|Letter||Sound in Chinese|
|c||k sound in cow|
|d||dog (but slightly shorter like t sound)|
|e||eh sound in egg|
|h||hard (more aspiration)|
|i||ee sound in street|
|Letter||Sound in Chinese|
|o||long (but more nasal)|
|q||tch sound in watch|
|t||time (but with stronger aspiration)|
|u||ou sound in you or too|
|w||water (or u sound)|
|x||ch (or s sound in some dialects)|
|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:
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.
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.
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.
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.