Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mandarin Chinese ---Lesson 1 (Introduction)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to Baixue’s Chinese language learning program. 

Please let me introduce myself.

(Hi, I am Bai Xue. Nice to meet you!)

I don’t know how you think about learning Chinese language. Many of my American friends said that learning Chinese language is very difficult and confusing. But just like an old saying says:”You can eat a whole elephant, one bite at a time.” Well, you can do the same thing with Chinese language learning.

The first two bites we are going to take for learning Chinese language are pinyin which includes Consonants and Vowels and tone which has four types.

Pinyin and tone are the two basic and also the most important components of Chinese mandarin pronunciation. Chinese language learning is all about pronunciation. So at the beginning of Chinese language learning, we are going to learn Pinyin and tone. We still have to take one bite at a time. That is why we need 8-9 lessons to finish the learning of Pinyin and Tone.

What will happen after Pinyin and Tone learning?

After learning Pinyin and tone, Chinese language is no longer difficult and confusing and you will be ready to learn words, sentences, reading and anything else you want to learn. Isn’t it cool?

Ok, let’s begin with Pinyin now.

What is Pinyin? Pinyin, short for Hanyu Pinyin, is the official phonetic system for pronouncing standard Chinese Mandarin Characters.

Pīn   Yīn   Spell,  Sound

Pinyin is often used to teach Standard Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and may be used as an input method to enter Chinese characters (汉字; hanzi) into computers. (from:

Why do you need Pinyin(拼音)?

For example, you don’t have any idea how to pronounce the following characters from what they look like.

You    Good

If I put Pinyin for them, you will know how to pronounce them. That is why you need Pinyin for help.

 nǐ   hǎo

Before we start learning, there are two things you need to know about Pinyin.

First, Pinyin is not English.

I know that from the Pinyin table, you know all of the letters in the table. But they are totally different from how you read in English.

For example: How do you pronounce the following Chinese characters?

My name is:   bái  xuě (white  snow)     
          zǎo  shàng  hǎo (early,above,good)
                                   好 (good morning)

Second, Chinese character has only 1 syllable. 
And each syllable has three parts. For example:

nǐ ()         Initial (n)+Final (i)+ Tone(v)
hǎo (好): Initial (h)+Final (ao)+ Tone(v)

Initial is consonant and Final is vowel.

Ok, let move on to tone. I will only explain the definition of tone today. We will learn the details of tone in our later class.

All right, Tone. There are four types of tones in Chinese language.

Why are tones so important?

Different tones with the same syllable can have different characters and different meanings. Let me give you an example:
Mā with the first tone is which means mother; má with the second tone is which means hemp; mǎ with the third tone is which means horse; mà with the fourth tone is which means scold. 

Ok, more examples of tone can really tell why tones are really so important in Chinese language learning.

More examples of Tones

  1.  wǒ   kě   yǐ   wèn  nǐ   yī   xìa  ma?
            Can I ask you a question?

 wǒ   kě   yǐ   wěn  nǐ   yī   xìa  ma?
           Can I kiss you?

  2.  xiǎo  jǐe, shuǐ  jiǎo  yī  wǎn  duō  shǎo  qián?
    How much is it for a portion of dumplings?

     xiǎo  jǐe,  shuì  jiào  yī  wǎn  duō  shǎo  qián?
     How much it will be if I sleep with you for one night?

Isn’t it funny?

How are you feeling now about the Chinese learning?
  Still confusing?
   Freak out?

When you get used to Pinyin and tones, you will learn Chinese language very fast. Trust me.

That is all for today! We will learn consonants and vowels in our next class.

  xìe    xìe (Thanks!)

  zài  jiàn  (Bye! Or See you next time!)


  1. Very thank you. I appreciate your class and your advice :)