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Pinyin: Part A - Spelling Changes 
2nd-Feb-2007 06:12 pm
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When the finals i, u, ϋ (and any compound using i, u, ϋ, such as ia, uang, ϋan) are not preceded by an initial, they are called semi-vowels, which means they actually function as initials. In these cases, their spelling changes as shown:

change "i" to "y" when "i" is at the initial position
change "u" to "w" when "u" is at the initial position
change "ϋ" to "yu" when "ϋ" is at the initial position
change "i" to "yi" when "i" is by itself
change "u" to "wu" when "u" is by itself

*Listen

Final Spelling Change English Sound
-i yi ee
-ia ya ee-ah (said as one syllable)
-ian yan ee-en (said as one syllable)
-iang yang ee-ahng
-iao yao ee-ow (said as one syllable)
-ie ye ee-eh (said as one syllable), "i" is shorter and softer than "e"
-in yin een
-ing ying ing
-iong yong ee-ong (said as one syllable)
-iu yu e-o (said as one syllable)
-u wu oo
-ua wa wah
-uai wai wai
-uan wan wahn
-uang wang wahng
-ueng weng oo-ung
-ui wei way
-un wen wun
-uo wo no English equivalent, similar to Chinese "-o"; wore (begin with lips puckered out; end with lips apart); woman
yu like French "eu" or German "ϋ", no English equivalent; used only after "n" or "I"
- ϋan yuan "y" as in Yvonne plus "e" no English Equivalent
- ϋe yue weh, oo-eh (said like one syllable); "y" as in Yvonne plus "an"; no English equivalent
- ϋn yun "y" as in Yvonne plus "n"; no English equivalent


Spelling Changes of the Final ϋ

When ϋ follows j-, q-, or x- in a syllable, it changes to u, as in these examples:

jϋ ----> juan       jue       jun
qϋ ----> quan     que     qun
xϋ ----> xuan     xue     xun

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