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Romanization scheme for Standard Mandarin / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Hanyu Pinyin (simplified Chinese: 汉语拼音; traditional Chinese: 漢語拼音; pinyin: hànyǔ pīnyīn), often shortened to just pinyin, is the most common romanization system for Standard Mandarin Chinese. It is used in official contexts where Standard Chinese is an official language (Greater China and Singapore) as well as by the United Nations and in other international contexts. It is used principally to teach Mandarin, normally written with Chinese characters, to students already familiar with the Latin alphabet. The system uses four diacritics to denote tones, though these are often omitted in various contexts, such as when spelling Chinese names in non-Chinese texts, and writing words from non-Chinese languages in Chinese-language texts. Hanyu Pinyin is also used in various input methods to type Chinese characters on computers, some Chinese dictionaries use it to arrange entries. The word Hànyǔ (simplified Chinese: 汉语; traditional Chinese: 漢語) literally means "Han language" (i.e. the Chinese language), while Pīnyīn (拼音) means "spelled sounds".[1]

Quick facts: Hanyu Pinyin 汉语拼音, 漢語拼音, Script type, Created...
Hanyu Pinyin
汉语拼音, 漢語拼音
Script type romanization
Time period
LanguagesStandard Chinese
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
Quick facts: Pinyin, Chinese, Transcriptions, Standard Man...
Table of Hanyu Pinyin syllables, which includes 23 initials (top) and 24 finals (bottom)
Scheme for the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet
Simplified Chinese汉语拼音方案
Traditional Chinese漢語拼音方案

Hanyu Pinyin was developed in the 1950s, led by a group of Chinese linguists including Wang Li, Lu Zhiwei, Li Jinxi, Luo Changpei[2] and Zhou Youguang,[3] who based their work in part on earlier romanization systems. The system was originally promulgated at the Fifth Session of the First National People's Congress in 1958, and has seen several rounds of revisions since.[4] The International Organization for Standardization propagated Hanyu Pinyin as ISO 7098 in 1982,[5] and the United Nations began using it in 1986.[3] Attempts to make Hanyu Pinyin standard in Taiwan occurred in 2002 and 2009, and while the system has been official since the latter attempt,[6][7][8] "Taiwan largely has no standardized spelling system" so that in 2019 "alphabetic spellings in Taiwan are marked more by a lack of system than the presence of one".[citation needed] Moreover, "some cities, businesses, and organizations, notably in the southern parts of Taiwan, did not accept [efforts to introduce Hanyu Pinyin] due to political reasons, as it suggested further integration with the PRC", and so it remains one of several rival romanization systems in use, along with Wade–Giles and the autochthonous Tongyong Pinyin.[9]

When a non-native writing system is designed to write a language, certain compromises may be made in an attempt to aid non-native speakers in reproducing the sounds of the target language. Native speakers of English tend to produce fairly accurate pronunciations when reading pinyin, with exceptions usually occurring with phonemes not generally found in English, spelled with characters usually associated with divergent English pronunciations: j //, q /tɕʰ/, x /ɕ/, z /ts/, c /tsʰ/, zh /ʈʂ/, ch /ʈʂʰ/, h /x/ and r /ɻ/ exhibit the greatest discrepancies.

In this system, the correspondence between the Latin letters and the sound is sometimes idiosyncratic, though not necessarily more so than the way the Latin script is employed in other languages. For example, the aspiration distinction between b, d, g and p, t, k is similar to that of these syllable-initial consonants in English (in which the two sets are, however, also differentiated by voicing), but not to that of French. Letters z and c also have that distinction, pronounced as [ts] and [tsʰ] (which is reminiscent of these letters being used to represent the phoneme /ts/ in German and in Slavic languages written in the Latin script, respectively). From s, z, c come the digraphs sh, zh, ch by analogy with English sh, ch. Although this analogical use of digraphs introduces the novel combination zh, it is internally consistent in how the two series are related. In the x, j, q series, the pinyin use of x is similar to its use in Portuguese, Galician, Catalan, Basque, and Maltese to represent /ʃ/; the pinyin q is close to its value of /c͡ç/ in Albanian, though to the untrained ear both pinyin and Albanian pronunciations may sound similar to the ch. Pinyin vowels are pronounced in a similar way to vowels in Romance languages.

The pronunciations and spellings of Chinese words are generally given in terms of initials and finals, which represent the language's segmental phonemic portion, rather than letter by letter. Initials are initial consonants, whereas finals are all possible combinations of medials (semivowels coming before the vowel), a nucleus vowel, and coda (final vowel or consonant).