Do you have trouble remembering the tones for Mandarin Chinese characters?
Are you searching for patterns in the characters, sounds, tones, and meanings?
Do you want to improve your ability to recognize Chinese characters?

We can help!

22x36 organizes the HSK vocabulary to help native speakers of non-tonal languages remember tones. It also helps learners see relationships among the components of Chinese characters.

How does this work?

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  • 1

    Choose HSK 2.0 or HSK 3.0. HSK 2.0 is the current HSK. HSK 3.0 will replace HSK 2.0 soon.
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  • 2

    Choose the HSK level, from 1 to 6.

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  • 3

    Choose a view. There are two views.

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  • View 1 shows syllables and words for the selected level only.

    View 2 shows syllables and words for all levels up to the selected level.

  • 4

    Choose a combination of initial (声母) and final (韵母). If you already know what you want, you can type it in the box and immediately see the results.

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  • Or you can click on
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    to see all of the possibilities that you can choose from.
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  • 5

    When you choose a combination of initial and final, a chart will appear that shows the characters and words. The characters are arranged on the page according to their tone. Moving clockwise from the right, you see the fourth tone (falling tone), then the third tone (low tone), then the second tone (rising tone), and then the first tone (high tone). The neutral tone is in the center.

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  • By studying the chart, you can see relationships among the character components.

How many initials are there?

22, including a zero initial. Some sources say 21 because they do not include the zero initial.

How many finals are there?

36. You may see other tables that have a higher number of finals because they separate i into more than one sound. You may also see tables that put the finals vertically and the initials horizontally or that put the finals in a different order. We arrange the six groups of finals in Chinese order rather than alphabetical order.

How many possible combinations of initial and final are there?

22 x 36 = 792

How many valid combinations of initial and final are there?

407

How many invalid combinations of initial and final are there?

385. For example, len is not a Chinese sound. If you say len to Chinese speakers, they will think that you are mispronouncing lan or lin or lun.

How many combinations of initial, final, and tone are there?

About 1,200. But 407 x 5 = 2,035, so you can see that many of the 407 combinations of initial and final do not have all of the tones.

Which of these is not a Chinese sound?
You can take exercises to test your knowledge
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