S. L. Wong (romanisation)

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Wong Shik-Ling (also known as S. L. Wong) 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.

Phonology[edit]

Cantonese like other Chinese languages is monosyllabic. Each syllabus is divided into initial (consonant), final (vowel and following consonant) and tone.

Finals[edit]

Chinese phonology traditionally stresses on finals because it is related to rhymes in the composition of poems, proses and articles. There are 53 finals in Cantonese.

Vowels[edit]

The ten basic vowel phoneme symbols [a], [ɐ], [ei], [ɛ], [i], [ou], [ɔ], [œ], [u] and [y] in the scheme mean following:

International phonetic alphabet [a] [ɐ] [eː] [ɛ] [i] [oː] [ɔ] [œ] [u] [y]
S. L. Wong (phonetic symbol) [a] [ɐ] [ei] [ɛ] [i] [ou] [ɔ] [œ] [u] [y]
S. L. Wong (romanisation) aa a ei e i ou o eu u ue

For detail explanation of the phonetic system, see S. L. Wong (phonetic symbols)#Vowels.

Falling diphthong finals[edit]

All vowel phonemes except a formed vowel 9 finals themselves.

Some vowel phonemes can followed by vowel phonemes -i, -u or -ue to form 8 falling diphthong finals:

aa a ei e i ou o eu u ue
- aa ei e i ou o oe u ue
-i aai ai oi ui
-u aau au iu
-ue eue[1]
  1. ^ The combination of eu and ue is euue. The double u is reduced to a single u and the combination becomes eue.

For detail explanation of the phonetic system, see S. L. Wong (phonetic symbols)#Falling diphthong finals.

Nasal phoneme finals[edit]

The nasal consonants [m], [n] and [ŋ] in finals can be written as:

International phonetic alphabet [m] [n] [ŋ]
S. L. Wong (phonetic symbol) [m] [n] [ŋ]
S. L. Wong (romanisation) m n ng

Some vowel phonemes can followed by nasal consonants -m, -n or -ng to form 17 nasal phoneme finals:

aa a ei e i ou o eu u ue
-m aam am im
-n aan an in on eun un uen
-ng aang ang eng ing ong eung ung

For detail explanation of the phonetic system, see S. L. Wong (phonetic symbols)#Nasal phoneme finals.

Plosive phoneme finals[edit]

The plosive final can be written [p], [t] and [k] as:

International phonetic alphabet [p] [t] [k]
S. L. Wong (phonetic symbol) [p] [t] [k]
S. L. Wong (romanisation) p t k

Some vowel phonemes can followed by inaspirated plosive consonants -p, -t or -k to form 17 plosive phoneme finals:

aa a ei e i ou o eu u ue
-p aap ap ip
-t aat at it ot eut ut uet
-k aak ak ek ik ok euk uk

For detail explanation of the phonetic system, see S. L. Wong (phonetic symbols)#Plosive phoneme finals.

Nasal consonantoids fully voiced finals[edit]

For the nasal consonantoids fully voiced finals

[m] and [ŋ] in voiced form [m̩] and [ŋ̩] are also two finals in Cantonese.

International phonetic alphabet [m̩] [ŋ̩]
S. L. Wong (phonetic symbol) [m̩] [ŋ̩]
S. L. Wong (romanisation) m ng

For detail explanation of the phonetic system, see S. L. Wong (phonetic symbols)#Nasal consonantoids fully voiced finals.

Initials[edit]

Initials are made up of consonants. Most of characters are preceding finals with initials while some characters are pronounced without initials. There are 19 initials in total.

International phonetic alphabet [m] [n] [ŋ̩] [p] [t] [k] [kʷ] [pʰ] [tʰ] [kʰ] [kʷʰ] [ts] [tsʰ] [f] [s] [h] [j] [w] [l]
S. L. Wong (phonetic symbol) [m] [n] [ŋ̩] [b] [d] [g] [gw] [p] [t] [k] [kw] [dz] [ts] [f] [s] [h] [j] [w] [l]
S. L. Wong (romanisation) m n ng b d g gw p t k kw dz ts f s h y w l

For detail explanation of the phonetic system, see S. L. Wong (phonetic symbols)#Initials.

Tones[edit]

There are basically nine tones in Cantonese. Tones play an important role to distinguish meanings in Cantonese. Tones also forms melodies in poem and prose composition.

There are two ways to mark tones in the scheme. One is by number and another by marks.

It is hard to type the tones by typewriters. It therefore simply uses the one in the phonetic symbols for reference.

level rising going entering
upper ˈx (1) ˈx (7) upper
ˊx (2) ˉx (3) ˉx (8) middle
lower ˏx (5) ˍx (6 ˍx (9) lower
ˌx (4)

For detail explanation of the phonetic system, see S. L. Wong (phonetic symbols)#Tones.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Wong, S. L. (1941). A CHINESE SYLLABARY PRONOUNCED ACCORDING TO THE DIALECT OF CANTON. Hong Kong: Chung Hwa Book Co.,(H.K.) Ltd. 

External links[edit]