HANYU PINYIN ROMANIZATION (simplified Chinese : 汉语拼音;
traditional Chinese : 漢語拼音; literally: "Han Chinese spelling
of sounds"), often abbreviated to PINYIN, is the official romanization
The pinyin system was developed in the 1950s by many linguists,
Zhou Youguang , based on earlier form romanizations of
Chinese . It was published by the
The word Hànyǔ (simplified Chinese : 汉语; traditional Chinese : 漢語) means "The spoken language of the Han people ." Pīnyīn (拼音) literally means "spelled sounds".
* 1 History of romanization of Chinese before 1949
* 2 History of
* 5 Initials and finals
* 5.1 Initials * 5.2 Finals
* 6 Rules given in terms of English pronunciation
* 6.1 Pronunciation of initials * 6.2 Pronunciation of finals
* 7 Orthography
* 7.1 Letters * 7.2 Words, capitalization, initialisms and punctuation
* 8 Tones
* 8.1 Numerals in place of tone marks
* 8.2 Rules for placing the tone mark
* 8.2.1 Phonological intuition
* 8.3 Using tone colors * 8.4 Third tone exceptions
* 11 Comparison with other orthographies
* 11.1 Comparison charts * 11.2 Computer input systems
* 12 Other languages * 13 See also * 14 References * 15 Further reading * 16 External links
HISTORY OF ROMANIZATION OF CHINESE BEFORE 1949
In 1605, the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci published Xizi Qiji (《西字奇蹟》; Xīzì Qíjī; Hsi-tzu Ch'i-chi; "Miracle of Western Letters") in Beijing. This was the first book to use the Roman alphabet to write the Chinese language. Twenty years later, another Jesuit in China, Nicolas Trigault , issued his Xi Ru Ermu Zi (《西儒耳目資》; Hsi Ju Erh-mu Tzu; "Aid to the Eyes and Ears of Western Literati") at Hangzhou. Neither book had much immediate impact on the way in which Chinese thought about their writing system, and the romanizations they described were intended more for Westerners than for the Chinese.
One of the earliest Chinese thinkers to relate Western alphabets to Chinese was late Ming to early Qing dynasty scholar-official, Fang Yizhi (方以智; Fāng Yǐzhì; Fang I-chih; 1611–1671).
The first late Qing reformer to propose that
Main article: Wade–Giles
Wade–Giles system was produced by Thomas Wade in 1859, and
further improved by
Main article: Latinxua Sin Wenz
In the early 1930s,
Communist Party of China
In 1940, several thousand members attended a Border Region Sin Wenz
Main article: Yale romanization of Mandarin
In 1943, the U.S. military engaged Yale University to develop a
HISTORY OF HANYU PINYIN
A draft was published on February 12, 1956. The first edition of
Beginning in the early 1980s, Western publications addressing
Mainland China began using the
The spelling of Chinese geographical or personal names in pinyin has
become the most common way to transcribe them in English.
Families outside of
Since 1958, pinyin has been actively used in adult education as well, making it easier for formerly illiterate people to continue with self-study after a short period of pinyin literacy instruction.
The tone-marking diacritics are commonly omitted in popular news stories and even in scholarly works. This results in some degree of ambiguity as to which words are being represented.
When a foreign writing system with one set of coding/decoding system is taken to write a language, certain compromises may have to be made. The result is that the decoding systems used in some foreign languages will enable non-native speakers to produce sounds more closely resembling the target language than will the coding/decoding system used by other foreign languages. Native speakers of English will decode pinyin spellings to fairly close approximations of Mandarin except in the case of certain speech sounds that are not ordinarily produced by most native speakers of English: j, q, x, z, c, s, zh, ch, sh, and r exhibiting the greatest discrepancies. (When Chinese speakers call out these letters, they read them as: ji, qi, xi, zi, ci, si, zhi, chi, shi, and ri. The i in the last four sounds more like r and the use of i is purely a matter of convention.) Most native speakers of English find these sounds difficult.
In this system, the correspondence between the Roman letter and the
sound is sometimes idiosyncratic , though not necessarily more so than
the way the Latin script is employed in other languages. For example,
the aspiration distinction between b, d, g and p, t, k is similar to
that of English (in which the two sets are however also differentiated
by voicing ), but not to that of French. Letters z and c also have
that distinction, pronounced as and (whilst reminiscent of both of
them being used for the phoneme /ts/ in the German language and Latin
script-using Slavic languages respectively). From s, z, c come the
digraphs sh, zh, ch by analogy with English sh, ch. Although this
introduces the novel combination zh, it is internally consistent in
how the two series are related, and reminds the trained reader that
many Chinese pronounce sh, zh, ch as s, z, c (and English-speakers use
zh to represent /ʒ / in foreign languages such as Russian anyway). In
the x, j, q series, the pinyin use of x is similar to its use in
Portuguese, Galician, Catalan, Basque, and Maltese; and the pinyin q
is akin to its value in Albanian; both pinyin and Albanian
pronunciations may sound similar to the ch to the untrained ear.
The pronunciation and spelling of Chinese words are generally given in terms of initials and finals , which represent the segmental phonemic portion of the language, rather than letter by letter. Initials are initial consonants, while finals are all possible combinations of medials (semivowels coming before the vowel), the nucleus vowel, and coda (final vowel or consonant).
INITIALS AND FINALS
Unlike European languages, clusters of letters – initials (声母; 聲母; shēngmǔ) and finals (韵母; 韻母; yùnmǔ) – and not consonant and vowel letters, form the fundamental elements in pinyin (and most other phonetic systems used to describe the Han language). Every Mandarin syllable can be spelled with exactly one initial followed by one final, except for the special syllable er or when a trailing -r is considered part of a syllable (see below). The latter case, though a common practice in some sub-dialects, is rarely used in official publications. One exception is the city Harbin (哈尔滨; 哈爾濱), whose name comes from the Manchu language .
Even though most initials contain a consonant, finals are not always simple vowels, especially in compound finals (复韵母; 複韻母; fùyùnmǔ), i.e. when a "medial" is placed in front of the final. For example, the medials and are pronounced with such tight openings at the beginning of a final that some native Chinese speakers (especially when singing) pronounce yī (衣, clothes, officially pronounced /í/) as /jí/ and wéi (围; 圍, to enclose, officially pronounced /uěi/) as /wěi/ or /wuěi/. Often these medials are treated as separate from the finals rather than as part of them; this convention is followed in the chart of finals below.
