I ask this question, and provide my opinion as an answer, to reply to the comment of another tread in stack exchange:

Pronunciation of Tang Dynasty Poetry

The rationale is that it is difficult to write long answers ib the comments area, and, I've several arguments to express. Also it is too long to make it in the answer. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Now, I ask again, to use a rime dictionary, e.g. 切韻, 廣韻, is Cantonese better than Mandarin?

1 Answer 1


Though I emphasize Cantonese here, any southern dialect / language that still have entering tone (入聲); e.G. Hakka and Min, would have a similar scenario.

The oldest rime dictionary (韻書) I found, is 鉅宋廣韻, printed in 1169; that the national archives of Japan has a downloadable copy:


To look for a character in rime dictionary, you just need to know how to pronounce it, in Cantonese.

Let's try to find 入 (u+5165)

  1. I know it's pronounced as sound file; which is straight & short (直而促). A clear, significant sign that 入 (u+5165) is in entering tone (入聲).

  2. Meanwhile, if I try to write it's romanisation( I used sydney lay scheme, you may use others), it would be "yap". It ends with -p, another significant sign that 入 (u+5165) is in entering tone (入聲).

  3. Pick up volume 5 of 鉅宋廣韻 {volume I & II is for level tone (平聲), volume III for rising tone (上聲), volume IV for departing tone (去聲); and volume V for entering tone (入聲)}.


  1. Turn to the index page of volume 5, read from right to left, top to bottom; try to find any character that has a similar pronunciation with "入".

  1. Voilà, 緝第二十六; the character 緝 has a similar pronunciation, and, the "七入" above 緝 is used for 反切, which has "入" :)

  2. Lastly, turn to 緝第二十六. Well, no page number in ancient Chinese books. You guess roughly, and turn the page :( read again from right to left, then top to bottom. Voilà, it's there:


Ok, 緝第二十六 is page 34, 入 is page 35:

It was written: 入﹒得也﹒ 内也﹒納也﹒人執切

By the way, 内 (u+5185) is not 內 (u+5167); anyone see the difference?

Now, this comment is quoted from the above mentioned thread:

Point 3 is straight factually incorrect that people can use 韻書 (rime dictionaries) with Cantonese but not Mandarin. It is just factually wrong and unlike point 1, there even is no dispute about this. Rime dictionaries do not apply as much to Cantonese as they do not to Mandarin. – rethliopuks

Now, may I ask, how can anyone searches for the character 入 (u+5165), using Mandarin?

According to Mandarin, 入 is pronounced as rù (去聲). So, anyone picking volume IV of 鉅宋廣韻 would be trapped, it's not in this volume.

I used 入 as the only example to show the uselessness of Mandarin in looking for characters in rime dictionaries. If anyone have time and effort, and wants to verify this context, try two more entering tone (入聲) characters:

哲 (u+54f2)

福 (u+798f)

Have fun 😼

This answer is already quite long, I would say that most, or, all entering tone (入聲) characters would have the same scenario.

Last, I would conclude that, to look for character in rime dictionaries (韻書), Cantonese, or other dialects / languages that have entering tone (入聲); are a better choice than Mandarin.

Or, a direct, maybe provoking statement would be:

Since Mandarin lost the entering tone (入聲), it's useless in looking up characters in rime dictionaries (韻書).

Stay tuned, there'll be another thread about entering tone (入聲) and old Chinese; Cantonese is again better.

  • You answered your own question......
    – Kevman
    Apr 23, 2017 at 4:52
  • 1
    You need to devote as much effort to spelling, punctuation and grammar as you devote to this... And this is not a blog. You don't post a question just to put up an answer.
    – dda
    Apr 23, 2017 at 7:30
  • @Kevman: Answer one's own question is allowed, it can even earns you a 'Self learner badge' if it is a good answer. chinese.stackexchange.com/help/badges/14/self-learner The reason for 水巷孑蠻 asked and answered this question is explained on his post.
    – Tang Ho
    Apr 23, 2017 at 7:36
  • @dda, sorry for my english :( i wish i had time & effort in my youth, . . . Apr 23, 2017 at 9:48
  • 1
    @Tang Ho. But that is true only if the question is looking for an answer. This question was asked as a pretext.
    – dda
    Apr 23, 2017 at 10:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.