pronounce Chinese characters by pinyin

  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    You haven't underlined anything, but, no, it's not clear what you mean. You pronounce things by speaking not by writing in a different form.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It sounds like a strange question. If the hearer already knows about pinyin as a system of romanising Chinese characters, it seems unnecessarily wordy. I would just say 'Are you familiar with pinyin?' or, to be more specific, 'Are you able to read out a text written in pinyin?'
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I'd say 'in pinyin' or perhaps 'with pinyin'. This text is written in English / French / pinyin / hiragana / Canadian syllabics / a secret code.
     

    S.Tan

    Member
    English (British) & Chinese/Hokkien
    Firstly, there is no such a thing called "to pronounce Chinese in pinyin".
    (there is no such saying <-----Chinese characters removed by moderator (Florentia52)-----> in Chinese either)

    Pinyin is a romanised written form of Chinese language (for learners' ease of understanding characters' pronunciations in Mandarin); Mandarin is a variety of spoken Chinese.

    You should either say "pronounce these Chinese characters in Mandarin/Cantonese/Hokkien (or whatever that variety is)", or "write these Chinese characters in pinyin", because pinyin is a system through which Chinese characters are romanised according to their Mandarin pronunciations.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Firstly, there is no such a thing called "to pronounce Chinese in pinyin".
    (there is no such saying <...>" in Chinese either)
    What do you mean by this?

    Pinyin is a romanised written form of Chinese language (for learners' ease of understanding characters' pronunciations in Mandarin); Mandarin is a variety of spoken Chinese.

    You should either say "pronounce these Chinese characters in Mandarin/Cantonese/Hokkien (or whatever that variety is)", or "write these Chinese characters in pinyin", because pinyin is a system through which Chinese characters are romanised according to their Mandarin pronunciations.
    I think most Chinese consider pronounce Chinese in Mandarin. There is no need to specify in most cases. However if we don't use pinyin to pronounce Chinese. There is actually no way for use to pronounce since almost all Chinese will learn pinyin in elementary school. The kids without knowing it in China would be considered illiterate. I may misunderstand you. I hope you can explain it a bit.:D
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    "Pinyin, or Hanyu Pinyin, is the official phonetic system for transcribing* the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet in mainland China, Taiwan[1] and Singapore." So Pinyin tells you how to pronounce Chinese when it has been written using Roman letters. SO the OP's question "Do you know how to pronounce Chinese characters by pinyin." means "When you read Chinese words written in Pinyin, can you pronounce them like the Chinese do (at least Mandarin speakers)?"

    (For me, Pinyin is not helpful because many of the letters mean something different - either slightly or very - from what they (usually) do in English. I would have to learn Pinyin pronunciation just like someone in China would, but I could type it more easily:D:D)

    *Pinyin is a system of writing in Roman letters where each letter has a specific phonetic value. Those phonetic values are from the original (Mandarin) language.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "Pinyin, or Hanyu Pinyin, is the official phonetic system for transcribing* the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet in mainland China, Taiwan[1] and Singapore." So Pinyin tells you how to pronounce Chinese when it has been written using Roman letters. SO the OP's question "Do you know how to pronounce Chinese characters by pinyin." means "When you read Chinese words written in Pinyin, can you pronounce them like the Chinese do (at least Mandarin speakers)?"

    (For me, Pinyin is not helpful because many of the letters mean something different - either slightly or very - from what they (usually) do in English. I would have to learn Pinyin pronunciation just like someone in China would, but I could type it more easily:D:D)

    *Pinyin is a system of writing in Roman letters where each letter has a specific phonetic value. Those phonetic values are from the original (Mandarin) language.
    Yes. You can type easily if you know pinyin. And you can speak in right tone and pronounce it well.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Yes. You can type easily if you know pinyin. And you can speak in right tone and pronounce it well.
    No, I can't pronounce it because the Roman letters are often as unknown as the original Chinese characters! For a Chinese person who knows pinyin, pronunciation would be easy.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Do you know how to pronounce Chinese characters by pinyin."
    Everyone: Pinyin is a phonetic spelling for Mandarin that uses the English alphabet, but NOT the English pronunciation of those symbols. I am learning it now, using on-line voice resources to learn the right pronunciation. It is official in China, very standardized, and widely used. It is the standard way of typing Chinese on computers, both in China and abroad.

