When handwriting English, I write z with a slash through it (Ƶ/ƶ) to distinguish it from 2. I'm wondering if there is analogous notation for highlighting a less-common pronunciation due to 多音字 ("heteronym"). For example, from CC-CEDICT...

好吃 (hǎo​chī​): tasty / delicious
好吃 (hào​chī​): to be fond of eating / to be gluttonous

When handwriting, it would be nice to indicate to the reader the change in tone (and meaning) here.

Question: When handwriting, is there a standard way of indicating a less-common pronunciation due to 多音字?

  • 1
    This doesn't seem analogous to me. In English, it would be more like writing out word stress or something like that, so a way of telling "(n.) research" from "(v.) to research". I think most native speakers have no need for that, and if there is a need, just write phonetic notation instead.
    – Olle Linge
    Jan 1 at 16:32

3 Answers 3


There is no special way to indicate which pinyin you should use for a 多音字. The context determines it all.

  • 人很好吃 (not enough context. Is it people are delicious or people love eating?)

  • 他这个人一向好吃 (hào​chī​) - Now we know which pinyin we should use because 一向 (always) indicates it is not a one time comment about how he tasted

  • 烤鹅很好吃 (hǎo​chī​) obviously, a roasted goose is dead and can't be gluttonous

Of course, you can always add the pinyin beside a word to tell the reader how to pronounce it. Like in Taiwan's children's book. Japanese manga do the same with kanji too

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  • 1
    人很好吃 (not enough context...) HaHaHa...... I suppose the context becomes clear if it happens to be a casual conversation between two cannibals? :) Jan 1 at 5:11

In GF (现代规范汉语词典)they occasionally specify which reading to use, between parentheses after the word in question, apparently in order to avoid ambiguity. It's not done systematically, but it is done fairly often.

Eg in the entries for 矫情, it's done 3 times in the first entry, and once in the second.

动 <口> 强 (qiǎng) 词夺理
这人好 (hào) 矫情。
注意 跟“矫情 (jiǎoqíng)” 不同。

动 故意违反常情, 以示与众不同
注意 跟“矫情 (jiáoqing) ”不同。

I think this could be done with handwriting too. It's probably the most natural way to do so, if you're using Pinyin.


Question: When handwriting, is there a standard way of indicating a less-common pronunciation due to 多音字?



so, can you understand the meaning of this sentence "好吃的他說它好吃。".

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