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Comparison of Mandarin phonetic transcription systems

Mandarin syllables are divided into two parts: initials (consonants) and finals (vowels, diphthongs, triphthongs or vowels + n or ng). Most syllables are made up of an inital plus a final, but all the finals can stand alone as can some of the initials.

The pronunciation shown below is for the Mandarin spoken in the north of China, particularly by educated speakers in Beijing. It is considered the 'correct' or 'standard' way to pronounce Mandarin. There are considerable variations in Mandarin pronunciation in other areas. The most noticable difference in southern dialects of Mandarin is that the initials zh, ch and sh sound like z, c and s respectively.


Mandarin initials in various romanization systems

Listen to a recording of these initials by 夏绘 (Xinghua)


Mandarin finals in various romanization systems

Listen to a recording of these finals by 夏绘 (Xinghua)

Tone indication

Tone indication in various Mandarin romanization systems

Listen to a recording of these tones by 夏绘 (Xinghua)

Further information about Mandarin and about these transcription systems

Sample text in Mandarin (Traditional characters)


Sample text in Mandarin (Simplified characters)


Sample text in Mandarin (Traditional characters with zhuyin)

Sample text in Chinese with zhuyin

Hear a recording of this text

Transliteration (Hànyǔ Pīnyīn)

Rénrén shēng ér zìyóu, zài zūnyán hé quánlì shàng yīlù píngděng. Tāmen fùyǒu lǐxìng hé liángxīn, bìng yīng yǐ xiōngdì guānxì de jīngshén hùxiāng duìdài.

Transliteration (Bopomofo)

ㄖㄣˊ ㄖㄣˊ ㄕㄥ ㄦˊ ㄗˋ ㄧㄡˊ, ㄗㄞˋ ㄗㄨㄣ ㄧㄢˊ ㄏㄜˊ ㄑㄩㄢˊ ㄌㄧˋ ㄕㄥˋ ㄧ ㄌㄩˋ ㄆㄧㄥˊ ㄉㄥˇ. ㄊㄚ ㄇㄣ˙ ㄈㄨˋ ㄧㄡˇ ㄌㄧˇ ㄒㄧㄥˋ ㄏㄜˊ ㄌㄧㄤˊ ㄒㄧㄣ, ㄅㄧㄥˋ ㄧㄥ ㄧˇ ㄒㄩㄥ ㄉㄧˋ ㄍㄨㄢ ㄒㄧˋ ㄉㄜ˙ ㄐㄧㄥ ㄕㄣˊ ㄏㄨˋ ㄒㄧㄤ ㄉㄨㄟˋ ㄉㄞˋ.

Transliteration (Wades-Giles)

Jen2-jen2 sheng1 erh2 tzu4-yu2, tsai4 tsun1-yen2 he2 ch'üan2-li4 shang4 i1-lü4 p'ing2-teng3. T'a1-men fu4-yu3 li3-hsing4 he2 liang2-hsin1, ping4 ying1 i3 hsiung1-ti4 kuan1-hsi4 te ching1-shen2 hu4hsiang1 tui4-tai4.

Transliteration (Yale)

Rén-rén shēng ér dz̀-yóu, dzài dzwūn-yán hé chywán-lì shàng yī-lù píngděng. Tā-men fù-yǒu lǐ-syìng hé lyáng-syīn, bìng yīng yǐ syūng-dì gwān-syì de jīng-shén hù-syāng dweì-dài.

Transliteration (Gwoyeu Romatzyh)

Renren sheng erl tzyhyou, tzay tzuenyan her chyuanlih shanq iluh pyngdeeng. fuhyeou liishinq her liangshin, binq ing yii shiongdih guanshih .de jingshern huhshiang dueyday.

Transliteration (Palladius)

Жэньжэнь шэн эр цзыю, цзай цзуньянь хэ цюаньли шан илюй пиндэн. Тамэнь фую лисин хэ лянсинь, бин ин и сюнди гуаньси дэ цзиншэнь хусян дуйдай.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

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