Bopomofo, also called Zhuyin (Chinese: 注音), or Mandarin Phonetic Symbols, is the major Chinese transliteration system for Taiwanese Mandarin. It is also used to transcribe other varieties of Chinese, particularly other varieties of Standard Chinese and related Mandarin dialects, as well as Taiwanese Hokkien.

Zhuyin Fuhao and Zhuyin are traditional terms, whereas Bopomofo is the colloquial term, also used by the ISO and Unicode. Consisting of 37 characters and four tone marks, it transcribes all possible sounds in Mandarin. Zhuyin was introduced in China by the Republican Government in the 1910s and used alongside the Wade–Giles system, which used a modified Latin alphabet. The Wade system was replaced by Hanyu Pinyin in 1958 by the Government of the People's Republic of China,[2] and at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1982.[3] Although Taiwan adopted Hanyu Pinyin as its official romanization system in 2009,[4] Bopomofo is still an official transliteration system there and remains widely used as an educational tool and for electronic input methods.

注音符號 注音符号 (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ)
百科全書 百科全书(encyclopedia) in Zhuyin Fuhao
Semisyllabary (letters for onsets and rimes; diacritics for tones)
CreatorCommission on the Unification of Pronunciation
Introduced by the Beiyang government of the ROC
Time period
1918 to 1958 in mainland China;[1]
1945 to the present in Taiwan
Parent systems
Oracle Bone Script
Child systems
Taiwanese Phonetic Symbols, Suzhou Phonetic Symbols, Hmu Phonetic Symbols
Sister systems
Simplified Chinese, Kanji, Hanja, Chữ Nôm, Khitan script
ISO 15924Bopo, 285
Unicode alias
Mandarin Phonetic Symbol


Similarly to the way that the word 'alphabet' is ultimately derived from the names of the first two letters of the alphabet (alpha and beta), the name "Bopomofo" is derived from the first four syllables in the conventional ordering of available syllables in Mandarin Chinese. The four Bopomofo characters (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ) that correspond to these syllables are usually placed first in a list of these characters. The same sequence is sometimes used by other speakers of Chinese to refer to other phonetic systems.

The original formal name of the system was Guóyīn Zìmǔ (traditional 國音字母, simplified 国音字母, lit. "National Language Phonetic Alphabet") and Zhùyīn Zìmǔ (traditional 註音字母, simplified 注音字母, lit. "Phonetic Alphabet" or "Annotated Phonetic Letters").[5] It was later renamed Zhùyīn Fúhào (traditional 注音符號, simplified 注音符号), meaning "phonetic symbols".

In official documents, Zhuyin is occasionally called "Mandarin Phonetic Symbols I" (國語注音符號第一式), abbreviated as "MPS I" (注音一式).

In English translations, the system is often also called either Chu-yin or the Mandarin Phonetic Symbols.[5][6] A romanized phonetic system was released in 1984 as Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II (MPS II).


The Commission on the Unification of Pronunciation, led by Wu Zhihui from 1912 to 1913, created a system called Zhuyin Zimu,[5] which was based on Zhang Binglin's shorthand. A draft was released on July 11, 1913, by the Republic of China National Ministry of Education, but it was not officially proclaimed until November 23, 1928.[5] It was later renamed first Guoyin Zimu and then, in April 1930, Zhuyin Fuhao. The last renaming addressed fears that the alphabetic system might independently replace Chinese characters.[7]

Modern use in Taiwan

Left arrow direction sign using bopomofo in Taipei Municipal Dunhua Elementary School 20160804
Direction sign for children in Taipei including bopomofo

Zhuyin remains the predominant phonetic system in teaching reading and writing in elementary school in Taiwan. It is also one of the most popular ways to enter Chinese characters into computers and smartphones and to look up characters in a dictionary.

