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 form 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.
|Scheme for the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet|
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.
The first late Qing reformer to propose that China adopt a system of spelling was Song Shu (1862–1910). A student of the great scholars Yu Yue and Zhang Taiyan, Song had been to Japan and observed the stunning effect of the kana syllabaries and Western learning there. This galvanized him into activity on a number of fronts, one of the most important being reform of the script. While Song did not himself actually create a system for spelling Sinitic languages, his discussion proved fertile and led to a proliferation of schemes for phonetic scripts.
The Wade–Giles system was produced by Thomas Wade in 1859, and further improved by Herbert Giles in the Chinese–English Dictionary of 1892. It was popular and used in English-language publications outside China until 1979.
In the early 1930s, Communist Party of China leaders trained in Moscow introduced a phonetic alphabet using Roman letters which had been developed in the Soviet Oriental Institute of Leningrad and was originally intended to improve literacy in the Russian Far East.[nb 1] This Sin Wenz or "New Writing" was much more linguistically sophisticated than earlier alphabets, but with the major exception that it did not indicate tones of Chinese.
In 1940, several thousand members attended a Border Region Sin Wenz Society convention. Mao Zedong and Zhu De, head of the army, both contributed their calligraphy (in characters) for the masthead of the Sin Wenz Society's new journal. Outside the CCP, other prominent supporters included Dr. Sun Yat-sen's son, Sun Fo; Cai Yuanpei, the country's most prestigious educator; Tao Xingzhi, a leading educational reformer; and Lu Xun. Over thirty journals soon appeared written in Sin Wenz, plus large numbers of translations, biographies (including Lincoln, Franklin, Edison, Ford, and Charlie Chaplin), some contemporary Chinese literature, and a spectrum of textbooks. In 1940, the movement reached an apex when Mao's Border Region Government declared that the Sin Wenz had the same legal status as traditional characters in government and public documents. Many educators and political leaders looked forward to the day when they would be universally accepted and completely replace Chinese characters. Opposition arose, however, because the system was less well adapted to writing regional languages, and therefore would require learning Mandarin. Sin Wenz fell into relative disuse during the following years.
In 1943, the U.S. military engaged Yale University to develop a romanization of Mandarin Chinese for its pilots flying over China. The resulting system is very close to pinyin, but does not use English letters in unfamiliar ways; for example, pinyin x for [ɕ] is written as sy in the Yale system. Medial semivowels are written with y and w (instead of pinyin i and u), and apical vowels (syllabic consonants) with r or z. Accent marks are used to indicate tone.
Pinyin was created by Chinese linguists, including Zhou Youguang, as part of a Chinese government project in the 1950s. Zhou is often called "the father of pinyin," Zhou worked as a banker in New York when he decided to return to China to help rebuild the country after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. He became an economics professor in Shanghai, and in 1955, when China's Ministry of Education created a Committee for the Reform of the Chinese Written Language, Premier Zhou Enlai assigned Zhou Youguang the task of developing a new romanization system, despite the fact that he was not a professional linguist.
Hanyu Pinyin was based on several existing systems: Gwoyeu Romatzyh of 1928, Latinxua Sin Wenz of 1931, and the diacritic markings from zhuyin (bopomofo). "I'm not the father of pinyin," Zhou said years later; "I'm the son of pinyin. It's [the result of] a long tradition from the later years of the Qing dynasty down to today. But we restudied the problem and revisited it and made it more perfect."
A draft was published on February 12, 1956. The first edition of Hanyu Pinyin was approved and adopted at the Fifth Session of the 1st National People's Congress on February 11, 1958. It was then introduced to primary schools as a way to teach Standard Chinese pronunciation and used to improve the literacy rate among adults.
Beginning in the early 1980s, Western publications addressing Mainland China began using the Hanyu Pinyin romanization system instead of earlier romanization systems; this change followed the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and the PRC in 1979. In 2001, the PRC Government issued the National Common Language Law, providing a legal basis for applying pinyin. The current specification of the orthographic rules is laid down in the National Standard GB/T 16159-2012.
Pinyin superseded older romanization systems such as Wade–Giles (1859; modified 1892) and postal romanization, and replaced zhuyin as the method of Chinese phonetic instruction in mainland China. The ISO adopted pinyin as the standard romanization for modern Chinese in 1982 (ISO 7098:1982, superseded by ISO 7098:2015). The United Nations followed suit in 1986. It has also been accepted by the government of Singapore, the United States's Library of Congress, the American Library Association, and many other international institutions.
