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Chinese Language

Chinese Alphabet


Letter   Sound in Chinese
a   father
b   boy
c   k sound in cow
d   dog (but slightly shorter like t sound)
e   eh sound in egg
f   frog
g   go
h   hard (more aspiration)
i   ee sound in street
j, zh   jump
k   kit
l   long
m   monkey
n   nose
o   long (but more nasal)
p   pan
q   tch sound in watch
r   ride
s   sing
t   time (but with stronger aspiration)
u   ou sound in you or too
v   violin
w   water (or u sound)
x   ch (or s sound in some dialects)
y   yellow
z   ts sound incats (softer z)

One aspect of Chinese that is different is its use of tones. Some dialects of Chinese have up to nine tones, while Mandarin has only four. The first tone ¯ has a high pitch. The second tone ´ rises from mid to high. The third ˇ dips low than rises unless it comes before another third tone (in which case it is pronounced as a second tone), OR if a third tone comes before another one (in which case it starts mid and goes down). The fourth ˋ starts high and falls low. A neutral fifth tone is unstressed and unmarked.

Chinese writing is not phonetic, so no real alphabet exists. Characters (hanzi) that express words exist. Spelling out the Chinese sounds, as it's done on this site, is called Pinyin. There are other methods, like Wade-Giles (which is older). Here's a comparison chart of Pinyin phonetic spelling versus that of Wade-Giles:
 
Pinyin
Ba
Bai
Ban
Bang
Bao
Bei
Ben
Beng
Bi
Bian
Biao
Bie
Bin
Bing
Bo
Bu
   Wade-Giles
Pa
Pai
Pan
Pang
Pao
Pei
Pen
Peng
Pi
Pien
Piao
Pieh
Pin
Ping
Po
Pu
Pinyin
Ca
Cai
Can
Cang
Cao
Ce
Cen
Ceng
Cha
Chai
Chan
Chang
Chao
Che
Chen
Cheng
Chi
Chong
Chou
Chu
Chuai
Chuan
Chuang
Chui
Chun
Chuo
Ci
Cong
Cou
Cu
Cuan
Cui
Cun
Cuo
   Wade-Giles
Ts'a
Ts'ai
Ts'an
Ts'ang
Ts'ao
Ts'e
Ts'en
Ts'eng
Ch'a
Ch'ai
Ch'an
Ch'ang
Ch'ao
Ch'e
Ch'en
Ch'eng
Ch'ih
Ch'ung
Ch'ou
Ch'u
Ch'uai
Ch'uan
Ch'uang
Ch'ui
Ch'un
Ch'o
Tz'u
Ts'ung
Ts'ou
Ts'u
Ts'uan
Ts'ui
Ts'un
Ts'o

Pinyin
Da
Dai
Dan
Dang
Dao
De
Dei
Deng
Di
Dian
Diao
Die
Ding
Diu
Dong
Dou
Du
Duan
Dui
Dun
Duo
   Wade-Giles
Ta
Tai
Tan
Tang
Tao
Te
Tei
Teng
Ti
Tien
Tiao
Tieh
Ting
Tiu
Tung
Tou
Tu
Tuan
Tui
Tun
To
Pinyin
E
Ei
En
Er

Fa
Fan
Fang
Fei
Fen
Feng
Fo
Fou
Fu
   Wade-Giles
E
Ei
En
Erh

Fa
Fan
Fang
Fei
Fen
Feng
Fo
Fou
Fu
Pinyin
Ga
Gai
Gan
Gang
Gao
Ge
Gei
Gen
Geng
Gong
Gou
Gu
Gua
Guai
Guan
Guang
Gui
Gun
Guo
   Wade-Giles
Ka
Kai
Kan
Kang
Kao
Ke
Kei
Ken
Keng
Kung
Kou
Ku
Kua
Kuai
Kuan
Kuang
Kuei
Kun
Kuo
Pinyin
Ha
Hai
Han
Hang
Hao
He
Hei
Hen
Heng
Hong
Hou
Hu
Hua
Huai
Huan
Huang
Hui
Hun
Huo
   Wade-Giles
Ha
Hai
Han
Hang
Hao
He
Hei
Hen
Heng
Hung
Hou
Hu
Hua
Huai
Huan
Huang
Hui
Hun
Huo

