I often misread these words and got mistaken between each other:

  • 旅 = Lǚ
  • 斿/游 = Yóu
  • 施 = shī
  • 旋 = Xuán
  • 族 = zú

as each of them doesn't have related phonetic indicator that I can use as clue to remember their pronunciations.

Any tips to remember their pronunciations?

  • 3
    To add more to the headache: 旋 and 游. I remember when I was a kid I always mistook 旅 and 旋 and sometimes wrote 游 as 氵旅. I don't have good tips though; all it takes is concentration of mind and lots of practice.
    – NS.X.
    Jun 10, 2014 at 22:20
  • 1
    游 is pretty easy - you probably already know the word 游泳 and 游 has 三点水 - kind of looks like someone swimming too with the 子 under there...
    – Mou某
    Jun 11, 2014 at 8:49
  • 2
    施 and 旋 have phonetic indicators. But this is beside the point, you need to know the vocabulary behind the characters very well as a start, for any tips to have any benefit.
    – dROOOze
    Jul 24, 2020 at 23:23

2 Answers 2


Well, I suppose the only useful tip is practice :)

But if a little imagination may help, perhaps I can say a little about 施.

Now, I am sure you noticed these five words have the same "left-portion" and the "upper-right portion" in the way they are written.

So take a look at what's left over if we take those portions out.

You will see a 也. You may think of 也是,couple this 也 to a 是, which pronounces as SHI!

Then you might be able to remind yourself 施 is pronounced as SHI!

HAHA! :p Anyway don't worry, practice more, then you'll be fine.


In fact, as @dROOOze mentioned, two of them have phonetic indicators. But they won't help you at all.

  • 施's phonetic indicator is 也(ye3). You may wonder why?! I'd say that 也 contributes to 施's uncommon sounds yi2/yi4.
  • 旋's phonetic indicator is 疋(pi3/ya3/shu1). Again, you can't relate them. In fact, from the Kangxi dictionary, you can find that 疋 has been pronounced xu1/xu4 as well (historically?).


To conclude, I'd recommend to

  1. make words and write down them ;
  2. find sinograms using themselves as a phonetic indicator, e.g. 旋:漩(xuan2)渦、族:簇(cu4)擁、斿:遨遊(you2).

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