The spelling of Chinese geographical or personal names in pinyin has become the most common way to transcribe them in English. Pinyin has also become the dominant method for entering Chinese text into computers in Mainland China, in contrast to Taiwan; where Bopomofo is most commonly used.
Families outside of Taiwan who speak Mandarin as a mother tongue use pinyin to help children associate characters with spoken words which they already know. Chinese families outside of Taiwan who speak some other language as their mother tongue use the system to teach children Mandarin pronunciation when they learn vocabulary in elementary school.
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.
Pinyin has become a tool for many foreigners to learn Mandarin pronunciation, and is used to explain both the grammar and spoken Mandarin coupled with Chinese characters (汉字; 漢字; Hànzì). Books containing both Chinese characters and pinyin are often used by foreign learners of Chinese. Pinyin's role in teaching pronunciation to foreigners and children is similar in some respects to furigana-based books (with hiragana letters written above or next to kanji, directly analogous to zhuyin) in Japanese or fully vocalised texts in Arabic ("vocalised Arabic").
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 [tɕ], q [tɕʰ], x [ɕ], z [ts], c [tsʰ], s [s], zh [ʈʂ], ch [ʈʂʰ], sh [ʂ], 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).
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, and see erhua). 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 [i] and [u] 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.
|Plosive||unaspirated||b [p]||d [t]||g [k]|
|aspirated||p [pʰ]||t [tʰ]||k [kʰ]|
|Nasal||m [m]||n [n]|
|Affricate||unaspirated||z [ts]||zh [ʈʂ]||j [tɕ]|
|aspirated||c [tsʰ]||ch [ʈʂʰ]||q [tɕʰ]|
|Fricative||f [f]||s [s]||sh [ʂ]||x [ɕ]||h [x]|
|Liquid||l [l]||r [ɻ~ʐ]|
|Semivowel2||y [j]/[ɥ]1 and w [w]|
1 y is pronounced [ɥ] (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.
|b p m f||d t n l||g k h||j q x||zh ch sh r||z c s|
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 Standard Chinese are -n and -ng, and -r, which are attached as a grammatical suffix. A Chinese syllable ending with any other consonant either is from a non-Mandarin language (a southern Chinese language such as Cantonese, or a minority language of China; possibly reflecting final consonants in Old Chinese), or indicates the use of a non-pinyin romanization system (where final consonants may be used to indicate tones).
1 [aɚ̯] 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 [ɛ] (欸; 誒) and syllabic nasals m (呒, 呣), n (嗯, 唔), ng (嗯, 𠮾) are used as interjections.
Most rules given here in terms of English pronunciation are approximations, as several of these sounds do not correspond directly to sounds in English.
|b||[p]||spit||unaspirated p, as in spit|
|p||[pʰ]||pay||strongly aspirated p, as in pit|
|m||[m]||may||as in English mummy|
|f||[f]||fair||as in English fun|
|d||[t]||stop||unaspirated t, as in stop|
|t||[tʰ]||take||strongly aspirated t, as in top|
|n||[n]||nay||as in English nit|
|l||[l]||lay||as in English love|
|g||[k]||skill||unaspirated k, as in skill|
|k||[kʰ]||kay||strongly aspirated k, as in kill|
|h||[x]||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")|
|j||[tɕ]||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.|
|q||[tɕʰ]||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.|
|x||[ɕ]||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.|
|zh||[ʈʂ]||junk||As in joke. Voiced in a toneless syllable.|
|ch||[ʈʂʰ]||church||As in chin or nurture in American English.|
|sh||[ʂ]||shirt||As in shoe, or marsh in American English.|
|r||[ɻ~ʐ]||ray||No equivalent in English, but similar to the r in reduce, but with the tongue curled upward against the top of the mouth (i.e. retroflex).|
|z||[ts]||reads||unaspirated c, similar to something between suds and cats; as in suds in a toneless syllable|
|c||[tsʰ]||hats||like the English ts in cats, but strongly aspirated, very similar to the Czech, Polish, and Slovak c.|
|s||[s]||say||as in sun|
|w||[w]||way||as in water. Before an e or a it is sometimes pronounced like v as in violin.*|
|y||[j], [ɥ]||yea||as in yes. Before a u, pronounced with rounded lips.*|
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: [ɕi.an]) vs. xian (one syllable: [ɕi̯ɛn]). 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 [j] or [w] sound at the beginning of such words—that is, yi [i] or [ji], wu [u] or [wu], yu [y] or [ɥy],—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.
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 [ɰ]), unless the syllable immediately follows a hyphen or other dash. This usage 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.)
The following is a list of finals in Standard Chinese, excepting most of those ending with r.
