Chinese Pinyin is romanization of Chinese "written sound". Romanization approximates Mandarin pronunciation with Western spellings and includes a tone mark to signify pitch of a word.
Just like alphabet A - Z to English, Pinyin provides a phonetic alphabet for Chinese and is taught from Grade 1 in Chinese elementary schools. It is a fundamental tool used for learning spelling of Chinese characters throughout Chinese language study.
Pinyin is used by most modern Chinese dictionaries to denote pronunciation of characters. It is also an efficient input method in Chinese computer software, which is natively supported by Microsoft Windows OS.
After mastering Pinyin, you can easily read Chinese books with Pinyin marked, learn Chinese characters by looking in dictionary, or input Chinese characters into your computer, it will take your Chinese study to a higher level.
25 out of 26 English alphabet letters are used in Pinyin. Letter 'v' is not used, while letter ' ü ' is added to represent vowel sound of 'yu'.
Pinyin includes consonants and vowel letters.
1. Consonant letters
There are 20 consonant letters use in Mandarin (three consonants are represented by combinations of two letters - 'zh', 'ch' and 'sh'), they are:
b, p, m, f, d, t, n, l, g, k, h, j, q, x, z, c, s, zh, ch, sh, r, y, w
2. Vowel letters
There are 6 vowel letters used in Mandarin:
a, o, e, i, u, ü
Syllables are composed by consonants, vowels and tone.