In elementary school, particularly in the lower years, Chinese characters in textbooks are often annotated with Zhuyin as ruby characters as an aid to learning. Additionally, one children's newspaper in Taiwan, the Mandarin Daily News, annotates all articles with Zhuyin ruby characters.

In teaching Mandarin, Taiwan institutions and some overseas communities use Zhuyin as a learning tool.


Table showing Zhuyin in Gwoyeu Romatzyh
Bopomofo in Regular, Handwritten Regular & Cursive formats
Bopomofo in Regular, Handwritten Regular & Cursive formats

The Zhuyin characters were created by Zhang Binglin, and taken mainly from "regularised" forms of ancient Chinese characters, the modern readings of which contain the sound that each letter represents. It is to be noted that the first consonants are articulated from the front of the mouth to the back, /b/, /p/, /m/, /f/, /d/, /t/, /n/, /l/ etc.

Origin of zhuyin symbols
Zhuyin Origin IPA Pinyin WG Example
From , the ancient form and current top portion of bāo p b p
From , the combining form of p
From , the archaic character and current radical m m m
From fāng f f f
From 𠚣, archaic form of dāo. Compare the Shuowen seal 刀-seal.svg. t d t
From , upside-down form of (Shuowen Seal Radical 528.svg and Shuowen Seal Radical 525.svg in seal script)[8] t
From 乃-seal.svg/𠄎, ancient form of nǎi (milk) n n n
From 𠠲, archaic form of l l l
From the obsolete character guì/kuài "river" k g k gào
From the archaic character kǎo k kǎo
From the archaic character and current radical hǎn x h h hǎo
From the archaic character jiū j ch jiào
From the archaic character 𡿨 quǎn, graphic root of the character chuān (modern ) tɕʰ q chʻ qiǎo
From , an ancient form of xià. ɕ x hs xiǎo
From 之-seal.svg/𡳿, archaic form of zhī. ʈʂ zhi, zh- ch zhī
From the character and radical chì ʈʂʰ chi, ch- chʻ chī
From 𡰣, an ancient form of shī ʂ shi, sh- sh shì
Modified from the seal script 日-seal.svg form of (day/sun) ɻ~ʐ ri, r- j

From the archaic character and current radical jié, dialectically zié ([tsjě]; tsieh² in Wade–Giles) ts zi, z- ts
From 𠀁, archaic form of , dialectically ciī ([tsʰí]; tsʻi¹ in Wade–Giles). Compare semi-cursive form Qi1 seven semicursive.png and seal-script 七-seal.svg. tsʰ ci, c- tsʻ
From the archaic character , which was later replaced by its compound . s si, s- s
Rhymes and medials
Zhuyin Origin IPA Pinyin WG Example
From a a a
From the obsolete character 𠀀 , inhalation, the reverse of kǎo, which is preserved as a phonetic in the compound .[9] o o o duō
Derived from its allophone in Standard Chinese, o ɤ e o/ê
From (also). Compare the Warring States bamboo form Ye3 also chu3jian3 warring state of chu3 small.png e ê eh diē
From 𠀅 hài, archaic form of . ai ai ai shài
From , an obsolete character meaning "to move". ei ei ei shéi
From yāo au ao ao shǎo
From yòu ou ou ou shōu
From the archaic character 𢎘 hàn "to bloom", preserved as a phonetic in the compound fàn an an an shān
From 𠃉, archaic variant of or [10] ( is yǐn according to other sources[11]) ən en ên shēn
From wāng ang ang shàng
From 𠃋, archaic form of gōng[12] əŋ eng êng shēng
From , the bottom portion of ér used as a cursive and simplified form er êrh ér
From (one) i yi, -i i

From , ancient form of (five). Compare the transitory form 𠄡. u wu, -u u/w

From the ancient character , which remains as a radical y yu, -ü ü/yü


From the character . It represents the minimal vowel of , , , , , , , though it is not used after them in transcription.[13] ɻ̩~ʐ̩, ɹ̩~ -i ih/ŭ



Stroke order

Zhuyin is written in the same stroke order rule as Chinese characters. Note that is written with three strokes, unlike the character from which it is derived (Chinese: ; pinyin: ), which has four strokes.


