How to Study Chinese | Chinese Pronunciation | Chinese Lessons

Pronunciation of Finals

PinyinIPAFinal-only formExplanation
a[ɑ]aif ending a syllable, then as in “father”
o[uɔ]oread ‘oo’ in “wooden”, “coo“, followed by a plain continental ‘or’, as one syllable
e[ɤ], [ə]ewhen occurring at the end of a syllable and not in the combinations of ie, üe, ue, then a backward, unrounded vowel, which can be formed by first pronouncing a plain continental “o” (AuE and NZE law) and then spreading the lips without changing the position of the tongue. That same sound is also similar to English “duh“, but not as open. Many unstressed syllables in Chinese use the schwa (idea), and this is also written as e.
ê[ɛ](n/a)as in “bet”. Only used in certain interjections.
ai[aɪ]ailike English “eye”, but a bit lighter
ei[ei]eias in “hey
ao[ɑʊ]aoapproximately as in “cow“; the a is much more audible than the o
ou[ou̯]ouas in “so“, “dough
an[an]anstarts with plain continental “a” (AuE and NZE bud) and ends with “n”; as in “stun“, “fun
en[ən]enas in “taken“, “fern”; sounds like “earn”
ang[ɑŋ]angas in German Angst, including the English loan word angst (starts with the vowel sound in father and ends in the velar nasal; as in “flung“, “dung“, “young“;like song in American English)
eng[ɤŋ]englike e above but with ng added to it at the back
er[aɻ]erlike ar (exists only on own, or as last part of final in combination with others- see bottom of list)
i[i]yilike English “ee”, except when preceded by “c”, “ch”, “r”, “s”, “sh”, “z” or “zh”; in these cases it should be pronounced as a natural extension of those sounds in the same position, but slightly more open to allow for a clear-sounding vowel to pass through
ia[iɑ]yaas i + a; like English “yard” or the name “iago”
io[iou̯]yoas i + o; like English slang “yo“; (you will only see this as in final-only form “yo
ie[iɛ]yeas i + ê; but is very short; e (pronounced like ê) is pronounced longer and carries the main stress (similar to the initial sound ye in yet)
iai[iɑi]yaias i + ai; like “yi” in “yikes“; (you will only see this as in final-only form “yai
iao[iɑʊ]yaoas i + ao
iu[iou̯]yuoas i + ou
ian[iɛn]yanas i + an; like English yen
in[in]yinas i + en; as in the English word “in”;
iang[iɑŋ]yangas i + ang
ing[iŋ]yingas i + eng
u[u]wulike English “oo”, except in xu and yu, where it is pronounced as u
ua[ua]waas u + a
uo[uɔ]woas u + o; the o is pronounced shorter and lighter than in the o final
uai[uaɪ]waias u + ai
ui[ueɪ]weias u + ei; here, the i is pronounced like ei
uan[uan]wanas u + an
un[uən]wenas u + en; like the on in the English won
uang[uɑŋ]wangas u + ang; like the ang in English angst or anger
ong[uɤŋ]wengas u + eng; starts with the vowel sound in book and ends with the velar nasal sound in sing
ü[y]yuas in German “üben” or French “lune” (To get this sound, say “ee” with rounded lips)
üe[yɛ]yueas ü + ê; the ü is short and light
üan[yan]yuanas ü + an;
ün[yən]yunas ü + in;
iong[yɤŋ]yongas ü + eng;
Finals that are a combination of finals above + er final
er[ɤɻ]as e + er; not to be confused with er final on its own- this form only exists with an initial character before it
or[uɔɻ]as o + er
air[aɪɻ]as ai + er
aor[ɑʊɻ]as ao + er
our[ou̯ɻ]as ou + er
anr[ɑnɻ]as an + er
angr[ɑŋɻ]as ang + er
ir[iɻ]as i + er
iar[iɑɻ]as ia + er
ianr[iɛnɻ]as ian + er
inr[iənɻ]as in + er
ingr[iɤŋɻ]as ing + er
ur[uɻ]as u + er
uor[uɔɻ]as uo + er
uir[ueɪɻ]as ui + er
ongr[uɤŋɻ]as ong + er
ür[yɻ]as ü + er

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