    Sun14: "pronounce Chinese character by pinyin" has a couple problems. You pronounce Chinese words, not Chinese characters. And the "by" is unclear because it is too far from the "know" it refers to: "do you know...by pinyin?". "using" works better than "by".

    Here is what I think you mean, with a couple different options in parentheses:

    "Do you use (Do you know how to use) pinyin to know (to get, to learn) the pronunciation for Chinese characters?"
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Everyone: Pinyin is a phonetic spelling for Mandarin that uses the English alphabet, but NOT the English pronunciation of those symbols. I am learning it now, using on-line voice resources to learn the right pronunciation. It is official in China, very standardized, and widely used. It is the standard way of typing Chinese on computers, both in China and abroad.

    Sun14: "pronounce Chinese character by pinyin" has a couple problems. You pronounce Chinese words, not Chinese characters. And the "by" is unclear because it is too far from the "know" it refers to: "do you know...by pinyin?". "using" works better than "by".

    Here is what I think you mean, with a couple different options in parentheses:

    "Do you use (Do you know how to use) pinyin to know (to get, to learn) the pronunciation for Chinese characters?"
    It seems that I don't understand the precious replies.

    What do you mean by

    1) Pinyin is a phonetic spelling for Mandarin that uses the English alphabet, but NOT the English pronunciation of those symbols.

    2) You pronounce Chinese words, not Chinese characters.

    Do you mind using some example to explain it. Thank you.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    1) Pinyin is a phonetic spelling for Mandarin that uses the English alphabet, but NOT the English pronunciation of those symbols.
    Do you mind using some example to explain it. Thank you.
    I mean the creators of pinyin used AE alphabet to handle all chinese sounds. Sometimes that meant using a letter different than AE uses it.

    In AE, MEN rhyhmes with "when", but pinyin MEN rhymes with "bun".
    In AE, X has sound "ks", but pinyin X has sound "sh".
    In AE, Q has sound "k" or "kw", but pinyin Q has sound "ch"
    In AE, YOU has sound "yoo = yu = yew", but pinyin YOU has sound "yo"

    In AE, C has sound "s" or "k", but in pinyin C has sound "ts"
    In AE, Z has sound "z", but pinyin Z has sound "dz"
    In AE, ZH has sound "zh" (voiced sh) but pinyin ZH has sound "j" (voiced "ch")

    There are many others. For AE to learn to "read" pinyin (pronounce words written in pinyin) is like AE learning a European language, where many letters make different sounds than in AE. This is what I am learning now.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    What do you mean by

    2) You pronounce Chinese words, not Chinese characters.

    Do you mind using some example to explain it. Thank you.
    Chinese character (or AE spelling) are ink on paper. Chinese words are sounds. What we "pronounce" is sounds, not ink shapes.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I mean the creators of pinyin used AE alphabet to handle all chinese sounds. Sometimes that meant using a letter different than AE uses it.

    In AE, MEN rhyhmes with "when", but pinyin MEN rhymes with "bun".
    In AE, X has sound "ks", but pinyin X has sound "sh".
    In AE, Q has sound "k" or "kw", but pinyin Q has sound "ch"
    In AE, YOU has sound "yoo = yu = yew", but pinyin YOU has sound "yo"

    In AE, C has sound "s" or "k", but in pinyin C has sound "ts"
    In AE, Z has sound "z", but pinyin Z has sound "dz"
    In AE, ZH has sound "zh" (voiced sh) but pinyin ZH has sound "j" (voiced "ch")

    There are many others. For AE to learn to "read" pinyin (pronounce words written in pinyin) is like AE learning a European language, where many letters make different sounds than in AE. This is what I am learning now.
    Thank you very much.

