Pinyin, more formally Hanyu Pinyin, is the most common Standard mandarin romanization system in use. Hanyu means the Chinese language, and pinyin means the spelling of the sound. Developed by a government committee in Chinese in the 1950s, Pinyin was adopted as the international standard in 1979. It is now used to teach Chinese achoolchildren and foreign learners the standard pronunciation of mandarin Chinese, and to spell Chinese geographical or personal names in foreign publications. It has also become a useful tool for entering Chinese language text into computers.
Chinese is a tonal language, which means that a given word can change meaning dependinging on its tone. Mandarin Chinese has 4 tones. Tone marks indicate the different tones of Chinese characters.
The relationship between Pinyin and Chinese characters in not one on one, but one on many. One Pinyin usually represents at least a few different Chiense characters so it is hard to guess the Chiense character just from one pinyin. This is one of the reasons that Pinyin is not going to replace Chinese characters. But the usse of Pinyin in the study of Chinese provides many practical advantages for learning the language. For Chinese language learners, it is essential to have a solid lnowledge of Pinyin.
Unlike in European languages, initials and finals, and not consonants and vowels, are the fundamental elements in Pinyin. A Chinese syllable is composed of an initial and a final. Initials consist of consonants or semi-vowels; finals consist of vowels or compound finals. The Pinyin system also uses diacritical marks or numbers for the four tones of Mandarin.
Please answer the following questions:
1.What is Pinyin?
2. What is the structure of a standard Mandarin syllable?