We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip main navigation

Initials Ⅲ-2

Initials Ⅲ-2
9.5
Nǐhǎo, Zhū lǎoshī. Nǐhǎo. Last lesson, we learned zh, ch, sh, and r.
17.5
r, not re, r. r. OK, very difficult. So, so far, we’ve learned four of seven. So what are the final three? The next three is z, c, s.
35
These three initials are pronounced slightly further forward in your mouth than zh, ch, sh, r.
43.4
They require coordination between the tongue tip and the inside of the upper teeth. First, s. That sounds like “s” in the English word student. Yes. s. s. s. It’s raining outside. Do you have an umbrella? No, I don’t. So you need the Chinese word sǎn, s-an- sǎn.
74.8
sǎn. But what does that mean? Umbrella. sǎn.
83.4
z, your tongue tip should initially touch the inside of the upper teeth. z. z, it kind of sounds like when you get electrocuted by something, z. Yes. z. For example, zǒu, z-ou-zǒu, means to go or to walk. I have an umbrella. You can go with me. Hǎo, wǒmen zǒu.
113.9
c, the airflow here is stronger than z. Ah. And the mouth shape is the same as when you say z. Yes. c. c. For example, cài, c-ai- cài, vegetables. I like vegetables. Wǒ ài chī ròu, nǐ ài chī cài.
138.9
Good. You can speak Chinese now. So how about read these initials one more time? No problem. z, c, s.
152.9
s. s. Yes, z, c, s. Now, let’s practice some syllables. S an sān, three. Z anɡ zānɡ, dirty. S e sè, color. Sīchóu, silk.
175.5
Here, sī the same as zhī we learned before. It is a special final used after z, c, s. You also just read the initial and the tone. Here, I’ll give you some more examples. Sì, cí.
195.2
Wow. A lot of what we learned today is totally different than it is in English. Well, yes and no. Some sounds exist in both languages, such as s. But some things are totally new for me, such as the pronunciation of [CHINESE].. And some of it’s even confusing, like the pronunciation for “c” is different compared to English, which would be /k/. Oh, don’t worry. Just practice more. We’ll go over these sounds later. See you next time.
Compared to zh, ch, sh, the sound z, c, s are pronounced slightly further forward in your mouth These require coordination between the tongue tip and the inside of the upper teeth.
s, sounds like “s” in the English word “student”. For example, sǎn — umbrella.
z, the tip of your tongue should initially touch the inside of the upper teeth. It almost sounds like when you are electrocuted by something. For example, zǒu — to go or to walk.
c, the airflow is stronger than z and the mouth shape is the same as when you say z. For example, cài — vegetables.
Words for practicing:
  • sān — three,zānɡ — dirty,sè — color,sīchóu — silk
  • , is the same as zhī as we learned before. -i is a special final used after z, c, s. You also just read the initial and the tone.
We have now learned all the initials in Chinese Pinyin. Some of them are quite easy and there may be sounds similarly pronounced in your language, but some are not so similar and may be difficult for you. How do you feel? Which are the most difficult initials for you? Give us some comments!
This article is from the free online

Introduction to Chinese: Pronunciation and Tone

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education