v" id="lü"><div class="table-pinyin">lü</div><div class="table-link">[[]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ly]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄌㄩ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">lü</div></td>
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<td class="row-dtnl col-v" id="lüe"><div class="table-pinyin">lüe</div><div class="table-link">[[lüe]]</div><div class="table-ipa">[ly̯œ]</div><div class="table-zhuyin">ㄌㄩㄝ</div><div class="table-wade-giles">lüeh</div></td>
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<td class="row-dtnl col-v"></td>
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<td class="row-dtnl col-v"></td>
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</tr>
+
  
<tr><!--  Z- ROW  -->
+
== When to Write the Dots ==
<th class="row-zcs first-col" id="z-"><strong>z-</strong></th>
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<td class="row-zcs col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v"></td>
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<td class="row-zcs col-v"></td>
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</tr>
+
  
<tr><!--   C- ROW  -->
+
We stated in the beginning of this section that the [[-u]] sound and the [[-ü]] sound are totally different, and that's true. Why, then, is "ü" so often written as "u" in pinyin?
<th class="row-zcs first-col" id="c-"><strong>c-</strong></th>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
  
<tr><!--   S- ROW  -->
+
The answer is just for convenience (in other words, pure laziness). The two dots are added only when an initial can combine with both [[-u]] and [[-ü]].  So there is a [[nu]] and a [[nü]], a [[lu]] and a [[lü]]. ''Only for those two pairs'', if you didn't add the two dots when you meant "ü", there would be total confusion. Then  [[nüe]] and [[lüe]] also get the dots for consistency with [[nü]] and [[lü]], even though there are no "nue" and "lue" to confuse [[nüe]] and [[lüe]] with.
<th class="row-zcs first-col" id="s-"><strong>s-</strong></th>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zcs col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
  
<tr><!--  ZH- ROW  -->
+
== Pinyin Chart Fragment ==
<th class="row-zhchshr first-col" id="zh-"><strong>zh-</strong></th>
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<td class="row-zhchshr col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
  
<tr><!--  CH- ROW  -->
+
This is just a part of the full [[pinyin chart]], limited to the sounds we've just covered.
<th class="row-zhchshr first-col" id="ch-"><strong>ch-</strong></th>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
  
<tr><!--  SH- ROW  -->
+
{{#widget: Pinyin chart
<th class="row-zhchshr first-col" id="sh-"><strong>sh-</strong></th>
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| exclude_col_a
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
| exclude_col_o
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
| exclude_col_e
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
| exclude_col_i
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
| exclude_col_u
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
| exclude_row_jqx
</tr>
+
}}
  
<tr><!--  R- ROW  -->
+
Notice that the chart above is ''mostly empty''. That's because pinyin's "ü" sound really likes to combine with the initials "[[j-]]", "[[q-]]", and "[[x-]]", which you'll learn in the next and final section. For this section, be sure to really learn the "ü" sound in isolation, which will usually be written as "[[yu]]" in pinyin.
<th class="row-zhchshr first-col" id="r-"><strong>r-</strong></th>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-zhchshr col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
  
<tr><!--  G- ROW  -->
+
Just one more part left! [[The "j" "q" and "x" sounds]] is the final section.
<th class="row-gkh first-col" id="g-"><strong>g-</strong></th>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
  
<tr><!--  K- ROW  -->
+
== Sources and further reading ==
<th class="row-gkh first-col" id="k-"><strong>k-</strong></th>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
  
<tr><!--   H- ROW  -->
+
* Sinosplice: [http://www.sinosplice.com/learn-chinese/pronunciation-of-mandarin-chinese/4 Chinese Pronunciation]
<th class="row-gkh first-col" id="h-"><strong>h-</strong></th>
+
* ChinesePod: [http://chinesepod.com/tools/pronunciation/section/4 A, O with ZH, CH, SH, R], [http://chinesepod.com/tools/pronunciation/section/6 E with Z, C, S, ZH, CH, SH, R], [http://chinesepod.com/tools/pronunciation/section/9 I with Z, C, S, ZH, CH, SH, R], [http://chinesepod.com/tools/pronunciation/section/13 U with ZH, CH, SH, R]
<td class="row-gkh col-v col-placeholder"></td>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v"></td>
+
<td class="row-gkh col-v"></td>
+
</tr>
+
</table></div>
+
  