Tonal marks

As shown in the following table, tone marks for the second, third, and fourth tones are shared between bopomofo and pinyin. In bopomofo, the lack of a marker is used to indicate the first tone while a dot above indicates the fifth tone (also known as the neutral tone). In pinyin, a macron (overbar) indicates the first tone and the lack of a marker indicates the fifth tone.

Tone Bopomofo Pinyin
Tone Marker Unicode Name Tone Marker Unicode Name
1 (None) (Not Applicable) ◌̄ Combining Macron
2 ˊ Modifier Letter Acute Accent ◌́ Combining Acute Accent
3 ˇ Caron ◌̌ Combining Caron
4 ˋ Modifier Letter Grave Accent ◌̀ Combining Grave Accent
5 ˙ Dot Above (None) (Not Applicable)

Unlike Hanyu Pinyin, Zhuyin aligns well with the hanzi characters in books whose texts are printed vertically, making Zhuyin better suited for annotating the pronunciation of vertically oriented Chinese text.

Zhuyin, when used in conjunction with Chinese characters, are typically placed to the right of the Chinese character vertically or to the top of the Chinese character in a horizontal print (see Ruby characters).

Below is an example for the word "bottle" (pinyin: píngzi):

ㄆㄧㄥˊ ˙ㄗ

Érhuà transcription

Érhuà-ed words merge as a single syllable, which means is attached to the precedent syllable (like 歌兒ㄍㄜㄦ gēr). In case the syllable uses other tones than 1st tone, the tone is attached to the penultimate syllable, but not to (e.g. 哪兒ㄋㄚˇㄦ nǎr; 點兒ㄉㄧㄢˇㄦ yīdiǎnr; ㄏㄠˇ玩兒ㄨㄢˊㄦ hǎowánr).[14]



Zhuyin and pinyin are based on the same Mandarin pronunciations, hence there is a one-to-one correspondence between the two systems:

IPA and pinyin counterparts of Zhuyin finals
Medial [ɨ]
() 1


-o 3












ㄨㄛ 3
-uo 3
[u̯əŋ], [ʊŋ]
-ong 4

-üe 2
-üan 2
-ün 2

1 Not written.

2 ⟨ü⟩ is written as ⟨u⟩ after ⟨j⟩, ⟨q⟩, ⟨x⟩, or ⟨y⟩.

3 ⟨ㄨㄛ⟩/⟨-uo⟩ is written as ⟨ㄛ⟩/⟨-o⟩ after ⟨ㄅ⟩/⟨-b⟩, ⟨ㄆ⟩/⟨-p⟩, ⟨ㄇ⟩/⟨-m⟩, ⟨ㄈ⟩/⟨-f⟩.

4 ⟨weng⟩ is pronounced [oŋ] (written as ⟨-ong⟩) when it follows an initial.