To find a given final:
|Pinyin||IPA||Form with zero initial||Explanation|
|-i||[ɹ̩~z̩], [ɻ̩~ʐ̩]||(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||[a]||a||like English father, but a bit more fronted|
|e||[ɤ] (listen)||e||a back, unrounded vowel (similar to English duh, but not as open). Pronounced as a sequence [ɰɤ].|
|ai||[ai̯]||ai||like English eye, but a bit lighter|
|ei||[ei̯]||ei||as in hey|
|ao||[au̯]||ao||approximately as in cow; the a is much more audible than the o|
|ou||[ou̯]||ou||as in North American English so|
|an||[an]||an||like British English ban, but more central|
|en||[ən]||en||as in taken|
|ang||[aŋ]||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||[əŋ]||eng||like e in en above but with ng appended|
|ong||[ʊŋ]||(n/a)||starts with the vowel sound in book and ends with the velar nasal sound in sing. Varies between [oŋ] and [uŋ] depending on the speaker.|
|er||[aɚ̯]||er||Similar to the sound in bar in American English. Can also be pronounced [ɚ] depending on the speaker.|
|Finals beginning with i- (y-)|
|i||[i]||yi||like English bee|
|ia||[ja]||ya||as i + a; like English yard|
|ie||[je]||ye||as i + ê where the e (compare with the ê interjection) is pronounced shorter and lighter|
|iao||[jau̯]||yao||as i + ao|
|iu||[jou̯]||you||as i + ou|
|ian||[jɛn]||yan||as i + an; like English yen. Varies between [jen] and [jan] depending on the speaker.|
|in||[in]||yin||as i + n|
|iang||[jaŋ]||yang||as i + ang|
|ing||[iŋ]||ying||as i + ng|
|iong||[jʊŋ]||yong||as i + ong. Varies between [joŋ] and [juŋ] depending on the speaker.|
|Finals beginning with u- (w-)|
|u||[u]||wu||like English oo|
|ua||[wa]||wa||as u + a|
|uo, o||[wo]||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)|
|uai||[wai̯]||wai||as u + ai, as in English why|
|ui||[wei̯]||wei||as u + ei|
|uan||[wan]||wan||as u + an|
|un||[wən]||wen||as u + en; as in English won|
|uang||[waŋ]||wang||as u + ang|
|(n/a)||[wəŋ]||weng||as u + eng|
|Finals beginning with ü- (yu-)|
|u, ü||[y] (listen)||yu||as in German über or French lune.
(Pronounced as English ee with rounded lips)
|ue, üe||[ɥe]||yue||as ü + ê where the e (compare with the ê interjection) is pronounced shorter and lighter|
|uan||[ɥɛn]||yuan||as ü + an. Varies between [ɥen] and [ɥan] depending on the speaker.|
|un||[yn]||yun||as ü + n|
|ê||[ɛ]||(n/a)||as in bet|
|o||[ɔ]||(n/a)||approximately as in British English office; the lips are much more rounded|
|io||[jɔ]||yo||as i + o|
Pinyin differs from other romanizations in several aspects, such as the following:
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).
Although Chinese characters represent single syllables, Mandarin Chinese is a polysyllabic language. Spacing in pinyin is usually based on words, and not on single syllables. However, there are often ambiguities in partitioning a word. The Basic Rules of the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet Orthography (汉语拼音正词法基本规则; 漢語拼音正詞法基本規則; Hànyǔ Pīnyīn Zhèngcífǎ Jīběn Guīzé) were put into effect in 1988 by the National Educational Commission (国家教育委员会; 國家教育委員會; Guójiā Jiàoyù Wěiyuánhuì) and the National Language Commission (国家语言文字工作委员会; 國家語言文字工作委員會; Guójiā Yǔyán Wénzì Gōngzuò Wěiyuánhuì). These rules became a Guobiao standard in 1996 and were updated in 2012.
Many books printed in China use a mix of fonts, with vowels and tone marks rendered in a different font from the surrounding text, tending to give such pinyin texts a typographically ungainly appearance. This style, most likely rooted in early technical limitations, has led many to believe that pinyin's rules call for this practice, e.g. the use of a Latin alpha (ɑ) rather than the standard style (a) found in most fonts, or g often written with a single-story ɡ. The rules of Hanyu Pinyin, however, specify no such practice.(220.127.116.11:8)
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.
The words are "mother", "hemp", "horse", "scold", and a question particle, respectively.
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
|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˥˩|
or dot before syllable (·)
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. Pinyin tone marks appear primarily above the nucleus of the syllable, for example as in kuài, where k is the initial, u the medial, a the nucleus, and i the coda. The exception is syllabic nasals like /m/, where the nucleus of the syllable is a consonant, the diacritic will be carried by a written dummy vowel.
