Zhuyin fuhao is a phonetic script used in dictionaries,
children's books, text books for people learning Chinese and in some
newspapers and magazines to show the pronunciation of the characters.
It is also used to show the Taiwanese pronunciation of characters and to
write Taiwanese words for which no characters exist.
It was created in China between 1912 and 1913 by the Commission on
the Unification of Pronunciation (讀音統一會),
but was abandoned in favour of Hanyu Pinyin
after 1949, and has been used in Taiwan since then.
Initially is was called 注音字母 (zhùyīn
zìmŭ - "sound anotating letters") or 國音字母
(gúoyīn zìmŭ - "national phonetic letters") and it
was first proposed as the national standard for transcribing Mandarin Chinese
at a government-sponsored conference in 1913 and officially adopted
as such in 1928. It was renamed 注音符號
(zhùyīn fúhào - "phonetic symbols") in 1930,
and is popularly known as ㄅㄆㄇㄈ (bopomofo)
after the names of the first 4 symbols.
The Zhuyin symbols were developed from Chinese characters
and use parts of characters that have the relevant pronunciation
in Mandarin. For example, ㄅ(b) comes from 勹, part
of 包 (bāo). Many of the Zhuyin symbols are modelled
on obsolete or cursive characters.
Type of writing system: semi-syllabary with symbols for initials
(onsets) and finals (rimes), and diacritics for tones.
Direction of writing: from right to left in vertical columns alongside
the characters, or from left to right in horizontal lines above the characters.
The tone diacritics are placed to the right of each syllable in
vertical texts, and above the zhuyin symbols in horizontal texts.
In some horizontal texts the zhuyin symbols are written on the
right of the characters.
Used to transcribe the pronunciation of Mandarin, Taiwanese
and some of the Aboriginal languages of Taiwan, and also as a
way to type Chinese on computers and mobile phones.
Number of symbols: 37 (21 initials & 16 finals), plus 4 tone diacritics
Zhuyin fuhao / Bopomofo
This order of the symbols is used in dictionaries and indices.
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