Introduction to PinYin(拼音):

Hanyu Pinyin is the most widely accepted standard for romanizing Mandarin Chinese. It was developed in the late 1950s, officially adopted in mainland China in 1979, and accepted as an international standard for romanizing Chinese (ISO-7098: 1991). Pinyin has been successfully adopted as a system for representing Mandarin Chinese pronunciation and as a system for romanizing Chinese names. Pinyin is also widely used for entering characters into a computer.

Writing Chinese character in english/roman letters is called pinyin. It is the representation of Chinese character in english/roman letters. For example Chinese character 你好! can be represent as nǐ hǎo ! or ni3 hao3! or  ni hao ! which means hello! [ a first greetings in Chinese’]
Where  nǐ hǎo ! => inlcuding tone marks, ni3 hao3!=> inlcuding tone number,  ni hao! => without tone marks or numbers. Lets breakdown the pinyin and how it comes from. Pinyin forms by mainly 3 part : 1. initials, 2. finals, 3. tones. 

  1. Initials:     b    p    m    f    d    t    n    l    g    k    h    j    q    x    z    c    s    zh    ch    sh    r    w    y

  2. Finals:     a    o    e    ai    ei    ao    ou    an    ang    en    eng    ong    er    u    ua    uo    uai    ui    uan          uang    un    i    ia    ie    iao    iu    ian    iang    in    ing    iong    ü    üe    üan    ün

Rules: i. all initials are consonant; ii. finals first letter is vowel and may be formed by  vowel+consonant. characters formed by vowel+consonant. iii. when there is more than one vowel in a pinyin, then tone marks should be placed to first vowel.

Figure 2 shows the how pinyin formed by initials and finals, then tone is pinyin will have several tone.
initial and finals combination

3. Tones:

Chinese language is tone sensetive,  and probably the most difficult part for overseas students to mastering the tones. there is usually 4 tones:
Tone1: Start on high and stay high
Tone2: Start from mediam and end to high pitch.
Tone3: starts mid-range, dips low, ends mid-range.
Tone4: starts high and ends low pitch.
Tone5: Neutral tone.
Figure shows the tone marks for Chienese Pinyinpinyin tones

The meaning varies on tones. for example pinyin ma has 5 tones and different meaning as table: 

Tone pinyin character meaning Note
1 mom starts high and stays there
2 hemp starts at mid-range and ends high
3 horse starts mid-range, dips low, ends mid-range
4 scold starts high and ends low
Neutral ma question particle neutral tone

Each pinyin have maximum of 5 tones, each pinyin with tones have several chiense characters.  For example the pinyin mā has several Chinese characters such as : 亇   妈   孖   抹   蚂   麻   媽   嫲   摩
in the step2 we are going to show all combination of initials+finals+tone for pinyin in one table. it is very important for learner to look the table and it will help you know:

a. how many tones may have for each pinyin,

b. which initials and finals can’t have combinations,

c. how the sounds looks for each pinyin

 

Next: Study PinYin: Step2 : PinYin Cobination Table
OR
Next: Study PinYin: Step2 : PinYin Cobination Table Sorted