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Yeah, you don't necessarily need to know Pinyin to learn Mandarin. Although if you are a Westerner and used to the Roman alphabet then I suggest you use it to make things easier. There are pros and cons to using pinyin. You can get lost in it if you aren't used to it. And you might get mixed up between English pronounciation for the alphabet than from the Pinyin pronounciation. That's why practice is important.
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