I notice that the pinyin "h" is in many books just the same as in English.

But when I listen to people, some people stress the "h" and there is a tiny gggg, and some gurgling sometimes (hope this is the right word, my native tongue is not Enlgish).

My question is, is this how it should sound, a pretty pronounced H sound or is it a dialect that I shouldn't pick up and should my H be really clean?

Thank you!

  • Excellent question! As a Chinese, I've never realized this difference between Chinese h and English h. Now I think you are right! There is a little g here and I don't know why. – Archeosudoerus Jun 24 '14 at 15:47

In standard Mandarin, the pinyin h is pronounced as [x] in IPA, like ch in Scottish English loch -- yes, you're right that there's a tiny g, because [x] is a velar consonant. However, in south China, many simply say [h], although some natural assimilation may happen. For instance, for those speakers, pinyin ha is [ha] while pinyin he becomes [xɤ] (if you get [ɤ] right, then [hɤ] simply doesn't work, you would do [xɤ] unconsciously). Therefore [h] and [x] are allophones in this sense, so don't worry about your pronunciation.

  • Hi! Would you say the [x] or [h] pronunciation is more common in standard Mandarin? Or is it either/or? – Lou Aug 23 '16 at 0:32
  • [x] is more common in northern China and it is the standard pronunciation. As I explained, in south China, it is common to switch between [h] and [x] depending on the following vowel. – user58955 Aug 23 '16 at 1:05

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