Like the phonetic alphabet in English, there are PingYin characters, syllables ,in Mandarin. A Chinese word contains 1-3 syllables: initial-(final: i, u, ü )-fianl.
Here are the list of initials: it must have the final followed it.
b, p, m, f ,d ,t ,n, l, g, k, h, j, q, x, zh, ch, sh, r, z, c, s,
Here are the list of finals: it can be arranged after the initial or as an independent.
a, o, e, ai, ei, ao, ou, an, en, ang, eng, er
Special finals: These finals we called them as a intervals because it is usually arranged between the initial and final.
i, w, yu
So the word would be :
(initial-sepcial final-final) or (special final-final) or (final) or (special final: i, w, yu)
Chinese Pinyin system marks 5 tones above the first final of syllable. This five-tones system created the great literature of the Chinese Poem in every dynasties.
The first tone is marked as, ˉ : ā Ā
The second tone is marked as, ˊ: á Á
The third tone is marked as, ˇ: ǎ Ǎ
The fourth tone is marked as,ˋ: à À
The fifth tone is marked without any accent mark:
Here is a nice source tool to check the pronunciations:
[The single pronounciations table]