The hardest thing about writing Chinese is remembering hundreds of characters! The hardest thing



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Sounds & Tones:
The hardest thing about writing Chinese is remembering hundreds of characters! The hardest thing

about speaking Chinese is debatable between the grammar and the tones. Of course, the CDs or

audio cassettes repeat the 1000 sentences contained in this book, and as you listen and follow along

in the text, you learn grammar, word order, how to pronounce words and tone them, too.

Mandarin Chinese has 4 specific tones and 1 neutral tone, also called the “Natural Tone,” which

equals 5 tones. Since the Natural Tone is rarely used as well as actually having no real tone mark,

there are essentially 4 tones. Once you learn the 4 tone marks you should mentally note the tone

for each word while listening to the Chinese speaker. As skeptical as some English speakers may be

in accepting this, you oftentimes will not be understood by Chinese people unless you correctly

tone your words. Sometimes the same spelling results in 4 different words according to how you

tone the spelling (the word). The best example of this is the Pinyin word and sound, “mai.”

“Mǎi” 3rd Tone means to “buy.” “Mài” 4th Tone means to “sell.” So are you buying or selling?

That depends on how you tone it! So the importance of learning this section, Sounds & Tones,

cannot be overemphasized! Although you will be inundated with sounds and tones in the hundreds

of words and sentences which follow in the textbook and on the talking CDs or audio cassettes ---

if you are serious about learning Chinese, you should repeat this section over and over until you

really have these sounds and tones down! These are the “syllables” of Chinese. They are the

building blocks for every Chinese word you use. By learning these first you expedite your

learning process so that you can concentrate more on memorizing vocabulary, and then on using

that vocabulary in correct sentence syntax: grammar.


Instructions: To prevent you from getting lost in this section (which would be easy to do because

so many of these sounds are similar), the male American speaker spells the beginning syllable at the

start of each set. This makes it easy for you to differentiate when a new set starts. Simply listen for

the male voice. To discern which set the CD or tape is on, simply find the beginning spelling of

any set. “B - e --i” for example makes it easy to locate the “ay” group in the textbook. The Chinese

female speaker goes through each set once. The Natural Tone, when represented, is said first.

Then 1st Tone through 4th Tone. Any tone not represented of course is not said. Sometimes a sound

has only one tone, such as 4th Tone, so pay attention and mentally-note what tones go with what

syllables. In Mandarin, each syllable has it’s own spelling and sound - different from other syllables. After the Chinese female speaker pronounces and tones each syllable, you should repeat

the pronunciation and the tone as closely as possible to how she pronounced it, to how she toned it.




English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

a a ā à
b-a ba bā bá bǎ bà


c-a cā
d-a dā dá dǎ dà
f-a fa fā fá fǎ fà
English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

g-a gā gá


h-a hā há hǎ
l-a la lā lá lǎ là
m-a ma mā má mǎ mà
n-a na ná nǎ nà
p-a pā pá pà
s-a sā sǎ sà
t-a tā tǎ tà
w-a wa wā wá wǎ wà
y-a ya yā yá yǎ yà
z-a zā zá
c-h-a chā chá chǎ chà
s-h-a shā shá shǎ shà
z-h-a zhā zhá zhǎ zhà

o ō ó ǒ
b-o bo bō bó bǒ bò


f-o fó
m-o mō mó mǒ mò
p-o pō pó pǒ pò

e ē é ě è


c-e cè


English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

d-e de dé


g-e gē gé gě gè
h-e hē hé hè
k-e kē ké kě kè
l-e le
n-e ne nè
r-e rě rè
s-e sè
t-e tē tè
y-e yē yé yě yè
z-e zé zè
c-h-e chē chě chè
s-h-e shē shě shè
z-h-e zhē zhé zhě zhè

a-i āi ái ǎi ài


b-a-i bāi bái bǎi bài
c-a-i cāi cái cǎi cài
d-a-i dāi dǎi dài
g-a-i gāi gǎi gài
h-a-i hāi hái hǎi hài

English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

k-a-i kāi kǎi


l-a-i lái lài
m-a-i mái mǎi mài
n-a-i nǎi nài
p-a-i pāi pái pài
s-a-i sāi sài
t-a-i tāi tái tǎi tài
w-a-i wāi wài
z-a-i zāi zǎi zài
c-h-a-i chāi chái
s-h-a-i shāi shǎi shài
z-h-a-i zhāi zhái zhǎi zhài

b-e-i bēi běi bèi


d-e-i děi
f-e-i fēi féi fěi fèi
g-e-i gěi
h-e-i hēi
l-e-i lēi léi lěi lèi
m-e-i méi měi mèi
n-e-i něi nèi
p-e-i pēi péi

