Zhuyin fuhao / Bopomofo (注音符號/ㄅㄆㄇㄈ)

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.

Notable features

Zhuyin fuhao / Bopomofo

Zhuyin fuhao / Bopomofo

This order of the symbols is used in dictionaries and indices.

Download this chart in Word or PDF format

Sample texts

Sample text in Chinese with zhuyin

Sample text in Chinese with zhuyin

Transliteration (Hànyŭ 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.

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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)

Recommended books

Books about Chinese characters and calligraphy
Mandarin, Shanghainese, Hokkien, Taiwanese and Cantonese language learning materials


Information about Zhuyin fuhao / Bopomofo

Bopomofo stroke order

Chinese Text Annotation - adds inline Pinyin or Zhuyin annotations above words, or adds pop-up annotations with English definition of the word to Chinese texts

Chinese Romanization Converter - converts between pinyin, zhuyin and others transcriptions systems

Pinyin-Zhuyin converter

Chinese-English dictionary with pinyin and zhuyin

Information about other phonetic transcription systems for Mandarin Chinese

Information about the Chinese script

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