Zhuyin Guide

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Zhuyin Guide

Zhùyīn fúhào ( ) is the main transliteration system for Taiwanese Mandarin. It is more colloquially known is Bopomofo, after the first four characters of the Zhuyin "alphabet" ㄅㄆㄇㄈ.

Zhuyin consists of 37 characters and four tone marks. It is possible to express all possible sounds in Mandarin using Zhuyin. It was introduced in China during the 1910s, however, has been subsequently replaced in the Mainland by Hanyu Pinyin.

Zhuyin fuhao is an official transliteration system in Taiwan and remains widely used for educational purposes and electronic input methods (as used on computers and mobile devices).

b (p)

From 勹, the ancient form and current top portion of (bāo)

Example: 八 (ㄅㄚ, bā)

Zhuyin Tones

Zhuyin expresses Mandarin tones in much the same way as Hanyu Pinyin, however, the 1st or high tone is not marked in Zhuyin, and the 5th or neutral tone is denoted with the ˙ marker.

When written vertically the tone is usually placed on the right-hand side of the Zhuyin syllable. When written horizontally tones are generally marked after the syllable.

Tone Zhuyin Pinyin
1 (None) ◌̄
2 ˊ ◌́
3 ˇ ◌̌
4 ˋ ◌̀
5 ˙ (None)

The following is a Zhuyin example for the word ( gào su ) ( ) , or "to tell".


ㄍㄠˋ ㄙㄨ˙

Zhuyin "Alphabet"

b 八 (ㄅㄚ, bā) From 勹, the ancient form and current top portion of (bāo)
p 杷 (ㄆㄚˊ, pá) From 攵, the combining form of ()
m 馬 (ㄇㄚˇ, mǎ) From (jiōng), the archaic character and current radical ()
f 法 (ㄈㄚˇ, fǎ) From (fāng)
d 地 (ㄉㄧˋ, dì) From the archaic form of (dāo).
t 提 (ㄊㄧˊ, tí) From the upside-down 子 seen at the top of (chōng)
n 你 (ㄋㄧˇ, nǐ) From 𠄎, ancient form of (nǎi)
l 利 (ㄌㄧˋ, lì) From the archaic form of ()
g 告 (ㄍㄠˋ, gào) From the obsolete character 巜 guì/kuài "river"
k 考 (ㄎㄠˇ, kǎo) From the archaic character (kǎo)
h 好 (ㄏㄠˇ, hǎo) From the archaic character and current radical (hǎn)
j 叫 (ㄐㄧㄠˋ, jiào) From the archaic character (jiū)
q 巧 (ㄑㄧㄠˇ, qiǎo) From the archaic character ㄑ, graphic root of the character (chuān) (modern (chuān))
x 小 (ㄒㄧㄠˇ, xiǎo) From 丅, an ancient form of (xià).
zh 主 (ㄓㄨˇ, zhǔ) From zhī/㞢, archaic form of (zhī).
ch 出 (ㄔㄨ, chū) From the character and radical (chì)
sh 束 (ㄕㄨˋ, shù) From the character (shī)
r 入 (ㄖㄨˋ, rù) Modified from the seal script form of ()
z 在 (ㄗㄞˋ, zài) From the archaic character and current radical (jié), dialectically zié
c 才 (ㄘㄞˊ, cái) Variant of (), dialectically ciī.
s 塞 (ㄙㄞ, sāi) From the archaic character (), which was later replaced by its compound ().
a 大 (ㄉㄚˋ, dà) From ()
o 多 (ㄉㄨㄛ, duō) From the obsolete character 𠀀 hē, inhalation, the reverse of (kǎo), which is preserved as a phonetic in the compound ().
e 得 (ㄉㄜˊ, dé) Derived from its allophone in Standard Chinese, ㄛ
ê 爹 (ㄉㄧㄝ, diē) From ().
ai 晒 (ㄕㄞˋ, shài) From bronze form of (hài).
ei 誰 (ㄕㄟˊ, shéi) From 乁 yí, an obsolete character meaning () "to move".
ao 少 (ㄕㄠˇ, shǎo) From (yāo)
ou 收 (ㄕㄡ, shōu) From (yòu)
an 山 (ㄕㄢ, shān) From the obsolete character (hàn) "to bloom", preserved as a phonetic in the compound (fàn)
en 申 (ㄕㄣ, shēn) From (yǐn)
ang 上 (ㄕㄤˋ, shàng) From (wāng)
eng 生 (ㄕㄥ, shēng) From 厶, an obsolete form of (gōng)
er 而 (ㄦˊ, ér) From 儿, the bottom portion of (ér) used as a cursive form
i/y 逆 (ㄋㄧˋ, nì) From ()
u/w 努 (ㄋㄨˇ, nǔ) From (), ancient form of ().
ü/yu 女 (ㄋㄩˇ, nǚ) From the ancient character 凵 qū, which remains as a radical