Romanization of Wu Chinese

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Wu Chinese has three major schools of romanization.


The most popular school, Common Wu Pinyin (通用吴语拼音), was developed by amateur language clubs and local learners. There are two competing schemes; both adhere to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and are very similar to each other. The initial scheme was "Wu Chinese Society pinyin" (吴语协会拼音, developed around 2005), [1] and it formed the basis of "Wugniu pinyin" (吴语学堂拼音, around 2016). [2] Wu Chinese Society pinyin in general does not mark tones. [3] The name Wugniu comes from the Shanghainese pronunciation of 吴语. Either of them is the default romanization scheme in most learning materials.

The second school is the Latin Phonetic Method (吴语拉丁式注音法, French-Wu or Fawu [法吴]). Its use is in decline. It utilizes the similarities between French and Wu phonetics and thus adheres to both IPA and French orthography. It was developed in 2003 by a Shanghai-born surgeon based in Lyon, France. [4] [5]

The final, and least used school, adheres to Mandarin-Putonghua pinyin as sanctioned by the State Council. It is the only school developed by professional linguists, mostly working in state-administered universities. While more than 20 competing schemes within this school have been published since the 1980s, the most notable one is the Shanghainese Pinyin (上海话拼音方案, often shortened to Qian's Pin [钱拼]), developed by Qian Nairong in 2006. [6]

Comparison chart

All examples are given in Shanghainese and Suzhounese


IPA Romanization schemesCharacters
Wu Chinese SocietyWugniuFrench-WuQian's Pinyin
p pppb巴百
b bbbbh旁别
m mmmmh没母
f ffff夫反
v vvvfh佛犯
ˀvvvvhv [7]
t tttd多德
d ddddh地同
n nnnnh, -n纳努
ȵ [8] nygngnnh尼女
l llllh勒路
ts tststzz子张
s ssss书三
z zzzsh传食
ɕ shshxx需血
ʑ zhzhjxh谢墙
k kkkg工各
ɡ ggggh共搞
ŋ ngngngnhg-, -ng鹅牙
h hhhh好黑
ɦ gh / w / y [9] gh / w / y [9] rhh红合


Shanghainese IPA Suzhounese IPA [10] Romanization schemesCharacters
Wu Chinese SocietyWugniuFrench-WuQian's Pinyin
a ɑ aaaa
o o ooauo
ɿ [8] ɿyyyy
-ʮ [8] yuyuyy
i i iiii
u u uuuu
y y iuiuü(y)u
ɛ ɛ aeaeeae
e [8] eeee
ɔ æ auauoao
ɤ øʏeueuoeou
ø ø oeoeeuoe


Shanghainese IPA Suzhounese IPA [10] Wenzhounese IPA [11] Romanization schemesCharacters
Wu Chinese SocietyWugniuFrench-WuQian's Pinyin

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  1. "吴语通用拼音教程: 学习吴语自己的拼音". 吴语公众号. 26 April 2020. Archived from the original on 7 August 2021.
  2. "吴语学堂,重新出发". 吴语学堂. 18 March 2018. Archived from the original on 7 August 2021 via Zhihu.
  3. – Wu chinese (Tones)
  4. 唐骋华; 孔亮 (19 August 2007). "都市年轻人为传承上海方言走到一起". Youth Daily [青年报] (in Chinese). Shanghai. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013.
  5. "吳語拼音草案" (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 4 March 2010.
  6. Qian, Nairong (6 December 2006). "首届国际上海方言学术研讨会审定上海话拼音方案". 北大中文论坛 (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 16 February 2021.
  7. 出现在三个或以上音节的语音词的第一个音节。
  8. 1 2 3 4 [ᴇ ɿ ʮ ȵ] are Sinological extensions to the International Phonetic Alphabet that are not part of the official IPA
  9. 1 2 If the final begins with "u" or "i", this initial is written with "w" or "y", respectively. If the "u" or "i" is part of the medial, it is replaced by the "w" or "y".
  10. 1 2 刑雯芝 (3 February 2018). Shíyòng Sūzhōuhuà实用苏州话[Practical Suzhou Dialect] (in Simplified Chinese, Wu Chinese, and English). Peking University Press. ISBN   978-7-301-18998-6.
  11. Wenzhou dialect has eight tones, each of which is divided into yin and yang according to the clarity and turbidity. The tones are indicated by numbers, 1, 2, 3, and 4 are the four tones that go up and down respectively, and the yin and yang are divided by the initials..