    Chinese character (or AE spelling) are ink on paper. Chinese words are sounds. What we "pronounce" is sounds, not ink shapes.
    Do you mean it is not idiomatic to say:

    Look at the shopping list written in Chinese characters. Do you know to pronounce them?
     

    S.Tan

    Member
    English (British) & Chinese/Hokkien
    What do you mean by this?



    I think most Chinese consider pronounce Chinese in Mandarin. There is no need to specify in most cases. However if we don't use pinyin to pronounce Chinese. There is actually no way for use to pronounce since almost all Chinese will learn pinyin in elementary school. The kids without knowing it in China would be considered illiterate. I may misunderstand you. I hope you can explain it a bit.:D
    Glad you ask. It is blurred for many Mandarin learners (and speakers) that Chinese is not spoken in only one way.

    For most people in Hong Kong, Chinese is pronounced in Cantonese, and we you yuet-pin to romanise characters (largely seen in Hong Kong Island). You will be familiar with this if you live in Hong Kong for a longer period of time. For example, 油麻地 is never romanised as You Ma Di whereas Yau Ma Tei is used; we type "yap-ging-chyu" for 入境處 (instead of "Ru Jing Chu") using yuet-pin system.
    Similar for Hokkien/Taiwanese, in which 吳 is romanised Goh (in Hokkien) rather than Wu (in Mandarin).

    However, it is considered correct that most CFL (Chinese as a foreign language) learners would use pinyin to romanise Chinese characters (as Mandarin is the most widely used variety).

    Hope this is clear. Be global, Chinese is not a language only for China; and an exception is that Cantonese is the medium of instruction in Hong Kong for Chinese class, and pinyin is for Mandarin class. This is not political, but simple as facts.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Glad you ask. It is blurred for many Mandarin learners (and speakers) that Chinese is not spoken in only one way.

    For most people in Hong Kong, Chinese is pronounced in Cantonese, and we you yuet-pin to romanise characters (largely seen in Hong Kong Island). You will be familiar with this if you live in Hong Kong for a longer period of time. For example, 油麻地 is never romanised as You Ma Di whereas Yau Ma Tei is used; we type "yap-ging-chyu" for 入境處 (instead of "Ru Jing Chu") using yuet-pin system.
    Similar for Hokkien/Taiwanese, in which 吳 is romanised Goh (in Hokkien) rather than Wu (in Mandarin).

    However, it is considered correct that most CFL (Chinese as a foreign language) learners would use pinyin to romanise Chinese characters (as Mandarin is the most widely used variety).

    Hope this is clear. Be global, Chinese is not a language only for China; and an exception is that Cantonese is the medium of instruction in Hong Kong for Chinese class, and pinyin is for Mandarin class. This is not political, but simple as facts.
    Thank you. I know the difference, but I am talking to an American who is living in China and learning Chinese. She definitely doesn't need to learn how to pronounce Chinese in Cantonese.

    I am sorry to add the context so late. As a Chinese once lived in Mainland and Hong Kong, I did know the difference pronunciation regarding same words.
     

    S.Tan

    Member
    English (British) & Chinese/Hokkien
    Thank you. I know the difference, but I am talking to an American who is living in China and learning Chinese. She definitely doesn't need to learn how to pronounce Chinese in Cantonese.

    I am sorry to add the context so late. As a Chinese once lived in Mainland and Hong Kong, I did know the difference pronunciation regarding same words.
    Oh that would definitely be fine for her. In this case, to keep it simple, just say "can you pronounce this Chinese character written in pinyin", or "can you pronounce this pinyin" would be perfectly fine.

    Apologies for thinking you are explaining this to expatriates in Hong Kong.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Oh that would definitely be fine for her. In this case, to keep it simple, just say "can you pronounce this Chinese character written in pinyin", or "can you pronounce this pinyin" would be perfectly fine.

    Apologies for thinking you are explaining this to expatriates in Hong Kong.
    Haha, no problem. Thank you very much.
     
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