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How to pronounce [ɑ]/[e]/[i] in Chinese Pinyin

How to pronounce [ɑ]:

      a

Open your mouth wide and relax your tongue in its lowest place. The sound of [ɑ] is pronounced like “ah” in English, as the sound you might make when the doctor examines your tonsils.

How to pronounce [e]:

      e

Open your mouth half but unrounded; put your tongue in a mid-high position and slightly rearward. The sound of [e] sounds like the “e” in English the word “her”.

How to pronounce [i]:

      i

Narrow your mouth and pull your lips back; put your tongue in a high position and slightly towards the front without touching the hard palate. The sound of [i] is similar to the “ea” in the English word “weak”.

The Similarity:

[ɑ] [e] and [i] are the most basic finals among Chinese Pinyin besides [o] [u] and [ü] which will be covered below.

Lips’ shape: [ɑ] [e] and [i] are all unrounded.

The Differences:

  1. The opening of mouth is getting smaller in this order: [ɑ]>[e]>[i].
  2. The height of tongue is getting lower in this order: [i]>[e]>[ɑ].
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