Pinyin is the system of symbols for the phonetic notation of all Chinese characters. Each Chinese character has its corresponding syllable, and each syllable is composed of three parts which are called the Initial, the Final, and the Tone. In the Chinese Pinyin system, there are 21 initials, 36 finals, 2 semi-vowels, 4 basic tones, and 1 light tone.
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A Chinese syllable is usually made up of a initial, a final and a tone. Generally speaking, one Chinese character corresponds to one syllable. A Chinese syllable can have no initial, but must have a final and a tone.