Questions tagged [pinyin]

Questions about the official transcription writing system that is used to write the reading of chinese characters using the roman alphabet.

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12 answers
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Chinese input on Windows based on pinyin and tones

What is the best way for me to type pinyin using a keyboard on Windows? I've tried the built-in IMEs, but... they don't feel very intuitive to me. For example, if I want to get wǔ, I need to type wu, ...
Cocowalla's user avatar
  • 3,445
25 votes
4 answers
14k views

血: xuè , xiě, what's the difference?

Is there some sort of logical rule for when 血 is xuè and when it is xiě?
msittig's user avatar
  • 488
23 votes
12 answers
36k views

How is the "r" sound pronounced?

One of the most trickiest sounds to pronounce correctly in Mandarin seems to be the "r" sound, as in 日本 (rì běn). It's not uncommon to hear people pronounce that like "urban." I have been told it's ...
Orion's user avatar
  • 1,841
18 votes
7 answers
2k views

Why is it written LIU in Pinyin, when there's clearly an O sound?

Does anybody know why this decision was made in pinyin, about not writing any hint of the sound /o/ in liu, instead of writing something like liou or liow ? The first reaction of any newcomer to ...
Petruza's user avatar
  • 1,078
16 votes
2 answers
13k views

How do I type the lü for Character Romanization?

I am studying classical Chinese and when I try to type in any words that require the ü it just randomly chooses a character. How do I use the Traditional pinyin entry method on a Mac and get the the ...
forrest's user avatar
  • 365
15 votes
5 answers
6k views

How were Chinese characters taught to Chinese children before the introduction of pinyin?

Before schools started to use pinyin for teaching characters to Chinese children, how and/or what was used to teach it instead? And what about how dictionaries showed the pronunciation of characters?
小太郎's user avatar
  • 261
14 votes
8 answers
1k views

Do acronyms borrowed from English use neutral tone (aka tone 0 or tone 5) for all syllables?

I was just reading a Q&A here about Chinese words for DVD and the discussion also included other acronyms from English. It struck me that nobody wrote the pinyin for any of the terms which made ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 4,015
14 votes
6 answers
7k views

API for transliterating a traditional character (writing the pinyin)?

I was wondering if anyone here is aware of an API out there on the net anywhere that can receive a traditional character and send back the pinyin for it in JSON?
zeeple's user avatar
  • 280
13 votes
8 answers
7k views

Why were some letters like Q, X, C, chosen for Pinyin which confuse non-Chinese speakers?

A romanization system is basically a system in which roman (latin) letters are used for languages that use non-roman scripts. This has the obvious benefit that people who can (maybe only) read roman ...
Petruza's user avatar
  • 1,078
13 votes
4 answers
1k views

In pinyin, why is there an inconsistency between bo, po, suo, duo etc

We have: bo, po, mo, fo, wo But then: duo, suo, luo, zuo, ruo, cuo, guo, huo, nuo, tuo In each, the vowel is pronounced the same, but the creators of pinyin have chosen two different spellings....
Mike Chamberlain's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
736 views

Why is the Pinyin for 波 bo1 not buo1? And why is 多 duo1 instead of do1?

Recently I started to learn Pinyin. The system is relatively easy to follow but some ambiguity does exist. For example, I found the usage of finals o and uo confusing: why the Pinyin for 波 is bo1, not ...
techie11's user avatar
  • 231
13 votes
6 answers
2k views

Are there rules about the differences between pinyin spelling and pronunciation?

I noticed that sometimes certain finals in Chinese sound differently when combined with different initials. For e.g., what is spelled "u" sometimes is pronounced "ü". Other times, ...
Village's user avatar
  • 2,235
12 votes
4 answers
3k views

Pinyin tones pronunciation cheat sheet

I've just started taking Chinese lessons, and I've been trying to find a "cheat sheet" for pinyin pronunciation. All the sites I've found is either incomplete (only having some tones), only having the ...
Oscar's user avatar
  • 233
11 votes
6 answers
3k views

Are there any free/open fonts designed to help learn/read Chinese?

Problem As a Chinese student I found that one of the first barriers is reading. Indeed, when trying to acquire new vocabulary one might be faced with the opacity of the Chinese character as opposed ...
Édouard Lopez's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
691 views

Why one-to-many mapping between IPA and Pinyin?

I am referring to the Origin of zhuyin symbols table on Wikipedia. Under Rhymes and Medials the following 3 entries confuse me: Zhuyin IPA Pinyin ㄧ i i/y ㄨ u u/w ㄩ y ü/yu/u Why are there multiple ...
user13107's user avatar
  • 257
11 votes
4 answers
474 views

Pinyin of 車 in idioms

In Cantonese, 車 has two pronunciations: [ce1] and [geoi1]. In Mandarin, 車 also has two different pinyin: [che1] and [ju1]. [ce1] corresponds to [che1]. [geoi1] corresponds to [ju1]. In most idioms,...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
559 views

What's the pronunciation of 不在乎

All the dictionaries I've checked say bu4 zai4 hu5 but should it actually be bu2 zai4 hu5 I get different answers searching for 不对, some dictionaries say bu4dui4 others bu2dui4, but as far as ...
Samuel Parsonage's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
8k views

How to convert from hanyu pinyin to IPA?

