from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Zhuyin Fuhao
Font Combined alphabet and syllabary
languages Chinese
inventor National Conference on Unification of Pronunciation 讀音 統一 會  /  读音 统一 会 , Dúyīn Tǒngyīhuì , Zhuyin ㄉ ㄨ ˊ ㄧ ㄣ ㄊ ㄨ ㄥ ˇ ㄧ ㄏ ㄨ ㄟ ˋ
Emergence around 1912/13
Usage time
Officially in Taiwan
ancestry Chinese script
 →  甲骨文Jiǎgǔwén oracle bone sign
  →  篆書Zhuànshū seal script
   →  楷書Kǎishū rule script
    →  Zhuyin Fuhao
relative Katakana , Hiragana , Hangeul
Unicode block U + 3100 – U + 312F (PDF)
U + 31A0 – U + 31BF (PDF)
ISO 15924 Bopo
Zhuyin for .mw-parser-output .Hant {font-size: 110%} 百科全書 / .mw-parser-output .Hans {font-size: 110%} 百科全书, bǎikē quánshū - "encyclopedia".
Zhuyin for 百科全書  /  百科全书 , bǎikē quánshū  - "encyclopedia".

Zhuyin or fully Zhuyin Fuhao ( Chinese  注音 符號  /  注音 符号 , Pinyin Zhùyīn Fúhào , Zhuyin ㄓ ㄨ ˋ ㄧ ㄣ ㄈ ㄨ ˊ ㄏ ㄠ ˋ , also Mandarin Phonetic Symbols I ) is a non-Latin, phonetic transcription for the Chinese characters . It is also called Bopomofo after the sounds of the first four characters of the alphabet ㄅ fo ㄇ ㄈ (bo po mo fo) .

The first four characters "bo, po, mo, fo" with sound value (black) and examples (blue)


Zhuyin Fuhao was during the first National Conference on the Standardization of debate in 1913 as a transcription which also laid down there "national language" 國語 , Guóyǔ that is still true today called on Taiwan and the national Republican default language decided 普通話 , Pǔtōnghuà roughly equivalent.

The idea of ​​developing a non-Latin notation for the Chinese language originally arose from the philologist Zhang Binglin , who had developed a kind of phonetic alphabet of 15 characters based on the oracle bone characters and called it 記 音 字母 , Jìyīn Zìmǔ ("phonetic notation alphabet"). Zhang Binglin's characters were taken as a basis and expanded with other characters. The finished transcription was initially adopted as 注音字母 , Zhùyīn Zìmǔ ("phonetic alphabet") at the end of the conference , but renamed 注音 符號 , Zhùyīn Fúhào ("phonetic symbols") in 1930 .

From 1919 to 1958 it was in use as romanization throughout China before it was superseded by the introduction of the Latin script-based Hanyu Pinyin ; in Taiwan, however, it is still widespread today. Some further developments (Bopomofo Extended) also allow the transcription of other languages ​​spoken in Taiwan, for example Hakka and Min Nan .

In Taiwan, Zhuyin is also officially referred to as MPS I , which is an abbreviation for “Mandarin Phonetic Symbols I” ( 國語 注音 符號 第一 式 , Guóyǔ Zhùyīn Fúhào dì yī shì ). It got this name when the Taiwanese authorities tried to enforce their own Latin transcription, which was given the name MPS II .


In children's books from Taiwan, every Chinese character is often annotated with Zhuyin to aid pronunciation . Similar to the Japanese Ruby annotations with Furigana , the annotation is to the right of the characters with vertical line alignment and above it with horizontal alignment. The alphabet was originally developed for the purpose of pronunciation aid; The Korean Hangeul script and the Japanese syllabary scripts Hiragana and Katakana served as models according to the principle (but not the appearance of the individual characters) . A Latin script for this purpose was rejected at the time in order to emphasize the Asian identity and the independence of China from the West.

Zhuyin can also be found in the overlays of film titles. Monolingual dictionaries from Taiwan often offer a table in which you can search for vocabulary ordered by Zhuyin; the entries are also sorted in this order (in contrast to the quasi-alphabetical order of dictionaries that use pinyin). This is also the way to explain the pronunciation of rare or very old and therefore largely unknown characters in Taiwanese museums, for explanations about trees and plants, or in specialist journals. Next to the characters are reduced Zhuyin characters, which can contain between one and four characters per character.