English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

w-e-i wēi wéi wěi wèi


z-e-i zéi
s-h-e-i shéi
z-h-e-i zhèi

a-o āo áo ǎo ào


b-a-o bāo báo bǎo bào
c-a-o cāo cáo cǎo
d-a-o dāo dǎo dào
g-a-o gāo gǎo gào
h-a-o háo hǎo hào
k-a-o kǎo kào
l-a-o lāo láo lǎo lào
m-a-o māo máo mǎo mào
n-a-o náo nǎo nào
p-a-o pāo páo pǎo pào
r-a-o ráo rǎo rào
s-a-o sāo sǎo sào
t-a-o tāo táo tǎo tào
y-a-o yāo yáo yǎo yào
z-a-o zāo zǎo zào
c-h-a-o chāo cháo chǎo chào
English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

s-h-a-o shāo sháo shǎo shào


z-h-a-o zhāo zháo zhǎo zhào

o-u ōu ǒu òu


c-o-u còu
d-o-u dōu dǒu dòu
f-o-u fóu fǒu
g-o-u gōu gǒu gòu
h-o-u hóu hǒu hòu
l-o-u lou lōu lóu lòu
m-o-u móu mǒu mòu
p-o-u pōu pǒu
r-o-u róu rǒu ròu
s-o-u sōu sǒu sòu
t-o-u tōu tóu tǒu tòu
y-o-u yōu yóu yǒu yòu
z-o-u zou zōu zǒu zòu
c-h-o-u chōu chóu chǒu chòu
s-h-o-u shōu shǒu shòu
z-h-o-u zhōu zhóu

a-n ān àn


b-a-n bān bǎn bàn


English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

c-a-n cān cán cǎn càn


d-a-n dān dǎn dàn
f-a-n fān fán fǎn fàn
g-a-n gān gǎn gàn
h-a-n hān hán hǎn hàn
k-a-n kān kǎn kàn
l-a-n lán lǎn làn
m-a-n mán mǎn màn
n-a-n nán nǎn nàn
p-a-n pān pán pàn
r-a-n rán rǎn
s-a-n sān sǎn sàn
t-a-n tān tán tǎn tàn
w-a-n wān wán wǎn wàn
y-a-n yān yán yǎn yàn
z-a-n zān zán zàn
c-h-a-n chān chán chǎn chàn
s-h-a-n shan shān shán shǎn shàn
z-h-a-n zhan zhān zhán zhǎn zhàn

e-n ēn
b-e-n ben bēn běn bèn


c-e-n cēn cén


English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

f-e-n fēn fén fěn fèn


g-e-n gēn gěn gèn
h-e-n hén hěn hèn
k-e-n kěn
m-e-n men mēn mén mèn
n-e-n nèn
p-e-n pēn pén
r-e-n rén rěn rèn
s-e-n sēn
w-e-n wēn wén wěn wèn
z-e-n zēn zěn
c-h-e-n chēn chén chèn
s-h-e-n shēn shěn shèn
z-h-e-n zhēn zhěn zhèn

a-n-g āng áng àng


b-a-n-g bang bāng bǎng bàng
c-a-n-g cāng cáng
d-a-n-g dāng dǎng dàng
f-a-n-g fāng fáng fǎng fàng
g-a-n-g gāng gǎng gàng
h-a-n-g háng hàng
k-a-n-g kāng káng kǎng kàng