Pinyin
Ji
Jia
Jian
Jiang
Jiao
Jie
Jin
Jing
Jiong
Jiu
Ju
Juan
Jue
Jun
   Wade-Giles
Chi
Chia
Chien
Chiang
Chiao
Chieh
Chin
Ching
Chiung
Chiu
Chü
Chüan
Chüeh
Chün
Pinyin
Ka
Kai
Kan
Kang
Kao
Ke
Ken
Keng
Kong
Kou
Ku
Kua
Kuai
Kuan
Kuang
Kui
Kun
Kuo
   Wade-Giles
K'a
K'ai
K'an
K'ang
K'ao
K'e
K'en
K'eng
K'ung
K'ou
K'u
K'ua
K'uai
K'uan
K'uang
K'uei
K'un
K'uo
Pinyin
La
Lai
Lan
Lang
Lao
Le
Lei
Leng
Li
Lia
Lian
Liang
Liao
Lie
Lin
Ling
Liu
Lo
Long
Lou
Lu

Luan
Lüe
Lun
Luo
   Wade-Giles
La
Lai
Lan
Lang
Lao
Le
Lei
Leng
Li
Lia
Lien
Liang
Liao
Lieh
Lin
Ling
Liu
Lo
Lung
Lou
Lu

Luan
Lüeh
Lun
Luo

Pinyin
Ma
Mai
Man
Mang
Mao
Me
Mei
Men
Meng
Mi
Mian
Miao
Mie
Min
Ming
Miu
Mo
Mou
Mu
   Wade-Giles
Ma
Mai
Man
Mang
Mao
Me
Mei
Men
Meng
Mi
Mien
Miao
Mieh
Min
Ming
Miu
Mo
Mou
Mu
Pinyin
Na
Nai
Nan
Nang
Nao
Ne
Nei
Nen
Neng
Ni
Nian
Niang
Niao
Nie
Nin
Ning
Niu
Nong
Nou
Nu

Nuan
Nüe
Nuo
   Wade-Giles
Na
Nai
Nan
Nang
Nao
Ne
Nei
Nen
Neng
Ni
Nien
Niang
Niao
Nieh
Nin
Ning
Niu
Nung
Nou
Nu

Nuan
Nüeh
No
Pinyin
Ou

Pa
Pai
Pan
Pang
Pao
Pei
Pen
Peng
Pi
Pian
Piao
Pie
Pin
Ping
Po
Pou
Pu
   Wade-Giles
Ou

P'a
P'ai
P'an
P'ang
P'ao
P'ei
P'en
P'eng
P'i
P'ien
P'iao
P'ieh
P'in
P'ing
P'o
P'ou
P'u
Pinyin
Qi
Qia
Qian
Qiang
Qiao
Qie
Qin
Qing
Qiong
Qiu
Qu
Quan
Que
Qun
   Wade-Giles
Ch'i
Ch'ia
Ch'ien
Ch'iang
Ch'iao
Ch'ieh
Ch'in
Ch'ing
Ch'iung
Ch'iu
Ch'ü
Ch'üan
Ch'üeh
Ch'ün
Pinyin
Ran
Rang
Rao
Re
Ren
Reng
Ri
Rong
Rou
Ru
Ruan
Rui
Run
Ruo
   Wade-Giles
Jan
Jang
Jao
Je
Jen
Jeng
Jih
Jung
Jou
Ju
Juan
Jui
Jun
Jo
Pinyin
Sa
Sai
San
Sang
Sao
Se
Sen
Seng
Sha
Shai
Shan
Shang
Shao
She
Shei
Shen
Sheng
Shi
Shou
Shu
Shua
Shuai
Shuan
Shuang
Shui
Shun
Shuo
Si
Song
Sou
Su
Suan
Sui
Sun
Suo
   Wade-Giles
Sa
Sai
San
Sang
Sao
Se
Sen
Seng
Sha
Shai
Shan
Shang
Shao
She
Shei
Shen
Sheng
Shih
Shou
Shu
Shua
Shuai
Shuan
Shuang
Shui
Shun
Shuo
Ssu
Sung
Sou
Su
Suan
Sui
Sun
So