In the case of the word 瓶子 , píngzi  - "bottle", the Zhuyin characters are written to the right of the characters when the writing direction is from top to bottom, and when the writing direction is from left to right above them. The tone characters for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th tone are always placed on the right above the final character of the syllable in both vertical and horizontal writing. Syllables with a neutral tone are marked with a point, which, in contrast to the other tone characters, is always in the writing direction before the beginning of the syllable:

ㄥ ˊ
ㄆ ㄧ ㄥ ˊ ˙ ㄗ

Zhuyin characters and their pronunciation

The system uses symbols for the 37 sounds in Standard Chinese . Together with the four tone characters, it comes to 41 characters. The characters are arranged according to common phonetic characteristics (see "Group" in the table below). The pronunciation of a character can be indicated with at least one and a maximum of four Zhuyin characters. These are divided into the categories of initial (here consonants), internal ( semi-vowels or vowels; in pinyin, sometimes understood as the initial, sometimes as part of the final), final (simple vowels, diphthongs and nasal vowels ) and tone .

group Zhuyin Pinyin IPA pronunciation origin
Labials b [ p ] b unvoiced or non-flavored p as in a bb Eissen From the ancient sign 勹, whose current form 包bāo "wrap up" it still houses as the upper element.
p [ ] breathed p as in German From the radical 攵, which comes from the character 攴 "drum".
m [ m ] like in German From the ancient sign 冂, which corresponds to today's radical 冖 "lid".
f [ f ] like in German From the radical 匚fāng "box".
Dental d [ t ] voiceless d or breathless t as in Zel td ach Based on the small-seal form of 刀dāo "knife".
t [ ] breathed t as in German Taken "suddenly" from the upper part of 突 .
n [ n ] like in German From the ancient variant of 乃nǎi "then".
l [ l ] like in German From the ancient variant of 力 "strength".
Velare G [ k ] voiceless g or non- breathed k as in pieces ut From a character for “river” that is no longer used today, 巜guì .
k [ ] breathed k as in standard German From the ancient sign 丂, which corresponds to today's 考kǎo "test".
H [ χ ] as in la ch en Corresponds to the radical 厂hàn .
Alveopalatal j [ ] similar to girls , but much softer; Polish a. Croatian ć From the ancient form 丩, which is spelled today 糾jiū "wrap".
q [ tɕʰ ] similar to girls , but very breathy From the ancient sign ㄑ quǎn , which was the origin of 巛chuān "river" (today's writing is 川).
x [ ɕ ] between ch in me and ß in white; polish ś From 丅, the earlier form of 下xià "below".
Retroflexes zh [ ʈʂ ] similar to Czech , but retroflex (with the tip of the tongue bent back) From 㞢, an older form of 之zhī , a classic sentence particle.
ch [ ʈʂʰ ] like tough, but breathy, like in German of Corresponds to the sign and radical 彳chì "step".
sh [ ʂ ] similar to German sch, but retroflex From the sign 尸shī "corpse".
r [ ʐ ] similar to French j (bon j our), but retroflex From the sign 日 "sun".
Alveolar z [ ts ] as in Lan ds man From the ancient spelling variant for 節jié "section", which appears again in the simplified equivalent 节.
c [ tsʰ ] as in Pla tzh irsch From the ancient spelling variant for 七 "seven".
s [ s ] as white ß From the ancient sign 厶 "private" which is written today 私.


For the initials, the respective spelling changes in pinyin depending on the positioning: As initials you write them y- , w- , yu- ; between initial and final -i- , -u- , -u- ; and as finals -i , -u , -u or after n and l. If they stand alone, they are shown as yi , wu , yu . This inconvenience is spared in Zhuyin because they remain unchanged ㄧ, ㄨ, ㄩ.