In each cell below, the bold letters indicate pinyin, and the
brackets enclose the symbol in the
International Phonetic Alphabet
LABIAL ALVEOLAR RETROFLEX ALVEOLO-PALATAL VELAR
PLOSIVE UNASPIRATED B D
ASPIRATED P T
NASAL M N
Z ZH J
C CH Q
FRICATIVE F S SH X H
SEMIVOWEL 2 Y / 1 and W
1 y is pronounced (a labial-palatal approximant ) before u. 2 the letters w and y are not included in the table of initials in the official pinyin system. They are an orthographic convention for the medials i, u and ü when no initial is present. When i, u, or ü are finals and no initial is present, they are spelled yi, wu, and yu, respectively.
The conventional order (excluding w and y), derived from the zhuyin system, is:
B P M F D T N L G K H J Q X ZH CH SH R Z C S
STANDARD CHINESE VOWELS (WITH IPA AND PINYIN)
FRONT CENTRAL BACK
i ⟨i⟩ • y ⟨ü⟩ ɨ ⟨i⟩ u ⟨u⟩
ɤ ⟨e⟩ • o ⟨o⟩ ɚ ⟨er⟩
* v * t * e
In each cell below, the first line indicates IPA, the second indicates pinyin for a standalone (no-initial) form, and the third indicates pinyin for a combination with an initial. Other than finals modified by an -r, which are omitted, the following is an exhaustive table of all possible finals.1
The only syllable-final consonants in
∅ /I/ /U/ /N/ /ŋ/
-i e -e a -a ei -ei ai -ai ou -ou ao -ao en -en an -an
-ong eng -eng ang -ang
yi -i ye -ie ya -ia
you -iu yao -iao yin -in yan -ian yong -iong ying -ing yang -iang
wu -u wo -uo 3 wa -ua wei -ui wai -uai
wen -un wan -uan
yu -ü 2 yue -üe 2
yun -ün 2 yuan -üan 2
1 is written er. For other finals formed by the suffix -r, pinyin does not use special orthography; one simply appends r to the final that it is added to, without regard for any sound changes that may take place along the way. For information on sound changes related to final r, please see Erhua#Rules . 2 ü is written as u after j, q, or x. 3 uo is written as o after b, p, m, f, or w.
Technically, i, u, ü without a following vowel are finals, not medials, and therefore take the tone marks, but they are more concisely displayed as above. In addition, ê (欸; 誒) and syllabic nasals m (呒, 呣), n (嗯, 唔), ng (嗯, 𠮾) are used as interjections .
RULES GIVEN IN TERMS OF ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION
THIS SECTION INCLUDES INLINE LINKS TO AUDIO FILES. If you have trouble playing the files, see Media help .
Most rules given here in terms of English pronunciation are approximations, as several of these sounds do not correspond directly to sounds in English.
PRONUNCIATION OF INITIALS
PINYIN IPA ENGLISH APPROXIMATION EXPLANATION
spit unaspirated P, as in sPit
pay strongly aspirated P, as in Pit
may as in English MuMMy
fair as in English Fun
stop unaspirated T, as in sTop
take strongly aspirated T, as in Top
nay as in English Nit
lay as in English Love
skill unaspirated K, as in sKill
kay strongly aspirated K, as in Kill
loch roughly like the Scots CH. English H as in Hay or, more closely in some American dialects, Hero is an acceptable approximation. One way to produce this sound is by very slowly making a "k" sound, pausing at the point where there is just restricted air flowing over the back of the tongue (after the release at the beginning of a "k")
churchyard No equivalent in English, but similar to an unaspirated "-chy-" sound when said quickly. Like q, but unaspirated. Is similar to the English name of the letter G, but curl the tip of the tongue downwards to stick it at the back of the teeth. Not like the S in viSion despite the common English pronunciation of "Beijing". The sequence "ji" word-initially is the same as the Japanese pronunciation of じ (ジ) ji.
punch yourself No equivalent in English. Like punCH Yourself, with the lips spread wide as when one says ee. Curl the tip of the tongue downwards to stick it at the back of the teeth and strongly aspirate. The sequence "qi" word-initially is similar to the Japanese pronunciation of ち (チ) chi.
push yourself No equivalent in English. Like -SH Y-, with the lips spread as when one says ee and with the tip of the tongue curled downwards and stuck to the back of the teeth. The sequence "xi" is similar to the Japanese pronunciation of し (シ) shi.
junk Rather like CH (a sound between CHoke, Joke, TRue, and DRew, with tongue tip curled more upwards). Voiced in a toneless syllable.
church As in CHin or nurTUre in American English, but with the tongue tip curled more upwards and strongly aspirated.
shirt As in SHoe, or marSH in American English, but with the tongue tip curled more upwards.
ray Similar to the English R in Reduce, but with the tongue tip curled more upwards, unrounded lips and lightly fricated.
reads unaspirated C, similar to something between suDS and caTS; as in suDS in a toneless syllable
hats like the English TS in caTS, but strongly aspirated, very similar to the Czech, Polish, and Slovak C.
say as in Sun
way as in Water. Before an E or A it is sometimes pronounced like v as in Violin.*
y , yea as in Yes. Before a u, pronounced with rounded lips.*
* Note on y and w
Y and w are equivalent to the semivowel medials i, u, and ü (see below). They are spelled differently when there is no initial consonant in order to mark a new syllable: fanguan is fan-guan, while fangwan is fang-wan (and equivalent to *fang-uan). With this convention, an apostrophe only needs to be used to mark an initial a, e, or o: Xi'an (two syllables: ) vs. xian (one syllable: ). In addition, y and w are added to fully vocalic i, u, and ü when these occur without an initial consonant, so that they are written yi, wu, and yu. Some Mandarin speakers do pronounce a or sound at the beginning of such words—that is, yi or , wu or , yu or ,—so this is an intuitive convention. See below for a few finals which are abbreviated after a consonant plus w/u or y/i medial: wen → C+un, wei → C+ui, weng → C+ong, and you → C+iu. ** Note on the apostrophe
The apostrophe (') (隔音符號, géyīn fúhào, 'syllable-dividing mark') is used before a syllable starting with a vowel (a, o, or e) in a multiple-syllable word when the syllable does not start the word (which is most commonly realized as ), unless the syllable immediately follows a hyphen or other dash. This is done to remove ambiguity that could arise, as in Xi\'an , which consists of the two syllables xi ("西") an ("安"), compared to such words as xian ("先"). (This ambiguity does not occur when tone marks are used: The two tone marks in Xīān unambiguously show that the word consists of two syllables. However, even with tone marks, the city is usually spelled with an apostrophe as Xī'ān.)
