From Wikipedia

The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Standard Mandarin pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see {{ IPA-cmn}}, {{ IPAc-cmn}} and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

See Standard Chinese phonology for more detail on the sounds of Mandarin Chinese.

IPA Pinyin Wade–Giles Bopomofo Chinese Example English approximation
ɕ x hs About this sound 晓/曉/xiǎo sheep, [a] but more y-like
f f About this sound 非/fēi fan
j y-/-i- About this sound 牙/yá yes
k g k About this sound 干/gān skin
k k' About this sound 口/kǒu kin
l l About this sound 来/來/lái leaf
m m About this sound 明/míng moon
n n ㄋ,ㄣ,ㄢ About this sound 泥/ní noon
ŋ -ng ㄥ,ㄤ About this sound 江/jiāng song
p b p About this sound 帮/幫/bāng span
p p' About this sound 滂/páng pan
ʐ [b] r- j About this sound 日/rì pleasure, but with tongue curled or pulled back
s s About this sound 私/sī same
ʂ sh About this sound 矢/shǐ show, but without lip rounding and with tongue curled or pulled back
t d t About this sound 端/duān stop
t t' About this sound 透/tòu top
j ch About this sound 叫/jiào cheap, [a] but more y-like (without lip rounding)
tɕʰ q ch' About this sound 去/qù Above, but with a strong burst of breath (aspiration)
ts z ts About this sound 子/zǐ outset
tsʰ c ts' About this sound 此/cǐ let's help
ʈʂ zh ch About this sound 之/zhī cheer, but without lip rounding with tongue curled or pulled back
ʈʂʰ ch ch' About this sound 吃/chī Above, but with a strong burst of breath (aspiration)
w w-/-u- About this sound 我/wǒ water
x h About this sound 火/huǒ loch (Scottish English)
ɥ yu-/-ü- [c] yü-/-ü- About this sound 月/yuè between wet and yet
IPA Pinyin Wade–Giles Bopomofo Chinese Example English approximation
a a ㄚ,ㄢ,ㄤ 阿,安,盎 car
er êrh 二,兒(儿)
ɛ~ æ yan/-ian yen/-ien ㄧㄢ set or sat
yuan/-üan ㄩㄢ
e ye/-ie, yue/-üe eh 也,月 hey
ə en, [d] eng ên, êng ㄣ,ㄥ 本,冷 atop
ɚ er êrh 二,兒(儿) fern [e]
ɤ e ê / o [f] between boot and but
i yi/-i city
o wo/-uo [g] o [h] boy
ɻ̩ zhi, chi, shi, ri ih [i] 之,吃,師(师),日 Below, but retroflex. [j]
ɹ̩ zi, ci, si ŭ 子,次,私 roses, bzz
u wu/-u cool
ʊ -ong -ung ㄨㄥ,ㄩㄥ 冬,用 book
y yu/-ü [c] yü/-ü beet, but with the lips rounded as for boot.
ai ai time
au ao somewhat like out
ei ei [d] face
ou ou [d] 歐(欧) show
IPA Pinyin Wade–Giles Bopomofo Chinese Example Tone number Description
á ā a1 About this sound 巴/bā tone 1 high level [˥]
ǎ á a2 ㄚˊ About this sound 拔/bá tone 2 mid rising [˧˥]
à ǎ a3 ㄚˇ About this sound 把/bǎ tone 3 medially, low [˩]; initially, mid falling [˧˩]; finally, low rising [˩˧]; in isolation, dipping [˧˩˧]
â à a4 ㄚˋ About this sound 爸/bà tone 4 high falling [˥˩]
a a a0 ˙ㄚ About this sound 吧/ba tone 0 or 5
mid [˧] after all tones but 4, where it is low [˩]
Note: Pinyin uses the same diacritics as IPA but with different values.


  1. ^ a b [ɕ, tɕ, tɕʰ] are always followed by [i] [j], [y], or [ɥ].
  2. ^ Also transcribed as ɻ in some literature.
  3. ^ a b ü (/ y/) is spelled u after j, q, x in pinyin since / u/ cannot occur after them.
  4. ^ a b c wei, you/yu, wen/wên are spelled respectively ui, iu, un in Pinyin and Wade-Giles but are pronounced identically when they are preceded by a consonant.
  5. ^ The rhotic vowel also appears in erhua.
  6. ^ This sound is spelled ⟨o⟩ after ⟨k, k', h⟩ in Wade-Giles.
  7. ^ This sound is spelled ⟨o⟩ after ⟨b, p, m, f⟩ in Pinyin.
  8. ^ ㄨㄛ is spelled as ⟨o⟩, except for ⟨k, k', h, sh⟩ (as ⟨kuo, k'uo, huo, shuo⟩) in Wade-Giles.
  9. ^ This symbol is rarely used and usually omitted during writing.
  10. ^ Voiced continuants (also transcribed [ɨ, ɯ] or [ʐ̩, z̩]) reflecting the character of the preceding consonant[ clarification needed]


  • Duanmu, San (2007). The Phonology of Standard Chinese (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Lee, Wai-Sum; Zee, Eric (2003). "Standard Chinese (Beijing)" (PDF). Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 33 (1): 109–112. doi: 10.1017/S0025100303001208.
  • Lin, Yen-Hwei (2007). The Sounds of Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

External links