Consonants

The following consonants:  p, f, t, k, h, q, x, c, s, ch and sh are aspirated sounds. If you put your palm in front of your mouth when you are reading out these letters, you will feel the air being exhaled. Read the following consonants after me in the first tone  you will be practising your vowels as well.

b p m f d t n l g k h j q x z c s r zh ch sh

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"b" as in boy

bō+ō 

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"p" as in poor

+ō

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"m" as in mother
mō+ō

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"f" as in fruit

+ō

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"d" as in dad

+ē

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"t" as in tea

+ ē

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"n" as in nurse

+ē

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"l" as in love
+ē

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"g" as in gloves
 +ē

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"k" as in kite
 + ē

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"h" as in horse
+ē

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 "j" as in jump

+ī

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"q" (ch) as in cheese
  +ī

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"x" (sh) as in sheep
+
ī

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When you read out the following letters close your teeth, but not too tightly. Place your tongue so that it is just vibrating against the back of your upper front teeth. N.B: the vowel i should NOT be pronounced in this case. The (here soundless) letter i is placed after z, c and s in written Pinyin as a vehicle for indicating the tones.

When you say z you should feel a buzz behind your upper front teeth.

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Blow the air out as you make a short buzzing sound. Your tongue should be looser than in z.

       

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Close your teeth and blow over your tongue.
sī 

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Roll your tongue back in the roof of your mouth. It should just touch your hard palate as you say r.

N.B: the vowel i should NOT be pronounced in this case. The (here soundless) letter i is placed after r, zh, ch and sh in written Pinyin as a vehicle for indicating the tones. _______________________________________________________

 

Roll your tongue back in the roof of your mouth. The tip of your tongue should stay pressing up towards your hard palate. Squeeze the air out over your tongue.

zhī      zh

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Roll your tongue back in the roof of your mouth. The tip of your tongue should stay pressing up towards your hard palate. Blow the air out over your tongue, making a slightly harder sound than in zhi.

chī         ch 

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Roll your tongue back in the roof of your mouth so that it just touches your hard palate as you say sh.

shī         sh   

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