Pinyin Lesson 2 Phonics p d i ai

Chinese Phonics

In Pinyin Lesson 1, we talked about the general rule of how a Chinese character is pronounced. That is, often a Chinese syllable consists of somewhat Initial sound and Final sound, and the combination of tone/toneless sound and the syllable itself determines on how the character is spoken.

Given that, it’s fair to say the key in learning Chinese lies in the mastery of tones. The tone is the basic so if you are learning Chinese, especially at the beginning level, try to spend some time on these tones and practice on a regular basis. That’s how I learned Pinyin. I still remember when I was at grade 1 of elementary school, my teacher arranged an oral exam where we were all asked to pronounce the tones, and I was so nervous that I spent two days strolling in the school corridor while muttering and feeling the difference of the four tones. Very odd! Yes! I still remember that thrill decades later. It also shows how fundamental and basic the Pinyin tone is when it comes to learning Chinese.

Today let’s look at several other Chinese phonic sounds.

Initial sound:

p —- same as the sound of letter p in word ‘pork’

d — same as the sound of letter d in word ‘dog’

i – same as the sound of ‘ee’ in word ‘deed’

ai — same as the sound of word ‘I’

Now let’s try to put them together and give them different tones. By doing that, we will be able to create the sound of different Chinese characters.

p+i pi pí 皮 leather

d + i di dì 地 ground, floor


p+ai pai pài 派 send


d+ai dai dāi 呆 dork

Alright! That’s all for today! Why not find the worksheet for this lesson? By doing that, you are creating a chance to practice with the Chinese phonics we introduced today. No need to wait any longer. Contact me and take a step closer to the mastery of Pinyin!

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