Zhuyin & Pinyin

注音 拼音

Zhuyin & Pinyin

As I’ve said before, Zhuyin (a.k.a. Bopomofo) is the best phonetic system for learning Chinese pronunciation.  As a beginner, you are best off trying to get to where you “think in Zhuyin”.

That said, Pinyin has its uses too.  Street signs across Asia are slowly adopting Pinyin as the standard, and knowing how to read it can save you the trouble of looking up all those characters your dictionary (although a serious student should probably do so…unless that student is driving at the time!).  As Pinyin is the phonetic system taught to everyone in China, it can be useful when communicating with Chinese people via handwritten notes; or if a Chinese person is helping you pronounce a new word.  And you never know when you might run into another student of Chinese; who needs your help, but only knows Pinyin!

Studying with Flashcards Deluxe

The flashcard set in this lesson should be useful for two types of students.  Firstly, for students who have mastered Zhuyin, and want to learn Pinyin; so they can read romanized street signs, talk pronunciation with Pinyin users, and so on.  Secondly, for students who, like me, learned Pinyin first, and want to learn Zhuyin as a way of improving their pronunciation.

They’re also good for testing your Zhuyin-to-Pinyin translation skills.  You might even learn a few things about both systems that you didn’t know before!

The flashcard set in this lesson is called DLB Chinese Topics: Zhuyin & Pinyin, and can be found in the Flashcards Deluxe Shared Library.  It includes all the possible sound combinations in Chinese, represented by both Zhuyin and Pinyin characters.  It does not include the different tones.