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Húú Iin (滬音/沪音)

Húú Iin is a Romanization system for Shanghainese devised by Arthur Thompson as part of a research project while studying at University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). It is based on an existing Shanghainese Romanization system with a new way to indicate tone value and tone sandhi.

Húú Iin

Húú Iin Romanization system for Shanghainese by Arthur Thompson

Tone Indication

The number 5 is the absolute highest tone, while the number 1 is the absolute lowest. Tones can only be marked by the whole numerals one through five, there are no decimals or fractions used to mark tones. Repeating a number signifies that the tone is more drawn-out than if it were marked with just a single digit, i.e. 44 is the same tone as 4 but it is "longer". Double digits also indicate the "direction" of a tone. The first digit signifies from where the tone must begin, while the second digit dictates to what extent the tone should go, i.e. 35 is a "rising" tone because it begins at a mid-level tone and ends at the highest tone (the 2nd tone in Mandarin is marked as 35 ). It would be almost impossible to explain Shanghainese tone sandhi without explaining the convention of tone value.

Unlike Mandarin, The Shanghainese tone sandi is unique in the fact that the tone does not change according to a word's combination of tone. Rather, tone changes rely on the number of characters in the word/or phrase. Tones change according only to the tone of the first character (except for one tone change which moves from left to right, thus depending on the tone of the second character). Note: The maximum character per word/phrase is four. In most cases, the tone of the first character spreads across the different syllables of the word/phrase, creating a staircase like pattern of tone combinations (i.e. low to high to higher, or low to high to low to lowest).

Right to left tone sandhi of the five tones (according to number of characters per word/phrase):

Number of Characters: One Two Three Four
First tone 53 5-2 5-3-2 5-3-3-2
Second tone 34 3-4 3-4-2 3-4-3-2
Third tone 13 1-4 1-4-2 1-4-3-2
Fourth tone 55 3-4 3-4-2 3-4-3-2
Fifth tone 12 1-3 1-1-3 1-2-2-24

Left to right tone sandhi (according to number of characters per word/phrase):

Third tone 13 1-3 N/A N/A
Fifth tone 12 1-3 N/A N/A

Aside from a few exceptions, the "original tone" (i.e. single character tone) of the first character is always written in a multisyllabic word/phrase. The changes in tone sandhi (usually just the dropping of the original tone's second digit) must be memorized. There are five set ways to mark the five original tones. The five original tones are marked by a combination of (an) accent mark(s). The accent marks indicate the general direction of the tone. There are five additional ways to mark the single digit tones (including the 24 tone of the fourth syllable in a fifth tone word/phrase) that are found in tone sandhi. All (but one of) the single digit tones are distinguished by the addition of extra vowels or a silent "h". The vowel doubled should always be the first in the syllable.

Tone Value (high to low): 5 4 3 2 1
Single Digit Tones: a aa ah àa aah
Number of Characters: One Two Three Four
First tone (53) à a+àa* à+ah+àa à+ah+ah+àa
Second tone (34) áh áh+aa áh+aa+àa áh+aa+ah+àa
Third tone (13) ááh ááh+aa ááh+aa+àa aah+aa+ah+àa*
Fourth tone (5) a ah+aa ah+aa+àa ah+aa+ah+àa
Fifth tone (12) áah áah+ah aah+aah+ah* áah+àa+àa+àá**

*written exceptions. **the last syllable has the tone value of 24

Left to right tone sandhi (according to number of characters per word/phrase):

Third tone: ááh aah+ááh N/A N/A
Fifth tone: áah aah+áah N/A N/A

Examples of Shanghainese phrases in Húú Iin

Phrase in characters Phrase in Húú Iin English translation
儂好 Nóóng hóah Hello
再會 Tsé Ùùe Goodbye, Bye
儂吃過飯了𠲎? Nóóng véé qiéht guu léht vaa? Have you eaten yet?
吃過了 Qiéht guu lèèt (I) have eaten
上海閒話 Zaahng hee eh ò Shanghainese
上海人 Zááhng hee nìing Shanghainese person
伊出去了 Ííh ceht qii lèèt He/She went out
啥辰光? Sáh zeeng kùuang? When?
早浪頭 Tsóah lang dhèeu Morning
上半日 Zááhng booe nièet Late Morning
中浪頭 Tsòng lahng dhèeu Noon
下半日 Úúo booe nièet Afternoon
夜到頭 Yááh dooa dhèeu Evening, Night
鞋里? Háah lih? Where?
勒許屋里廂 Láah heh óht lii xìiang At home
哪能? Náah nehng? How?
倷吃勿吃魚? Náah qieht veet qièet nģģh? Do you (pl.) eat fish?
謝謝 Dzíiah dziah Thanks, thank you

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