English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

l-a-n-g láng lǎng làng


m-a-n-g máng mǎng
n-a-n-g náng nǎng
p-a-n-g pāng páng pàng
r-a-n-g rāng ráng rǎng ràng
s-a-n-g sāng sǎng sàng
t-a-n-g tāng táng tǎng tàng
w-a-n-g wāng wáng wǎng wàng
y-a-n-g yāng yáng yǎng yàng
z-a-n-g zāng zàng
c-h-a-n-g chāng cháng chǎng chàng
s-h-a-n-g shāng shǎng shàng
z-h-a-n-g zhāng zhǎng zhàng

b-e-n-g bēng béng běng bèng


c-e-n-g céng
d-e-n-g dēng děng dèng
f-e-n-g fēng féng fěng fèng
g-e-n-g gēng gěng gèng
h-e-n-g hēng héng hèng
k-e-n-g kēng kěng
l-e-n-g leng lēng léng lěng lèng
English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

m-e-n-g mēng méng měng mèng


n-e-n-g néng nèng
p-e-n-g pēng péng pěng pèng
r-e-n-g rēng réng
s-e-n-g sēng
t-e-n-g téng
w-e-n-g wēng wěng wèng
z-e-n-g zēng zèng
c-h-e-n-g chēng chéng chěng chèng
s-h-e-n-g shēng shéng shěng shèng
z-h-e-n-g zhēng zhěng zhèng

c-i cī cí cǐ cì


r-i rì
s-i sī sǐ sì
z-i zī zǐ zì
c-h-i chī chí chǐ chì
s-h-i shi shī shí shǐ shì
z-h-i zhī zhí zhǐ zhì

b-i bī bí bǐ bì


d-i dī dí dǐ dì
English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

j-i jī jí jǐ jì


l-i li lī lí lǐ lì
m-i mī mí mǐ mì
n-i ní nǐ nì
p-i pī pí pǐ pì
q-i qī qí qǐ qì
t-i tī tí tǐ tì
x-i xī xí xǐ xì
y-i yī yí yǐ yì

j-i-a jiā jiá jiǎ jià


l-i-a liǎ
q-i-a qiā qiá qiǎ qià
x-i-a xiā xiá xià

b-i-e biē bié biě biè


d-i-e diē dié
j-i-e jiē jié jiě jiè
l-i-e liē lié liě liè
m-i-e miē miè
n-i-e niē niè
p-i-e piē piě
English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

q-i-e qiē qié qiě qiè


t-i-e tiē tiě
x-i-e xiē xié xiě xiè

b-i-a-o biāo biǎo


d-i-a-o diāo diào
j-i-a-o jiāo jiáo jiǎo jiào
l-i-a-o liāo liáo liǎo liào

m-i-a-o miāo miáo miǎo miào


n-i-a-o niǎo niào
p-i-a-o piāo piáo piǎo piào
q-i-a-o qiāo qiáo qiǎo qiào
t-i-a-o tiāo tiáo tiǎo tiào
x-i-a-o xiāo xiáo xiǎo xiào

d-i-u diū


j-i-u jiū jiǔ jiù
l-i-u liū liú liǔ liù
m-i-u miù
n-i-u niū niú niǔ niù
q-i-u qiū qiú qiǔ
x-i-u xiū xiǔ xiù
English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

b-i-a-n biān biǎn biàn


d-i-a-n diān diǎn diàn
j-i-a-n jiān jiǎn jiàn
l-i-a-n lián liǎn liàn
m-i-a-n mián miǎn miàn
n-i-a-n niān nián niǎn niàn
p-i-a-n piān pián piàn
q-i-a-n qiān qián qiǎn qiàn
t-i-a-n tiān tián tiǎn
x-i-a-n xiān xián xiǎn xiàn

b-i-n bīn bìn


j-i-n jīn jǐn jìn
l-i-n lín lǐn lìn
m-i-n mín mǐn
n-i-n nín
p-i-n pīn pín pǐn pìn
q-i-n qīn qín qǐn qìn
x-i-n xīn xìn
y-i-n yīn yín yǐn yìn

j-i-a-n-g jiāng jiáng jiǎng jiàng


l-i-a-n-g liáng liǎng liàng


English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

n-i-a-n-g niáng niàng


q-i-a-n-g qiāng qiáng qiǎng qiàng
x-i-a-n-g xiāng xiáng xiǎng xiàng

b-i-n-g bīng bǐng bìng


d-i-n-g dīng dǐng dìng
j-i-n-g jīng jǐng jìng
l-i-n-g līng líng lǐng lìng
m-i-n-g míng mǐng mìng
n-i-n-g níng nǐng nìng
p-i-n-g pīng píng
q-i-n-g qīng qíng qǐng qìng
t-i-n-g tīng tíng tǐng
x-i-n-g xīng xíng xǐng xìng
y-i-n-g yīng yíng yǐng yìng

b-u bǔ bù


c-u cū cú cù
d-u dū dú dǔ dù
f-u fū fú fǔ fù
g-u gū gǔ gù
h-u hū hú hǔ hù
English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

