MITRES_21F_003S11_pinyin - Learning Chinese: A Foundation...

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Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin Julian K. Wheatley, 4/07 Sounds and symbols: An overview of pinyin “The writer was required at school to read his lessons aloud sixty times; that was for reading books in his own language.” Chao Yuen Ren, talking about himself, in Mandarin Prime r, Harvard University Press, 1961, fn. 1, p. 118. Contents 1 The syllable Exercise 1 2 Tones Exercise 2 3 Initial consonants Exercise 3 4 Rhymes Exercises 4, 5, 6 5 Miscellany 6 Writing connected text in pinyin 7 Recapitulation Exercise 7 To learn to converse in Chinese, it helps to develop two abilities: the ability to recognize and produce the sounds of the language adequately so you can hear and repeat Chinese material; and the ability to match the sounds of Chinese to phonetic notation so you can read, take notes or otherwise keep track of language material before you have internalized the formal character based writing system. However, it is monotonous – and probably inefficient – to try to learn the sounds and transcription before you learn how to say anything. So this introductory lesson serves a short-term and a long-term purpose. In the short-term, it provides the information you need to proceed to the first speech samples in Unit 1. And in the long-term, it provides detailed information about the sounds and their notation, which you will be able to refer to regularly as you progress through the book. Station sign at a Beijing subway station, written in characters and pinyin (the latter showing word divisions but not tones). [JKW 2005] 16
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Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin Julian K. Wheatley, 4/07 1 The syllable As noted in the introduction, Hàny ǔ P ī ny ī n (literally ‘Chinese-language joined-sounds’), called ‘pinyin’ for short, is the a notation for representing standard Mandarin pronunciation. It has official status not only in China but also in the international community, and is now generally used throughout the Chinese speaking world. Though based on familiar Roman letters (only v is not utilized), both consonantal letters (c, x, and q, for example) and vocalic (such as i, u and o) are sometimes matched to sounds in ways unfamiliar, or even counterintuitive to speakers used to modern English spelling conventions. 1.1 Sound versus symbol (letter) From the start, it is important to make a distinction between sound and the representation of sound. In pinyin, for example, j ī is pronounced jee (with 'level tone'), q ī is chee . Neither is hard (for English speakers) to pronounce, but the way the latter is represented – with a ‘q’ (and no following ‘u’) – is counterintuitive, and difficult to remember at first. On the other hand, pinyin r
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This note was uploaded on 11/11/2011 for the course CHINESE 1 taught by Professor Juliank.wheatley, during the Fall '11 term at Montgomery College.

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MITRES_21F_003S11_pinyin - Learning Chinese: A Foundation...

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