Pinyin
Ta
Tai
Tan
Tang
Tao
Te
Teng
Ti
Tian
Tiao
Tie
Ting
Tong
Tou
Tu
Tuan
Tui
Tun
Tuo
   Wade-Giles
T'a
T'ai
T'an
T'ang
T'ao
T'e
T'eng
T'i
T'ien
T'iao
T'ieh
T'ing
T'ung
T'ou
T'u
T'uan
T'ui
T'un
T'o
Pinyin
Wa
Wai
Wan
Wang
Wei
Wen
Weng
Wo
Wo
Wu
   Wade-Giles
Wa
Wai
Wan
Wang
Wei
Wen
Weng
O
Wo
Wu
Pinyin
Xi
Xia
Xian
Xiang
Xiao
Xie
Xin
Xing
Xiong
Xiu
Xu
Xuan
Xue
Xun
   Wade-Giles
Hsi
Hsia
Hsien
Hsiang
Hsiao
Hsieh
Hsin
Hsing
Hsiung
Hsiu
Hsü
Hsüuan
Hsüueh
Hsün
Pinyin
Ya
Yan
Yang
Yao
Ye
Yi
Yin
Ying
Yong
You
Yu
Yuan
Yue
Yun
   Wade-Giles
Ya
Yan
Yang
Yao
Yeh
I
Yin
Ying
Yung
Yu

Yüan
Yüeh
Yün
Pinyin
Za
Zai
Zan
Zang
Zao
Ze
Zei
Zen
Zeng
Zha
Zhai
Zhan
Zhang
Zhao
Zhe
Zhei
Zhen
Zheng
Zhi
Zhong
Zhou
Zhu
Zhua
Zhuai
Zhuan
Zhuang
Zhui
Zhun
Zhuo
Zi
Zong
Zou
Zu
Zuan
Zui
Zun
Zuo

   Wade-Giles
Tsa
Tsai
Tsan
Tsang
Tsao
Tse
Tsei
Tsen
Tseng
Cha
Chai
Chan
Chang
Chao
Che
Chei
Chen
Cheng
Chih
Chung
Chou
Chu
Chua
Chuai
Chuan
Chuang
Chui
Chun
Cho
Tzu
Tsung
Tsou
Tsu
Tsuan
Tsui
Tsun
Tso

Climate in China


As the world's fourth-largest country (after Russia, Canada, and the U.S.) China lies largely at the same latitudes as the United States. Just like the U.S., the climate in China varies widely. The north has a subarctic climate and the south has a tropical climate. Rainfall occurs mainly in the southeast; the northwest contains the third largest desert in the world (Gobi Desert).

Holidays in China / Chinese Festivals


The Chinese New Year is the most important of the holidays. It is celebrated on the last day of the year with fireworks and family reunions. The festivities continue into the next day where they celebrate the Spring Festival with even more fireworks.

The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month with a parade of lanterns and a lion dance.

The Zhonghe Festival is on the second day of the second lunar month, sand they celebrate it by eating Chinese fajitas.

Tomb Sweeping Day (Qing Ming Jie) is their memorial day; celebrated around April 5th.

The Dragon Goat Festival (Tun Ng) is on the fifth day of the fifth month and, of course, has dragon boat races.

The Night of Sevens (Qi Xi) is on the seventh day of the seventh month, the only night that the goddess, Zhi Nu, can meet her mortal love, Niu Lang.

The Spirit Festival is on the fifteenth day of the seventh month (a week after the Night of Sevens). The Chinese burn paper "money" as offerings to their ancestors.

The Mid-Autumn festival is on the fifteenth day of the eighth month and they eat mooncake (based on the legend of Chang)

On the ninth day of the ninth lunar month they celebrate the Double Ninth Festival as a sort of second memorial day.