group Zhuyin Pinyin IPA pronunciation origin
Intro y-, -i- [ ] as in j emand From 一 "one".
yi, -i [ i ] as in n ie
w-, -u- [ ] fleeting u as in engl. w ater According to an earlier variant of 五 "five".
wu, -u [ u ] as in B u ch
yu-, -u- [ ] fleeting ü as in French hu seine From 凵 “emptiness, container”, which is still used today as a radical.
yu, -u, -ü [ y ] as in above sea over
Simple vowels a [ ɑ ] as in w a r From 丫 "fork of a branch".
O [ ɔ ], [ u̯ɔ ] alone as in d o ch, after b, p, m and f more like uo (see there) The reflection of 丂hindered breath , which meant to exclaim , and can still be found in simplified form as a sound element in the sign 可.
e [ ɤ ] Is almost like Bitt e spoken, but with the tongue turned back and in the middle mouth (Sample ? / I ) Audio file / audio sample Was originally a sign with ㄛ , but was then recognized as an independent sound value and the sign was further developed.
ê [ ɛ ] as in B ä r. ㄝ never stands on its own, but appears in vowel groups. From a variant of 也 , a final particle in classical Chinese.
he, -r [ əɻ ] like English h ur t in American pronunciation From the italic form of the character 兒ér "child", which is used again today as the abbreviation 儿.
Diphthongs ai [ aɪ̯ ] as in M ai Earlier variant of 亥hái the "twelfth earth branch".
egg [ ɛɪ̯ ] as in English d ay From 乁 , an earlier variant of 移 "to move".
ao [ ɑo̯ ] similar to H au s, u which is very weak and tends to be articulated o From 幺yāo "one".
ou [ ɔʊ̯ ] open o as in however, followed by unsyllabic u From 又yòu “again”, originally the pictogram of a right hand.
Nasal vowels on [ an ], [ ɛn ] as in w ann , after ㄧ (y) i and ㄩ (y) above as d hen . From the no longer used character ㄢ hàn "bloom".
en, -n [ ən ], [ n ] as in mach en Derived from the small seal from 乚 yǐn "hide", today written 隱.
nec [ ɑŋ ] as in ang st From 尢wāng , an earlier variant of 尪.
narrow, -ng [ əŋ ], [ ŋ ] open o as in yes, but without rounded lips, followed by ng From 厶, a no longer used variant of 厷gōng .
on ㄧ y (i) -
ㄧ ㄚ ya, -ia [ i̯a ] like in Samb ia
ㄧ ㄛ yo [ i̯ɔ ] as in Jo ch
ㄧ ㄝ ye, -ie [ i̯ɛ ] as in English ye s
ㄧ ㄠ yao, -iao [ i̯ɑo̯ ] as in meow , the u tends to o
ㄧ ㄡ you, -iu [ i̯oʊ̯ ] as in Yo ga with a hint of a u
ㄧ ㄢ yan, -ian [ i̯ɛn ] as in amb ien te
ㄧ ㄣ yin, -in [ in ] as in b in , but with a closed i as in never
ㄧ ㄤ yang, -iang [ i̯ɑŋ ] as in Italian b ian approx
ㄧ ㄥ ying, -ing [ ] as in D ing , but with a closed i as in never
on ㄨ w (u) -
ㄨ ㄚ wa, -ua [ u̯ɑ ] as in G ua rana
ㄨ ㄛ where, -uo [ u̯ɔ ] as in English wa ter
ㄨ ㄞ wai, -uai [ u̯aɪ̯ ] as in English wi fe
ㄨ ㄟ know, -ui [ u̯ɛɪ̯ ] like english way
ㄨ ㄢ wan, -uan [ u̯an ] as in Ass uan
ㄨ ㄣ who, -un [ u̯ən ] as in individuals
ㄨ ㄤ wang, -uang [ u̯ɑŋ ] as with ㄤ preceded by an unsyllabic u
ㄨ ㄥ weng, -ong [ u̯əŋ ], [ ʊŋ ] as a single syllable like ㄥ preceded by an unsyllabic u. In combinations such as in H ung he
on ㄩ y (u) -
ㄩ ㄝ yue, -üe [ y̆ɛ ] as with ㄧ ㄝ but starting with ü as in about instead of i
ㄩ ㄢ yuan, -uan [ y̆ɛn ] Pronunciation as for ㄧ ㄢ but starting with ü as in über instead of i
ㄩ ㄣ yun, -un [ yn ] as in French l un e
ㄩ ㄥ yong, -iong [ i̯ʊŋ ], not * [ ] how young


Zhuyin Pinyin IPA description
O [ ɔ́ ] High, consistent pitch
ㄛ ´ O [ ɔ̌ ] Rising tone
ㄛ ˇ ǒ [ ɔ᷉ ] Falling-rising tone
ㄛ ` O [ ɔ̂ ] Falling tone
· ㄛ O [ ɔ ] Neutral, "unstressed" tone

Special features compared to pinyin

Zhuyin is generally more regular than pinyin, especially with the vowels, but still has some irregularities and peculiarities. On the whole, however, it is easier to infer the actual pronunciation than in pinyin. Another advantage is that the learner does not try to transfer his native-speaking pronunciation habits to writing and thereby unintentionally pronounce many things incorrectly.