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 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 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.
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.
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).
An umlaut is placed over the letter u when it occurs after the initials l and n when necessary in order to represent the sound [y]. 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 of using the umlaut to distinguish between chü (pinyin ju) and chu (pinyin zhu), this ambiguity does not 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 China use v instead of ü in the transliteration of their names. The drawback is that there are no tone marks for the letter v.
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 surnames 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.
Taiwan (Republic of China) adopted Tongyong Pinyin, a modification of Hanyu Pinyin, as the official romanization system on the national level between October 2002 and January 2009, when it switched to Hanyu Pinyin. Tongyong Pinyin ("common phonetic"), a variant of pinyin developed in Taiwan, was designed to romanize languages and dialects spoken on the island in addition to Mandarin Chinese. The Kuomintang (KMT) party resisted its adoption, preferring the Hanyu Pinyin system used in Mainland China and in general use internationally. Romanization preferences quickly became associated with issues of national identity. Preferences split along party lines: the KMT and its affiliated parties in the pan-blue coalition supported the use of Hanyu Pinyin while the Democratic Progressive Party and its affiliated parties in the pan-green coalition favored the use of Tongyong Pinyin.
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 Taipei, Hsinchu, and Kinmen County, overrode the order and converted to Hanyu Pinyin before the January 1, 2009 national-level switch, though with a slightly different capitalization convention than mainland China. Most areas of Taiwan adopted Tongyong Pinyin, consistent with the national policy. After 2009 switch, many street signs in Taiwan today still display Tongyong Pinyin but some, especially in northern Taiwan, display Hanyu Pinyin. It is still not unusual to see spellings on street signs and buildings derived from the older Wade–Giles, MPS2 and other systems.
The adoption of Hanyu Pinyin as the official romanization system in Taiwan does not preclude the official retention of earlier spellings. International familiarity has led to the retention of the spelling Taipei ("Taibei" in pinyin systems) and even to its continuation in the name of New Taipei, a municipality created in 2010. Personal names on Taiwanese passports honor the choices of Taiwanese citizens, who often prefer the Wade–Giles romanization of their personal names, though the official online conversion tool lists pinyin before other systems. Transition to Hanyu Pinyin in official use is also necessarily gradual. Universities and other government entities retain earlier spellings in long-established names, and budget restraints preclude widespread replacement of signage and stationery in every area. Primary education in Taiwan continues to teach pronunciation using zhuyin (MPS or Mandarin Phonetic Symbols).
Pinyin is now used by foreign students learning Chinese as a second language.
Pinyin assigns some Latin letters sound values which are quite different from that of most languages. This has drawn some criticism as it may lead to confusion when uninformed speakers apply either native or English assumed pronunciations to words. However, this problem is not limited only to pinyin, since many languages that use the Latin alphabet natively also assign different values to the same letters. A recent study on Chinese writing and literacy concluded, "By and large, pinyin represents the Chinese sounds better than the Wade–Giles system, and does so with fewer extra marks."
Because Pinyin is purely a representation of the sounds of Mandarin, it completely lacks the semantic cues and contexts inherent in Chinese characters. Pinyin is also unsuitable for transcribing some Chinese spoken languages other than Mandarin, languages which by contrast have traditionally been written with Han characters allowing for written communication which, by its unified semanto-phonetic orthography, could theoretically be readable in any of the various vernaculars of Chinese where a phonetic script would have only localized utility.
|example (Chinese characters)||媽||麻||馬||罵||嗎|
Simple computer systems, able to display only 7-bit ASCII text (essentially the 26 Latin letters, 10 digits, and punctuation marks), long provided a convincing argument for using unaccented pinyin instead of Chinese characters. Today, however, most computer systems are able to display characters from Chinese and many other writing systems as well, and have them entered with a Latin keyboard using an input method editor. Alternatively, some PDAs, tablet computers, and digitizing tablets allow users to input characters graphically by writing with a stylus, with concurrent online handwriting recognition.
Pinyin with accents can be entered with the use of special keyboard layouts or various character map utilities. X keyboard extension includes a "Hanyu Pinyin (altgr)" layout for AltGr-triggered dead key input of accented characters.
Pinyin-like systems have been devised for other variants of Chinese. Guangdong Romanization is a set of romanizations devised by the government of Guangdong province for Cantonese, Teochew, Hakka (Moiyen dialect), and Hainanese. All of these are designed to use Latin letters in a similar way to pinyin.
