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Say It Right Series

pinyin u

Posted by mayalarara April 21, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

Now I am aware that the following is a real newbie question, but I wanted to ask it anyway, taking the risk of sound incredibly ignorant.

Is there an actual rule* for the pronunciation of a pinyin-U, i.e. in which cases it is pronunced like "oo", and when it resembles an "ü"? I usually get it right, but it seems pretty random to me.

*I get the impression that regarding Mandarin, there is either a straightforward forehead-smacking answer or a terribly complicated explanation. I do hope it is the former in this case.

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