Learning the Chinese alphabet is very important because its structure is used in every day conversation. Without it, you will not be able to say words properly even if you know how to write those words. The better you pronounce a letter in a word, the more understood you will be in speaking the Chinese language.
Below is a table showing some Chinese characters and how it is pronounced in English.
|Chinese Alphabet||English||Pinyin Pronunciation|
|豆贝尔维||W||dòu bèi ěr wéi|
|艾克斯||X||yī kè sī|
Chinese has no alphabet, they use pictograms. Each word has its own pictogram. You can compare it with numbers, if you read 5, depending on what language you speak you will say five (English), quince (French), funf (German),vijf (Dutch), pito (Tagalog) etc. But you will understand that it is a collection of 5 items. In other words in writing numerals you write down the meaning, not it’s sound. And so it is in Chinese, Chinese write down the meaning not the sound. So you have to memorize the sound (pronunciation) of Chinese Characters, like you have to for numbers. This is not to difficult since Chinese words only exists out of one syllable, like wo (I 我 wǒ), ta (he 他 tā), da(big 大 dà). The only difficulty is that each syllable exists in 4 tones, first tone is a level tone (doesn’t go up nor down), second tone rises as in a question, third tone goes down and then up as if you are surprised, and the fourth tone goes down as hen you are angry.
You saw how a letter is written and might be pronounced, but there is nothing better than hearing the sound of the letters in a video or audio. Below you will be able to hear how the Pinyin letters above are pronounced, just press the play button:
The alphabet and its pronunciation have a very important role in Chinese, therefore they need very special attention. Once you're done with the Mandarin alphabet, you might want to check the rest of our Chinese lessons here: Learn Chinese. Don't forget to bookmark this page.