Last updated

Jyutping Romanization

The Linguistic Society of Hong Kong Cantonese Romanization Scheme, [note 1] also known as Jyutping, is a romanisation system for Cantonese developed in 1993 by the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK).


The name Jyutping (itself the Jyutping romanisation of its Chinese name, 粵拼) is a contraction of the official name, and it consists of the first Chinese characters of the terms jyut6 jyu5 ( 粵語 , meaning "Yue language") and ping3 jam1 ( 拼音 "phonetic alphabet", also pronounced as "pinyin" in Mandarin).

Despite being intended as a system to indicate pronunciation, it has also been employed in writing Cantonese as an alphabetic language—in effect, elevating Jyutping from its assistive status to a written language.


The Jyutping system [1] departs from all previous Cantonese romanisation systems (approximately 12, including Robert Morrison's pioneering work of 1828, and the widely used Standard Romanization, Yale and Sidney Lau systems) by introducing z and c initials and the use of eo and oe in finals, as well as replacing the initial y, used in all previous systems, with j. [2]

In 2018, it was updated to include the -a and -oet finals, to reflect syllables recognized as part of Cantonese phonology in 1997 by the Jyutping Work Group of the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong. [3]






There are nine tones in six distinct tone contours in Cantonese. However, as three of the nine are entering tones (入聲; jap6 sing1), which only appear in syllables ending with p, t, and k, they do not have separate tone numbers in Jyutping (though they do in Cantonese Pinyin; these are shown in parentheses in the table below). A mnemonic which some use to remember this is 「風水到時我哋必發達」; fung1 seoi2 dou3 si4 ngo5 dei6 bit1 faat3 daat6 or "Feng Shui [dictates that] we will be lucky."

Tone name jam1 ping4
jam1 soeng5
jam1 heoi3
joeng4 ping4
joeng4 soeng5
joeng4 heoi3
gou1 jam1 jap6
dai1 jam1 jap6
joeng4 jap6
Tone number1234561 (7)3 (8)6 (9)
The tone name in Englishhigh level or high fallingmid risingmid levellow fallinglow risinglow levelentering high levelentering mid levelentering low level
Contour [4] ˥ 55 / ˥˧ 53˧˥ 35˧ 33˨˩ 21 / ˩ 11˩˧ 13˨ 22˥ 5˧ 3˨ 2
Character example分/詩粉/史訓/試焚/時奮/市份/是忽/識發/錫佛/食

Comparison with Yale romanisation

Jyutping and the Yale Romanisation of Cantonese represent Cantonese pronunciations with the same letters in:

But they differ in the following:

Comparison with Cantonese pinyin

Jyutping and Cantonese Pinyin represent Cantonese pronunciations with the same letters in:

But they have some differences:


Traditional Simplified Romanization
廣州話广州话gwong2 zau1 waa2
粵語粤语jyut6 jyu5
你好你好nei5 hou2

Sample transcription of one of the 300 Tang Poems:

ceon1 hiu2
maang6 hou6 jin4
春眠不覺曉,ceon1 min4 bat1 gok3 hiu2,
處處聞啼鳥。cyu3 cyu3 man4 tai4 niu5.
夜來風雨聲,je6 loi4 fung1 jyu5 sing1,
花落知多少?faa1 lok6 zi1 do1 siu2?

Jyutping input method

The Jyutping method (Chinese :粵拼輸入法) refers to a family of input methods based on the Jyutping romanization system.

The Jyutping method allows a user to input Chinese characters by entering the Jyutping romanization of a Chinese character (with or without tone, depending on the system) and then presenting the user with a list of possible characters with that pronunciation.

As of macOS Ventura, Jyutping input with Traditional Chinese now comes standard on macOS under the name "Phonetic – Cantonese".

List of Jyutping keyboard input utilities

See also


  1. Chinese :香港語言學學會粵語拼音方案; Jyutping :hoeng1 gong2 jyu5 jin4 hok6 hok6 wui2 jyut6 jyu5 ping3 jam1 fong1 on3

Related Research Articles

Several input methods allow the use of Chinese characters with computers. Most allow selection of characters based either on their pronunciation or their graphical shape. Phonetic input methods are easier to learn but are less efficient, while graphical methods allow faster input, but have a steep learning curve.

