Meyer–Wempe

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The Meyer–Wempe romanization system was developed by two Roman Catholic missionaries in Hong Kong, Bernhard F. Meyer and Theodore F. Wempe, during the 1920s and 1930s for romanizing Cantonese.

Initials[edit]

p
[p]
p'
[pʰ]
m
[m]
f
[f]
t
[t]
t'
[tʰ]
n
[n]
l
[l]
k
[k]
k'
[kʰ]
ng
[ŋ]
h
[h]
kw
[kw]
k'w
[kʰw]
oo, w
[w]
ts
[ts]
ts'
[tsʰ]
s
[s]
i, y
[j]
ch
[tɕ]
ch'
[tɕʰ]
sh
[ɕ]

The distinction between the alveolar sibilants ([ts], [tsʰ], and [s]) and alveolo-palatal sibilants ([tɕ], [tɕʰ], and [ɕ]) has been lost in modern Cantonese, though the distinction still existed at the time this system was devised. See Cantonese phonology for more information.

Finals[edit]

a
[aː]
aai
[aːi]
aau
[aːu]
aam
[aːm]
aan
[aːn]
aang
[aːŋ]
aap
[aːp]
aat
[aːt]
aak
[aːk]
  ai
[ɐi]
au
[ɐu]
am, om
[ɐm]
an
[ɐn]
ang
[ɐŋ]
ap, op
[ɐp]
at
[ɐt]
ak
[ɐk]
e
[ɛː]
ei
[ei]
      eng
[ɛːŋ]
    ek
[ɛːk]
i
[iː]
  iu
[iːu]
im
[iːm]
in
[iːn]
ing
[ɪŋ]
ip
[iːp]
it
[iːt]
ik
[ɪk]
oh
[ɔː]
oi
[ɔːi]
o
[ou]
  on
[ɔːn]
ong
[ɔːŋ]
  ot
[ɔːt]
ok
[ɔːk]
oo
[uː]
ooi
[uːi]
    oon
[uːn]
ung
[ʊŋ]
  oot
[uːt]
uk
[ʊk]
oeh
[œː]
  ui
[ɵy]
  un
[ɵn]
eung
[œːŋ]
  ut
[ɵt]
euk
[œːk]
ue
[yː]
      uen
[yːn]
    uet
[yːt]
 
      m
[m̩]
  ng
[ŋ̩]
     

The finals m and ng can only be used as standalone nasal syllables.

Tones[edit]

Unlike most Cantonese romanization systems, Meyer–Wempe indicates the entering tones, for a total of nine tones.

Tone description Example
upper even a
upper rising á
upper going à
middle entering àt
upper entering at
low even ā
lower rising ǎ
lower going â
lower entering ât

References[edit]