Where can I find a table showing the relation between Hanyu pinyin spelling and IPA for all phonemes in Mandarin?
Village's user avatar
  • 2,235
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

Pinyin "ying" has an "o" sound?

Look at 1:54 and 5:22 of this video: Chinese Pinyin in 6 Mins Is ying really pronounced with an "o" sound? This seems counterintuitive, especially when yin (at 1:49 in the video) sounds as a native ...
bwDraco's user avatar
  • 203
9 votes
1 answer
4k views

Pinyin "h" sound, pronunciation

I notice that the pinyin "h" is in many books just the same as in English. But when I listen to people, some people stress the "h" and there is a tiny gggg, and some gurgling ...
Kiyori's user avatar
  • 91
8 votes
1 answer
6k views

How to write characters containing the ǚ pinyin symbol in most common Chinese Input Methods?

I am using four different input methods for typing 汉字. Most of them share the same principles for translating what you type in pinyin to Chinese characters. But I am unable to figure out how to type ...
marcanuy's user avatar
  • 655
8 votes
4 answers
984 views

What is the correct orientation of "ㄧ" in zhuyin fuhao?

In zhuyin fuhao (bopomofo), "ㄧ" is equal to "i" or "yi" in Hanyu pinyin. I have noticed, when displayed on my computer, even with very complete fonts, I see a vertical line (similar to "|"), but when ...
Village's user avatar
  • 2,235
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why e is pronounced differently in de (的, 地) and ye (也,夜)?

I got confused because sometimes e is pronounced differently in various words. For example: (的, 地) and ye (也,夜) Can you explain and give me some tricks to remember? Thank you!
Truong Ha's user avatar
  • 173
7 votes
3 answers
779 views

Uncommon (Unorthodox?!) Pinyin: What are these?

I find this sort of uncommon, unorthodox, whatever you wanna call it, pinyin very fascinating. These are the ones that I know of already - that, apparently, are still considered to be Mandarin. What I'...
Mou某's user avatar
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7 votes
4 answers
475 views

What is na4zi4pang2 (pinyin) in the decomposition of na4 (那)?

The New Practical Chinese Reader introduces the following decomposition: na4 (那) = na4zi4pang2 + yi4 (阝). I understand that 阝 represents radical 163 (yi4). Na4zi4pang2 (pinyin) looks close to ...
Drux's user avatar
  • 484
7 votes
4 answers
757 views

Should Pinyin be written as it is (collectively) pronounced or in terms of the individual syllables?

As in the title, should something like 不对 be written as bù duì (as in the individual characters) or as bú duì (the way it's actually spoken)? I know that my teacher writes e.g. 你好 as nǐ hǎo (i.e. ...
J Redford's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
446 views

About Confucius' Ta-Hio

In many books about Confucius' Analects, 大學 is transliterated as Ta-Hio. Why is this? 大學 is dàxué in Pinyin, da hsüeh in Wade-Giles, da sywe in Yale, and daai hok in Cantonese, so where does this ...
Luo Kaisa's user avatar
  • 173
6 votes
4 answers
652 views

Yinwei or Yinvei? 因为

I hear some people say 因为 as “yinwei”, but also some say it sound like “yinvei”. I’m not sure why there is a difference in pronunciation.
Gigi's user avatar
  • 63
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can Chinese words start with a vowel?

I've been searching around for random words. Dragon = long, green = lǜsè, river = he... I can't seem to find any words that start with a vowel. Do any Chinese words start with a vowel?
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Zhuyin (bopomofo) vs Pinyin

I have learnt to use both zhuyin and pinyin for spelling out the pronunciation of a character. As far as I know, the two systems serve the same purpose and are interchangeable in terms of syllables. ...
Thomas Hsieh's user avatar
  • 3,297
6 votes
2 answers
239 views

Should names in idiomatic expressions be capitalised?

As the title indicates, I'd like to know the proper way of writing Pinyin for idiomatic expressions that contain names. Should those names be capitalised? Some dictionaries say that they should (Pleco ...
Olle Linge's user avatar
  • 3,047
6 votes
5 answers
2k views

Teaching Pinyin and Characters together vs Teaching Pinyin then Characters

I'm designing a curriculum to teach middle school students elementary Chinese. When I started learning, I began with Traditional Chinese characters and pinyin together on day one. I'm not so sure the ...
user3871's user avatar
  • 3,414
6 votes
3 answers
789 views

The Shi Shi Shi Shi Shi poem?