Hanyu Pinyin, or simply pinyin, is the most common romanization system for Standard Chinese. In official documents, it is referred to as the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet. It is the official system used in China, Singapore, Taiwan, and by the United Nations. Its use has become common when transliterating Standard Chinese mostly regardless of region, though it is less ubiquitous in Taiwan. It is used to teach Standard Chinese, normally written with Chinese characters, to students already familiar with the Latin alphabet. The system makes use of diacritics to indicate the four tones found in Standard Chinese, though these are often omitted in various contexts, such as when spelling Chinese names in non-Chinese texts, or when writing non-Chinese words in Chinese-language texts. Pinyin is also used by various input methods on computers and to categorize entries in some Chinese dictionaries. Hànyǔ literally means 'Han language'—meaning, the Chinese language—while pinyin literally means 'spelled sounds'.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cantonese</span> Variety of Yue Chinese

Cantonese is a language within the Chinese (Sinitic) branch of the Sino-Tibetan languages originating from the city of Guangzhou and its surrounding Pearl River Delta. It is the traditional prestige variety of the Yue Chinese group, which has over 82.4 million native speakers. While the term Cantonese specifically refers to the prestige variety, it is often used to refer to the entire Yue subgroup of Chinese, including related but partially mutually intelligible varieties like Taishanese.

The Hong Kong Government uses an unpublished system of Romanisation of Cantonese for public purposes which is based on the 1888 standard described by Roy T Cowles in 1914 as Standard Romanisation. The primary need for Romanisation of Cantonese by the Hong Kong Government is in the assigning of names to new streets and places. It has not formally or publicly disclosed its method for determining the appropriate Romanisation in any given instance.

Guangdong Romanization refers to the four romanization schemes published by the Guangdong Provincial Education Department in 1960 for transliterating Cantonese, Teochew, Hakka and Hainanese. The schemes utilized similar elements with some differences in order to adapt to their respective spoken varieties.

Starting in the 1980s, proper Cantonese pronunciation has been much promoted in Hong Kong, with the scholar Richard Ho (何文匯) as its iconic campaigner. The very idea of proper pronunciation of Cantonese is controversial, since the concept of labeling native speakers' usage and speech in terms of correctness is not generally supported by linguistics. Law et al. (2001) point out that the phrase 懶音 laan5 jam1 "lazy sounds," most commonly discussed in relation to phonetic changes in Hong Kong Cantonese, implies that the speaker is unwilling to put forth sufficient effort to articulate the standard pronunciation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pinyin input method</span> Method of entering Chinese characters into a computer

The pinyin method refers to a family of input methods based on the pinyin method of romanization.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cantonese Braille</span> Braille script used to write Cantonese

Cantonese Braille is a braille script used to write Cantonese in Hong Kong and Macau. It is locally referred to as tim chi 'dot characters' or more commonly but ambiguously tuk chi 'raised characters'. Although Cantonese is written in Chinese characters, Cantonese Braille is purely phonetic, with punctuation, digits and Latin letters from the original Braille. It can be mixed with English text.

Cantonese Pinyin is a romanization system for Cantonese developed by the Rev. Yu Ping Chiu (余秉昭) in 1971, and subsequently modified by the Education Department of Hong Kong and Zhan Bohui (詹伯慧) of the Chinese Dialects Research Centre of the Jinan University, Guangdong, PRC, and honorary professor of the School of Chinese, University of Hong Kong. It is the only romanization system accepted by Education and Manpower Bureau of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

Sidney Lau romanisation is a system of romanisation for Cantonese that was developed in the 1970s by Sidney Lau for teaching Cantonese to Hong Kong Government expatriates. It is based on the Hong Kong Government's Standard Romanisation which was the result of the work of James D. Ball and Ernst J. Eitel about a century earlier.