Vowels a, e, o
IPA a ɔ ɛ ɤ ai ei au ou an ən əŋ ʊŋ
Pinyin a o ê e ai ei ao ou an en ang eng ong er
Tongyong Pinyin e e
Wade–Giles eh ê/o ên êng ung êrh
Bopomofo ㄨㄥ
Vowels i, u, y
IPA i je jou jɛn in 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 wun wong
Wade–Giles i/yi yeh yu yen yung wên wêng yüeh yüan yün
Bopomofo ㄧㄝ ㄧㄡ ㄧㄢ ㄧㄣ ㄧㄥ ㄩㄥ ㄨㄛ/ㄛ ㄨㄟ ㄨㄣ ㄨㄥ ㄩㄝ ㄩㄢ ㄩㄣ
Non-sibilant consonants
IPA p m fəŋ tjou twei twən tʰɤ ny ly kɤɚ kʰɤ
Pinyin b p m feng diu dui dun te ger ke he
Tongyong Pinyin fong diou duei nyu lyu
Wade–Giles p fêng tiu tui tun tʻê kor kʻo ho
Bopomofo ㄈㄥ ㄉㄧㄡ ㄉㄨㄟ ㄉㄨㄣ ㄊㄜ ㄋㄩ ㄌㄩ ㄍㄜㄦ ㄎㄜ ㄏㄜ
example 歌兒
Sibilant consonants
IPA tɕjɛn tɕjʊŋ tɕʰin ɕɥɛn ʈʂɤ ʈʂɨ ʈʂʰɤ ʈʂʰɨ ʂɤ ʂɨ ɻɤ ɻɨ tsɤ tswo tsɨ tsʰɤ tsʰɨ
Pinyin jian jiong qin xuan zhe zhi che chi she shi re ri ze zuo zi ce ci se si
Tongyong Pinyin jyong cin syuan jhe jhih chih shih rih zih cih sih
Wade–Giles chien chiung chʻin hsüan chê chih chʻê chʻih shê shih jih tsê tso tzŭ tsʻê tzʻŭ ssŭ
Bopomofo ㄐㄧㄢ ㄐㄩㄥ ㄑㄧㄣ ㄒㄩㄢ ㄓㄜ ㄔㄜ ㄕㄜ ㄖㄜ ㄗㄜ ㄗㄨㄛ ㄘㄜ ㄙㄜ
IPA ma˥˥ ma˧˥ ma˨˩˦ ma˥˩ ma
Pinyin ma
Tongyong Pinyin ma
Wade–Giles ma1 ma2 ma3 ma4 ma
Bopomofo ㄇㄚ ㄇㄚˊ ㄇㄚˇ ㄇㄚˋ ˙ㄇㄚ
example (Chinese characters)

Non-Standard Mandarin dialects

Three letters formerly used in non-standard dialects of Mandarin are now also used to write other Chinese varieties. Some Zhuyin fonts do not contain these letters; see External links for PDF pictures.

In Taiwan, Bopomofo is used to teach Taiwanese Hokkien, and is also used to transcribe it phonetically in contexts such as on storefront signs, karaoke lyrics, and film subtitles.

Zhuyin IPA GR Pinyin
v v v
ŋ ng ng
ɲ gn ny

Computer uses

Input method

An example of a Zhuyin keypad for Taiwan

Zhuyin can be used as an input method for Chinese characters. It is one of the few input methods that can be found on most modern personal computers without the user having to download or install any additional software. It is also one of the few input methods that can be used for inputting Chinese characters on certain cell phones.

Keyboard layout Zhuyin
A typical keyboard layout for Zhuyin on computers


Zhuyin was added to the Unicode Standard in October 1991 with the release of version 1.0.

The Unicode block for Zhuyin, called Bopomofo, is U+3100–U+312F:

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

Additional characters were added in September 1999 with the release of version 3.0.

The Unicode block for these additional characters, called Bopomofo Extended, is U+31A0–U+31BF:

Bopomofo Extended[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

Unicode 3.0 also added the characters U+02EA and U+02EB, in the Spacing Modifier Letters block. These two characters are now (since Unicode 6.0) classified as Bopomofo characters.[15]

