Guangdong Romanization

Guangdong Romanization refers to the four romanization schemes published by the Guangdong Provincial Education Department in 1960 for transliterating Cantonese, Teochew, Hakka, and Hainanese. The schemes utilized similar elements with some differences in order to adapt to their respective spoken varieties.

In certain respects, Guangdong romanization resembles pinyin in its distinction of the alveolar initials z, c, s from the alveolo-palatal initials j, q, x, and in its use of b, d, g to represent the unaspirated stop consonants /p t k/. In addition, it makes use of the medial u before the rime rather than representing it as w in the initial when it follows g or k.

Guangdong romanization makes use of diacritics to represent certain vowels. This includes the use of the circumflex, acute accent, and diaeresis in the letters ê, é, and ü, respectively. In addition, it uses -b, -d, -g to represent the coda consonants /p t k/ rather than -p, -t, -k like other romanization schemes in order to be consistent with their use as unaspirated plosives in the initial. Tones are marked by superscript numbers rather than by diacritics.


The scheme for Cantonese is outlined in "The Cantonese Transliteration Scheme" (simplified Chinese: 广州话拼音方案; traditional Chinese: 廣州話拼音方案; pinyin: Guǎngzhōuhuà Pīnyīn Fāng'àn). It is referred to as the Canton Romanization on the LSHK character database. The system is not used in Hong Kong where romanization schemes such as Hong Kong Government, Yale, Cantonese Pinyin and Jyutping are popular, though it can be seen in works released in the People's Republic of China regarding Cantonese.



Unlike the other Cantonese romanization schemes, Guangdong romanization indicates a difference between the alveolar consonants z, c, s and the alveolo-palatal consonants j, q, x. Cantonese typically does not differentiate these two types of consonants because they are allophones that occur in complementary distributions. However, speech patterns of most Cantonese speakers do utilize both types of consonants and the romanization scheme attempts to reflect this.

  • z, c, and s are used before finals beginning with a, e, o, u, ê, and é.
  • j, q, and x are used before finals beginning with i and ü.

Some publications may not bother with this distinction and will choose just one set or the other to represent these consonants.


Finals consist of an optional medial and an obligatory rime.


The only recognized medial glide in the Cantonese Guangdong romanization is u, which occurs in syllables with initials g or k and rimes that begin with a, e, i, or o. In other romanization schemes, this medial is usually grouped along with the initial as gw and kw, but Guangdong romanization attempts to preserve it as a medial. For simplicity, the u is sometimes grouped with the initials anyway as gu and ku.

The u medial can occur without an initial, but in that case it is considered the same as the initial w. The same is true for the medial i, which is only recognized as the initial y.


  • When i begins a rime in a syllable that has no initial, y is used as the initial.
  • When u begins a rime in a syllable that has no initial, w is used as the initial.
  • When ü begins a rime in a syllable that has no initial, y is used as the initial and the umlaut is omitted.
  • When ü begins a rime in a syllable with initial j, q, or x, the umlaut is omitted.
  • The rime êu may be also written as êü (with the umlaut over the u), in accord with its pronunciation.
  • The rimes m and ng can only be used as standalone nasal syllables.


There are nine tones in six distinct tone contours in Cantonese. In Guangdong Romanization, one may represent the entering (入 ) tones either together with tones 1, 3, and 6, as in the other Cantonese romanization schemes, or separately as tones 7, 8, and 9. Syllables with entering tones correspond to those ending in -b, -d, or -g.

Tone name Yīn Píng
Yīn Shàng
Yīn Qù
Yáng Píng
Yáng Shàng
Yáng Qù
Yīn Rù
Zhōng Rù
Yáng Rù
Tone name in English high level or high falling mid rising mid level low falling low rising low level entering high level entering mid level entering low level
Contour 55 / 53 35 33 21 / 11 13 22 5 3 2
Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 (7) 3 (8) 6 (9)
Simplified tone markers |(or no marker) / - \ = _ |' or ' -' _'
Character Example
Example fen1 fen2 fen3 fen4 fen5 fen6 fed1 fad3 fed6
Example with simplified tone markers fen| or fen fen/ fen- fen\ fen= fen_ fed|' or fed' fad-' fed_'