PRONUNCIATION OF FINALS
This table may be a useful reference for IPA vowel symbols
The following is a list of finals in Standard Chinese, excepting most of those ending with r.
To find a given final:
* Remove the initial consonant. Zh, ch, and sh count as initial consonants. * Change initial w to u and initial y to i. For weng, wen, wei, you, look under ong, un, ui, iu. * For u after j, q, x, or y, look under ü.
PINYIN IPA FORM WITH ZERO INITIAL EXPLANATION
-i , (n/a) -i is a buzzed continuation of the consonant following z-, c-, s-, zh-, ch-, sh- or r-.
(In all other cases, -i has the sound of bEE; this is listed below.)
A like English fAther, but a bit more fronted
e ( listen ) E a back, unrounded vowel (similar to English dUH, but not as open). Pronounced as a sequence .
AI like English EYE, but a bit lighter
EI as in hEY
AO approximately as in cOW; the a is much more audible than the o
OU as in North American English sO
AN like British English bAN, but more central
EN as in takEN
ANG as in German ANGST.
(Starts with the vowel sound in fAther and ends in the velar nasal ; like sONG in some dialects of American English)
ENG like e in en above but with ng appended
(n/a) starts with the vowel sound in bOOk and ends with the velar nasal sound in siNG. Varies between and depending on the speaker.
ER Similar to the sound in bAR in American English. Can also be pronounced depending on the speaker.
FINALS BEGINNING WITH I- (Y-)
YI like English bEE
YA as I + A; like English YArd
YE as I + ê where the e (compare with the ê interjection) is pronounced shorter and lighter
YAO as I + AO
YOU as I + OU
YAN as I + AN; like English YEN. Varies between and depending on the speaker.
YIN as I + N
YANG as I + ANG
YING as I + NG
YONG as I + ONG. Varies between and depending on the speaker.
FINALS BEGINNING WITH U- (W-)
WU like English OO
WA as U + A
WO as U + O where the o (compare with the o interjection) is pronounced shorter and lighter (spelled as O after b, p, m or f)
WAI as U + AI, as in English WHY
WEI as U + EI
WAN as U + AN
WEN as U + EN; as in English wON
WANG as U + ANG
WENG as U + ENG
FINALS BEGINNING WITH ü- (YU-)
u, ü ( listen ) YU as in German über or French lUne.
(Pronounced as English EE with rounded lips)
YUE as ü + ê where the e (compare with the ê interjection) is pronounced shorter and lighter
YUAN as ü + AN. Varies between and depending on the speaker.
YUN as ü + N
(n/a) as in bEt
(n/a) approximately as in British English Office; the lips are much more rounded
YO as I + O
* Syllables starting with u are written as w in place of u (e.g.,
*uan is written as wan). Standalone u is written as wu.
* Syllables starting with i are written as y in place of i (e.g.,
*ian is written as yan). Standalone i is written as yi.
* Syllables starting with ü are written as yu in place of ü (e.g.,
*üe is written as yue).
* ü is written as u when there is no ambiguity (such as ju, qu, and
xu), but written as ü when there are corresponding u syllables (such
as lü and nü). In such situations where there are corresponding u
syllables, it is often replaced with v on a computer, making it easier
to type on a standard keyboard.
* When preceded by a consonant, iou, uei, and uen are simplified as
iu, ui, and un (which do not represent the actual pronunciation).
* As in zhuyin, what are actually pronounced as buo, puo, muo, and
fuo are given a separate representation: bo, po, mo, and fo.
* The apostrophe (') is used before a syllable starting with a vowel
(a, o, or e) in a multiple-syllable word when the syllable does not
start the word (which is most commonly realized as ), unless the
syllable immediately follows a hyphen or other dash. This is done to
remove ambiguity that could arise, as in Xi\'an , which consists of
the two syllables xi (西) an (安), compared to such words as xian
(先). (This ambiguity does not occur when tone marks are used: The
two tone marks in "Xīān" unambiguously show that the word consists
of two syllables. However, even with tone marks, the city is usually
spelled with an apostrophe as "Xī'ān".)
* Eh alone is written as ê; elsewhere as e.
Most of the above are used to avoid ambiguity when writing words of more than one syllable in pinyin. For example, uenian is written as wenyan because it is not clear which syllables make up uenian; uen-ian, uen-i-an, and u-en-i-an are all possible combinations whereas wenyan is unambiguous because we, nya, etc. do not exist in pinyin. See the pinyin table article for a summary of possible pinyin syllables (not including tones).