k-u kū kǔ kù


l-u lú lǔ lù
m-u mú mǔ mù
n-u nú nǔ nù
p-u pū pú pǔ pù
r-u rú rǔ rù
s-u sū sú sù
t-u tū tú tǔ tù
w-u wū wú wǔ wù
x-u xū xú xǔ xù
y-u yū yú yǔ yù
z-u zū zú zǔ
c-h-u chū chú chǔ chù
s-h-u shū shú shǔ shù
z-h-u zhū zhú zhǔ zhù

g-u-a guā guǎ guà


h-u-a huā huá huà
k-u-a kuā kuǎ kuà
w-a wa wā wá wǎ wà
s-h-u-a shuā shuà
z-h-u-a zhuā zhuǎ zhuà
English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

c-u-o cuō cuó cuò


d-u-o duō duó duǒ duò
g-u-o guō guó guǒ guò
h-u-o huō huó huǒ huò
k-u-o kuò
l-u-o luō luó luǒ luò
n-u-o nuó nuǒ nuò
r-u-o ruò
s-u-o suō suó suǒ
t-u-o tuō tuó tuǒ tuò
z-u-o zuō zuó zuǒ zuò
c-h-u-o chuō chuò
s-h-u-o shuō shuò
z-h-u-o zhuō zhuó zhuǒ zhuò

g-u-a-i guāi guái guǎi guài


h-u-a-i huái huài
k-u-a-i kuǎi kuài
w-a-i wāi wài
c-h-u-a-i chuǎi
s-h-u-a-i shuāi shuái shuǎi shuài


English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

c-u-i cuī cuǐ cuì


d-u-i duī duì
g-u-i guī guǐ guì
h-u-i huī huí huǐ huì
k-u-i kuī kuí kuǐ kuì
r-u-i ruǐ ruì
s-u-i suī suí suǐ suì
t-u-i tuī tuí tuǐ tuì
z-u-i zuǐ zuì
s-h-u-i shuǐ shuì
z-h-u-i zhuī zhuì

c-u-a-n cuàn


d-u-a-n duān duǎn duàn
g-u-a-n guān guǎn guàn
h-u-a-n huān huán huǎn huàn
k-u-a-n kuān kuán kuǎn
l-u-a-n luán luǎn luàn
n-u-a-n nuǎn
r-u-a-n ruǎn
s-u-a-n suān suàn
t-u-a-n tuān tuán
English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

y-u-a-n yuān yuán yuǎn yuàn


z-u-a-n zuān zuǎn zuàn
c-h-u-a-n chuān chuán chuǎn chuàn
s-h-u-a-n shuān shuàn
z-h-u-a-n zhuān zhuǎn zhuàn

c-u-n cūn cún cǔn cùn


d-u-n dūn dǔn dùn
g-u-n gǔn gùn
h-u-n hūn hún hùn
k-u-n kūn kǔn kùn
l-u-n lūn lún lùn
r-u-n rùn
s-u-n sūn sǔn
t-u-n tūn tún tùn
z-u-n zūn
c-h-u-n chūn chún chǔn
s-h-u-n shǔn shùn
z-h-u-n zhūn zhǔn

g-u-a-n-g guāng guǎng guàng


h-u-a-n-g huāng huáng huǎng huàng
k-u-a-n-g kuāng kuáng kuàng


English Natural Tone 1st Tone 2nd Tone 3rd Tone 4th Tone

c-h-u-a-n-g chuāng chuáng chuǎng chuàng


s-h-u-a-n-g shuāng shuǎng
z-h-u-a-n-g zhuāng zhuàng

c-o-n-g cōng cóng


d-o-n-g dōng dǒng dòng
g-o-n-g gōng gǒng gòng
h-o-n-g hōng hóng hǒng
k-o-n-g kōng kǒng kòng
l-o-n-g lóng lǒng lòng
n-o-n-g nóng nòng
r-o-n-g róng rǒng
s-o-n-g sōng sǒng sòng
t-o-n-g tōng tóng tǒng tòng
z-o-n-g zōng zǒng zòng
c-h-o-n-g chōng chóng chǒng chòng
z-h-o-n-g zhōng zhǒng zhòng

l-u lǘ lǚ lǜ


n-u nǚ nǜ
l-u-e lüè
n-u-e nüè



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