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The "i" vowel

Revision as of 06:19, 29 March 2015 by WikiSysop (Talk | contribs) (Pinyin's Other "i" Vowel Sound)

Hopefully you enjoyed mastering the different sounds that the "e" vowel could make, because the "i" vowel turns up the difficulty just a bit more.

Pinyin's Main "i" Vowel Sound

You should already be familiar with this "i" sound because it's essentially the same one that you encountered when learning the finals -ai and -ei. This "i" sounds like the English "ee" sound in the word "see".

Pinyin's Other "i" Vowel Sound

Here's the catch: pinyin "i" can make a totally different sound when it comes after certain sounds. In this section it only appears after the -s sound, in the syllable si:

  • si is a bit different from any sound we have in English, but it probably sounds most like the "si" in the English word "sit". It's definitely not at all like the English word "see".

Be sure to listen to the audio below to get a feel for the syllable si. You'll be hearing this special "i" sound again in future sections.

Pinyin Chart Fragment

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

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-i- -i -i* -ia -iao -ie -iou -ian -iang -in -ing -iong
∅-
yi
[i]
i
ya
[i̯ɑ]
ㄧㄚ
ya
yao
[i̯ɑʊ̯]
ㄧㄠ
yao
ye
[iɛ]
ㄧㄝ
yeh
you
[i̯ɤʊ̯]
ㄧㄡ
yu
yan
[iɛn]
ㄧㄢ
yan
yang
[i̯ɑŋ]
ㄧㄤ
yang
yin
[yin]
ㄧㄣ
yin
ying
[yiŋ]
ㄧㄥ
ying
yong
ㄩㄥ
yung
b-
bi
[pi]
ㄅㄧ
pi
biao
[pi̯ɑʊ̯]
ㄅㄧㄠ
piao
bie
[piɛ]
ㄅㄧㄝ
pieh
bian
[piɛn]
ㄅㄧㄢ
pien
bin
[pin]
ㄅㄧㄣ
pin
bing
[piŋ]
ㄅㄧㄥ
ping
p-
pi
[pʰi]
ㄆㄧ
p'i
piao
[pʰi̯ɑʊ̯]
ㄆㄧㄠ
p'iao
pie
[pʰiɛ]
ㄆㄧㄝ
p'ieh
pian
[pʰiɛn]
ㄆㄧㄢ
p'ien
min
[pʰin]
ㄆㄧㄣ
p'in
ping
[pʰiŋ]
ㄆㄧㄥ
p'ing
m-
mi
[mi]
ㄇㄧ
mi
miao
[mi̯ɑʊ̯]
ㄇㄧㄠ
miao
mie
[miɛ]
ㄇㄧㄝ
mieh
miu
[mi̯ɤʊ̯]
ㄇㄧㄡ
miu
mian
[miɛn]
ㄇㄧㄢ
mien
ming
[miŋ]
ㄇㄧㄥ
ming
f-
d-
di
[ti]
ㄉㄧ
ti
diao
[ti̯ɑʊ̯]
ㄉㄧㄠ
tiao
die
[tiɛ]
ㄉㄧㄝ
tieh
diu
[ti̯ɤʊ̯]
ㄉㄧㄡ
tiu
dian
[tiɛn]
ㄉㄧㄢ
tien
ding
[tiŋ]
ㄉㄧㄥ
ting
t-
ti
[tʰi]
ㄊㄧ
t'i
tiao
[tʰi̯ɑʊ̯]
ㄊㄧㄠ
t'iao
tie
[tʰiɛ]
ㄊㄧㄝ
t'ieh
tian
[tʰiɛn]
ㄊㄧㄢ
t'ien
ting
[tʰiŋ]
ㄊㄧㄥ
t'ing
n-
ni
[ni]
ㄋㄧ
ni
niao
[ni̯ɑʊ̯]
ㄋㄧㄠ
niao
nie
[niɛ]
ㄋㄧㄝ
nieh
niu
[ni̯ɤʊ̯]
ㄋㄧㄡ
niu
nian
[niɛn]
ㄋㄧㄢ
nien
niang
[ni̯ɑŋ]
ㄋㄧㄤ
niang
nin
[nin]
ㄋㄧㄣ
nin
ning
[niŋ]
ㄋㄧㄥ
ning
l-
li
[li]
ㄌㄧ
li
lia
[li̯ɑ]
ㄌㄧㄚ
lia
liao
[li̯ɑʊ̯]
ㄌㄧㄠ
liao
lie
[liɛ]
ㄌㄧㄝ
lieh
liu
[li̯ɤʊ̯]
ㄌㄧㄡ
liu
lian
[liɛn]
ㄌㄧㄢ
lien
liang
[li̯ɑŋ]
ㄌㄧㄤ
liang
lin
[lin]
ㄌㄧㄣ
lin
ling
[liŋ]
ㄌㄧㄥ
ling
s-
si
[sɿ]
ssu
g-
k-
h-

Now let's move on to the "o" and "u" vowels.

Sources and further reading