When learning Mandarin Chinese, it’s helpful to start by learning the set of sounds used in the language. The set of sounds used in Mandarin Chinese is often referred to as BoPoMoFo for the four initial sounds in this standard sequence. While some of these are very similar or even identical to the sounds we use in English, there are other sound combinations that English does not use.
Here is one helpful video for learning the set of word sounds used in Mandarin Chinese. Don’t be put off by the fact that this is obviously a video for children — the basic repetition of the sounds and the setting of them to music are very helpful in learning a new language.
Also check out other videos with the BoPoMoFo sequence.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a chart that puts all of these word sounds together into the combinations that are actually used in Mandarin Chinese? Here is one such chart from Lin Yutang’s Chinese-English Dictionary of Modern Usage: Mandarin Chinese Word Sounds Combination Chart
Note: Don’t worry about memorizing these symbols used in some Mandarin-speaking countries (e.g. Taiwan) to represent the BoPoMoFo sounds:
In the long run, it will be much more useful to memorize the Latin alphabet letters/letter combinations that are used in Mainland China to represent these sounds (a.k.a. HanYu PinYin).