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Finals are sounds that consist of vowels or vowels plus the nasal sounds –n or –ng. In Mandarin Chinese there are 35 final sounds. There are two types of finals in the Chinese alphabet: six simple finals (single vowels) and thirty compound finals (compound vowels, or two or three vowels together).

Introductio of Hanyu Pinyin - Final Sounds Introductio of Hanyu Pinyin - Final Sounds
6 simple finals: a, e, i, o, u, ü
13 compound finals: ai, ao, ei, ia, iao, ie, iou, ou, ua, uai, üe, uei, uo
16 nasal finals: 8 front nasals: an, en, ian, in, uan, üan, uen, ün


8 back nasals: ang, eng, iang, ing, iong, ong, uang, ueng

The table below provides explanations of the pronunciation of the six simple final sounds.

Simple Final Sounds Like
a “ar” as in “large”
o “or” as in “sport”
e “ir” as in “bird”
i “ee” as in “sheep”
u “oo” as in “moon”
ü “ou” as in “you,” but with tightly pursed lips.

Watch this Youtube video to learn simple final sounds:

The compound finals fall into six groups:

1. ai, ei, ao, ou
2. an, en, ang, eng, ong
3. ia, iao, ie, iu, ian, in, iang, ing, iong
4. ua, uo, uai, ui, uan, un, uang, ueng
5. üe, üan, ün
6. er

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The table below provides additional explanations of some of the pronunciations.

Compound Final Sounds Like
ai the English word “I”
ei the English word “A”
ao “ow” as in “cow”
ou “ou” as in “you”
an “an” as in “can”
en “en” as in “silent”
ang somewhat like “on”
eng “en”as in “silent” with a nasal sound “ng” in the end
ong somewhat like “ong” in “gong”
ie “ye” as in “yes”
in the English word “in”
ing “ing” as in “King”
er “er” as in “brother”

Note: Besides the above finals, there is another final sound — “er”– which does not spell with any initial. It is sometimes attached to another final to form a retroflex (an articulation with the top of the tongue turned up or curled back just under the hard palate). When thus used, it is no longer an independent syllable.

Watch this Youtube video to learn compound final sounds :

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Related posts:
Introduction of Hanyu Pinyin – Basics
Introduction of Hanyu Pinyin -  Initial Sounds
Introduction of Hanyu Pinyin – Final Sounds
Introduction of Hanyu Pinyin – Four tones