The online language laboratory


Mandarin Chinese ....Other Sounds

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Retroflex sounds are made by curling your tongue back as you say them.
The American English 'r' is an example. These Pinyin sounds are retroflex:
zhang1 (cockroach), zhuang1 (village)
chang1 (rich), chuang1 (window)
shang1 (business), shuang1 (two)
rang2 (pulp), re3 (annoy), ri4 ji4 (diary)

huar1 (flower), wanr2 (to play), yi1 dianr3 (a bit)
(notice how h is pronounced a little like the Scottish loch,
and also how the n's disappear in wan and dian if r is added)


a summary
Pinyin Example Description
zh dj (tongue curled back)
j dj (tongue touches palate)
ch ch (tongue curled back)
q ch (tongue touches palate)
sh sh (tongue curled back)
x sh (tongue near palate)


ts (tongue touches top teeth)
z dz (tongue touches top teeth)
s s
r r (tongue curled back)
p p (+ a puff of air)
k k (+ a puff of air)
t t (+ a puff of air)
d d (tongue touches palate, not teeth)
f f
m m
g g



Our warmest thanks go to ...

Speaker Geographical origin Date of recording Approx age

Wang Kui
(Mrs) Song Chunxia

Mianyang, Sichuan
Mianyang, Sichuan