chapter  1
Overview of pronunciation and Pinyin romanization
Pages 3

The syllable in Mandarin Chinese can be made up of three parts: an initial consonant, a final, and a tone. For example, the syllable má 麻 is made up of the initial m, the final a, and the rising tone [ ˊ ]. Syllables need not have an initial consonant. The syllable è 饿/餓 is made up of the final e and the falling tone [ ˋ ]. In addition, a syllable may lack a tone. Syllables that do not have a tone are referred to as having neutral tone. This section presents a brief overview of the initials, finals, and tones of Mandarin. Initials and finals are presented in Pinyin romanization. For a guide to their pronunciation, please consult a beginning level Mandarin textbook.