Supplemental Pinyin Conventions


Chinese Language Program
Dept. of East Asian Languages & Civilizations
Harvard University



I. Syllables without initials

The conventions for representing syllables withou initial consonants are as follows.

1. In the first row, no special rules.

anjing

quiet

hen e

(very) hungry

Aozhou

Australia

Ouzhou

Europe

2. In the "i" row: change i to y

Example with initial consonant

Example without initial consonant

jia

family

ya

duck

jie

street

ye

also

qiao

bridge

yao

to want

xian

string

yan

salt

qiong

poor

yong

to use

 ** Exceptions: i goes to yi

iu goes to you

in goes to yin

ing goes to ying

 Thus:

Example with initial consonant

Example without initial consonant

bi

to compare

yi

one

diu

to lose

you

to have

lin

a surname

yin

sound

ting

to listen

ying

hard, stiff

3. In the "ü" row: prefix with y

Example with initial consonant

Example without initial consonant

qu

to go

yu

fish

xue

to study

yue

month

juan

to roll, curl

yuan

distant

jun

military

yun

clouds

4. In the "u" row: change u to w

Example with initial consonant

Example without initial consonant

zhua

to grasp

wa

tile

duo

much, many

wo

I, me

kuai

fast

wai

outer

chuang

bed

wang

a surname

 

**Exceptions: u goes to wu

ui goes to wei

uen goes to wen

Thus:

Example with initial consonant

Example without initial consonant

lu

road

wu

five

tui

leg

wei

"Hello" (on the phone)

zhun

accurate

wen

to ask

II. Exceptional chart spellings (applied in syllables with initial consonants)

1. * where you would expect uei instead write ui (without initial = wei)

* where you would expect iou instead write iu (without initial = you)

* where you would expect uen instead write un (without initial = wen)

 

2. The final uo reduced to o after the initials b, p, m, f:

thus: bo po mo fo (vs. duo zhuo zuo kuo guo)

 

III. Drop the umlaut except in syllables beginning with l and n.

: "green" .................... lu : "road"

: "female"................. nu :"diligent" (not actually a single syllable word)

 

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