Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pronunciation of “Q” & “C” in Mandarin Pinyin


Here we would like to clarify the pronunciation of “Q” and “C” in Mandarin pinyin system. In the classrooms, we realize the most confusing pinyin pronunciation for students is “Q”. In English, “Q” is pronounced as “K” like “Queen”. It is never pronounced the same as the English phonetic “ch.” However, "ch" with a more flat and narrower mouth shape and flat tongue position is the correct pronunciation in Mandarin pinyin; let's refer to it as flat "ch". Many English speakers tend to pronounce “Q” as “K” when they see “Q” in pinyin. This is also the reason why you hear a lot of people say “Qi Gong” as “Ki Gong”. Again, the correct pronunciation is, “Chi Gong.” Remember, it is a flat "ch."

Next, we would like to talk about “C”. In English, “C” is pronounced either “K” like “cat” or “S” like “cider”. It is pronounced as “Ts” in Mandarin pinyin. When we say the word “dish” (“Cai” in Mandarin pinyin), please remember to pronounce it as “Tsai” rather than “Kai” or “Sai”.

Your participation is important to us. You are more than welcome to share with us your experiences in learning Mandarin Pinyin.

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