1 ) Chinese alphabets are like that of Japanese or Spanish. Each character has only one syllable.
There usually two types 1）Consonant+Vowel+Tone or 2）Consonant+Vowel+Consonant+Tone. Note that the tone is usually marked on the strong vowels.
2 ) Try to imitate, if you don't understand too much, otherwise you can be confused. Practise them every day until you can go steady.