A while ago I came across this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shi_Shi_shi_shi_shi Very interesting. I wonder if there's any more homophonic poems like this? Or even is there a genre?
nicobili's user avatar
  • 456
5 votes
7 answers
973 views

Pronunciation of word-initial glides (pinyin 'y' and 'w')

As a non-native speaker, I read pinyin and want to pronounce 'yi' as /ji:/ and 'wu' as /wu:/. But sometimes I think I hear just /i:/ and /u:/. Is that really the case or am I just (not) hearing ...
Mitch's user avatar
  • 185
5 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why so many definitions associated with each word?

I'm learning a little Chinese out of curiosity, and I have a basic question about the language as a whole, rather than a specific technical question about a particular word or character. Sorry if this ...
Jack M's user avatar
  • 171
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Pinyin vs. Pronunciation of 嗯?

I've seen the word "嗯" many times in conversations and songs. I know that it pronounces like "hm", expressing curiosity. But when I check the pinyin of it, according to Wiktionary, it is like such: ...
Reynaldi's user avatar
  • 535
5 votes
1 answer
290 views

Braille and Chinese Input

Is it possible to use a Braille keyboard to input chinese with the pinyin input method? How could a blind user ever be able to choose the right character combination if they cannot see it? The words ...
Jack Maddington's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
294 views

Is the Pinyin made for some Chinese characters in double standard?

The most striking cases are: 莫 (mo), 我(wo), 坡(po),波(bo), but 国(guo), 洛(luo), 错(cuo), etc, with one "u" added, which is unnecessary. To my ears, they are the same, aren't they?
NanningYouth's user avatar
  • 2,624
5 votes
2 answers
277 views

What's the difference in pronunciation between "yo" and "you" in pinyin?

I have no idea, for example, of what the difference in pronunciation between 唷 when pronounced with the first tone and 优. If there's no difference, why are they written differently in pinyin?
Step Start's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

How do I pronounce romanised Chinese names which lack tone marks?

In the West, Chinese names almost never seem to be written using pinyin tone marks or numbers. For example, the current president's name will simply be written as Xi Jinping. I had to Google to ...
JBentley's user avatar
  • 307
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is 去 (qù) pronunced /tɕʰu/ or /tɕʰy/?

I'm a struggling very beginner having difficulties with both pronunciation and Pinyin. I dabble in linguistics so I'm accustomed to dealing with IPA pronunciations. For this reason I have been ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 4,015
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Sogou IME (on Ubuntu): How to output pinyin with tone marks?

I have Sogou Pinyin on Ubuntu and things work fine, but I haven't been able to figure out how to type Pinyin with tone marks, e.g. 'mǎ', etc. I've looked into the settings but found no option like ...
TeXnophobe's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
193 views

Looking for Pinyin standards

I have noticed discrepancies in how native Mandarin speakers spell certain words in Pinyin reflecting differences in pronunciation, for instance, pángbiān vs. pángbian and zǎoshang vs. zǎoshàng. I've ...
user103's user avatar
  • 311
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

What are the most common Mandarin words for each pinyin syllable?

I've been practicing my pronunciation by reciting the different pinyin syllables described in my book. My book lists some examples of common words for some syllables. I was wondering where I could ...
Horatio's user avatar
  • 155
4 votes
4 answers
287 views

How is 儿化 represented in other romanization systems like Wade-Giles, Zhuyin Fuhao, etc.?

I just realized that I have no idea how other romanization systems (besides pinyin) deal with 儿化 (er hua). What would be the Wade-Giles or Zhuyin-Fuhao equivalent to 电影儿 (diànyǐngr)?
stevendaniels's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
674 views

The max number of characters that map to a single pronunciation

So it seems that there is no way to map the Pinyin version of the pronunciation of Chinese words into Chinese characters directly: If Pinyin (or Other Romanization) can be Translated Back into ...
Lance's user avatar
  • 1,216
4 votes
1 answer
958 views

Why the pinyin of 鱼 is yú instead of ǘ?

Two observations: It should be fine for the pinyin of a character to contain no initials such as 阿(ā),哦(ò) and 噩(è). The bopomofo equivalent is ㄩˊ, which is ǘ in pinyin. Then why the pinyin of 鱼 is ...
Zuriel's user avatar
  • 2,005
4 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why is 台北 spelled Taipei, not Taibei?

I just tried to type in taipei in iOS but it didn't return any correct prediction. After my investigation, I found that it is taibei, not taipei, to get the correct pinyin result. However, now I ...
Blaszard's user avatar
  • 5,434
4 votes
2 answers
634 views

-uan pinyin pronunciation

It seems to me that in Mandarin, two different vowel sounds are used for words whose pinyin ends with -uan. In some words, like 全 (quán) and 元 (yuán), the vowel sounds like "oo-en" (the nucleus/coda ...
Kerrick Staley's user avatar
4 votes
5 answers
1k views

What are the advantages / disadvantages for learning tones with Pinyin vs with Gwoyeu Romatzyh?

"If you go after Mandarin, choose the somewhat uncommon GR over pinyin romanization if at all possible. It’s harder to learn at first, but I’ve never met a pinyin learner with tones even half as ...
zadrozny's user avatar
  • 151