 
{{Number in Series|9|Pinyin quick start  guide}}
 
{{Number in Series|9|Pinyin quick start  guide}}
  
 
[[Category:Pinyin]]
 
[[Category:Pinyin]]
{{Basic Pronunciation|A1|38|TEST SUMMARY|pinyin|ASP00011}}
+
{{Basic Pronunciation|A1|38|Not the same as "u", the "ü" sound might be familiar if you speak French or German, but it doesn't exist in English.|pinyin|ASP00011}}
 +
{{References|-ü}}

Latest revision as of 02:51, 10 June 2015

So you've learned 5 vowel sounds already, but those are not all the vowel sounds in Mandarin Chinese! The “ü” vowel is a totally different sound, and it does not exist in English. If you speak French or German you might be familiar with this sound, but otherwise, you probably have to train your mouth to make a whole new sound.

Pinyin's "ü" Vowel Sound

Don't think that "ü" must be basically the same as "u." They're not the same sounds; those two dots make a big difference!

To make pinyin's "ü" sound, make the pinyin "yi" sound (or the English "ee" sound), and then slowly round your lips. That's all there is to it! Your tongue needs to stay tense like it is when you make the "yi" sound, but your lips must be rounded. If you're having trouble making the sound, it's probably because you let your tongue relax. (The tongue is totally relaxed when you make an English "oo" sound, but you need it to stay tense, like it is for the "ee" sound.)

  • yu is just the pure "ü" sound by itself. The "y" is added to make the syllable boundary clear, and the two dots are not written for yu. The other sounds in the same column, and , rhyme with yu.
  • yue is simply "ü" + "eh" (similar to ye). Don't write the two dots on "ü" for yue. The other sounds in the same column, nüe and lüe, rhyme with yue.
  • yuan is "ü" + "en" (similar to yan). Don't write the two dots on "ü" for yuan.
  • yun is simply "ü" + -n, but it might sound better to pronounce it as yu + yin. Don't write the two dots on "ü" for yun.

When to Write the Dots

We stated in the beginning of this section that the -u sound and the sound are totally different, and that's true. Why, then, is "ü" so often written as "u" in pinyin?

The answer is just for convenience (in other words, pure laziness). The two dots are added only when an initial can combine with both -u and . So there is a nu and a , a lu and a . Only for those two pairs, if you didn't add the two dots when you meant "ü", there would be total confusion. Then nüe and lüe also get the dots for consistency with and , even though there are no "nue" and "lue" to confuse nüe and lüe with.

Pinyin Chart Fragment

This is just a part of the full pinyin chart, limited to the sounds we've just covered.

Tone: 1 2 3 4 1234 [Show more Settings]

Additional Settings

Show Text: IPA Zhuyin Wade-Giles

Text Size: Small Medium Large

Chart Mode: Audio Links (disables audio)

-a- -e- -o- -i- -u- -ü- -üe -üan -ün
∅-
yu
[y]
yue
[y̯œ]
ㄩㄝ
yüeh
yuan
[y̯ɛn]
ㄩㄢ
yüan
yun
[yn]
ㄩㄣ
yün
∅-
b- b-
p- p-
m- m-
f- f-
d- d-
t- t-
n-
[ny]
ㄋㄩ
nüe
[ny̯œ]
ㄋㄩㄝ
nüeh
n-
l-
[ly]
ㄌㄩ
lüe
[ly̯œ]
ㄌㄩㄝ
lüeh
l-
z- z-
c- c-
s- s-
zh- zh-
ch- ch-
sh- sh-
r- r-
g- g-
k- k-
h- h-
-a- -e- -o- -i- -u- -ü- -üe -üan -ün

Notice that the chart above is mostly empty. That's because pinyin's "ü" sound really likes to combine with the initials "j-", "q-", and "x-", which you'll learn in the next and final section. For this section, be sure to really learn the "ü" sound in isolation, which will usually be written as "yu" in pinyin.

Just one more part left! The "j" "q" and "x" sounds is the final section.

Sources and further reading