Pinyin is formally called hanyu pinyin, including 21 initials, 36 finals and 4 tones. Hanyu means the Chinese language, Pin means ‘spell’ and Yin means ‘sound’. Pinyin is a way to represent Chinese characters and express the sounds in the Chinese language using the alphabet. It spells the sound and indicates tone marks to give the correct pronunciation.
Unlike in European languages, a Chinese character has only one syllable, which consists of two parts: an initial (consonant) and a final (vowel). The initial consonants always appear initially in a syllable, while final vowels are all possible combinations of medials, the nucleus vowel, and coda.
To learn initials click picture below:
To learn finals click picture below:
To learn 4 tones click picture below:
To watch Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation videos CLICK HERE.
For other self-directed learning, you can learn 100 most common Chinese characters with 40 common phrases in flash. Or, you can download 2500 Chinese characters flash, and learn at ease through 10 interactive Chinese movies, with active participation in watching, listening, speaking, reading, and even writing simultaneously.