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Break Through Chinese Pronunciation 6 – The u sounds in Chinese

Hi everybody this is Chris for video 6 of Break Through Chinese Pronunciation from Fluent in Mandarin.com, the video series that helps you to perfect your Chinese pronunciation and tones.

In this video we’re going to be looking at the u sound in Mandarin Chinese. You’ll find that there are actually two u sounds in Mandarin.

The u in pinyin is similar to the oo in fool in English. When you say it you push your lips forward and they make a round shape.

The second type of u sound is written with two dots on the top. If you’re typing pinyin, you use a ‘v’ to type it, and it’s a bit similar to the u in French, or the u in ‘huge’. Your lips should be tightly pursed up, not in a round shape like for the first u sound.

And one important thing to be aware of – when a ‘u’ comes after the letters J, X, Q and Y in Pinyin, it becomes the second type of u sound, not the ‘oo’ in fool. You’ll hear how this works in the video.

Bu – 不 bù – not
我不知道 wǒ bù zhīdào – I don’t know
Fu – 付钱 fùqián – to pay
Shu – 书 shū – a book
Zhu – 猪 zhū – pig
Du – 赌博 dǔbó – to gamble
Nu – 愤怒 fènnù – angry
Nü – 女 nǚhái – a girl
Lu – 马路 mǎlù – road
Lü – 法律 fǎlǜ – law
Ju – 剧场 jùchǎng – theatre
Xu – 需要 xūyào – to need
Qu – 有趣 yǒuqù – interesting
Yu – 下雨 xiàyǔ – to rain