Pinyin Lesson 3 – Initials: d t n l

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Chinese Pinyin Initials: d t n l

In this Pinyin video lesson we will learn four Chinese Pinyin Initials d t n l. The pronunciations of them are similar as some consonants in other languages. It is not hard to pronounce them but if you want to improve and speak like a native, please practice along with the video and finish the listening quizzes to test your skills!



  • Chinese Pinyin Initials
    • d
    • t
    • n
    • l


Chinese Pinyin Initials

Initials d t n l are called “Alveolars”, to pronounce them you need to involve the tip of your tongue and the gums of your upper front teeth. You rest your tongue against the gums of your upper front teeth, and when you try to pronounce the sound, the air coming out is going to break through the tip of your tongue.





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gayethri chokalingamPremium Student October 12, 2023 at 11:46 pm

What should be the tongue position for n

Ann LorencPremium Student February 11, 2022 at 3:10 pm

I really appreciate the explanations and demonstrations on how to pronounce each initial (as well as the same for the finals in lesson 1). Knowing the correct way to form the sounds gives me good guidance for my practice. This is helping immensely with my goal to have correct pronunciation and makes me very happy that I chose to go ahead with choosing Xie xie! 🙂

ky4ttoPremium Student November 23, 2021 at 4:28 pm

Is the difference between d and t just aspiration? Using International Phonetic Alphabet, are d and t both [t] but the difference is the aspiration? Native English speakers usually hear unaspirated plosives at the beginning like this as voiced despite the fact that they are not, so I wonder if it is my native language ears getting in the way of me properly understanding it.
Thank you for any assistance in advance. I wonder this same question for b and p from the previous lesson.

Keila DavissonPremium Student January 3, 2021 at 10:52 am

DocJohnny asked a similar questions previously. How do you transition from these initials to simple finals which have you touch your tongue to the back of your teeth for pronunciation?

kyla5107Premium Student November 3, 2020 at 3:12 am

Hi! For 1:42. What do you mean by having no vibration when you pronounce the da for letter “d?” I try to put my hand on my neck and I can feel a vibration.

Anh TranPremium Student May 1, 2020 at 8:56 pm

Hi, when it comes to examples with a final added, I do not see final “o” in any example. Does final “o” not go with these initials or you guys just don’t put it in?

There is no “do”, “to”, “no” and only one character is pronounced “lo”. So we didn’t make it into the practice.

DocJohnnyPremium Student March 5, 2020 at 8:59 am

How do you transition to the final u with two dots above it after an initial? Do you move your tongue all the way to touching the back of your bottom teeth after the initial?

when its my turn to try, there inst enough time to try and pronounce please allow at least and at most 3 seconds before pronouncing the next one.

Hi Collin, thanks for the suggestion. We try to put a pause so that it’s easier to repeat after the Pinyin but it is almost impossible to set a perfect length of the pausing time for everyone. Please hit the “space” bar to pause the video if you’re using a laptop or click the button on the video if you’re on mobile.

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