WORDS, CAPITALIZATION, INITIALISMS AND PUNCTUATION
* SINGLE MEANING: Words with a single meaning, which are usually set up of two characters (sometimes one, seldom three), are written together and not capitalized: rén (人, person); péngyou (朋友, friend); qiǎokèlì (巧克力, chocolate) * COMBINED MEANING (2 OR 3 CHARACTERS): Same goes for words combined of two words to one meaning: hǎifēng (海风; 海風, sea breeze); wèndá (问答; 問答, question and answer); quánguó (全国; 全國, nationwide); chángyòngcí (常用词; 常用詞,common words) * COMBINED MEANING (4 OR MORE CHARACTERS): Words with four or more characters having one meaning are split up with their original meaning if possible: wúfèng gāngguǎn (无缝钢管; 無縫鋼管, seamless steel-tube); huánjìng bǎohù guīhuà (环境保护规划; 環境保護規劃, environmental protection planning); gāoměngsuānjiǎ (高锰酸钾; 高錳酸鉀, potassium permanganate)
* DUPLICATED WORDS
* AA: Duplicated characters (AA) are written together: rénrén (人人, everybody), kànkan (看看, to have a look), niánnián (年年, every year) * ABAB: Two characters duplicated (ABAB) are written separated: yánjiū yánjiū (研究研究, to study, to research), xuěbái xuěbái (雪白雪白, white as snow) * AABB: Characters in the AABB schema are written together: láiláiwǎngwǎng (来来往往; 來來往往, come and go), qiānqiānwànwàn (千千万万; 千千萬萬, numerous)
* PREFIXES (前附成分; qiánfù chéngfèn) AND SUFFIXES (后附成分; 後附成分; hòufù chéngfèn): Words accompanied by prefixes such as fù (副, vice), zǒng (总; 總, chief), fēi (非, non-), fǎn (反, anti-), chāo (超, ultra-), lǎo (老, old), ā (阿, used before names to indicate familiarity), kě (可, -able), wú (无; 無, -less) and bàn (半, semi-) and suffixes such as zi (子, noun suffix), r (儿; 兒, diminutive suffix), tou (头; 頭, noun suffix), xìng (性, -ness, -ity), zhě (者, -er, -ist), yuán (员; 員, person), jiā (家, -er, -ist), shǒu (手, person skilled in a field), huà (化, -ize) and men (们; 們, plural marker) are written together: fùbùzhǎng (副部长; 副部長, vice minister), chéngwùyuán (乘务员; 乘務員, conductor), háizimen (孩子们; 孩子們, children)
* NOUNS AND NAMES (名词; 名詞; míngcí)
* Words of position are separated: mén wài (门外; 門外, outdoor), hé li (河里; 河裏, under the river), huǒchē shàngmian (火车上面; 火車上面, on the train), Huáng Hé yǐnán (黄河以南; 黃河以南, south of the Yellow River)
* Exceptions are words traditionally connected: tiānshang (天上, in the sky or outerspace), dìxia (地下, on the ground), kōngzhōng (空中, in the air), hǎiwài (海外, overseas)
* Surnames are separated from the given names, each capitalized: Lǐ Huá (李华; 李華), Zhāng Sān (张三; 張三). If the surname and/or given name consists of two syllables, it should be written as one: Zhūgě Kǒngmíng (诸葛孔明; 諸葛孔明). * Titles following the name are separated and are not capitalized: Wáng bùzhǎng (王部长; 王部長, Minister Wang), Lǐ xiānsheng (李先生, Mr. Li), Tián zhǔrèn (田主任, Director Tian), Zhào tóngzhì (赵同志; 趙同志, Comrade Zhao).
* The forms of addressing people with suffixes such as Lǎo (老), Xiǎo (小), Dà (大) and Ā (阿) are capitalized: Xiǎo Liú (小刘; 小劉, Ms./Mr. Liu), Dà Lǐ (大李, Mr. Li), Ā Sān (阿三, Ah San), Lǎo Qián (老钱; 老錢, Mr. Qian ), Lǎo Wú (老吴; 老吳, Mr. Wu)
* Geographical names of China: Běijīng Shì (北京市, city of
* Monosyllabic prefixes and suffixes are written together with their related part: Dōngsì Shítiáo (东四十条; 東四十條, Dongsi 10th Alley) * Common geographical nouns that have become part of proper nouns are written together: Hēilóngjiāng (黑龙江; 黑龍江, Heilongjiang )
* VERBS (动词; 動詞; dòngcí): Verbs and their suffixes -zhe (着; 著), -le (了) or -guo ((过; 過) are written as one: kànzhe (看着; 看著, seeing), jìnxíngguo (进行过; 進行過, have been implemented). Le as it appears in the end of a sentence is separated though: Huǒchē dào le. (火车到了; 火車到了, The train arrived).
* Verbs and their objects are separated: kàn xìn (看信, read a letter), chī yú (吃鱼; 吃魚, eat fish), kāi wánxiào (开玩笑; 開玩笑, to be kidding). * If verbs and their complements are each monosyllabic, they are written together; if not, they are separated: gǎohuài (搞坏; 搞壞, to make broken), dǎsǐ (打死, hit to death), huàwéi (化为; 化為, to become), zhěnglǐ hǎo (整理好, to sort out), gǎixiě wéi (改写为; 改寫為, to rewrite as)
* ADJECTIVES (形容词; 形容詞; xíngróngcí): A monosyllabic adjective and its reduplication are written as one: mēngmēngliàng (矇矇亮, dim), liàngtángtáng (亮堂堂, shining bright)
* Complements of size or degree such as xiē (些), yīxiē (一些), diǎnr (点儿; 點兒) and yīdiǎnr (一点儿; 一點兒) are written separated: dà xiē (大些), a little bigger), kuài yīdiǎnr (快一点儿; 快一點兒, a bit faster)
* PRONOUNS (代词; 代詞; dàicí)
* Personal pronouns and interrogative pronouns are separated from other words: Wǒ ài Zhōngguó. (我爱中国。; 我愛中國。, I love China); Shéi shuō de? (谁说的？; 誰說的？, Who said it?)
* The demonstrative pronoun zhè (这; 這, this), nà (那, that) and the question pronoun nǎ (哪, which) are separated: zhè rén (这人; 這人, this person), nà cì huìyì (那次会议; 那次會議, that meeting), nǎ zhāng bàozhǐ (哪张报纸; 哪張報紙, which newspaper)
* Exception—If zhè, nà or nǎ are followed by diǎnr (点儿; 點兒), bān (般), biān (边; 邊), shí (时; 時), huìr (会儿; 會兒), lǐ (里; 裏), me (么; 麼) or the general classifierge (个; 個), they are written together: nàlǐ (那里; 那裏, there), zhèbiān (这边; 這邊, over here), zhège (这个; 這個, this)
* NUMERALS (数词; 數詞; shùcí) AND MEASURE WORDS (量词; 量詞; liàngcí)
* Numbers and words like gè (各, each), měi (每, each), mǒu (某, any), běn (本, this), gāi (该; 該, that), wǒ (我, my, our) and nǐ (你, your) are separated from the measure words following them: liǎng gè rén (两个人; 兩個人, two people), gè guó (各国; 各國, every nation), měi nián (每年, every year), mǒu gōngchǎng (某工厂; 某工廠, a certain factory), wǒ xiào (我校, our school) * Numbers up to 100 are written as single words: sānshísān (三十三, thirty-three). Above that, the hundreds, thousands, etc. are written as separate words: jiǔyì qīwàn èrqiān sānbǎi wǔshíliù (九亿七万二千三百五十六; 九億七萬二千三百五十六, nine hundred million, seventy-two thousand, three hundred fifty-six). Arabic numerals are kept as Arabic numerals: 635 fēnjī (635 分机; 635 分機, extension 635) * The dì (第) of ordinal numerals is hyphenated: dì-yī (第一, first), dì-356 (第 356, 356th). The chū (初) in front of numbers one to ten is written together with the number: chūshí (初十, tenth day) * Numbers representing month and day are hyphenated: wǔ-sì (五四, May fourth ), yīèr-jiǔ (一二·九, December ninth )
* Words of approximations such as duō (多), lái (来; 來) and jǐ (几; 幾) are separated from numerals and measure words: yībǎi duō gè (一百多个; 一百多個, around a hundred); shí lái wàn gè (十来万个; 十來萬個, around a hundred thousand); jǐ jiā rén (几家人; 幾家人, a few families)
* Shíjǐ (十几; 十幾, more than ten) and jǐshí (几十; 幾十, tens) are written together: shíjǐ gè rén (十几个人; 十幾個人, more than ten people); jǐshí (几十根钢管; 幾十根鋼管, tens of steel pipes)
* Approximations with numbers or units that are close together are hyphenated: sān-wǔ tiān (三五天, three to five days), qiān-bǎi cì (千百次, thousands of times)
* Other FUNCTION WORDS (虚词; 虛詞; xūcí) are separated from other words, including:
* Adverbs (副词; 副詞; fùcí): hěn hǎo (很好, very good), zuì kuài (最快, fastest), fēicháng dà (非常大, extremely big) * Prepositions (介词; 介詞; jiècí): zài qiánmiàn (在前面, in front) * Conjunctions (连词; 連詞; liáncí): nǐ hé wǒ (你和我, you and I/me), Nǐ lái háishi bù lái? (你来还是不来？; 你來還是不來？, Are you coming or not?)
