|The Devil is in the details. There
are a few exceptions. Beware
Also keep in mind some
English sounds in the above table are only approximations.
But at this point you are already a master of pinyin, congratulations!
ci, si, zhi, chi, shi, ri: the 'i' here is not like he.
For zi, ci, si, try the sound of a flying
bee zzz (or the word 'buzz'). zi = dszzz,
ci = tszzz, si = szzz.
For zhi, chi, shi, ri, when making the buzzing
zzz, curve the tongue up a little bit.
ian: a is almost always ah,
e.g. 'pan' is pahn not pan;
Except in the combination 'ian' (or 'yan') when it's indeed like indian.
But if the combination is 'iang' or 'yang' it goes back to ah.
ue, ye: here e sounds like yes.
qu, xu, yu: here u is a rounded front vowel, not found in
English. It helps if you know French. For instance to pronounce 'xu', first
then keep everything fixed but round your lips. The rounded front
vowel may appear elsewhere in pinyin, and may be informally written as
'v'. Formally it is represented by umlauted u, i.e. a 'u' with two dots