Learn Mandarin Chinese - Lesson 2 (Vowels)
Single vowels, diphthongs, semivowels, and some vowel irregularities.

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║ Sections


Section 1 - 0:36 - Vowels

Section 2 - 3:17 - Dipthongs

Section 3 - 5:27 - Semi-Vowels

Section 4 - 8:28 - Vowel Irregularities

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║ Credits


Producer - Fame Ketover

Writers - John Harvey, Lucille Barale, Roberta Barry, Thomas Madden, Susan Pola

Script Supervisor - Fame Ketover

Chinese Speakers - Chuan Chao, Ying-chih Chen, Hsiao-jung Chen, Eva Diao, Jan Hu, Tsung-mi Li, Yunhui Yang

Original Music - Fame Ketover

Editor - Fame Ketover

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Stock Imagery - Wikimedia Commons, Shutterstock

║ Lesson Transcript


Full transcript ► http://lenguin.com/learn/chinese/vowels/video-transcript

Hi, I'm Fame Ketover of Lenguin.com, and this is Mandarin Chinese. Open up and say "ah" because today we're going to be talking about vowel sounds.

The vowel sounds of Chinese all have approximate equivalents in English. We're going to go through some Chinese surnames to practice the sounds. Let's start, listen to the vowel sound.

Notice that even though its spelled the same, this does not sound much like the English vowel we use for "Hong Kong". It sounds more like the short double-o vowel in "hook". About the only word with this sound spelled with a single O in English is "woman". Try repeating.

Now we're going to check out some diphthongs or vowel combinations. Listen to this surname.

Up until this point, we've treated the sound spelled W and Y as if they were regular consonants. But phonetically, they're shorted vowels, or semivowels, which glide into the full vowel of the syllable. They're so close to being vowels that when a semivowel is followed by a vowel, with the same articulation, it might be difficult to hear any transition. The syllable written WU may sound like "u" and the syllable written YI may sound like "i". Semivowels may follow consonants, and when they do, the Pinyin system writes them with the equivalent vowel letter: U instead of W, and I instead of Y. Listen to the speaker read the rows of surnames in this display.

After the semivowel written Y or I, the letter E has the same sound value as in English "yet", rather than the sound value "e", which it has alone. This is the same sound value it has in the diphthong "ei", EI. Try repeating these three surnames after the speaker.

ONG is pronounced "ong" but after the semivowel written W or U, the letter O stands for another vowel sound. The combination WO or UO is pronounced rather like the beginning of the English word "wall". Try repeating after the speaker.