enter image description here

Seeing that my existing code to map pinyin to zhuyin has no mapping for biā ..

ao: "ㄠ",
ba: "ㄅㄚ",
bai: "ㄅㄞ",
ban: "ㄅㄢ",
bang: "ㄅㄤ",
bao: "ㄅㄠ",
bei: "ㄅㄟ",
ben: "ㄅㄣ",
beng: "ㄅㄥ",
bi: "ㄅㄧ",
bian: "ㄅㄧㄢ",
biao: "ㄅㄧㄠ",
bie: "ㄅㄧㄝ",
bin: "ㄅㄧㄣ",
bing: "ㄅㄧㄥ",
bo: "ㄅㄛ",
bu: "ㄅㄨ",
ca: "ㄘㄚ",

.. I'm just inclined to add the pinyin-to-zhuyin mapping below for biā onomatopeoeia

bia: "ㄅㄧㄧㄚ", // onomatopoeia, e.g., 吧 bia1, biā

Browser's speech synthesis cannot synthesize pinyin, however it can synthesize zhuyin instead:

    // Browser cannot synthesize this:
    //     new SpeechSynthesisUtterance("bia1");
    // nor this:
    //     new SpeechSynthesisUtterance("biā");

    // Can use zhuyin though:
    const utterance = new SpeechSynthesisUtterance("ㄅㄧㄧㄚ");
    utterance.voice = speechSynthesis.getVoices().find(e => e.lang === 'zh-CN');

And I also need the dictionary to give the correct zhuyin for biā

enter image description here

Is the ㄅㄧㄧㄚ the correct zhuyin for onomatopoeia biā ?

  • Out of curiosity, why are you inclined to use "ㄅㄧㄧㄚ" with two "ㄧ", instead of just "ㄅㄧㄚ"?
    – Betty
    Nov 29, 2021 at 12:22
  • @Bettry ㄅㄧㄧㄚ sounds closer to bia onomatopoeia, ㄅㄧㄧㄚ is pronounced as bi-ia, bi-ya. While ㄅㄧㄚ is pronounced as bi-a, bi-ah. Sample sound here: jsfiddle.net/yLpf28ma/1 It would be better though if there is a zhuyin exactly for bia, one syllable. But I think no one would dedicate a zhuyin symbol just for that, as bia is the only onomatopeia sound in Chinese that can't be mapped to existing zhuyin symbols Nov 30, 2021 at 4:14
  • 1
    I don't think you can rely on speech synthesis for pronunciation in general, and certainly not for borderline non-standard syllables.
    – Olle Linge
    Nov 30, 2021 at 17:56

2 Answers 2


@Michael Buen I see where you're coming from.

However, please look at other characters that end with -ia:

  • 加 jiā ㄐㄧㄚ
  • 俩 liǎ ㄌㄧㄚˇ
  • 掐 qiā ㄑㄧㄚ
  • 虾 xiā ㄒㄧㄚ

It is pretty clear that -ia is just ㄧㄚ . There is no need to use two . (Chinese phonology does not distinguish between bi-ia and bi-a.)

Therefore, biā should probably be ㄅㄧㄚ.

On a second note, I have never heard people say as biā. It is not in any of the major dictionaries, eg 新华字典, 现代汉语词典, 汉语大字典, etc. I think biā is one of the onomatopoeic words that do not have a character form. (Some other examples are piā and duāng.) You probably should not list it under .


Your jsfiddle link sounds just like "ia" to me ("b" is not pronounced). Maybe something is wrong with the synthesizer on my computer. Then I played with Google Translate and understood your puzzle!

Google Translate plays "bia" like bi-a. I think what's happening is, Google Translate does not recognize "bia" as a legit syllable in Mandarin phonology, and is treating it as two characters instead of one. It's like it's saying "必啊". Of course, that is not the correct pronunciation of "bia".

Then again, it is even more unlikely for a synthesizer to play "ㄅㄧㄧㄚ" as one syllable. I don't know what you hear, but I suspect it is like "必呀", which is also not the correct pronunciation of "bia".

"bia" should be one syllable, just like the other examples I gave (加 jiā, 俩 liǎ, etc). If you want to learn its pronunciation, listen to the other examples and try to substitute the initial. But you really do not need to do so. As I've said, it is not in any major dictionary. It is borderline at best. A new learner does not need to learn that.

  • Thanks Betty, bia1 is listed under . I'm just using an existing open-source dictionary CEDICT example: mdbg.net/chinese/… example: raw.githubusercontent.com/bsun94/ChineseDictionary/master/… Perhaps I'm just overthinking it, as the sound produced by the speech synthesizer API is bi-a/bi-ah, not bi-ia/bi-ya. Maybe it's just the flaw of the speech synthesizer API I'm using Nov 30, 2021 at 15:01
  • @MichaelBuen I see. See my edited answer.
    – Betty
    Dec 1, 2021 at 0:53
  • Thanks Betty for digging it further. The speech synthesizer I'm using plays ㄅㄧㄚ more like 必啊 than 必呀. Yes "ㄅㄧㄧㄚ" will not be pronounced as one syllable too, but at least the ya sound is there, unlike ㄅㄧㄚ which totally sounds like 必啊, at least to my ear / my computer. Anyway, both are wrong due to two-syllable sounds, 必呀 is less wrong than 必啊 though. If you will pronounce bia in a very slow manner, it is pronounced as 必呀, not 必啊. Interesting enough, Google Translate's zhuyin speech synthesizer ignores ㄅㄧㄚ, while the rest plays correctly, e.g., ㄐㄧㄚ , ㄑㄧㄚ, ㄒㄧㄚ Dec 1, 2021 at 3:52
  • Here's the link to Google's zhuyin speech synthesizer: translate.google.com/… For what it's worth, here is how Google maps the pinyin ia to its hanzi counterpart: translate.google.com/… Dec 1, 2021 at 3:52
  • @MichaelBuen If you speak really really quickly, both 必呀 and 必啊 will end up as bia. :)
    – Betty
    Dec 1, 2021 at 4:29

If there is such a pronunciation (which I don't recognize both the sound and the word uses), then I think its Zhuyin would be "ㄅㄧㄚ".

But my web search finds the pronunciation remains in "ba", "ㄅㄚ". You can listen to it on the page linked below.

enter image description here


And this one as well:

enter image description here



enter image description here



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