Zhuyin fuhao

Zhuyin fuhao

Zhuyin fuhao
Type Semisyllabary (letters for onsets and rimes; diacritics for tones)
Languages Chinese languages, Formosan languages
Creator Commission on the Unification of Pronunciation
Time period 1913 to the present, now used as ruby characters in Taiwan for Chinese, and as the principal script for Formosan
Parent systems
Sister systems Simplified Chinese, Kanji, Hanja, Chữ Nôm, Khitan script
ISO 15924 ,
Unicode alias
Unicode range U+31A0–U+31BF
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Zhuyin fuhao (Chu-yin fu-hao; Chinese: 注音符號; pinyin: Zhùyīn fúhào; Zhuyin Fuhao: ㄓㄨˋ ㄧㄣ ㄈㄨˊ ㄏㄠˋ; literally "phonetic symbols"), often abbreviated as zhuyin (chu-yin) and colloquially called bopomofo,[1] is a phonetic notation system for transcribing spoken Chinese, especially Mandarin. Consisting of 37 characters and four tone marks, it transcribes all possible sounds in Mandarin.

Zhuyin was introduced in the Republic of China in the 1910s. It was replaced by pinyin in People's Republic of China in the 1950s, but is still widely used as an educational tool and Chinese computer input method in Taiwan.


Zhuyin is often colloquially called bopomofo in Taiwan, which is derived from the names of the first four syllables in the conventional ordering of available syllables in Mandarin Chinese. The four Zhuyin characters (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ) that correspond to these syllables are usually placed first in a list of these characters. The same sequence (bopomofo) is used by other speakers of Chinese to refer to other phonetic systems. In official documents, Zhuyin is occasionally called "Mandarin Phonetic Symbols I" (國語注音符號第一式), abbreviated as "MPS I" (注音一式).

In English translations, the system is often called either Chu-yin or the Mandarin Phonetic Symbols.[2][3] A Romanised phonetic system was released in 1984 as Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II (MPS II).


The Commission on the Unification of Pronunciation, led by Woo Tsin-hang from 1912 to 1913, created a system called Guóyīn Zìmǔ (國音字母 "National Pronunciation Letters") or Zhùyīn Zìmǔ (註音字母 or 注音字母 "Sound-annotating Letters"),[2] which is based on Zhang Binglin's shorthands.

A draft was released on July 11, 1913, by the Republic of China National Ministry of Education, but it was not officially proclaimed until November 23, 1928.[2] Zhùyīn zìmǔ was renamed zhùyīn fúhào in April 1930.

The symbols were initially called Zhùyīn Zìmǔ ("Phonetic Alphabet"); later they were also called Guóyīn Zìmǔ ("National Phonetic Alphabet"). The fear that they might be considered an alphabetic system of writing independent of characters led to their being renamed Zhùyīn Fúhào ("Phonetic Symbols") in 1930.[4]

After 1949, Zhuyin was superseded in China by the pinyin system promulgated by the People's Republic of China, but Zhuyin's use is retained in Taiwan.

Modern use

Zhuyin remains the predominant phonetic system in teaching reading and writing in elementary school in Taiwan. It is also one of the most popular ways to enter Chinese characters into computers and to look up characters in a dictionary in Taiwan.

In elementary school, particularly in the lower years, Chinese characters in textbooks are often annotated with Zhuyin as ruby characters as an aid to learning. Additionally, one newspaper in Taiwan, the Mandarin Daily News annotates all articles with Zhuyin ruby characters.

In teaching Mandarin, Taiwan institutions and some overseas communities still use Zhuyin as a learning tool.

Besides transcribing Mandarin, Zhuyin is sometimes used to annotate Taiwanese Hokkien,[5] a widely spoken Chinese language in Taiwan, however pe̍h-ōe-jī romanisation is more common in use.


The Zhuyin characters were created by Zhang Binglin, and taken mainly from "regularised" forms of ancient Chinese characters, the modern readings of which contain the sound that each letter represents.

