Pinyin (拼音)

Before we start a real lesson, let’s get to know about Pinyin first.

What is Pinyin?

Pinyin is a system of romanization (phonemic notation and transcription to Roman script) for Standard Mandarin, where pin means “spell” and yin means “sound”.

The most common variant of pinyin in use is called Hanyu Pinyin (汉语拼音 Hànyǔ Pīnyīn). Hanyu Pinyin was approved in 1958 and adopted in 1979 by the government in the People’s Republic of China. It superseded older romanization systems such as Wade-Giles (1859; modified 1892) and Postal System Pinyin, and replaced Zhuyin as the method of Chinese phonetic instruction in mainland China. Hanyu Pinyin was adopted in 1979 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as the standard romanization for modern Chinese (ISO-7098:1991). It has also been accepted by the Government of Singapore, the Library of Congress, the American Library Association, and many other international institutions. Hanyu Pinyin has also become a useful tool for entering Chinese language text into computers.

Why do we need to know Pinyin?

The Chinese Pinyin is a system for transliterating Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet, which is similar to annotating English pronunciations with the International Phonetic Alphabet. The Chinese Pinyin is pretty easy. By letting Roman characters refer to specific Chinese sounds, pinyin produces a compact and accurate romanization, which is convenient for native Chinese speakers and scholars. However, it also means that a person who has not studied Chinese or the pinyin system is likely to severely mispronounce words. Therefore, once you have mastered Pinyin, you will be able to master the pronunciation of Chinese characters on your own.

Pinyin Section List:

The following list will show you details of Chinese Pinyin