Initial sounds

  • The initials ㄓ zh, ㄔ ch, ㄕ sh, ㄖ r, ㄗ z, ㄘ c and ㄙ s can appear alone, for example with : ㄕ. The final sound is pronounced in syllabic, with ㄓ zh, ㄔ ch, ㄕ sh, ㄖ r it almost sounds as if an English r is added to the end (wat er ), with ㄗ z, ㄘ c and ㄙ s a [ɨ ] pronounced. In pinyin, the example would be noted as shī . However, this is misleading because no [ i ] is pronounced. Originally the symbol was MoeKai Bopomofo U + 312D.svgintended for this syllabic final in Zhuyin , but it was dropped when it was implemented.
  • The initials ㄐ j, ㄑ q and ㄒ x, on the other hand, can appear in the combination ㄐ ㄧ jī, ㄑ ㄧ qī or ㄒ ㄧ xī if an [ i ] is to be spoken. A syllabic pronunciation is not possible with these sounds.
  • If ㄧ yi, ㄨ wu or ㄩ yu is followed by a vowel (compare, for example, ㄧ ㄥ ying, ㄨ ㄢ wan, ㄧ ㄤ yang, ㄩ ㄣ yun, ㄨ ㄥ weng) it is not pronounced in full, but rather grounded into semi-vowel sounds. In German, this comes close to changing from i (nobody) to j (someone). In Pinyin, the semi-vowels are written with y-, w-, yu- (as initial) or -i-, -u-, -u - / - ü- (as initial), while as full vowels they are written with yi, wu, yu (standing alone) or -i, -u, -u / -ü (as final). In Zhuyin, they are all written with the same character; H. the distinction between half and full vowels is not made.


  • The ü, which in Pinyin is only written in the combinations and , although it also appears, for example, in xue and qu , is always written in Zhuyin with : ㄒ ㄩ ㄝ xüe, ㄑ ㄩ qü
  • the pinyin combination yong or -iong [i̯uŋ] is written disproportionately as ㄩ ㄥ, ie ü-ng: ㄒ ㄩ ㄥ xiōng [ɕi̯úŋ]. This is because Zhuyin does not allow a combination between two sounds from the same group such as ㄧ and ㄨ due to the strict syllable categories.
  • The Pinyin-o in the combination ong is always written as ㄨ (u): ㄓ ㄨ ㄥ zhōng [ʈʂúŋ], composed zh-u-ng, which corresponds more closely to the actual pronunciation.
  • Pinyin does not differentiate between the two pronunciations of the e , but Zhuyin does : ㄜ [ə] and ㄝ [ɛ]. ㄝ only occurs in connection with vowels, ㄜ on the other hand only with nasal endings.
  • The vowel connections -ui and -iu, which are shortened in pinyin and which are actually pronounced [u̯ɛi̯] and [i̯ɔu̯], are reproduced in Zhuyin with ㄨ ㄟ (wu-ei) and ㄧ ㄡ (yi-ou).


The characters (en) and (eng) drop the vowel (e) after (i), (u) and (ü):

  • ㄓ ㄥ ( zhēng ), but
  • ㄓ ㄨ ㄥ (zhung, written in pinyin zhōng );
  • ㄇ ㄣ ( mēn ), but
  • ㄇ ㄧ ㄣ ( mīn );
  • ㄔ ㄣ ( chēn ), but
  • ㄑ ㄩ ㄣ (qün, written in pinyin qūn ).


In contrast to pinyin, the first tone is not marked. For this, however, the neutral (5th) tone is provided with a point in front of the syllable, for example ˙ ㄉ ㄜ ( , de )

De-standardized dialect characters

Four previously used characters originally belonged to the standard, but were subsequently removed. However, ㄪ, ㄫ and ㄬ are still used to reproduce some Chinese dialects, which is why they are in the Unicode set. Some Zhuyin fonts may be missing them. In this case, a look at the Unicode set in the info box above is recommended.