In addition, in accordance to the Regulation of Phonetic Transcription in Hanyu Pinyin Letters of Place Names in Minority Nationality Languages (少数民族语地名汉语拼音字母音译转写法; 少數民族語地名漢語拼音字母音譯寫法) promulgated in 1976, place names in non-Han languages like Mongolian, Uyghur, and Tibetan are also officially transcribed using pinyin in a system adopted by the State Administration of Surveying and Mapping and Geographical Names Committee known as SASM/GNC romanization. The pinyin letters (26 Roman letters, plus ü and ê) are used to approximate the non-Han language in question as closely as possible. This results in spellings that are different from both the customary spelling of the place name, and the pinyin spelling of the name in Chinese:
|Customary||Official (pinyin for local name)||Traditional Chinese name||Simplified Chinese name||Pinyin for Chinese name|
【第五】 Dìwǔ 名 姓。
【第五】 dìwǔ 名 复姓。
| Official romanization adopted
by the People's Republic of China
| de facto used romanization |
by the People's Republic of China
| Romanization used by the United Nations|
| Official romanization adopted|
by the Republic of China (Taiwan)
Zhuyin Fuhao (Chinese: 注音符號; pinyin: zhùyīn fúhào), Zhuyin (Chinese: 注音), Bopomofo (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ) 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, and at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1982. Although Taiwan adopted Hanyu Pinyin as its official romanization system in 2009, Bopomofo is still an official transliteration system there and remains widely used as an educational tool and for electronic input methods.Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is a Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festival is usually referred to as the Spring Festival in modern China, and is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. Observances traditionally take place from the evening preceding the first day of the year to the Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the year. The first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February. In 2019, the first day of the Lunar New Year will be on Tuesday, 5 February, initiating the Year of the Pig.
Chinese New Year is one of the world's most prominent and celebrated festivals, and is the cause of the largest annual mass human migration in the world. It is a major holiday in Greater China and has strongly influenced the lunar new year celebrations of China's neighbouring cultures, including the Korean New Year (seol), the Tết of Vietnam, and the Losar of Tibet. It is also celebrated worldwide in countries with significant Overseas Chinese populations, these including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines and Mauritius, as well as many countries in North America and Europe.Chinese New Year is associated with several myths and customs. The festival was traditionally a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the New Year vary widely, and the evening preceding Chinese New Year's Day is frequently regarded as an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean their house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. Another custom is the decoration of windows and doors with red paper-cuts and couplets. Popular themes among these paper-cuts and couplets include that of good fortune or happiness, wealth, and longevity. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. For the northern regions of China, dumplings are featured prominently in meals celebrating the festival.Chinese numerology
In Chinese tradition, certain numbers are believed by some to be auspicious (吉利, pinyin: jílì; Cantonese Yale: gātleih) or inauspicious (不利, pinyin: bùlì; Cantonese Yale: bātleih) based on the Chinese word that the number sounds similar to.
The numbers 6, 8, and 9 are generally considered to be auspicious, while 4 and 7 are considered inauspicious.Chinese postal romanization
Postal romanization was a system of transliterating Chinese place names developed by the Imperial Post Office in the early 1900s. The system was in common use until the 1980s, when it was largely replaced by hanyu pinyin.
For major cities and other places that already had widely accepted European names, traditional spellings were retained. With regard to other place names, the post office revised policy several times. Spellings given could reflect the local pronunciation, Nanjing pronunciation, or Beijing pronunciation. Although pronunciation-based arguments were made for each option, using postal romanization to determine any form of Chinese pronunciation was limited by the fact that the system dropped all dashes, diacritics, and apostrophes, to facilitate telegraphic transmission.At a conference held in 1906 in Shanghai, the post office selected a system of romanization developed by Herbert Giles called "Nanking syllabary". Although Beijing dialect had served as a national standard since the mid-19th century, the system adopted was based on Nanjing pronunciation. The system corresponded to various traditional romanizations that were adopted in the 18th century when Nanjing dialect was considered standard. French-appointed administrators ran the post office at this time, and they sought a less-anglicized alternative to Wade–Giles.Chinese surname
Chinese surnames are used by Han Chinese and Sinicized ethnic groups in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and among overseas Chinese communities. In ancient times two types of surnames existed, namely xing (Chinese: 姓; pinyin: xìng) or clan names, and shi (Chinese: 氏; pinyin: shì) or lineage names.