See also


  1. ^ 中國文字改革委員會 (Committee for the Reform of the Chinese Written Language). 漢語拼音方案(草案) (Scheme for the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet (Draft)). Beijing. Feb 1956. Page 15. "注音字母是1913年拟定,1918年公布的。"
  2. ^ "Pinyin celebrates 50th birthday". Xinhua News Agency. 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  3. ^ "ISO 7098:1982 – Documentation – Romanization of Chinese". Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  4. ^ Shih Hsiu-Chuan (18 Sep 2008). "Hanyu Pinyin to be standard system in 2009". Taipei Times. p. 2.
  5. ^ a b c d The Republic of China government, Government Information Office. "Taiwan Yearbook 2006: The People & Languages". Archived from the original on 2007-05-09. |Also available at
  6. ^ Taiwan Headlines. "Taiwan Headlines: Society News: New Taiwanese dictionary unveiled". Government Information Office, Taiwan(ROC).
  7. ^ John DeFrancis. The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy. Honolulu, HI, USA: University of Hawaii Press, 1984. p. 242.
  8. ^ Wenlin dictionary, entry 𠫓.
  9. ^ "Unihan data for U+20000".
  10. ^ Wenlin dictionary, entry 𠃉.
  11. ^ "Unihan data for U+4E5A".
  12. ^ Wenlin dictionary, entry 𠃋.
  13. ^ Michael Everson, H. W. Ho, Andrew West, "Proposal to encode one Bopomofo character in the UCS", SC2 WG2 N3179.
  14. ^ "The Zhuyin Alphabet 注音字母 Transcription System (Bo-po-mo-fo) (".
  15. ^ "Scripts-6.0.0.txt". Unicode Consortium.

External links

Bopomofo (Unicode block)

Bopomofo is a Unicode block containing phonetic characters for Chinese. The original set of 40 Bopomofo characters is based on the Chinese standard GB 2312. Additional Bopomofo characters can be found in the Bopomofo Extended block.

Bopomofo Extended

Bopomofo Extended is a Unicode block containing additional Bopomofo characters for writing phonetic Min Nan, Hakka Chinese, Hmu, and Ge. The basic set of Bopomofo characters can be found in the Bopomofo block.

China proper

China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Manchu Qing dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China proper, as many administrative, cultural, and linguistic shifts have occurred in Chinese history. One definition refers to the original area of Chinese civilization, the Central Plain (in the North China Plain); another to the "Eighteen Provinces" system of the Qing dynasty. There is no direct translation for "China proper" in the Chinese language due to differences in terminology used by the Qing to refer to the regions and the expression is controversial among scholars, particularly in China, due to national territorial claims.

Comparison of Cantonese romanization systems

The chart below shows the difference between S. L. Wong (romanization), Guangdong Romanization, Cantonese Pinyin, Jyutping, Yale, Sidney Lau, Meyer–Wempe and New-French Latinization of Cantonese, With IPA and S. L. Wong phonetic symbols and Bopomofo Extended.

Comparison of Hokkien writing systems

There are a number of different writing systems for the Hokkien group of languages, including romanizations, adaptations of Bopomofo, of katakana, and of Chinese characters. Some of the most popular are compared here.

Note: The bopomofo extended characters in the zhuyin row require a UTF-8 font capable of displaying Unicode values 31A0–31B7 (ex. Code2000 true type font).

Dalian dialect

Dalian dialect (simplified Chinese: 大连话; traditional Chinese: 大連話; pinyin: Dalian hua, Romaji: Dairen-ben) is a dialect of Mandarin Chinese spoken on the Liaodong Peninsula, including the city of Dalian and parts of Dandong and Yingkou. Dalian dialect shares many similarities with the Qingdao dialect spoken on Shandong Peninsula (Jiaodong Peninsula) across Bohai Strait; hence the name Jiao Liao Mandarin. Dalian dialect is notable among Chinese dialects for loanwords from Japanese and Russian, reflecting its history of foreign occupation.Notable words in the Dalian dialect include 飆 ("foolish") and 熊 ("to cheat or deceive").

Hagfa Pinyim

Hagfa Pinyim or HagFa PinYim (客家話拼音, literally "Hakka Pinyin") is a system of romanization used to transcribe Chinese characters as used in Hakka into Latin script. Hagfa Pinyim was developed by Lau Chun-fat (劉鎮發) for use in his Hakka Pinyin Dictionary (客語拼音字彙, literally "Hakka Pinyin Vocabulary") that was published in 1997. The romanization system is named after the Pinyin system used for Mandarin Chinese and is designed to resemble Pinyin.

