PinYin Initial - c

How to pronounce c in Mandarin Chinese Pinyin

  • Open the mouth a little.
  • Stretch the tip of your tongue.
  • The tip of the tongue is against the back of the lower teeth.
  • Raise the later part of the tip of the tongue against the back of the upper incisor.
  • Hold your breath.
  • Relax the tip of the tongue slightly to create a narrow slit.
  • Squeeze the air flow out of the slit.
  • The extruded air flow is strong when pronouncing c.

Similar English Phoneme: Like "ts" in "cats" and "students".


The pronunciation of an initial consonant is very short.
Actually, what you hear is a syllable pronounced as a whole ,as shown below:

Pronunciation differences between z and c.

z: un-aspirated, the airflow is weak when pronouncing z.

c: aspirated, the airflow is relatively stronger when pronouncing c.

Put your hand in front of your mouth to feel the airflow.

Pronunciation differences: dtnl VS. zcs VS. zhchsh