* "Constructive auxiliaries" (结构助词; 結構助詞; jiégòu zhùcí) such as de (的/地/得), zhī (之) and suǒ (所): mànmàn de zou (慢慢地走), go slowly)
* A monosyllabic word can also be written together with de (的/地/得): wǒ de shū / wǒde shū (我的书; 我的書, my book)
* Modal auxiliaries at the end of a sentence: Nǐ zhīdào ma? (你知道吗？; 你知道嗎？, Do you know?), Kuài qù ba! (快去吧！, Go quickly!) * Exclamations and interjections: À! Zhēn měi! (啊！真美！), Oh, that's so beautiful!) * Onomatopoeia: mó dāo huòhuò (磨刀霍霍, honing a knife), hōnglōng yī shēng (轰隆一声; 轟隆一聲, rumbling)
* The first letter of the first word in a sentence is capitalized: Chūntiān lái le. (春天来了。; 春天來了。, Spring has arrived.) * The first letter of each line in a poem is capitalized.
* The first letter of a proper noun is capitalized: Běijīng (北京, Beijing), Guójì Shūdiàn (国际书店; 國際書店, International Bookstore), Guójiā Yǔyán Wénzì Gōngzuò Wěiyuánhuì (国家语言文字工作委员会; 國家語言文字工作委員會, National Language Commission)
* On some occasions, proper nouns can be written in all caps : BĚIJĪNG, GUÓJÌ SHŪDIÀN, GUÓJIĀ YǓYÁN WÉNZÌ GŌNGZUÒ WĚIYUÁNHUÌ
* If a proper noun is written together with a common noun to make a
proper noun, it is capitalized. If not, it is not capitalized:
Fójiào (佛教, Buddhism), Tángcháo (唐朝, Tang dynasty),
jīngjù (京剧; 京劇,
* Single words are abbreviated by taking the first letter of each character of the word: BeǐJīng (北京, Beijing) → BJ * A group of words are abbreviated by taking the first letter of each word in the group: Guójiā Biāozhǔn (国家标准; 國家標準, Guobiao standard) → GB * Initials can also be indicated using full stops: Beǐjīng → B.J., guójiā biāozhǔn → G.B. * When abbreviating names, the surname is written fully (first letter capitalized or in all caps), but only the first letter of each character in the given name is taken, with full stops after each initial: Lǐ Huá (李华; 李華) → Lǐ H. or LǏ H., Zhūgě Kǒngmíng (诸葛孔明; 諸葛孔明) → Zhūgě K. M. or ZHŪGĚ K. M.
* LINE WRAPPING
* Words can only be split by the character: guāngmíng (光明, bright) → guāng- míng, not gu- āngmíng * Initials cannot be split: Wáng J. G. (王建国; 王建國) → Wáng J. G., not Wáng J.- G. * Apostrophes are removed in line wrapping: Xī'ān (西安, Xi'an) → Xī- ān, not Xī- 'ān * When the original word has a hyphen, the hyphen is added at the beginning of the new line: chēshuǐ-mǎlóng (车水马龙; 車水馬龍, heavy traffic: "carriage, water, horse, dragon") → chēshuǐ- -mǎlóng
* HYPHENATION: In addition to the situations mentioned above, there are four situations where hyphens are used.
* Coordinate and disjunctive compound words, where the two elements are conjoined or opposed, but retain their individual meaning: gōng-jiàn (弓箭, bow and arrow), kuài-màn (快慢, speed: "fast-slow"), shíqī-bā suì (十七八岁; 十七八歲, 17–18 years old), dǎ-mà (打骂; 打罵, beat and scold), Yīng-Hàn (英汉; 英漢, English-Chinese ), Jīng-Jīn (京津, Beijing-Tianjin), lù-hǎi-kōngjūn (陆海空军; 陸海空軍, army-navy-airforce).
* Abbreviated compounds (略语; 略語; lüèyǔ): gōnggòng guānxì (公共关系; 公共關係, public relations) → gōng-guān (公关; 公關, PR), chángtú diànhuà (长途电话; 長途電話, long-distance calling) → cháng-huà (长话; 長話, LDC). Exceptions are made when the abbreviated term has become established as a word in its own right, as in chūzhōng (初中) for chūjí zhōngxué (初级中学; 初級中學, junior high school). Abbreviations of proper-name compounds, however, should always be hyphenated: Běijīng Dàxué (北京大学; 北京大學, Peking University ) → Běi-Dà (北大, PKU). * Four-syllable idioms : fēngpíng-làngjìng (风平浪静; 風平浪靜), calm and tranquil: "wind calm, waves down"), huījīn-rútǔ (挥金如土; 揮金如土, spend money like water: "throw gold like dirt"), zhǐ-bǐ-mò-yàn (纸笔墨砚; 紙筆墨硯, paper-brush-ink-inkstone ). (The AA-BB reduplication above is an instance of this.)
