I've been often asked about the Chinese characters alphabet, Chinese alphabets or Chinese letters alphabet.
This question is not easily answered. Chinese characters are not alphabetical language. They are more pictographic than anything else. But, the Mandarin Chinese has a sound system called Pinyin which can be writen in alphabet.
Pinyin was officially standardized in Febuary 1958 in mainland China. It is a Romanized phonics system that was adopted by the International Organization for Standardization.
It also provides a convenient way to type Chinese characters using a computer keyboard. As long as you know how to speak Mandarin, you can type the words out like you do in English.
This is a gospel for Chinese writers because editing and revising becomes much easier. My Chinese articles and two books were typed and edited this way without going through the pain of writing, re-writing and copying on paper. Once you finish, just print out the final version, clean and easy to read.
Now many people like to learn Mandarin without the writing part. It's understandable. Writing Chinese character is fun but time consuming. The pinyin system provides the tool for people to "write"without writing. It only asks your recognizing of characters. It's kind of like how you can draw a portrait as long as you can recognize faces.
Pinyin for a Chinese character normally has two parts: the initial consonant and the vowel.
The initial consonants of Chinese syllables:
b p m f d t n l
g k h j q x
zh ch sh r z c s
The vowels of Chinese syllables:
Chinese syllables that usually are read as one syllable:
zhi chi shi ri zi ci si
yi wu yu
ye yue yuan
yin yun ying
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