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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,[lower-alpha 1] 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[lower-alpha 2] 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,[lower-alpha 1] 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-[lower-alpha 3] 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,[lower-alpha 4] eng ên, êng ㄣ,ㄥ 本,冷 atop
ɚ er êrh 二,兒(儿) fern [lower-alpha 5]
ɤ e ê / o[lower-alpha 6] between boot and but
i yi/-i city
o wo/-uo[lower-alpha 7] o[lower-alpha 8] go, but without lip rounding
ɻ̩ zhi, chi, shi, ri ih [lower-alpha 9] 之,吃,師(师),日 Below, but retroflex.[lower-alpha 10]
ɹ̩ zi, ci, si ŭ 子,次,私 roses, cousin
u wu/-u cool
ʊ -ong -ung ㄨㄥ,ㄩㄥ 冬,用 book
y yu/-ü[lower-alpha 3] yü/-ü beet, but with the lips rounded as for boot.
ai ai time
au ao somewhat like out
ei ei[lower-alpha 4] face
ou ou[lower-alpha 4] 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. 1.0 1.1 [ɕ, tɕ, tɕʰ] are always followed by [i] [j], [y], or [ɥ].
  2. Also transcribed as ɻ in some literature.
  3. 3.0 3.1 ü (/y/) is spelled u after j, q, x in pinyin since /u/ cannot occur after them.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 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