* Other idioms are separated according to the words that make up the idiom: bēi hēiguō (背黑锅; 背黑鍋, to be made a scapegoat: "to carry a black pot"), zhǐ xǔ zhōuguān fànghuǒ, bù xǔ bǎixìng diǎndēng (只许州官放火，不许百姓点灯; 只許州官放火，不許百姓點燈, Gods may do what cattle may not: "only the official is allowed to light the fire; the commoners are not allowed to light a lamp")
* The Chinese full stop (。) is changed to a western full stop (.). * The hyphen is a half-width hyphen (-). * Ellipsis can be changed from 6 dots (……) to 3 dots (…). * The enumeration comma (、) is changed to a normal comma (,). * All other punctuation marks are the same as the ones used in normal texts.
Relative pitch changes of the four tones
The pinyin system also uses diacritics to mark the four tones of
Mandarin . The diacritic is placed over the letter that represents the
syllable nucleus , unless that letter is missing (see below). Many
books printed in
* The first tone (Flat or High Level Tone) is represented by a macron (ˉ) added to the pinyin vowel: ā (ɑ̄) ē ī ō ū ǖ Ā Ē Ī Ō Ū Ǖ * The second tone (Rising or High-Rising Tone) is denoted by an acute accent (ˊ): á (ɑ́) é í ó ú ǘ Á É Í Ó Ú Ǘ * The third tone (Falling-Rising or Low Tone) is marked by a caron /háček (ˇ). It is not the rounded breve (˘), though a breve is sometimes substituted due to font limitations. ǎ (ɑ̌) ě ǐ ǒ ǔ ǚ Ǎ Ě Ǐ Ǒ Ǔ Ǚ * The fourth tone (Falling or High-Falling Tone) is represented by a grave accent (ˋ): à (ɑ̀) è ì ò ù ǜ À È Ì Ò Ù Ǜ * The fifth tone (Neutral Tone) is represented by a normal vowel without any accent mark: a (ɑ) e i o u ü A E I O U Ü
In dictionaries, neutral tone may be indicated by a dot preceding the syllable; for example, ·ma. When a neutral tone syllable has an alternative pronunciation in another tone, a combination of tone marks may be used: zhī·dào (知道).
These tone marks normally are only used in Mandarin textbooks or in foreign learning texts, but they are essential for correct pronunciation of Mandarin syllables, as exemplified by the following classic example of five characters whose pronunciations differ only in their tones: The four main tones of Standard Mandarin, pronounced with the syllable ma.
媽 (mā) 麻 (má) 馬 (mǎ) 罵 (mà) 嗎 (·ma)
妈 (mā) 麻 (má) 马 (mǎ) 骂 (mà) 吗 (·ma)
The words are "mother", "hemp", "horse", "scold", and a question particle, respectively.
NUMERALS IN PLACE OF TONE MARKS
Before the advent of computers, many typewriter fonts did not contain vowels with macron or caron diacritics. Tones were thus represented by placing a tone number at the end of individual syllables. For example, tóng is written tong2. The number used for each tone is as the order listed above, except the neutral tone, which is either not numbered, or given the number 0 or 5, e.g. ma5 for 吗/嗎, an interrogative marker.
TONE TONE MARK Number added to end of syllable in place of tone mark Example using tone mark Example using number IPA
First macron ( ¯ ) 1 mā ma1 ma˥
Second acute accent ( ´ ) 2 má ma2 ma˧˥
Third caron ( ˇ ) 3 mǎ ma3 ma˨˩˦
Fourth grave accent ( ` ) 4 mà ma4 ma˥˩
"Neutral" No mark or dot before syllable (·) no number 5 0 ma ·ma ma ma5 ma0 ma
RULES FOR PLACING THE TONE MARK
Briefly, the tone mark should always be placed by the order—a, o,
e, i, u, ü, with the only exception being iu, where the tone mark is
placed on the u instead.
When the nucleus is /ə/ (written e or o), and there is both a medial and a coda, the nucleus may be dropped from writing. In this case, when the coda is a consonant n or ng, the only vowel left is the medial i, u, or ü, and so this takes the diacritic. However, when the coda is a vowel, it is the coda rather than the medial which takes the diacritic in the absence of a written nucleus. This occurs with syllables ending in -ui (from wei: (wèi → -uì) and in -iu (from you: yòu → -iù.) That is, in the absence of a written nucleus the finals have priority for receiving the tone marker, as long as they are vowels: if not, the medial takes the diacritic.
An algorithm to find the correct vowel letter (when there is more than one) is as follows:
* If there is an a or an e, it will take the tone mark. * If there is an ou, then the o takes the tone mark. * Otherwise, the second vowel takes the tone mark.
* If there is an a, e, or o, it will take the tone mark; in the case of ao, the mark goes on the a. * Otherwise, the vowels are -iu or -ui, in which case the second vowel takes the tone mark.
If the tone is written over an i, the tittle above the i is omitted, as in yī.
The placement of the tone marker, when more than one of the written letters a, e, i, o, and u appears, can also be inferred from the nature of the vowel sound in the medial and final. The rule is that the tone marker goes on the spelled vowel that is not a (near-)semi-vowel. The exception is that, for triphthongs that are spelled with only two vowel letters, both of which are the semi-vowels, the tone marker goes on the second spelled vowel.
Specifically, if the spelling of a diphthong begins with i (as in ia) or u (as in ua), which here serves as a near-semi-vowel , this letter does not take the tone marker. Likewise, if the spelling of a diphthong ends with o or u representing a near-semi-vowel (as in ao or ou), this letter does not receive a tone marker. In a triphthong spelled with three of a, e, i, o, and u (with i or u replaced by y or w at the start of a syllable), the first and third letters coincide with near-semi-vowels and hence do not receive the tone marker (as in iao or uai or iou). But if no letter is written to represent a triphthong's middle (non-semi-vowel) sound (as in ui or iu), then the tone marker goes on the final (second) vowel letter.
USING TONE COLORS
In addition to tone number and mark, tone color has been suggested as a visual aid for learning. Although there are no formal standards, there are a number of different color schemes in use.