Chinese family names are patrilineal, passed from father to children (in adoption, the adoptee usually also takes the same surname). Women do not normally change their surnames upon marriage, except in places with more Western influences such as Hong Kong. Traditionally Chinese surnames have been exogamous.The colloquial expressions laobaixing (老百姓; lit. "old hundred surnames") and bǎixìng (百 姓, lit. "hundred surnames") are used in Chinese to mean "ordinary folks", "the people", or "commoners".Google Pinyin
Google Pinyin IME (谷歌拼音输入法; Pinyin: Gǔgē Pīnyīn Shūrùfǎ) is an input method developed by Google China Labs. The tool was made publicly available on April 4, 2007. Beside Pinyin input, it also includes stroke count method input.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.Jin dynasty (1115–1234)
The Jin dynasty, officially known as the Great Jin (), lasted from 1115 to 1234 as one of the last dynasties in Chinese history to predate the Mongol invasion of China. Its name is sometimes written as Kin, Jurchen Jin or Jinn in English to differentiate it from an earlier Jìn dynasty of China whose name is identical when transcribed without tone marker diacritics in the Hanyu Pinyin system for Standard Chinese. It is also sometimes called the "Jurchen dynasty" or the "Jurchen Jin", because its founding leader Aguda (reign 1115–1123) was of Wanyan Jurchen descent.
The Jin emerged from Taizu's rebellion against the Liao dynasty (907–1125), which held sway over northern China until the nascent Jin drove the Liao to the Western Regions, where they became known as the Western Liao. After vanquishing the Liao, the Jin launched an over hundred-year war against the Song dynasty (960–1279), which was based in southern China. Over the course of their rule, the Jurchens of Jin quickly adapted to Chinese customs, and even fortified the Great Wall against the rising Mongols. Domestically, the Jin oversaw a number of cultural advancements, such as the revival of Confucianism.
The Mongols invaded the Jin under Genghis Khan in 1211 and inflicted catastrophic defeats on their armies. Though the Jin seemed to suffer a never-ending wave of defeats, revolts, defections, and coups, they proved to have tenacity. The Jin finally succumbed to Mongol conquest 23 years later in 1234.Jyutping
Jyutping (Chinese: 粵拼; Jyutping: Jyut6ping3; Cantonese pronunciation: [jỳːt̚.pʰēŋ]) is a romanisation system for Cantonese developed by the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK), an academic group, in 1993. Its formal name is The Linguistic Society of Hong Kong Cantonese Romanisation Scheme. The LSHK promotes the use of this romanisation system.
The name Jyutping (itself the Jyutping romanisation of its Chinese name, 粵拼) is a contraction consisting of the first Chinese characters of the terms Jyut6jyu5 (粵語, meaning "Cantonese speech") and ping3jam1 (拼音 "phonetic alphabet").Provinces of China
Provincial-level administrative divisions (Chinese: 省级行政区; pinyin: shěng-jí xíngzhèngqū) or first-level administrative divisions (一级行政区; yī-jí xíngzhèngqū), are the highest-level Chinese administrative divisions. There are 34 such divisions, classified as 23 provinces (Chinese: 省; pinyin: shěng), four municipalities, five autonomous regions, and two Special Administrative Regions. All but Taiwan Province and a small fraction of Fujian Province (currently administered by the Republic of China) are controlled by the People's Republic of China.
Note that every province (except Hong Kong and Macau, the two special administrative regions) has a Communist Party of China provincial committee (Chinese: 省委; pinyin: shěngwěi), headed by a secretary (Chinese: 书记; pinyin: shūjì). The committee secretary is effectively in charge of the province, rather than the nominal governor of the provincial government.Romanization of Chinese
The Romanization of Chinese is the use of the Latin alphabet to write Chinese. Chinese uses a logographic script, and its characters do not represent phonemes directly. There have been many systems using Roman characters to represent Chinese throughout history. Linguist Daniel Kane recalls, "It used to be said that sinologists had to be like musicians, who might compose in one key and readily transcribe into other keys." The dominant international standard for Putonghua since about 1982 has been Hanyu Pinyin. Other well-known systems include Wade-Giles (Mandarin) and Yale Romanization (Mandarin and Cantonese).
There are many uses for Chinese Romanization. Most broadly, it is used to provide a useful way for foreigners who are not skilled at recognizing Chinese script to read and recognize Chinese. It can also be helpful for clarifying pronunciation among Chinese speakers who speak mutually unintelligible Chinese dialects. Romanization facilitates entering characters on standard keyboards such as QWERTY. Chinese dictionaries have complex and competing sorting rules for characters, and romanization systems simplify the problem by listing characters in their Latin form alphabetically.Spelling in Gwoyeu Romatzyh
The spelling of Gwoyeu Romatzyh (GR) can be divided into its treatment of initials, finals and tones. GR uses contrasting unvoiced/voiced pairs of consonants to represent aspirated and unaspirated initials in Chinese: for example b and p represent IPA [p] and [pʰ]. The letters j, ch and sh represent two different series of initials: the alveolo-palatal and the retroflex sounds. Although these spellings create no ambiguity in practice, readers more familiar with Pinyin should pay particular attention to them: GR ju, for example, corresponds to Pinyin zhu, not ju (which is spelled jiu in GR).