Traditional Simplified Romanization
廣州話 广州话 guong2 zeo1 wa2
粵語 粤语 yud6 (or yud9) yu5
你好 你好 néi5 hou2


The scheme for the Teochew dialect of Min Nan is outlined in "The Teochew Transliteration Scheme" (simplified Chinese: "潮州话拼音方案"; traditional Chinese: 〈潮州話拼音方案〉; pinyin: Cháozhōuhuà Pīnyīn Fāng'àn). This scheme (and another similar scheme which is based upon this scheme) is often referred to as Peng'im, which is the Teochew pronunciation of pinyin.

This scheme is the romanization scheme currently described in the Teochew dialect article.


The scheme for Hakka is outlined in "The Hakka Transliteration Scheme" (simplified Chinese: 客家话拼音方案; traditional Chinese: 客家話拼音方案; pinyin: Kèjiāhuà Pīnyīn Fāng'àn). The scheme describes the Meixian dialect, which is generally regarded as the de facto standard dialect of Hakka in mainland China.


The scheme for Hainanese is outlined in the "Hainanese Transliteration Scheme" (simplified Chinese: 海南话拼音方案; traditional Chinese: 海南話拼音方案; pinyin: Hǎinánhuà Pīnyīn Fāng'àn). The scheme describes the Wenchang dialect, which is generally regarded as the prestige dialect of Hainanese in mainland China, used in provincial broadcasting.

External links


  • Yang, Mingxin (杨明新) (1999). A Concise Cantonese-English Dictionary (简明粤英词典). Guangdong Higher Education Publishing House (广东高等教育出版社). ISBN 7-5361-2350-7.
Baiyun District, Guangzhou

Baiyun District is one of the administrative districts of Guangzhou, the capital of China's Guangdong province. The district is located in the city's northern suburbs, and is named after the Baiyun Mountain (the "White Cloud Mountain"), one of the area's natural attractions.

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.

Dapeng New District

Dapeng New District (Cantonese: [tʰaj pʰuŋ sɐn kʰyː]) is an administrative area under the jurisdiction of Longgang District in Shenzhen, Guangdong. It has a land area of 294.18 square kilometres (113.58 sq mi), a coastline of 133.22 kilometres (82.78 mi) and a total population of about 180,000. The district was created on 30 December 2011 with its administration center located on 5 Dapeng Street, Zhongshan Road.

Fuzhou Transliteration Scheme

The Fuzhou Transliteration Scheme (Chinese: 福州话拼音方案; pinyin: Fúzhōuhuà Pīnyīn Fāng'àn) refers to the romanization scheme published in 1994 for the Fuzhou Dialect Dictionary (Chinese: 福州方言词典; pinyin: Fúzhōu fāngyán cídiǎn), romanizing the Fuzhou dialect. It does not explicitly state the tones.

Guangming District

Guangming District is one of nine districts in the city of Shenzhen. The district, bordering the city of Dongguan in the Northwest of Shenzhen, was created in 2007 as a "functional area" of Bao'an District. In May 2018, it became a formal administrative division.

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.

Hainanese Transliteration Scheme

The Hainanese Transliteration Scheme (Chinese: 海南話拼音方案) refers to a romanization scheme published by the Guangdong Provincial Education Department in September 1960 as one of four systems collectively referred to as Guangdong Romanization. The scheme describes the Wenchang dialect spoken in Wenchang, Hainan which is considered to be the prestige dialect of Hainanese. At the time of the scheme's creation, Hainan was part of Guangdong, until it was separated to form its own province in 1988. This system utilises the Latin alphabet with superscript numbers to represent tone.

Haizhu District

Haizhu District is one of the ten districts in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, People's Republic of China.

Hakka Transliteration Scheme

The Hakka Transliteration Scheme (Chinese: 客家話拼音方案) refers to a romanization scheme published by the Guangdong Provincial Education Department in September 1960 as one of four systems collectively referred to as Guangdong Romanization. The scheme describes the Meixian dialect spoken in Meizhou, Guangdong which is considered to be the prestige dialect of Hakka. This system utilizes the Latin alphabet with superscript numbers to represent tone.