* Dummitt's color scheme was one of the first to be used. It is tone 1 - red, tone 2 - orange, tone 3 - green, tone 4 - blue, and neutral tone - black. * The Unimelb color scheme is tone 1 - blue, tone 2 - green, tone 3 - purple, tone 4 - red, neutral tone - grey * The Hanping color scheme is tone 1 - blue, tone 2 - green, tone 3 - orange, tone 4 - red, neutral tone - grey. * The Pleco color scheme is tone 1 - red, tone 2 - green, tone 3 - blue, tone 4 - purple, neutral tone - grey * The Thomas color scheme is tone 1 - green, tone 2 - blue, tone 3 - red, tone 4 - black, neutral tone - grey
THIRD TONE EXCEPTIONS
In spoken Chinese, the third tone is often pronounced as a "half third tone", in which the pitch does not rise. Additionally, when two third tones appear consecutively, such as in 你好 (nǐhǎo, hello), the first syllable is pronounced with the second tone. In pinyin, words like "hello" are still written with two third tones (nǐhǎo).
THE ü SOUND
An umlaut is placed over the letter u when it occurs after the initials l and n in order to represent the sound . This is necessary in order to distinguish the front high rounded vowel in lü (e.g. 驴; 驢; "donkey") from the back high rounded vowel in lu (e.g. 炉; 爐; "oven"). Tonal markers are added on top of the umlaut, as in lǘ.
However, the ü is not used in the other contexts where it could represent a front high rounded vowel, namely after the letters j, q, x, and y. For example, the sound of the word 鱼/魚 (fish) is transcribed in pinyin simply as yú, not as yǘ. This practice is opposed to Wade–Giles , which always uses ü, and Tongyong Pinyin , which always uses yu. Whereas Wade–Giles needs to use the umlaut to distinguish between chü (pinyin ju) and chu (pinyin zhu), this ambiguity cannot arise with pinyin, so the more convenient form ju is used instead of jü. Genuine ambiguities only happen with nu/nü and lu/lü, which are then distinguished by an umlaut.
Many fonts or output methods do not support an umlaut for ü or
cannot place tone marks on top of ü. Likewise, using ü in input
methods is difficult because it is not present as a simple key on many
keyboard layouts. For these reasons v is sometimes used instead by
convention. For example, it is common for cellphones to use v instead
of ü. Additionally, some stores in
This also presents a problem in transcribing names for use on passports, affecting people with names that consist of the sound lü or nü, particularly people with the surname 吕 (Lǚ ), a fairly common surname, particularly compared to the surname 陆 (Lù ), 鲁 (Lǔ ), 卢 (Lú ) and 路 (Lù ). Previously, the practice varied among different passport issuing offices, with some transcribing as "LV" and "NV" while others used "LU" and "NU". On 10 July 2012, the Ministry of Public Security standardized the practice to use "LYU" and "NYU" in passports.
Although nüe written as nue, and lüe written as lue are not ambiguous, nue or lue are not correct according to the rules; nüe and lüe should be used instead. However, some Chinese input methods (e.g. Microsoft Pinyin IME ) support both nve/lve (typing v for ü) and nue/lue.
PINYIN IN TAIWAN
Tongyong Pinyin was made the official system in an administrative
order that allowed its adoption by local governments to be voluntary.
A few localities with governments controlled by the KMT, most notably
The adoption of
COMPARISON WITH OTHER ORTHOGRAPHIES
Vowels a, e, o IPA A ɔ ɛ ɤ AI EI AU OU AN əN Aŋ əŋ ʊŋ Aɚ
PINYIN a o ê e ai ei ao ou an en ang eng ong er
TONGYONG PINYIN a o e e ai ei ao ou an en ang eng ong er
WADE–GILES a o eh ê/o ai ei ao ou an ên ang êng ung êrh
ZHUYIN ㄚ ㄛ ㄝ ㄜ ㄞ ㄟ ㄠ ㄡ ㄢ ㄣ ㄤ ㄥ ㄨㄥ ㄦ
EXAMPLE 阿 哦 呗 俄 艾 黑 凹 偶 安 恩 昂 冷 中 二
Vowels i, u, y IPA I JE JOU JɛN IN Iŋ Jʊŋ U WO WEI WəN Wəŋ Y ɥE ɥɛN YN
PINYIN yi ye you yan yin ying yong wu wo/o wei wen weng yu yue yuan yun
TONGYONG PINYIN yi ye you yan yin ying yong wu wo/o wei wun wong yu yue yuan yun
WADE–GILES i/yi yeh yu yen yin ying yung wu wo/o wei wên wêng yü yüeh yüan yün
ZHUYIN ㄧ ㄧㄝ ㄧㄡ ㄧㄢ ㄧㄣ ㄧㄥ ㄩㄥ ㄨ ㄨㄛ/ㄛ ㄨㄟ ㄨㄣ ㄨㄥ ㄩ ㄩㄝ ㄩㄢ ㄩㄣ
EXAMPLE 一 也 又 言 音 英 用 五 我 位 文 翁 玉 月 元 云
Non-sibilant consonants IPA P Pʰ M Fəŋ TJOU TWEI TWəN Tʰɤ NY LY Kɤɚ Kʰɤ Xɤ
PINYIN b p m feng diu dui dun te nü lü ger ke he
TONGYONG PINYIN b p m fong diou duei dun te nyu lyu ger ke he
WADE–GILES p pʻ m fêng tiu tui tun tʻê nü lü kor kʻo ho
ZHUYIN ㄅ ㄆ ㄇ ㄈㄥ ㄉㄧㄡ ㄉㄨㄟ ㄉㄨㄣ ㄊㄜ ㄋㄩ ㄌㄩ ㄍㄜㄦ ㄎㄜ ㄏㄜ
EXAMPLE 玻 婆 末 封 丟 兌 顿 特 女 旅 歌儿 可 何
Sibilant consonants IPA TɕJɛN TɕJʊŋ TɕʰIN ɕɥɛN ʈʂɤ ʈʂɨ ʈʂʰɤ ʈʂʰɨ ʂɤ ʂɨ ɻɤ ɻɨ TSɤ TSWO TSɨ TSʰɤ TSʰɨ Sɤ Sɨ
PINYIN jian jiong qin xuan zhe zhi che chi she shi re ri ze zuo zi ce ci se si
TONGYONG PINYIN jian jyong cin syuan jhe jhih che chih she shih re rih ze zuo zih ce cih se sih
WADE–GILES chien chiung chʻin hsüan chê chih chʻê chʻih shê shih jê jih tsê tso tzŭ tsʻê tzʻŭ sê ssŭ
ZHUYIN ㄐㄧㄢ ㄐㄩㄥ ㄑㄧㄣ ㄒㄩㄢ ㄓㄜ ㄓ ㄔㄜ ㄔ ㄕㄜ ㄕ ㄖㄜ ㄖ ㄗㄜ ㄗㄨㄛ ㄗ ㄘㄜ ㄘ ㄙㄜ ㄙ
EXAMPLE 件 窘 秦 宣 哲 之 扯 赤 社 是 惹 日 仄 左 字 策 次 色 斯
TONES IPA MA˥˥ MA˧˥ MA˨˩˦ MA˥˩ MA
PINYIN mā má mǎ mà ma
TONGYONG PINYIN ma má mǎ mà må
WADE–GILES ma1 ma2 ma3 ma4 ma
ZHUYIN ㄇㄚ ㄇㄚˊ ㄇㄚˇ ㄇㄚˋ ˙ㄇㄚ
EXAMPLE (TRADITIONAL /SIMPLIFIED ) 媽/妈 麻/麻 馬/马 罵/骂 嗎/吗
COMPUTER INPUT SYSTEMS
Simple computer systems, able to display only 7-bit
Pinyin-like systems have been devised for other variants of Chinese.
