Chinese Pinyin System: initial, final and tone
This site contains animated libraries of the phonetic sounds of Chinese Mandarin Pinyin. Available for each initial and final is an Animated Articulatory Diagram, a step-by-step description and video-audio of the sound spoken in context.
The China government approved the Chinese pinyin (hanyu pinyin) in 1958 and adopted in 1979. It superseded older Romanization systems such as Wade-Giles (1859; modified 1892) and Postal System Pinyin, and replaced Zhuyin as the method of Chinese phonetic instruction in mainland China. Chinese pinyin (hanyu pinyin) was adopted in 1979 by the ISO as the standard Romanization for modern Chinese (ISO-7098:1991). It has also been accepted by the Government of Singapore, the Library of Congress, the American Library Association, and many other international institutions. It has also become a useful tool for entering Chinese language text into computers.
Chinese Hanyu Pinyin is a Romanization and not an Anglicization; that is, it uses Roman letters to represent sounds in Standard Mandarin. The way these letters represent sounds in Standard Mandarin will differ from how other languages that use the Roman alphabet represent sound. For example, the sounds indicated in pinyin by b and g corresponds more closely to the sounds indicated by p and k in Western use of the Latin script. Other letters like j, q, x or zh indicate sounds that do not correspond to any exact sound in English. Some of the transcriptions in pinyin, such as the ang ending, do not correspond to English pronunciations, either.
By letting Roman characters refer to specific Chinese sounds, Chinese pinyin produces a compact and accurate Romanization, which is convenient for native Chinese speakers and scholars. However, it also means that a person who has not studied Chinese or the pinyin system is likely to severely mispronounce words, which is a less serious problem with some earlier Romanization systems such as Wade-Giles.