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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Standard Mandarin pronunciations in resource articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to resource articles, see {{IPA-cmn}}, {{IPAc-cmn}} and Resource: Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

See Standard Chinese phonology for more detail on the sounds of Mandarin Chinese.

IPA Pinyin Wade-Giles Bopomofo Chinese Example English approximation
? x hs ? About this sound?/?/xi?o sheep,[a] but more y-like
f f ? About this sound?/f?i fan
j y-/-i- ? About this sound?/yá yes
k g k ? About this sound?/g?n skin
k? k k' ? About this sound?/k?u kin
l l ? About this sound?/?/lái leaf
m m ? About this sound?/míng moon
n n ?,?,? About this sound?/ní noon
? -ng ?,? About this sound?/ji?ng song
p b p ? About this sound?/?/b?ng span
p? p p' ? About this sound?/páng pan
?[b] r- j ? About this sound?/rì pleasure, but with tongue curled or pulled back
s s ? About this sound?/s? same
? sh ? About this sound?/sh? show, but without lip rounding and with tongue curled or pulled back
t d t ? About this sound?/du?n stop
t? t t' ? About this sound?/tòu top
t? j ch ? About this sound?/jiào cheap,[a] but more y-like (without lip rounding)
t q ch' ? About this sound?/qù Above, but with a strong burst of breath (aspiration)
ts z ts ? About this sound?/z? outset
ts? c ts' ? About this sound?/c? let's help
zh ch ? About this sound?/zh? cheer, but without lip rounding with tongue curled or pulled back
ch ch' ? About this sound?/ch? Above, but with a strong burst of breath (aspiration)
w w-/-u- ? About this sound?/w? water
x h ? About this sound?/hu? loch (Scottish English)
? yu-/-ü-[c] yü-/-ü- ? About this sound?/yuè between wet and yet
IPA Pinyin Wade-Giles Bopomofo Chinese Example English approximation
a a ?,?,? ?,?,? car
er êrh ? ?,?(?)
?~æ yan/-ian yen/-ien ? set or sat
yuan/-üan ?
e ye/-ie, yue/-üe eh ? ?,? hey
? en,[d] eng ên, êng ?,? ?,? atop
? er êrh ? ?,?(?) fern [e]
? e ê / o[f] ? ? between boot and but
i yi/-i ? ? city
o wo/-uo[g] o[h] ? ? boy
zhi, chi, shi, ri ih ?[i] ?,?,?(?),? Below, but retroflex.[j]
zi, ci, si ? ?,?,? roses, bzz
u wu/-u ? ? cool
? -ong -ung , ?,? book
y yu/-ü[c] yü/-ü ? ? beet, but with the lips rounded as for boot.
ai ai ? ? time
au ao ? ? somewhat like out
ei ei[d] ? ? face
ou ou[d] ? ?(?) show
IPA Pinyin Wade-Giles Bopomofo Chinese Example Tone number Description
á ? a1 ? About this sound?/b? tone 1 high level [?]
? á a2 About this sound?/bá tone 2 mid rising []
à ? a3 About this sound?/b? tone 3 medially, low [?]; initially, mid falling []; finally, low rising []; in isolation, dipping []
â à a4 ?` About this sound?/bà tone 4 high falling []
a a a0 About this sound?/ba tone 0 or 5
mid [?] after all tones but 4, where it is low [?]
Note: Pinyin uses the same diacritics as IPA but with different values.


  1. ^ a b [?, t?, t] are always followed by [i] [j], [y], or [?].
  2. ^ Also transcribed as ? in some literature.
  3. ^ a b ü is spelled u after j, q, x in pinyin since cannot occur after them.
  4. ^ a b c wei, you/yu, wen/wên are spelled respectively ui, iu, un in Pinyin and Wade-Giles but are pronounced identically when they are preceded by a consonant.
  5. ^ The rhotic vowel also appears in erhua.
  6. ^ This sound is spelled ?o? after ?k, k', h? in Wade-Giles.
  7. ^ This sound is spelled ?o? after ?b, p, m, f? in Pinyin.
  8. ^ is spelled as ?o?, except for ?k, k', h, sh? (as ?kuo, k'uo, huo, shuo?) in Wade-Giles.
  9. ^ This symbol is rarely used and usually omitted during writing.
  10. ^ Voiced continuants (also transcribed [?, ?] or [, z?]) reflecting the character of the preceding consonant[clarification needed]


  • Duanmu, San (2007). The Phonology of Standard Chinese (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Lee, Wai-Sum; Zee, Eric (2003). "Standard Chinese (Beijing)" (PDF). Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 33 (1): 109-112. doi:10.1017/S0025100303001208.
  • Lin, Yen-Hwei (2007). The Sounds of Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

External links

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