According to Wiedenhof's A Grammar of Mandarin, page 43,

The final spelled as -o is only combined with the initials b-, p-, m-, f-. This vowel matches the vowel part of the final -uo [wɔ].

However in page 45, the author states

The fnal -uo [wɔ] is spelled as -o before the labial initials, b-, p-, m-, f-.

Can somebody clarify the apparent contradiction?


There is no contradiction; both of the statements are saying the same thing.

  • There is a final in Chinese that is pronounced [wɔ].
  • This is the final in syllables "luo", "ruo", "wo", "bo", etc.
  • It is sometimes spelled "uo" (as in "luo") and sometimes spelled "o" (as in "bo").
  • Specifically, it is always and only spelled as "o" following b-, p-, m-, and f-.
  • This vowel, [ɔ], matches the vowel part of the final -uo [wɔ]
    – GJC
    Oct 2 '19 at 21:30
  • @GJC Your actual question doesn't have the text in your comment. In any event, let me state that "po" and "luo" are pronounced identically except the initial. If you're transcribing "luo" as [lwɔ], then "po" should be [pʰwɔ]. (FWIW, I've also seen that final transcribed as [wo], but it's still the case that those syllables only differ in the initial consonant.) Oct 2 '19 at 23:01
  • *[o]*: ''wo/-uo'' according to wiki/Help:IPA/Mandarin. Do they mean /o/?
    – GJC
    Oct 3 '19 at 7:48
  • @GJC They mean [wo], as you can see here Oct 3 '19 at 19:02

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