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Cantonese Pinyin

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Title: Cantonese Pinyin  
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Cantonese Pinyin

Cantonese Pinyin (Chinese: 常用字廣州話讀音表:拼音方案, also known as 教院式拼音方案) is a romanization system for Cantonese developed by Yu Bingzhao (余秉昭) in 1971, and subsequently modified by the Education Department (merged into the Education and Manpower Bureau since 2003) of Hong Kong and Zhan Bohui (詹伯慧). It was used by Tongyin zihui (同音字彙), Cantonese Pronunciation list of Chinese Characters in Common Use (常用字廣州話讀音表), Dictionary of Standard Cantonese Pronunciation (廣州話正音字典), and List of Chinese Characters in Common Use for Primary education (小學中文科常用字表). It is the only romanization system accepted by Education and Manpower Bureau of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

Note that the formal and short forms of the system’s Chinese names mean respectively “the Cantonese Pronunciation list of Chinese Characters in Common Use romanization system” and “the romanization system of the Hong Kong Education and Manpower Bureau”.

Contents

  • Pinyin 1
  • Initials 2
  • Finals 3
  • Tones 4

Pinyin

The Cantonese Pinyin system directly corresponds to the S. L. Wong system, an IPA-based phonemic transcription system used in A Chinese Syllabary Pronounced According to the Dialect of Canton by Wong Shik Ling. Generally, if an IPA symbol is also an English letter, the same symbol is used directly in the romanization (with the exception of the IPA symbol “a”); and if the IPA symbol is not an English letter, it is romanized using English letters. Thus, /a/→aa, /ɐ/→a, /ɛ/→e, /ɔ/→o, /œ/→oe, /ŋ/→ng. This results in a system which is both easy to learn and type but is still useful for academics.

In the following table, the first row inside a square shows the Cantonese Pinyin, the second row shows a representative “narrow transcription” in IPA, while the third row shows the corresponding IPA “broad transcription” using the S. L. Wong system.

Initials

b
[p]
〔b〕
p
[pʰ]
〔p〕
m
[m]
〔m〕
f
[f]
〔f〕
d
[t]
〔d〕
t
[tʰ]
〔t〕
n
[n]
〔n〕
l
[l]
〔l〕
g
[k]
〔ɡ〕
k
[kʰ]
〔k〕
ng
[ŋ]
〔ŋ〕
h
[h]
〔h〕
gw
[kʷ]
〔ɡw〕
kw
[kʷʰ]
〔kw〕
w
[w]
〔w〕
dz
[ts]
〔dz〕
ts
[tsʰ]
〔ts〕
s
[s]
〔s〕
j
[j]
〔j〕

Finals

aa
[aː]
〔a〕
aai
[aːi]
〔ai〕
aau
[aːu]
〔au〕
aam
[aːm]
〔am〕
aan
[aːn]
〔an〕
aang
[aːŋ]
〔aŋ〕
aap
[aːp]
〔ap〕
aat
[aːt]
〔at〕
aak
[aːk]
〔ak〕
  ai
[ɐi]
〔ɐi〕
au
[ɐu]
〔ɐu〕
am
[ɐm]
〔ɐm〕
an
[ɐn]
〔ɐn〕
ang
[ɐŋ]
〔ɐŋ〕
ap
[ɐp]
〔ɐp〕
at
[ɐt]
〔ɐt〕
ak
[ɐk]
〔ɐk〕
e
[ɛː]
〔ɛ〕
ei
[ei]
〔ei〕
eu
[ɛːu]
〔ɛu〕
em
[ɛːm]
〔ɛm〕
  eng
[ɛːŋ]
〔ɛŋ〕
ep
[ɛːp]
〔ɛp〕
  ek
[ɛːk]
〔ɛk〕
i
[iː]
〔i〕
  iu
[iːu]
〔iu〕
im
[iːm]
〔im〕
in
[iːn]
〔in〕
ing
[ɪŋ]
〔iŋ〕
ip
[iːp]
〔ip〕
it
[iːt]
〔it〕
ik
[ɪk]
〔ik〕
o
[ɔː]
〔ɔ〕
oi
[ɔːi]
〔ɔi〕
ou
[ou]
〔ou〕
  on
[ɔːn]
〔ɔn〕
ong
[ɔːŋ]
〔ɔŋ〕
  ot
[ɔːt]
〔ɔt〕
ok
[ɔːk]
〔ɔk〕
u
[uː]
〔u〕
ui
[uːi]
〔ui〕
    un
[uːn]
〔un〕
ung
[ʊŋ]
〔ʊŋ〕
  ut
[uːt]
〔ut〕
uk
[ʊk]
〔ʊk〕
oe
[œː]
〔œ〕
oey
[ɵy]
〔œy〕
    oen
[ɵn]
〔œn〕
oeng
[œːŋ]
〔œŋ〕
  oet
[ɵt]
〔œt〕
oek
[œːk]
〔œk〕
y
[yː]
〔y〕
      yn
[yːn]
〔yn〕
    yt
[yːt]
〔yt〕
 
      m
[m̩]
〔m̩〕
  ng
[ŋ̩]
〔ŋ̩〕
     
  • The finals m and ng can only be used as standalone nasal syllables.

Tones

Cantonese has nine tones in six distinct tone contours.
Tone name Yīn Píng
(陰平)
Yīn Shàng
(陰上)
Yīn Qù
(陰去)
Yáng Píng
(陽平)
Yáng Shàng
(陽上)
Yáng Qù
(陽去)
Yīn Rù
(陰入)
Zhōng Rù
(中入)
Yáng Rù
(陽入)
Tone Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (1) 8 (3) 9 (6)
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
Character Example
Example fan1 fan2 fan3 fan4 fan5 fan6 fat7 (fat1) faat8 (faat3) fat9 (fat6)
== Comparison
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