Many of the finals in GR are similar to those used in other romanizations. Distinctive features of GR include the use of iu for the close front rounded vowel spelled ü or simply u in Pinyin. Final -y represents certain allophones of i: GR shy and sy correspond to Pinyin shi and si respectively.
The most striking feature of GR is its treatment of tones. The first tone is represented by the basic form of each syllable, the spelling being modified according to precise but complex rules for the other three tones. For example the syllable spelled ai (first tone) becomes air, ae and ay in the other tones. A neutral (unstressed) tone can optionally be indicated by preceding it with a dot or full stop: for example perng.yeou "friend".
Rhotacization, a common feature of Mandarin (especially Beijing) Chinese, is marked in GR by the suffix -(e)l. Owing to the rather complex orthographical details, a given rhotacized form may correspond to more than one basic syllable: for example jiel may be either ji(n) + el ("today") or ji + el ("chick").
A number of frequently-occurring morphemes have abbreviated spellings in GR. The commonest of these, followed by their Pinyin equivalents, are: -g (-ge), -j (-zhe), -m (-me), sh (shi) and -tz (-zi).Tai chi
Tai chi (taiji), short for T'ai chi ch'üan, or Tai ji quan (pinyin: tàijíquán; 太极拳), is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. The term taiji refers to a philosophy of the forces of yin and yang, related to the moves. Though originally conceived as a martial art, it is also typically practiced for a variety of other personal reasons: competitive wrestling in the format of pushing hands (tui shou), demonstration competitions and achieving greater longevity. As a result, a multitude of training forms exist, both traditional and modern, which correspond to those aims with differing emphasis. Some training forms of tàijíquán are especially known for being practiced with relatively slow movements.
Today, tai chi has spread worldwide. Most modern styles of tai chi trace their development to at least one of the five traditional schools: Chen, Yang, Wu (Hao), Wu and Sun. All of the former, in turn, trace their historical origins to Chen Village.Taoism
Taoism (, ) or Daoism (), is a religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (Chinese: 道; pinyin: Dào; literally: "the Way", also romanized as Dao). The Tao is a fundamental idea in most Chinese philosophical schools; in Taoism, however, it denotes the principle that is the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists. Taoism differs from Confucianism by not emphasizing rigid rituals and social order, but is similar in the sense that it is a teaching about the various disciplines for achieving "perfection" by becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of the universe called "the way" or "dao". Taoist ethics vary depending on the particular school, but in general tend to emphasize wu wei (action without intention), "naturalness", simplicity, spontaneity, and the Three Treasures: 慈 "compassion", 儉 "frugality", and 不敢為天下先 "humility".
The roots of Taoism go back at least to the 4th century BCE. Early Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the School of Yinyang (Naturalists), and was deeply influenced by one of the oldest texts of Chinese culture, the I Ching, which expounds a philosophical system about how to keep human behavior in accordance with the alternating cycles of nature. The "Legalist" Shen Buhai (c. 400 – c. 337 BCE) may also have been a major influence, expounding a realpolitik of wu wei. The Tao Te Ching, a compact book containing teachings attributed to Laozi (Chinese: 老子; pinyin: Lǎozǐ; Wade–Giles: Lao³ Tzŭ³), is widely considered the keystone work of the Taoist tradition, together with the later writings of Zhuangzi.
By the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), the various sources of Taoism had coalesced into a coherent tradition of religious organizations and orders of ritualists in the state of Shu (modern Sichuan). In earlier ancient China, Taoists were thought of as hermits or recluses who did not participate in political life. Zhuangzi was the best known of these, and it is significant that he lived in the south, where he was part of local Chinese shamanic traditions.Female shamans played an important role in this tradition, which was particularly strong in the southern state of Chu. Early Taoist movements developed their own institution in contrast to shamanism, but absorbed basic shamanic elements. Shamans revealed basic texts of Taoism from early times down to at least the 20th century. Institutional orders of Taoism evolved in various strains that in more recent times are conventionally grouped into two main branches: Quanzhen Taoism and Zhengyi Taoism. After Laozi and Zhuangzi, the literature of Taoism grew steadily and was compiled in form of a canon—the Daozang—which was published at the behest of the emperor. Throughout Chinese history, Taoism was nominated several times as a state religion. After the 17th century, however, it fell from favor.