The Winter Solstice Festival is celebrated on the day of winter solstice and is known as teh Chinese Thanksgiving..

The Laba Festival is on the eighth day of the last lunar month and is celebrated as the day the Buddha attained enlightenment.

Chinese Sports / Chinese Music / Chinese Art


Martial arts were originated in China, starting with Wushu (and renamed Kung Fu). It is the home to the well-respected Shaolin Monastery and Wudang Mountains. Martial arts were originally just a method to train men for combat, but over time has become a way for people to become mentally centered and balanced, and even for healing (including acupuncture and herbology).

The Book of Songs, and Confucius influenced music and poetry. Chinese music started with solely percussion instruments and eventually added string and reed instruments. Chinese opera would also be introduced and branched regionally in additional to other performance formats such as variety arts.

Porcelain pottery has been a traditional art form in China for several thousands of years. Chinese paintings have a variety of styles of brush art and calligraphy (similar to the Japanese). Papercutting and folding (origami) is an art form that originated with the Chinese after the invention of paper.

Chinese Politics


The Communist Party of China continues to dominate the People's Republic of China. Currently, the government is organized with: the National People's Congress, the President, and the State Council. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China places the Congress with the highest state power. It meets yearly for 2 weeks to approve new policy, laws, and the budget. National legislation in China is adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and initiatives are presented to this Committee by the State Council. Congress generally approves State Council policy and personnel recommendations, though its Standing Committee has increasingly asserted its role as the national legislature.

China has had border disputes given its size for thousands of years and continues to do so. For example, one resolved with Russia as recently as 2004. China has current disputes with India and Japan. China does not permit dual national citizenships.

Chinese Religion


Some of the most recognized spiritual figures include Guan Yin, Jade Emperor and Budai. The chinese believe in both the holy and the evil, fortune telling, and that health is directly related to the environment and spiritual health. Historically, doctors were paid to keep their village healthy, and were not paid when someone was sick (at least until the people were tired of hearing that evil spirits were to blame).

Today, temples throughout China host a variety of religions including: Buddhism, Daoism, Heaven worship, Islam, and Chinese folk religion.

Chinese Dress / Food in China


Hanfu, or traditional chinese dress is similar to the Japanese Kimodo (which may have been inspired by the hanfu). The chinese historically used hats to display position, and may have been the originators of the style of hat worn at school graduations.

Chinese cuisine is well-known for its rice dishes, eggplant, tofu, vegetable stir-fry, egg-drop soup, Kung Pao chicken, Mu sho pork, chop-seuy, chow mein, and fortune cookies. The chinese make use of leafy vegetables like bok choy and gai-lan and typically include fresh meat or seafood, which makes for its pungency. Pan-frying, stir-frying, and deep-frying are common cooking techniques often done using a pan, called a wok.

Chinese Localization


Mandarin Chinese is the most popular language in China, and by population it is the most spoken language in the world. Next to Japanese, Chinese is the most difficult of the languages to learn that are on this site.

Several other languages are spoken in China like Manchurian, Mongolian, Uyghur, Tibetan, Yi, and Zhuang. There are several sublanguages as well: Gan, Huainan, Jin, Kejia or Hakka, Min, Pinghua, Tiawanese, Wu or Shanghaiese, Xiang or Hunanese, and Yue or Cantonese. There are over 1000 dialects in China to coincide with the thousands of regions within China. For example, each of these sublanguages will have several dialects of their own, and some may have over forty subdialects.



Hopefully you have been able to learn a little bit about the Chinese culture. If you are simply looking to learn Chinese, you will soon learn how important culture is when you learn a language. There are plenty of free resources available here to help you to learn Chinese. If you want to talk about love or you are looking for Chinese greetings, you must visit the Chinese phrases page. There are also many Chinese words in many different categories from which you can learn. In addition, you can learn over 350 Chinese verbs and how to conjugate them with free audio flash cards and step-by-step instructions.
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