Jyutping (Initials and Finals)

13 11 2008

The basic units of Cantonese are Chinese characters while each character corresponds to one syllable. There are different kinds of Romanization for Cantonese but in this blog, the Romanization system Jyutping is adopted.

The Jyutping system is created by the Linguistics Society of Hong Kong and is used for denoting the sounds of standard Cantonese. The name Jyutping is a contraction of the first Chinese characters of the expression粵語 jyut6 jyu5 “Cantonese” and 拼音ping3 jam1 “phonetic alphabet”. The following shows the initials and the finals which compose the syllables in Cantonese:



The Initials in the audio clips are pronounced with the vowel /a/ in the audio clip. The Chinese Characters are examples of Chinese words but in different tones. The equivalent sounds of each initial are bolded in the English word examples for reference.



The vowels are pronounced alone in the audio clip while the Chinese Characters are examples that contain those vowels but with different combination of initials.

The last three columns are finals that end with coda p, t and k. They all belong to entering tones in Cantonese. (Further detail shown in the part of ‘Tone’). Be careful when you are pronouncing these sounds because the distinction between them is actually quite subtle. As in International Phonetic Alphabet, p is a bilabial stop, t is an alveolar stop while k is a velar stop and they are all unreleased at the coda (final consonant) position in Cantonese.





24 responses

30 11 2008

ah, it’s a little complicated… i need much time to learn the phonetics, after that i’m sure i will do better in learning cantonese!

8 10 2012

I’ve been looking for a blog on Cantonese written by someone with some training of linguistics, but to no avail. I’m excited that I finally found one, and a good one! Thanks for making this blog. Thumbs up!

I’m also running a blog on languages of Taiwan. If you’re interested, feel free to visit at http://languagesoftaiwan.blogspot.tw.

Btw, yo don’t mind me putting a link to your blog on mine, do you?

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Jyutping (Initials and Finals)

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