Zhuyin Pinyin IPA pronunciation origin
v [ v ] like v in V ase Italic form of the character 萬wǎn "ten thousand" corresponds to today's abbreviated version
ng [ ŋ ] as ng in sa ng
ny [ ɲ ] like ñ in Spanish el ni ñ o ( el Ni ñ o ) [el ˈniɲo]
MoeKai Bopomofo U + 312D.svg -i [ ɨ ] Stands for the syllabic vowel in ㄓ zh, ㄔ ch, ㄕ sh, ㄖ r, ㄗ z, ㄘ c and ㄙ s, which is simply left out in today's romanization. Possibly from 帀, as a twist of ㄓ zh.

Extended bopomofo for Minnanhua

In order to expand Bopomofo to other languages ​​spoken in Taiwan, additional characters have been added. These can be found in the Unicode set in the “Bopomofo extended” category. The following table briefly explains the special characters for the Minnan dialect, which is common in mainland southern China and Taiwan. It contains initial consonants, nasal vowels and notes that standard Chinese does not know.

Initial sounds
Zhuyin Bbínpīn IPA
bb [b]
gg [ g ]
zzi [ ʑ ]
currently [ dz ]
m [ ]
ggn [ ŋ̩ ]
Nasal endings
Zhuyin Bbínpīn IPA Zhuyin Bbínpīn IPA
Simple endings Nasal correspondence
a [ a ] n / A [ ã ]
e [ e ] no [ ]
oo [ ɔ ] noo [ ɔ̃ ]
i [ i ] ni [ ĩ ]
u [ u ] nu [ ũ ]
ai [ ] nai [ ]
ao [ au ] nao [ ]
Other endings
Zhuyin Bbínpīn IPA
at the [ on ]
oom [ ɔm ]
ong [ ɔng ]
i [ ɨ ]
Zhuyin Bbínpīn IPA
- [ a˥˥ ]
ㄚ ˋ ă [ a˥˧ ]
ㄚ ᒻ à [ a˨˩ ]
ㄚ ㆴ
ㄚ ㆵ
ㄚ ㆶ
ㄚ ㆷ
[ ap˩˩
ㄚ ˊ á [ a˧˥ ]
ㄚ ⊦ â [ a˧˧ ]
ㄚ ㆴ ̇
ㄚ ㆵ ̇
ㄚ ㆶ ̇
ㄚ ㆷ ̇
[ ap˥˥

Zhuyin as an input method

Zhuyin is also used as an input method on computers and cell phones. Some systems require all elements to be entered, while others are less strict.

Color scheme of the Bopomofo keyboard layout
Key phone with Zhuyin input

The input works according to the sorting principle, in which a maximum of four elements can be entered at once:

  1. Consonants (initials)
  2. Sliding vowels (inlaids, depending on the constellation, can also become initial or final vowels)
  3. Vowels and vowel connections (finals)
  4. volume

After pressing the space bar, a selection menu opens that shows a hit list with matching characters. With the numbers 1-0 the searched character can be selected. With polysyllabic words, further syllables can be added, which increases the hit rate:

Pinyin Initial sound Internally Final volume possible characters
bīng ㄅ b ㄧ (y) i ㄥ (e) ng 1. 兵 2. 冰 3. 掤 4. 栟 5. 絣 ...
ㄒ x ㄩ (y) ü ˊ 1. 徐 2. 余 3. 鉏 4. 俆 5. 衺 ...
ㄉ d ㄚ a ˇ 1. 打
zhuàng ㄓ zh ㄨ (w) u ㄤ nec ˋ 1. 狀 2. 撞 3. 壯 4. 焋 5. 戇 ...
shi ㄕ sh ˙ 1. 匙
yǎng ㄧ y (i) ㄤ nec ˇ 1. 養 2. 仰 3. 痒 4. 氧 5. 鞅 ...
whom ㄨ w (u) ㄣ en ˊ 1. 文 2. 聞 3. 紋 4. 蚊 5. 玟 ...
ㄨ wu ˋ 1. 戊 2. 勿 3. 物 4. 霧 5. 誤 ...

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. 中國 大 百科 智慧 藏. Retrieved November 1, 2017 .
  2. 中國 大 百科 智慧 藏. Retrieved November 1, 2017 .
  3. Hanyu pinyin system turns 50.Retrieved November 1, 2017 .
  4. ^ Bopomofo on the Web. Retrieved October 31, 2017 (UK English).