Mainland Chinese Braille

(Mainland) Chinese Braille is a braille script used for Standard Mandarin in China. Consonants and basic finals conform to international braille, but additional finals form a semi-syllabary, as in zhuyin (bopomofo). Each syllable is written with up to three Braille cells, representing the initial, final, and tone, respectively. In practice tone is generally omitted as it is in pinyin.

Nanlang dialect

The Nanlang dialect, is a Chinese variety mostly spoken in Nanlang in Guangdong, China. It belongs to the Southern Min group, more specifically Zhongshan Min.

Noto fonts

Noto is a font family comprising over 100 individual fonts, which are together designed to cover all the scripts encoded in the Unicode standard. As of October 2016 Noto fonts cover all 93 scripts defined in Unicode version 6.0 (released 2010), although less than 30,000 of the nearly 75,000 CJK unified ideographs in version 6.0 are covered. In total Noto fonts cover nearly 64,000 characters, which is under half of the 137,439 characters defined in Unicode 11.0 (released in June 2018).

The Noto family is designed with the goal of achieving visual harmony (e.g., compatible heights and stroke thicknesses) across multiple languages/scripts. Commissioned by Google, the font is licensed under the SIL Open Font License. Until September 2015, the fonts were under the Apache License 2.0.


Pha̍k-fa-sṳ (Chinese: 白話字) is an orthography similar to Pe̍h-ōe-jī and used to write Hakka, a variety of Chinese. Hakka is a whole branch of Chinese, and Hakka dialects are not necessarily mutually intelligible with each other, considering the large geographical region. This article discusses a specific variety of Hakka. It was invented by the Presbyterian church in the 19th century. The Hakka New Testament published in 1924 is written in this system.

Philippine Mandarin

Philippine Mandarin (simplified Chinese: 菲律宾华语; traditional Chinese: 菲律賓華語; pinyin: Fēilǜbīn Huáyǔ) is a variety of Standard Mandarin Chinese widely spoken by Chinese Filipinos. It is based on the phonology of the Beijing dialect and the grammar of Vernacular Chinese, and is identical to the standard of Mandarin used in the Republic of China, Taiwan that is called "Guoyu" (國語). In terms of phonology, vocabulary and grammar, Standard Philippine Mandarin is similar to "Guoyu" (Standard Chinese in the Republic of China (Taiwan)) because almost all use dictionaries and books from Taiwan. Many Chinese Filipino schools use bopomofo (zhuyin fuhao) to teach the language. Philippine Mandarin uses the Traditional Chinese characters in writing and it is seen in the newspapers. Philippine Mandarin can be classified into two distinct Mandarin dialects: Standard Mandarin and Colloquial Mandarin. These two dialects are easily distinguishable to a person proficient in Mandarin. Standard Mandarin is like the standard language of Taiwan, while Colloquial Mandarin tends to combine Mandarin (simplified Chinese: 华语; traditional Chinese: 華語) and Min Nan Yu (閩南語) or Southern Hokkien features.


Hanyu Pinyin (simplified Chinese: 汉语拼音; traditional Chinese: 漢語拼音), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

The pinyin system was developed in the 1950s by many linguists, including Zhou Youguang, based on earlier forms of romanizations of Chinese. It was published by the Chinese government in 1958 and revised several times. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) adopted pinyin as an international standard in 1982, and was followed by the United Nations in 1986. The system was adopted as the official standard in Taiwan in 2009, where it is used for international events rather than for educational or computer-input purposes. But "some cities, businesses, and organizations, notably in the south of Taiwan, did not accept this", so it remains one of several rival romanization systems in use.The word Hànyǔ (simplified Chinese: 汉语; traditional Chinese: 漢語) means 'the spoken language of the Han people', while Pīnyīn (拼音) literally means 'spelled sounds'.