Huadu District

Huadu District is a district of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, China. It is located in the far northern suburbs of the city.

Xinhua Town is the seat of local government, and of the district CCP committee. The distric is mostly Hakka speaking, and is the ancestral home of many Overseas Chinese of Hakka descent.

Hua County was the hometown of many Taiping Rebellion leaders like Hong Xiuquan and Hong Rengan.

Huangpu District, Guangzhou

Huangpu , formerly romanized as Whampoa, is one of the ten districts of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, China. Despite its name, it does not include Huangpu Island (now Pazhou) or its famous anchorage. Huangpu absorbed Guangzhou's former Luogang District in 2014.

Liwan District

Liwan District is one of the ten districts of Guangzhou, People's Republic of China. The district is split into two parts by the Pearl River: Xiguan in the northeast and Fangcun in the southwest.

Longhua District, Shenzhen

Longhua District is a district in Shenzhen, Guangdong, People's Republic of China. It was created as a new district on 30 December 2011, and became a district on 11 October 2016.

Nansha District

The Nansha District is a district of Guangzhou, China. It is the home of the present-day port of Guangzhou, as well as the Nansha Wetland Park.

The Nansha Technology Development Zone was carved out of Panyu District in 1993. In 2005, it was named Nansha District. In September 2012, Nansha was designated a State-level New Area as Nansha New Area, the sixth such area.

Pingshan District, Shenzhen

Pingshan District is a district of Shenzhen, Guangdong.

Taiwanese Language Phonetic Alphabet

Taiwanese language Phonetic Alphabet (Chinese: 台灣語言音標方案; pinyin: Táiwān yǔyán yīnbiāo fāng'àn; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tâi-ôan gí-giân im-piau hong-àn), more commonly known by its initials TLPA, is a romanization for the Taiwanese language, Taiwanese Hakka language, and Formosan languages. Based on Pe̍h-ōe-jī and first published in full in 1998, it was intended as a transcription system rather than as a full-fledged orthography.

Tianhe District

Tianhe District (Chinese: 天河区) is one of the eleven districts of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province. In Chinese, the name Tianhe literally means "a river in the sky/heavens", which is also a Chinese name for the Milky Way. It is bordered by Yuexiu District on the west, Baiyun District on the north and Huangpu District on the east. Haizhu District is on its south, though they are separated by the Pearl River.

Tianhe became a district in the 1980s as the city expanded its size. Back then, it was east of Dongshan District (which was merged into Yuexiu in 2005) and it was more suburban like if not rural like. Even though a majority of colleges and universities in the city were located in the district, the rest of the district was mostly composed of rice fields.Symbolic landmarks of Guangzhou located in Tianhe District are: Citic Plaza, Guangzhou International Finance Center, Guangzhou Opera House, and the Guangdong Museum. The 6th and 9th of The National Games of the People's Republic of China, and the 2010 Asian Games were also held in Tianhe District, Guangzhou.

Yale romanization of Cantonese

The Yale romanization of Cantonese was developed by Gerard P. Kok for his and Parker Po-fei Huang's textbook Speak Cantonese initially circulated in looseleaf form in 1952 but later published in 1958. Unlike the Yale romanization of Mandarin, it is still widely used in books and dictionaries, especially for foreign learners of Cantonese. It shares some similarities with Hanyu Pinyin in that unvoiced, unaspirated consonants are represented by letters traditionally used in English and most other European languages to represent voiced sounds. For example, [p] is represented as b in Yale, whereas its aspirated counterpart, [pʰ] is represented as p. Students attending The Chinese University of Hong Kong's New-Asia Yale-in-China Chinese Language Center are taught using Yale romanization.

Yuexiu District

Yuexiu District is a district of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, China, located west of the Tianhe District and east of the Liwan District. It is the commercial, political and cultural centre of Guangdong and noted for its high quality education. The Guangdong provincial government and the Guangzhou city government are both located in the Yuexiu District. Established in 1960, the district absorbed the former Dongshan District in May 2005 along with several former subdistricts of the Baiyun and Tianhe district

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