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Every single source I come across on google list the IPA of pinyin x as /ɕ/, or the voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative.

However, the sample sound on Wikipedia is quite distinct from it -- to me (born and raised in Beijing), it sounds more like pinyin sh, rather than x.

  • What is, with sources, the correct IPA for pinyin x?
  • If it is the voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative, what is, with sources, the correct pronunciation of it?

I managed to find another website, which would be correct according to me, as the pinyin x's pronunciation: http://www.internationalphoneticalphabet.org/ipa-sounds/ipa-chart-with-sounds/

  • I think you should forgive the reader, as he may be reading a sound that does not exist in his mother tongue. – fefe Apr 30 '18 at 7:35
  • 1
    The pronunciation on the website you found should be better than the Wikipedia version. Just click the IPA symbols. (claimer: I am not a linguist, but a native Chinese). – fefe Apr 30 '18 at 7:39
  • You think this sounds like pinyin sh? I entirely disagree. Pinyin sh sounds like this. – droooze Apr 30 '18 at 9:25
  • @droooze well, it sounds more like sh compared to how x should sound. that's the point. – Zuoanqh Apr 30 '18 at 9:37
  • Do you think this sounds like ? Anyway your question says it sounds more like pinyin sh, rather than x, which is not the same as it sounds more like sh compared to how x should sound. These IPA transcriptions are not for one sound (which is impossible), but for a narrow range of sounds. You cannot possibly say that the Wikipedia sample sounds more like sh than x. – droooze Apr 30 '18 at 9:40
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Help:IPA/Mandarin on Wikipedia has x listed like this:

ipa

Wiktionary:ɕ has audio you can listen to too.

This is a bit of a random source but here it is anyway.

《哈尔滨方言词典》[ɕi]

yup

WordyEnglish's Pinyin 拼音, Zhuyin 注音, IPA Comparison also shows:

enter image description here

ɕyɛn

Bopomofo letter ㄒ which represents "x" is also exclusively:

(phoneme) IPA(key): /ɕ/

From《漢語拼音方案》we can see the following:

hey

where x again matches up with zhuyin ㄒ or IPA /ɕ/.


Sh on the other hand is listed as:

ʂ

Wiktionary:ʂ also has audio you can listen too here.

《哈尔滨方言词典》[ʂɿ]

yes

As you can see the two are very close in sound, and are often confused as such by learners.

Probably the biggest difference is tongue positions:

x

vs.

sh

  • This is a post about mandarin, not harbin dialect. – Zuoanqh Apr 30 '18 at 9:02
  • Yes, but it’s the closest example I could find atm. The initials are the same, you can see how they work. IPA is rarely used in Mandarin dictionaries, if I can find one I’ll update accordingly. – user3306356 Apr 30 '18 at 9:11
  • Well, the sound sample you provided is the same as the wikipedia page, and in general i no longer trust wikipedia on this issue, which is why i asked this question. I am asking this question as a native speaker, by the way. But thanks for your effort. – Zuoanqh Apr 30 '18 at 9:52
  • @Zuoanqh Yes. My point was, though, that the IPA is corroborated in published works. I know it's not a perfect example but it should answer your question. – user3306356 Apr 30 '18 at 11:11
  • I hope so. letters letters letters – Zuoanqh Apr 30 '18 at 11:38

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