phonetic Chinese

All posts tagged phonetic Chinese

Pinyin: A Chinese Alphabet Learning System

800px-Dajia-shuo-Putonghua-2817

Chinese teachers and educators almost unanimously agree that Chinese must be learned with Chinese characters, but most are also using the Pinyin Chinese alphabet system to help facilitate learning. While the Pinyin alphabet shouldn’t be used exclusively to learn Chinese or as a writing system, it can definitely help students with memorizing and perfecting pronunciation.

Now that we’ve covered how to explain Chinese characters to kids and why the written Chinese character system is not an alphabet, let’s take a look at a true alphabet that can be used for learning Chinese — the Pinyin alphabet.

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Explaining Chinese Writing to Kids: It’s Not an Alphabet

Cover page of the Shuo wen zhen ben, a dictionary dedicated to etymological descriptions of Chinese characters.

Author’s Note: If you’re looking for a Chinese alphabet that resembles English, check out our article explaining Pinyin.

Many parents who visit our website are looking for a guide to help explain written Chinese to kids, often searching for information about a “Chinese Alphabet.” But while English speakers are used to writing using a phonetic system, written Chinese is not an alphabet, but instead a vast set of distinct characters that have an assigned pronunciation (or sometimes more than one pronunciations, based on usage and meaning).

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