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How to pronounce [j]/[q]/[x] in Chinese Pinyin

How to pronounce [j]:

      j

Press the tip of your tongue against the back of lower teeth, raise the front of your tongue to contact hard palate and then squeeze the airflow out through the passage thus made without vibration of the vocal cord. The sound of [j] sounds kind of like “j” in English word “jeep”.

How to pronounce [q]:

      q

The position of articulation is the same as that of [j] but it requires strong aspiration without vibration of the vocal cord. The sound of [q] kind of sounds like “ch” in English word “cheat”.

How to pronounce [x]:

      x

Put the tip of your tongue against the back of the lower teeth, raise the front of your tongue near the hard palate and then squeeze the airflow out without vibration of the vocal cord. The sound of [x] kind of sounds like the “sh” in the English word “sheep”.

The Similarities:

1. [j] [q] [x] are all voiceless initials.

2. Finals: [j] [q] [x] can only be combined with “i”, “ü” or compounds made by them.

3. When “ü” is combined with [j] [q] [x], the two dots should be omitted.

The Differences:

1. Articulation: [j] [q] are palatal affricate while [x] is palatal fricative.

2. Aspiration: [j]<[x]<[q] [j] is unaspirated while [q] is aspirated. The amount of air released by [x] is in between [j] and [q].

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