Firstly, it’s hard to pronounce it, because there is no such sound in most languages. But here I have a tip for you.
The sound of ü is a combination of how you pronounce i and u in English. The tongue in your mouth is the same as when we say i, but the shape of your lips are the same as when you say u. You can see that, when we say u, your lips are in a round shape. When we say ü, they should also be in a round shape. Try practicing by pronouncing i at first, and holding your voice. Then change only your lips to a round shape. You can see in the end, you are pronouncing the sound ü. Here are some words for you to try and practice with:
Perhaps you know this, or you don’t. Sometime when we see u in a syllable, we actually say ü instead. For example:
You may feel confused. When we say ü, why do we write u here? Where are the two dots? To tell you the truth, when we Chinese were learning Pinyin in primary school, we found it a headache as well. Our teacher just told us, when little ü meets j, q, x, he takes off his hat to show respect.
There is another one you need to pay attention to. It’s y. When you see y and u together, we don’t say u but rather we say ü.
The rule also applies for compound vowels. Let’s see some examples.
If you want to know more about the reason, let’s have a look at this a chart which has covered all the syllables with ü in Chinese:
|(no real initial)||yu||yue||yuan||yun|
The ones underlined are syllables that we really see in Pinyin.
You will find out that there are only five initials which can be put together with ü. They are n, l, j, q, x. Among these five, n and l can also be put together with u. So for those two, we don’t omit the two dots. For example: zǒulù (to walk), lǜsè (green), nǔlì (work hard) and nǚrén (woman).
However, this is not the case for j, q, x, because they never go together with the u sound in Chinese. So omitting the dots will not cause any problems.
To make it simple, you just need to remember this rule: Whenever you see j, q, x or y with u together, you should pronounce it as if it was a ü, instead of u.
Here are more words with the ü sound, and some sentences for you to practice with:
Sentence #1: 明天我去买裙子。
Sentence #2: 我觉得这个句子不错。
Sentence #3: 他需要学习汉语。
Sentence #4: 昨天中午下雨了。
Sentence #5: 这个月我花了三千元。
All in all, the ü sound is important for all Chinese learners. Being aware of the rule and special exercises will help you go over it easily.