Mr Wang () takes drink orders from Ms Zhang () and her friends.

Nǐmen hē shénme?你们喝什么?What do you want to drink? (“want” is implied)
Wǒmen yào liǎng píng píjiǔ.我们要两瓶啤酒。We want two bottles of beer.
Hǎo de, qíng děng yí xià好的,请等一下。Okay, wait just a bit.
Hǎo de. Xièxie好的,谢谢。Sure. Thanks.

Mr Wang now takes orders from Ms Zhang and her friends.

Qǐng wèn, (nǐ) hē diǎn shénme?请问, 你喝点什么?May I ask, do you want to drink a little something?
Yì bēi chá.一杯茶。A cup of tea
Nǐ yào lǜ chá, háishì hóng chá?你要绿茶, 还是红茶?Do you want green tea or red tea?
Lǜ chá.绿茶。Green tea.
F1Wó yě yào lǜ chá.我也要绿茶。I also want green tea.
F2Wǒ hē yì bēi kāfēi.我喝一杯咖啡。I’ll drink a cup of coffee.
F3Yì píng kělè hé yì bēi shuǐ。一瓶可乐和一杯水。One bottle of Cola and a glass of water.
Improve your pronunciation! After listening to the audio, try recording your own voice. Click here to repeat the last audio played

Beijing Accent

Note that diǎn in the dialog is pronounced diǎr. The “n” sound is replaced by the “r” sound. The “r” sound has its origin in the Beijing dialect. In the Beijing dialect many words end with this “r” sound, and some of them are now used around the country. Diǎr and nǎr are widely used in textbooks and other learning materials. The pinyin can be written as diǎr or diǎnr.


to drinkVerb
cháteaNoun, the drink that put China on the map.
bēicupMeasure word for things which come in cups. Examples: yì bēi chá, liǎng bēi kāfēi
píngbottleMeasure word for things that come in bottles. Examples: yì píng píjiǔ, liǎng píng kělè
děngto waitVerb
一下yí xiàjust a littleExpression, used to soften the verb examples: děng yí xià, hē yí xià,
还是háishìorInterrogative pronoun, used when offering a choice between two alternatives.
diǎna littleParticle, used to soften a sentence, no real meaning.
绿greenAdjective, the color green.
hóngredAdjective, the color red.
谢谢xièxiethank-youExpression of gratitude.

Pinyin Practice

In this lesson we look at the nasal finals.

enenbenpenmenfen  nen genkenhen
inyinbinpinmin   ninlin   

Listen, and circle the correct choice

  • 1) ban – ben, en – yin, pang – peng, fan – fang
  • 2) dang – deng, tan – tang, tao – tou, min – men
  • 3) shi – xi, zhe – ji, zha – za, se – ce
  • 4) gang – geng, kang – hang, lei – lai, nen – nin

Listen, and add the tone marks

  • 1) yi bei cha, liang ping pijiu, kele,
  • 2) haishi, shui, kafei, he, lü, hong
  • 3) zhong guo, mei guo, ying guo
  • 4) deng yi xia, qing wen, dian

Tone Change Rules:

As if learning a tonal language wasn’t hard enough, the Chinese also employ “tone change” to some syllables. This is because strictly pronouncing all the tones would be too sing-songy and tiring. These rules are linguistically referred to as “tone sandhi”. To learn more, follow this link.  Pinyin is usually printed with  “dictionary tone”.  This textbook might be the only one ever printed with “spoken tone” (ie, with tone change applied) .

Third tone syllables (like hǎo) are pronounced with a different pitch change depending on the tone of the following syllable. Basically, the rule is: if there are 2 or more third tones in a row, the first is pronounced like a second tone. We have already seen this with nǐhǎo which is pronounced Níhǎo

You may wonder what happens if there multiple third tones in a row: Wǒ yě hěn hǎo.  Basically the pronunciation is up to the speaker.  It could pronounced: Wó yé hén hǎo. In other words, all the third tones change to second except the last one. Or it could be pronounced wó yě hén hǎo. Either way is fine.

By the way, most of the time, the 3rd tone syllables only go low.  Actually, the only time it goes back up is at punctuation points.

The case of  一 (yī) : When 一 (yī) occurs in a number (any type of number, nominal or ordinal) it is pronounced first tone.  If it occurs outside of a number, it follows the same rules as 不 (bù).

The case of 不 (bù): When combined with other syllables yī and bù will change tone. They change to 2nd (yí, bú) when followed by a 4th tone and 4th (yì, bù) when followed by any other tone. 

Alone Before
1st tone
2nd tone
3rd tone
4th tone
yì bēi, yì píng, yì wǎn, yí xià
bù hē, bù máng, bù hǎo, bú yào

Good news: these are the only two syllable/words in Mandarin that do not follow the normal rules.


Check this link for Sentence Practice 


Use the audio lesson to practice your pinyin. Click on the player to start the audio, then listen to the dialog and try to understand as much as possible without looking at the pinyin. Once you understand the words, then try to write the pinyin including tone marks.

First Audio by Danie Wu(right click here , select “save as”)

These next recordings are recorded a natural speed so they are a bit more challenging.

Second Audio by Zhang Min (right click here , select “save as”)

And her brother (right click here , select “save as”)