Taoism has had a profound influence on Chinese culture in the course of the centuries, and Taoists (Chinese: 道士; pinyin: dàoshi, "masters of the Tao"), a title traditionally attributed only to the clergy and not to their lay followers, usually take care to note distinction between their ritual tradition and the practices of Chinese folk religion and non-Taoist vernacular ritual orders, which are often mistakenly identified as pertaining to Taoism. Chinese alchemy (especially neidan), Chinese astrology, Chan (Zen) Buddhism, several martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, and many styles of qigong have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history. Beyond China, Taoism also had influence on surrounding societies in Asia.
Today, the Taoist tradition is one of the five religious doctrines officially recognized in the People's Republic of China (PRC) as well as the Republic of China (ROC), and although it does not travel readily from its East Asian roots, it claims adherents in a number of societies, in particular in Hong Kong, Macau, and in Southeast Asia.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.Traditional Chinese characters
Traditional Chinese characters (traditional Chinese: 正體字/繁體字; simplified Chinese: 正体字/繁体字; Pinyin: Zhèngtǐzì/Fántǐzì) are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century (during the Southern and Northern Dynasties).
The retronym "traditional Chinese" is used to contrast traditional characters with Simplified Chinese characters, a standardized character set introduced by the government of the People's Republic of China on Mainland China in the 1950s.
Traditional Chinese characters are currently used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau; as well as in Overseas Chinese communities outside Southeast Asia. In contrast, Simplified Chinese characters are used in mainland China, Singapore and Malaysia in official publications. However, several countries – such as Australia, the US and Canada – are increasing their number of printed materials in Simplified Chinese, to better accommodate citizens from mainland China.
The debate on traditional and simplified Chinese characters has been a long-running issue among Chinese communities. Currently, a large number of overseas Chinese online newspapers allow users to switch between both character sets.Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM; simplified Chinese: 中医; traditional Chinese: 中醫; pinyin: Zhōngyī) is a style of traditional medicine based on more than 2,500 years of Chinese medical practice that includes various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage (tui na), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy, but recently also influenced by modern Western medicine. TCM is widely used in Greater China where it has a long history, and recently it has begun "gaining global recognition". One of the basic tenets of TCM is that "the body's vital energy (ch'i or qi) circulates through channels, called meridians, that have branches connected to bodily organs and functions." Concepts of the body and of disease used in TCM reflect its ancient origins and its emphasis on dynamic processes over material structure, similar to European humoral theory.Scientific investigation has not found evidence for traditional Chinese concepts such as qi, meridians, and acupuncture points. The TCM theory and practice are not based upon scientific knowledge, and there is disagreement between TCM practitioners on what diagnosis and treatments should be used for any given patient. The effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine remains poorly researched and supported. There are concerns over a number of potentially toxic plants, animal parts, and mineral Chinese medicinals. There are also concerns over illegal trade and transport of endangered species including rhinoceroses and tigers, and the welfare of specially farmed animals including bears. A review of cost-effectiveness research for TCM found that studies had low levels of evidence, but so far have not shown benefit outcomes. Pharmaceutical research has explored the potential for creating new drugs from traditional remedies, with few successful results. A Nature editorial described TCM as "fraught with pseudoscience", and said that the most obvious reason it hasn't delivered many cures is that the majority of its treatments have no logical mechanism of action. Proponents propose that research has so far missed key features of the art of TCM, such as unknown interactions between various ingredients and complex interactive biological systems.The doctrines of Chinese medicine are rooted in books such as the Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon and the Treatise on Cold Damage, as well as in cosmological notions such as yin-yang and the five phases. Starting in the 1950s, these precepts were standardized in the People's Republic of China, including attempts to integrate them with modern notions of anatomy and pathology. In the 1950s, the Chinese government promoted a systematized form of TCM.TCM describes health as the harmonious interaction of these entities and the outside world, and disease as a disharmony in interaction. TCM diagnosis aims to trace symptoms to patterns of an underlying disharmony, by measuring the pulse, inspecting the tongue, skin, and eyes, and looking at the eating and sleeping habits of the person as well as many other things.Wade–Giles
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, used in standard reference books and in English language books published before 1979. It replaced the Nanking dialect-based romanization systems that had been common until the late 19th century, such as the postal romanization (still used in some place-names). In mainland China it has been entirely replaced by the Hànyǔ Pīnyīn system approved in 1958. Outside mainland China, it has mostly been replaced by Pīnyīn as well, even though Taiwan has kept the Wade–Giles romanization of some geographical names (for example Kaohsiung) and many personal names (for example Chiang Ching-kuo).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.