Origin of zhuyin symbols
Zhuyin Origin IPA Pinyin WG Example
From , the ancient form and current top portion of bāo b p 八 (ㄅㄚ, bā)
From , the combining form of p p' 杷 (ㄆㄚˊ, pá)
From , the archaic character and current radical m m 馬 (ㄇㄚˇ, mǎ)
From fāng f f 法 (ㄈㄚˇ, fǎ)
From the archaic form of dāo. Compare the bamboo form File:Dao1 knife bamboo graph.png. d t 地 (ㄉㄧˋ, dì)
From the upside-down seen at the top of t t' 提 (ㄊㄧˊ, tí)
From File:Nai3 chu silk form.png/𠄎, ancient form of nǎi n n 你 (ㄋㄧˇ, nǐ)
From the archaic form of l l 利 (ㄌㄧˋ, lì)
From the obsolete character guì/kuài" 'river' g k 告 (ㄍㄠˋ, gào)
From the archaic character kǎo k k' 考 (ㄎㄠˇ, kǎo)
From the archaic character and current radical hàn h h 好 (ㄏㄠˇ, hǎo)
From the archaic character jiū j ch 叫 (ㄐㄧㄠˋ, jiào)
From the archaic character quǎn, graphic root of the character chuān (modern ) ʨʰ q ch' 巧 (ㄑㄧㄠˇ, qiǎo)
From , an ancient form of xià. x hs 小 (ㄒㄧㄠˇ, xiǎo)
From /, archaic form of zhī. zh ch 主 (ㄓㄨˇ, zhǔ)
From the character and radical chì ch ch' 出 (ㄔㄨ, chū)
From the character shī sh sh 束 (ㄕㄨˋ, shù)
Modified from the seal script form of r j 入 (ㄖㄨˋ, rù)
From the archaic character and current radical jié, dialectically zié z ts 在 (ㄗㄞˋ, zài)
Variant of , dialectically ciī. Compare semi-cursive form File:Qi1 seven seal.png. c ts' 才 (ㄘㄞˊ, cái)
From the archaic character sī, which was later replaced by its compound sī. s s 塞 (ㄙㄞ, sāi)
Rhymes & Medials
Zhuyin Origin IPA Pinyin WG Example
From a a 大 (ㄉㄚˋ, dà)
From the obsolete character 𠀀 hē, inhalation, the reverse of kǎo, which is preserved as a phonetic in the compound kě.[6] o o 多 (ㄉㄨㄛ, duō)
Derived from its allophone in Standard Chinese, o ɯʌ e o/ê 得 (ㄉㄜˊ, dé)
From yě. Compare the Warring States bamboo form File:Ye3 also chu3jian3 warring state of chu3 small.png ê eh 爹 (ㄉㄧㄝ, diē)
From 𠀅 hài, bronze form of . ai ai 晒 (ㄕㄞˋ, shài)
From yí, an obsolete character meaning "to move". ei ei 誰 (ㄕㄟˊ, shéi)
From yāo ɑʊ ao ao 少 (ㄕㄠˇ, shǎo)
From yòu ou ou 收 (ㄕㄡ, shōu)
From the obsolete character hàn "to bloom", preserved as a phonetic in the compound fàn an an an 山 (ㄕㄢ, shān)
From yǐn ən en ên 申 (ㄕㄣ, shēn)
From wāng ɑŋ ang ang 上 (ㄕㄤˋ, shàng)
From , an obsolete form of gōng əŋ eng êng 生 (ㄕㄥ, shēng)
From , the bottom portion of ér used as a cursive form ɑɻ er êrh 而 (ㄦˊ, ér)
From i/y i 逆 (ㄋㄧˋ, nì)
From , ancient form of wǔ. u/w u/w 努 (ㄋㄨˇ, nǔ)
From the ancient character qū, which remains as a radical v/yu/u v/yv 女 (ㄋㄩˇ, nǚ)
Perhaps , in addition to . It represents the minimal vowel of , , , , , , , though it's not used after them in transcription. (See examples.) -i ih/û 資 (ㄗ, zī); 知 (ㄓ, zhī); 死 (ㄙˇ, sǐ)

The Zhuyin characters are encoded in Unicode in the "bopomofo" block, in the range U+3105 ... U+312D.


Stroke order

Zhuyin is written in the same stroke order rule as Chinese characters. Note that ㄖ is written with three strokes, unlike the character from which it is derived (日, Hanyu Pinyin: rì), which has four strokes.

