Pinyin 拼音, Zhuyin 注音, IPA Comparison

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Pinyin (拼音) is using English alphabets to indicate Chinese character pronunciation. It was invented in 1950s. It is used in China and around the world for Chinese/English transliteration (translation by sound, such as place names, people's names.).

Zhuyin (注音) (aka bopomofo) is a set of symbols to indicate Chinese character pronunciation. It is used mostly in Taiwan. It is invented in 1912.

Pinyin and Zhuyin are pretty much the same, except Pinyin uses English alphabets and zhuyin uses special symbols.

Zhuyin vs. Pinyin Initials
ZhuyinPinyinExample
b八 (ㄅㄚ, bā)
p杷 (ㄆㄚˊ, pá)
m馬 (ㄇㄚˇ, mǎ)
f法 (ㄈㄚˇ, fǎ)
d地 (ㄉㄧˋ, dì)
t提 (ㄊㄧˊ, tí)
n你 (ㄋㄧˇ, nǐ)
l利 (ㄌㄧˋ, lì)
g告 (ㄍㄠˋ, gào)
k考 (ㄎㄠˇ, kǎo)
h好 (ㄏㄠˇ, hǎo)
j叫 (ㄐㄧㄠˋ, jiào)
q巧 (ㄑㄧㄠˇ, qiǎo)
x小 (ㄒㄧㄠˇ, xiǎo)
zhi 〖zh〗主 (ㄓㄨˇ, zhǔ)
chi 〖ch〗出 (ㄔㄨ, chū)
shi 〖sh〗束 (ㄕㄨˋ, shù)
ri 〖r〗入 (ㄖㄨˋ, rù)
zi 〖z〗在 (ㄗㄞˋ, zài)
ci 〖c〗才 (ㄘㄞˊ, cái)
si 〖s〗塞 (ㄙㄞ, sāi)
Finals
ZhuyinPinyinExample
a大 (ㄉㄚˋ, dà)
o多 (ㄉㄨㄛ, duō)
e得 (ㄉㄜˊ, dé)
ê爹 (ㄉㄧㄝ, diē)
ai晒 (ㄕㄞˋ, shài)
ei誰 (ㄕㄟˊ, shéi)
ao少 (ㄕㄠˇ, shǎo)
ou收 (ㄕㄡ, shōu)
an山 (ㄕㄢ, shān)
en申 (ㄕㄣ, shēn)
ang上 (ㄕㄤˋ, shàng)
eng生 (ㄕㄥ, shēng)
er而 (ㄦˊ, ér)
yi 〖i〗逆 (ㄋㄧˋ, nì)
yin 〖in〗音 (ㄧㄣ, yīn)
ying 〖ing〗英 (ㄧㄥ, yīng)
wu 〖u〗努 (ㄋㄨˇ, nǔ)
wen 〖un〗文 (ㄨㄣˊ, wén)
weng 〖ong〗翁 (ㄨㄥ, wēng)
yu 〖u, ü〗女 (ㄋㄩˇ, nǚ)
yun 〖un〗韻 (ㄩㄣˋ, yūn)
yong 〖iong〗永 (ㄩㄥˇ, yǒng)

〖〗represents the form used in combination with other letters.

Zhuyin, Pinyin, IPA Comparisons

Vowels a, e, o, i
IPAɑɔɤɛɑʊɤʊanənɑŋɤŋɑɻʊŋiiɤʊiɛnin
Pinyinaoeeaieiaoouanenangengerongyiyeyouyanyinying
Zhuyinㄨㄥㄧㄝㄧㄡㄧㄢㄧㄣㄧㄥ
example
Vowels u, y
IPAuueɪuaɪuanuənuɤŋyyɛnyniʊŋ
Pinyinwuwoweiwaiwanwenwengyuyueyuanyunyong
Zhuyinㄨㄛㄨㄟㄨㄞㄨㄢㄨㄣㄨㄥㄩㄝㄩㄢㄩㄣㄩㄥ
example
Non-sibilant consonants
IPApmfɤŋtioutueinylykɤɻ
Pinyinbpmfengdiuduitgerkhe
Zhuyinㄈㄥㄉㄧㄡㄉㄨㄟㄋㄩㄌㄩㄍㄜㄦㄏㄜ
example歌儿
Sibilant consonants
IPAtɕiɛntɕiʊŋtɕʰinɕyɛnʈʂɤʈʂɨʈʂʰɤʈʂʰɨʂɤʂɨʐɤʐɨtsɤtsuɔtsɨtsʰɤtsʰɨ
Pinyinjianjiongqinxuanzhezhichechisheshirerizezuozicecisesi
Zhuyinㄐㄧㄢㄐㄩㄥㄑㄧㄣㄒㄩㄢㄓㄜㄔㄜㄕㄜㄖㄜㄗㄜㄗㄨㄛㄘㄜㄙㄜ
example
Tones
Tones IPAma˥˥ma˧˥ma˨˩˦ma˥˩ma
Pinyinma
Zhuyinㄇㄚㄇㄚˊㄇㄚˇㄇㄚˋㄇㄚ・
example (traditional/simplfied)媽/妈麻/麻馬/马罵/骂嗎/吗

See also: Chinese Input Methods