The only syllable-final consonants in Standard Chinese are -n and -ng , and -r , the last of which is 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.
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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. 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]. For these reasons v is sometimes used instead by convention. The drawback is that there are no tone marks for the letter v.
However, some Chinese input methods e. Most rules given here in terms of English pronunciation are approximations, as several of these sounds do not correspond directly to sounds in English. The following is a list of finals in Standard Chinese, excepting most of those ending with r. Starts with the vowel sound in f a ther and ends in the velar nasal ; like s ong in some dialects of American English. The pinyin system also uses diacritics to mark the four tones of Mandarin. The diacritic is placed over the letter that represents the syllable nucleus , unless that letter is missing see below.
Many books printed in 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. The rules of Hanyu Pinyin , however, specify no such practice. 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 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. 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.
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. 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: .
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.
Illustrations of the IPA: French
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.
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. Pinyin is now used by foreign students learning Chinese as a second language, as well as Bopomofo. 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.
Pinyin superseded older romanization systems such as Wade—Giles ; modified and postal romanization , and replaced zhuyin as the method of Chinese phonetic instruction in mainland China. The United Nations followed suit in 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 , 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. 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.
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.
Taiwan Republic of China adopted Tongyong Pinyin , a modification of Hanyu Pinyin , as the official romanization system on the national level between October and January , when it decided to promote Hanyu Pinyin. Tongyong Pinyin "common phonetic" , a romanization system developed in Taiwan, was designed to romanize languages and dialects spoken on the island in addition to Mandarin Chinese.
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.
Locales in Kaohsiung , Tainan and other areas use romanizations derived from Tongyong Pinyin for some district and street names. 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, national-level decision,   though with a slightly different capitalization convention than mainland China.
Most areas of Taiwan adopted Tongyong Pinyin, consistent with the national policy. Today, many street signs in Taiwan are using Tongyong Pinyin -derived romanizations   , but some, especially in northern Taiwan, display Hanyu Pinyin -derived romanizations. It is 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 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.
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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. 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. 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:. Tongyong Pinyin was developed in Taiwan for use in rendering not only Mandarin Chinese, but other languages and dialects spoken on the island such as Taiwanese , Hakka , and aboriginal languages.
For other uses, see Pinyin disambiguation. Standard Chinese. Wenzhounese romanization. Wong phonetic symbols S. Taiwanese , Amoy and related.
ISO 639 name cmn-Latn
Fuzhou dialect. Foochow Romanized Fuzhou Transliteration Scheme. Jian'ou dialect. Kienning Colloquial Romanized. Putian dialect. Hinghwa Romanized. Haikou dialect. Hainan Romanized.
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Wenchang dialect. Hainanese Transliteration Scheme. Chang-Du dialect. Meixian dialect. PinFa Hagfa Pinyim. Sixian dialect. Chang—Yi dialects. Other transliterations.
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By place. Main article: Wade—Giles. Main article: Latinxua Sin Wenz. Main article: Yale romanization of Mandarin. The four main tones of Standard Mandarin, pronounced with the syllable ma. See also: Pinyin table. See also: Chinese language romanization in Taiwan. This was part of the Soviet program of Latinization meant to reform alphabets for languages in that country to use Latin characters. Margalit Fox 14 January The New York Times. Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 20 September Retrieved 1 March Shih Hsiu-Chuan 18 September Taipei Times.
The China Post. Archived from the original on 19 September Historical Dictionary of Taiwan Republic of China. Retrieved 4 December But some cities, businesses, and organizations, notably in the south of Taiwan, did not accept this, as it suggested that Taiwan is more closely tied to the PRC. The online version of the canonical [ clarification needed "According to which group? See this entry online. Sin, Kiong Wong Confucianism, Chinese History and Society.
World Scientific. Retrieved 13 July Brockey, Liam Matthew Harvard University Press. Chan, Wing-tsit; Adler, Joseph Sources of Chinese Tradition. Folia Scandinavica Posnaniensia. Haugen, Einar The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN Kalaya; Abramson, Arthur S. International Phonetic Alphabet. Diacritics Segments Tone letter Place of articulation Manner of articulation.
Pulmonics Non-pulmonics Affricates Co-articulated. Standard . See Arabic phonology. Eastern . Amstetten dialect . See Bengali phonology. Bulgarian . See Bulgarian phonology. Catalan . See Catalan phonology. Mandarin . See Standard Chinese phonology. Standard  . See Czech phonology. Moravian . Standard   . See Danish phonology. Dutch . See Dutch phonology. English . Depending on dialect, can be pronounced as a diphthong. See English phonology. Estonian . See Estonian phonology. Finnish  . See Finnish phonology. French . See French phonology.
Georgian . Standard . See German phonology. See Hindustani phonology.
Hungarian . See Hungarian phonology. Icelandic   . See Icelandic phonology. Italian . See Italian phonology. Japanese .