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Break Through Chinese Pronunciation 14 – ‘i’ sounds

 

Hi everybody this is Chris, for part 14 of Break Through Chinese Pronunciation, the video series that helps you to tune up your Mandarin Chinese pronunciation and tones.

In this video we’re looking at the ‘i’ sound in Mandarin Chinese, which can actually represent two different sounds, so we’ll look at them separately.

The first sound it can represent sounds quite like an -ee sound in English.

Yi – 一 yī – one
Bi – 笔 bǐ – pen / brush
Pi – 皮肤 pífū – skin
Mi – 米饭 mǐfàn – rice
Di – 弟弟 dìdi – younger brother
Ti – 踢足球 tī zúqiú – to play football (soccer)
Ni – 你好 nǐhǎo – hello
Li – 力量 lìliàng – force
Ji – 鸡蛋 jīdàn – egg
Qi – 生气 shēngqì – to get angry
Xi – 学习 xuéxí – to study

Repeat after the video, to hear the most accurate representation of the sounds.

The ‘i’ in Pinyin can also represent a second sound, which doesn’t exist in English, so it’s a bit difficult for English speakers to get. I’ll explain to you roughly how it’s pronounced, but the best thing to do is to continue to listen to it and practise and then try to improve or get feedback from native speakers.

This second ‘i’ sound is fairly similar to the beginning of the word ‘shirt’, if you were saying it in an American accent, but cutting off the word before you get to the ‘r’ sound. It’s not exactly the same, but this should give you a good guide. Try to copy the sounds in the video as accurately as you can, and keep practising it!

Shi – 但是 dànshì – but
Zhi – 知道 zhīdào – to know
Chi – 吃饭 chī fàn – to eat (rice)
Ri – 星期日 xīngqīrì – Sunday

Zi – 资源 zīyuán – resources
Ci – 两次 liǎngcì – twice
Si – 思想 sīxiǎng – thoughts / thinking