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 [tɕ], q [tɕʰ], x [ɕ], z [ts], c [tsʰ], zh [ʈʂ], ch [ʈʂʰ], sh [ʂ], h [x], and r [ɻ] exhibiting the greatest discrepancies.

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 these syllable-initial consonants 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 [ts] and [tsʰ] (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 people 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. Pinyin vowels are pronounced in a similar way to vowels in Romance languages.

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), a nucleus vowel, and coda (final vowel or consonant).


Sachima (Manchu: ᠰᠠᠴᡳᠮᠠ; Möllendorff: sacima; Abkai: saqima), also called sàqímǎ or shāqímǎ, is a common Chinese pastry, originated among Manchus in Northeast China. Sachima has spread throughout all of China. Its decoration and flavor vary in different regional Chinese cuisine, but the appearance of all versions is essentially the same. It is made of fluffy strands of fried batter bound together with a stiff sugar syrup, showing similarity to American Rice Krispies Treats, but without the marshmallows. Instead, it has different ingredients that makes it sweet.

Taiwanese Braille

Taiwanese Braille is the braille script used in Taiwan for Taiwanese Mandarin (Guoyu). Although based marginally on international braille, the majority of consonants have been reassigned; also, like Chinese Braille, Taiwanese Braille is a semi-syllabary.

An example is,

Tongyong Pinyin

Tongyong Pinyin (Chinese: 通用拼音; Hanyu Pinyin: Tōngyòng Pīnyīn; Tongyong Pinyin: Tongyòng Pinyin; literally: 'general-use spelling of sounds') was the official romanization of Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan between 2002 and 2008. The system was unofficially used between 2000 and 2002, when a new romanization system for Taiwan was being evaluated for adoption. Taiwan's Ministry of Education approved the system in 2002, but its use was optional. Since January 1, 2009, Tongyong Pinyin has no longer been official because of the Ministry of Education's approval of Hanyu Pinyin on September 16, 2008.

Transliteration of Chinese

The different varieties of Chinese have been transcribed into many other writing systems.


Wade–Giles (), sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a romanization system for Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Wade, during the mid-19th century, and was given completed form with Herbert A. Giles's Chinese–English Dictionary of 1892.

Wade–Giles was the system of transcription in the English-speaking world for most of the 20th century. Wade-Giles is based on Beijing dialect, whereas Nanking dialect-based romanization systems were in common use until the late 19th century. Both were used in postal romanizations (still used in some place-names). In mainland China it has been mostly replaced by the Hanyu Pinyin romanization system, with exceptions for some proper nouns. Taiwan has kept the Wade–Giles romanization of some geographical names (for example Kaohsiung) and many personal names (for example Chiang Ching-kuo).

Written Hokkien

Hokkien, a Min Nan variety of Chinese spoken in Southeastern China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, does not have a unitary standardized writing system, in comparison with the well-developed written forms of Cantonese and Vernacular Chinese (Mandarin). Since there is no official standardizing body for Hokkien except the Republic of China Ministry of Education in Taiwan, there are a wide variety of different methods of writing in Vernacular Hokkien. Nevertheless, vernacular works written in the Hokkien are still commonly seen in literature, film, performing arts and music.

Standard Mandarin
Hanyu Pinyinzhùyīn fúhào
Bopomofoㄓㄨˋ ㄧㄣ ㄈㄨˊ ㄏㄠˋ
Gwoyeu RomatzyhJuh'in fwuhaw
Wade–GilesChu4-yin1 fu2-hao4
Tongyong PinyinJhùyin fúhào
MPS2Jùyīn fúhàu
IPA[ʈʂû.ín fǔ.xâu]
Yue: Cantonese
Yale RomanizationJyuyām Fùhhóu
JyutpingZyu3jam1 Fu4hou2
Southern Min
Hokkien POJChù-im hû-hō
Tâi-lôTsù-im hû-hō

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