The Chinese language,
spoken in the form of Standard Mandarin is the official language for both
Spoken in the form
of Standard Cantonese, Chinese is one of the official languages of Hong Kong
PinYin can be regarded as the 'alphabet' of Mandarin Chinese. It consists of 21 'consonants' and 16 main 'vowels and diphthongs'. As Chinese is a tonal language, each character pronounced in a different tone will give a different meaning. A character can be pronounced many ways and a character pronounced in the same way may have different meanings.
The consonants when read individually, except j, q, x, zh, ch, sh, r, z, c, s, should be read as consonant sound + schwa (an inverted e) sound, like the French e without any accent markings. The exceptions are read as consonant sound + short i (as in the i of big).
Vowels and Diphthongs
Vowels and diphthongs can have a divorce or separation with a consonant and never suffer any hardships! They'll probably be paying alimony but they are still well-off than consonants trying to live by themselves.
In the PinYin system, tone is written as a superscript after the syllable or as a marking on top of the first vowel after a consonant. A consonant is always pronounced with a mid-tone and doesn't have any tonal changes.
Tone 1 (mid-tone):
The first tone or the mid-tone uses no markings at all. Say a word with a normal tone.
Tone 2 (high-tone):
The second tone or the high-tone is higher than the mid-tone. For example, pronounce the vowel or diphthong in a higher musical note from the one you use pronouncing the mid-tone. This tone also rises immediately from the mid- tone as compared to the rising tone.
Tone 3 (rising tone):
The third tone or the rising tone has 2 steps. From the mid- tone, bring down the tone of your voice a couple of notches then slowly raise it to a very high tone. To help you with this pronunciation, sway your head downwards and slowly sway it upwards.
Tone 4 (falling tone):
The fourth tone or the falling tone literally falls. It's like something heavy falling down. Say a word with a very heavy tone.
Tone 5 (abrupt glottal stop):
The fifth tone is shorter than the falling tone. It has the same principle as the fourth tone but you pronounce the word a half-time shorter than you would pronounce a word with a falling tone. In addition, you have to have an abrupt glottal stop.