Guangdong Romanization is a set of romanizations devised by the
In addition, in accordance to the Regulation of Phonetic
CUSTOMARY OFFICIAL (PINYIN FOR LOCAL NAME) TRADITIONAL CHINESE NAME SIMPLIFIED CHINESE NAME PINYIN FOR CHINESE NAME
Urumchi Ürümqi 烏魯木齊 乌鲁木齐 Wūlǔmùqí
Lhasa Lhasa 拉薩 拉萨 Lāsà
Hohhot Hohhot 呼和浩特 呼和浩特 Hūhéhàotè
Qiqihar Qiqihar 齊齊哈爾 齐齐哈尔 Qíqíhā'ěr
Tongyong Pinyin was developed in
* ^ A B C D E Margalit Fox (14 January 2017). "Zhou Youguang, Who
Made Writing Chinese as Simple as ABC, Dies at 111". The New York
* ^ "
* Yin Binyong/尹斌庸 and Mary Felley (1990). Chinese
Romanization. Pronunciation and Orthography (
Find more aboutPINYINat's sister projects
* Definitions from Wiktionary * Media from Wikimedia Commons * Data from Wikidata
PINYIN TEST of at Wikimedia Incubator
* Basic rules of the Chinese phonetic alphabet orthography—The official standard GB/T 16159-2012 in Chinese. PDF version from the Chinese Ministry of Education. (in Chinese)
* Chinese phonetic alphabet spelling rules for Chinese names—The
official standard GB/T 28039-2011 in Chinese. PDF version from the
Chinese Ministry of Education (in Chinese)
* Pinyin-Guide.com Pronunciation and FAQs related to Pinyin
* Pinyin-Editor.com Online editor to create
Preceded by Gwoyeu Romatzyh Official romanization adopted by the People's Republic of China 1958– CURRENT
Preceded by Wade–Giles de facto used romanization by the People's Republic of China 1978–
Preceded by — ROMANIZATION USED BY THE UNITED NATIONS 1986–
* v * t * e
ISO standards by standard number
List of ISO standards / ISO romanizations / IEC standards
* 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 9 * 16
* -0 * -1 * -2 * -3 * -4 * -5 * -6 * -7 * -8 * -9 * -10 * -11 * -12 * -13
* 128 * 216 * 217 * 226 * 228 * 233 * 259 * 269 * 302 * 306 * 428 * 518 * 519
* -1 * -2 * -3 * -5 * -6
* 646 * 690 * 732 * 764 * 843 * 898 * 965 * 1000 * 1004 * 1007 * 1073-1 * 1413 * 1538 * 1745 * 1989 * 2014 * 2015 * 2022 * 2047 * 2108 * 2145 * 2146 * 2240 * 2281 * 2709 * 2711 * 2788 * 2848 * 2852 * 3029 * 3103
* -1 * -2 * -3
* 3297 * 3307 * 3602 * 3864 * 3901 * 3977 * 4031 * 4157 * 4217 * 4909 * 5218 * 5428 * 5775 * 5776 * 5800 * 5964 * 6166 * 6344 * 6346 * 6385 * 6425 * 6429 * 6438 * 6523 * 6709 * 7001 * 7002 * 7098 * 7185 * 7200 * 7498 * 7736 * 7810 * 7811 * 7812 * 7813 * 7816 * 8000 * 8178 * 8217 * 8571 * 8583 * 8601 * 8632 * 8652 * 8691 * 8807 * 8820-5
* -1 * -2 * -3 * -4 * -5 * -6 * -7 * -8 * -8-I * -9 * -10 * -11 * -12 * -13 * -14 * -15 * -16
* 8879 * 9000/9001 * 9075 * 9126 * 9293 * 9241 * 9362 * 9407 * 9506 * 9529 * 9564 * 9594 * 9660 * 9897 * 9899 * 9945 * 9984 * 9985 * 9995
* 10005 * 10006 * 10007 * 10116 * 10118-3 * 10160 * 10161 * 10165 * 10179 * 10206 * 10218
* -11 * -21 * -22 * -28 * -238
* 10383 * 10487 * 10585 * 10589 * 10646 * 10664 * 10746 * 10861 * 10957 * 10962 * 10967 * 11073 * 11170 * 11179 * 11404 * 11544 * 11783 * 11784 * 11785 * 11801 * 11898 * 11940 (-2 ) * 11941 * 11941 (TR) * 11992 * 12006 * 12182 * 12207 * 12234-2
* -1 * -2
* 13216 * 13250 * 13399 * 13406-2 * 13450 * 13485 * 13490 * 13567 * 13568 * 13584 * 13616 * 14000 * 14031 * 14224 * 14289 * 14396 * 14443
* -2 * -3 * -6 * -10 * -11 * -12 * -14 * -17 * -20
* 14644 * 14649 * 14651 * 14698 * 14750 * 14764 * 14882 * 14971 * 15022 * 15189 * 15288 * 15291 * 15292 * 15398 * 15408
* 15445 * 15438 * 15504 * 15511 * 15686 * 15693