Tonal marks

Tone Zhuyin Pinyin
1 none ¯
2 ˊ ˊ
3 ˇ ˇ
4 ˋ ˋ
5 ˙ none

The tone marks used in Zhuyin for the second, third, and fourth tones are the same as the ones used in Hanyu Pinyin. In Zhuyin, no marker is used for the first tone and a dot denotes the neutral tone, whereas in Pinyin, a dash (¯) represents the first tone and no marker is used for the neutral tone.

Unlike Hanyu Pinyin, Zhuyin aligns well with the hanzi characters in books whose texts are printed vertically, making Zhuyin better suited for annotating the pronunciation of vertically oriented Chinese text.

Zhuyin, when used in conjunction with Chinese characters, are typically placed to the right of the Chinese character vertically or to the top of the Chinese character in a horizontal print (see Ruby character).

Below is an example for the word "bottle" (pinyin: píngzi):

ㄆㄧㄥˊ ㄗ˙


Zhuyin and pinyin are based on the same Mandarin pronunciations, hence there is a 1-to-1 correspondence between the two systems. In the table below, the 'Zhuyin' and 'pinyin' columns show equivalency.

Other languages

Zhuyin is used to write several varieties of Chinese as well as some Formosan languages.

Three letters formerly used in non-standard dialects of Mandarin are now also used to write other Chinese languages. Some Zhuyin fonts do not contain these letters; see External links for PDF pictures.

Zhuyin IPA GR Pinyin
v v v
ŋ ng ng
ɲ gn ny

In addition, diacritics were used to create new letters for Min-nan and Hakka.

Extended Zhuyin
Zhuyin IPA POJ Pinyin Zhuyin IPA POJ Pinyin Zhuyin IPA POJ Pinyin Zhuyin IPA POJ Pinyin
b b bb ɔ o͘  oo m m ɔŋ ong ong
dz j zz ɔ̃ oⁿ onn ŋ̍ ng ng Same as ㆪ
ji zzi ɨ u ir ãĩ aiⁿ ainn -p -p
ɡ g gg ã aⁿ ann ãũ auⁿ aunn -t -t
e e e ĩ iⁿ inn am am am -k -k
eⁿ enn ũ uⁿ unn ɔm om om ʔ -h -h
Tone symbols for Taiwanese Hokkien
Symbol Tone Value Tone name Unicode
˪ 21 depicts 低平"low, level tone" (陰去聲 "upper departing") U+02EA
˫ 33 depicts 平"mid, level tone" (陽去聲 "lower departing") U+02EB

Computer uses

Input method

Zhuyin can be used as an input method for Chinese characters. It is one of the few input methods that can be found on most modern personal computers without the user having to download or install any additional software. It is also one of the few input methods that can be used for inputting Chinese characters on certain cell phones.


Main articles: Bopomofo (Unicode block) and Bopomofo Extended

Zhuyin was added to the Unicode Standard in October 1991 with the release of version 1.0.

The Unicode block for Zhuyin is U+3100 ... U+312F:

BopomofoUnicode.org chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
1.^ As of Unicode version 6.3

Extended Zhuyin was added to the Unicode Standard in September 1999 with the release of version 3.0.

The Unicode block for Extended Zhuyin is U+31A0 ... U+31BF:

Bopomofo ExtendedUnicode.org chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
1.^ As of Unicode version 6.3

See also


External links

  • extended bopomofo PDF (61.6 KB)
  • Bopomofo annotations – adds inline and pop-up annotations with bopomofo pronunciation and English definitions to Chinese text or web pages.
  • Big5 encoding
  • Chinese Phonetic Conversion Tool – converts between Pinyin, Zhuyin and other phonetic systems
  • Chinese Romanization Converter – converts between Hanyu Pinyin, Wade–Giles, Gwoyeu Romatzyh and other known or (un-)common Romanisation systems
  • Word List
  • IPA help preview, SIL International website. (Accessed 23-12-2010).
  • Bopomofo to Pinyin converter and reverse
  • bopomofo syllable chart, with Hanyu Pinyin equivalents
  • Pinyin Annotator – adds bopomofo (bopomofo) or pinyin on top of any Chinese text, prompts alternative pronunciations to homonyms, has the option of exporting into OpenOffice Writer for further editing
  • 《請利用螢幕上的小鍵盤輸入注音符號》 – online keyboard for bopomofo which can turn it into Chinese characters
  • Online Zhuyin-Bopomofo Input Method Editor 免费在线中文输入法,使用注音