By now we assume you've heard of pinyin: the dominant method of writing the sound of Chinese characters using the roman alphabet. We use pinyin everywhere on Popup Chinese and while we obviously can't teach you all of the sounds in a single podcast, we did want to put something together for those of you having trouble making sense of the system, and in particular to clear up three common misconceptions people have about the romanization system: the mistaken idea that pronunciation follows English norms, the belief that the sounds in pinyin are internally consistent, and the confusion that strikes when it comes time to use pinyin to enter characters on a computer.
Beyond this podcast, we also want to take a minute and point out two resources here on Popup Chinese that most beginners overlook. The first is our online pinyin chart
which is now bundled with our Chinese dictionary. You can use this to explore all possible pinyin sounds, see the relationship between different sounds, and hear the pronunciation of all sounds quickly and easily. Our second resource is our archive of pinyin recordings
available for free download. They might not make for as easy listening as a podcast, but they're useful and you're welcome to use them with our compliments.