Wong Shik Ling published a scheme of phonetic symbols for Cantonese based on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) in the book A Chinese Syllabary Pronounced According to the Dialect of Canton. The scheme has been widely used in Chinese dictionaries published in Hong Kong. The scheme, known as S. L. Wong system (黃錫凌式), is a broad phonemic transcription system based on IPA and its analysis of Cantonese phonemes is grounded in the theories of Y. R. Chao.

Wong Shik-Ling published a romanisation scheme accompanying a set of phonetic symbols for Cantonese based on International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) in the book A Chinese Syllabary Pronounced according to the Dialect of Canton.

Hong Kong Cantonese is a dialect of the Cantonese language of the Sino-Tibetan family.

The Yale romanization of Cantonese was developed by Gerard P. Kok for his and Parker Po-fei Huang's textbook Speak Cantonese initially circulated in looseleaf form in 1952 but later published in 1958. Unlike the Yale romanization of Mandarin, it is still widely used in books and dictionaries, especially for foreign learners of Cantonese. It shares some similarities with Hanyu Pinyin in that unvoiced, unaspirated consonants are represented by letters traditionally used in English and most other European languages to represent voiced sounds. For example, is represented as b in Yale, whereas its aspirated counterpart, is represented as p. Students attending The Chinese University of Hong Kong's New-Asia Yale-in-China Chinese Language Center are taught using Yale romanization.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cantonese Wikipedia</span> Cantonese-language edition of Wikipedia

The Cantonese Wikipedia is the Cantonese-language edition of Wikipedia, run by the Wikimedia Foundation. It was started on 25 March 2006.

The Cantonese Romanisation system known as Barnett–Chao is based on the principles of the Gwoyeu Romatzyh system (GR) developed by Yuen Ren Chao in the 1920s, which he modified in 1947. The B-C system is a modification in 1950 by K M A Barnett from Yuen Ren Chao's romanisation system. It was adopted by the School of Oriental and African Studies, London (SOAS).

Standard Cantonese pronunciation is that of Guangzhou, also known as Canton, capital of Guangdong Province. Hong Kong Cantonese is related to Guangzhou dialect, and they diverge only slightly. Yue dialects in other parts of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces like Taishanese, may be considered divergent to a greater degree.

The Macau Government Cantonese Romanization refers to the mostly consistent system for romanizing Cantonese as employed by the Government of Macau and other non-governmental organizations based in Macau. The system has been employed by the Macau Government since the Portuguese colonial period and continues to be used after the 1999 handover of the territory. Similarly to its counterpart romanization system in Hong Kong, the method is not completely standardized and thus is not taught in schools, but rather employed by government agencies to accurately display the correct pronunciation of Cantonese in public signage and official usage.

The Cantonese Transliteration Scheme, sometimes called Rao's romanization, is the romanisation for Cantonese published at part of the Guangdong Romanization by the Guangdong Education department in 1960, and further revised by Rao Bingcai in 1980. It is referred to as the Canton Romanization on the LSHK character database.

Cantonese Bopomofo, or Cantonese Phonetic Symbols is an extended set of Bopomofo characters used to transcribe Yue Chinese and, specifically, its prestige Cantonese dialect. It was first introduced in early 1930s, and then standardized in 1950. It fell into disuse along with the original Bopomofo for Mandarin Chinese in the late 1950s.


  1. "The Jyutping Scheme". The Linguistic Society of Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 26 April 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  2. Kataoka, Shin; Lee, Cream (2008). "A System without a System: Cantonese Romanization Used in Hong Kong Place and Personal Names". Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics: 94–98.
  3. 1 2 Linguistic Society of Hong Kong. "Jyutping Cantonese Romanization Scheme 粵拼方案制定的背景". Archived from the original on 2024-03-16. Retrieved 2024-04-03.
  4. Matthews, S.; Yip, V. Cantonese: A Comprehensive Grammar; London: Routledge, 1994
  5. FAQ: How to select Cantonese Phonetic IME (CPIME) in Windows 10

Further reading