Yale romanization of Cantonese

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The Yale romanization of Cantonese was developed by Parker Po-fei Huang and Gerald P. Kok and published in 1970.[1] Unlike the Yale romanization of Mandarin, it is still widely used in books and dictionaries, especially for foreign learners. 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, [p] is represented as b in Yale, whereas its aspirated counterpart, [pʰ] is represented as p.

Because of this and other factors, Yale romanization is usually held to be easy for American English speakers to pronounce without much training. In Hong Kong, more people use Cantonese Pinyin and Jyutping, as these systems are more localized to Hong Kongers. Foreign students of Cantonese Chinese who attend The University of Hong Kong learn with Sidney Lau's spelling of Cantonese Chinese from his three-volume textbooks, while those who attend The Chinese University of Hong Kong's New-Asia Yale-in-China Chinese Language Center are taught to use the Yale spelling of Cantonese Chinese and eventually learn to read those traditional English voiced consonants in a new unvoiced Cantonese Chinese way subconsciously, without realizing they are doing so or without usually being aware of the linguistic difference.

Initials[edit]

b
[p]
p
[]
m
[m]
f
[f]
d
[t]
t
[]
n
[n]
l
[l]
g
[k]
k
[]
ng
[ŋ]
h
[h]
gw
[kw]
kw
[kʰw]
w
[w]
j
[ts][]
ch
[tsʰ][tɕʰ]
s
[s][ɕ]
y
[j]

Finals[edit]

a
[a]
aai
[ai]
aau
[au]
aam
[am]
aan
[an]
aang
[aŋ]
aap
[ap]
aat
[at]
aak
[ak]
  ai
[ɐi]
au
[ɐu]
am
[ɐm]
an
[ɐn]
ang
[ɐŋ]
ap
[ɐp]
at
[ɐt]
ak
[ɐk]
e
[ɛ]
ei
[ei]
      eng
[ɛŋ]
    ek
[ɛk]
i
[i]
  iu
[iu]
im
[im]
in
[in]
ing
[ɪŋ]
ip
[ip]
it
[it]
ik
[ɪk]
o
[ɔ]
oi
[ɔi]
ou
[ou]
  on
[ɔn]
ong
[ɔŋ]
  ot
[ɔt]
ok
[ɔk]
u
[u]
ui
[ui]
    un
[un]
ung
[ʊŋ]
  ut
[ut]
uk
[ʊk]
eu
[œ]
  eui
[ɵy]
  eun
[ɵn]
eung
[œŋ]
  eut
[ɵt]
euk
[œk]
yu
[y]
      yun
[yn]
    yut
[yt]
 
      m
[]
  ng
[ŋ̩]
     

Tones[edit]

Historically, there were seven phonemically distinct tones in Guangzhou Cantonese. Cantonese Yale represents these tones using tone marks and the letter h, as shown in the following table:[2][3]

No. Description Chao tone
number
Yale representation
1[4] high-flat 55 sīn sīk
1[4] high-falling 53 sìn
2 mid-rising 35 sín
3 mid-flat 33 si sin sik
4 mid-falling 21 sìh sìhn
5 low-rising 13 síh síhn
6 low-flat 22 sih sihn sihk
  • Tones can also be written using the tone number instead of the tone mark and h.
  • Traditional Chinese linguistics treats the tones in syllables ending with a stop consonant as separate "entering tones". Cantonese Yale follows modern linguistic conventions in treating these the same as tones 1, 3 and 6, respectively.

Examples[edit]

Traditional Simplified Romanization using Tone Marks Romanization using Numbers
廣州話 广州话 Gwóngjāuwá Gwong2jau1wa2
粵語 粤语 Yuhtyúh Yut6yu5
你好 你好 Néih hóu Nei5 hou2

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David Rossiter; Gibson Lam; Vivying Cheng (2005). "The Gong System: Web-Based Learning for Multiple Languages, with Special Support for the Yale Representation of Cantonese". "Lecture Notes in Computer Science". Advances in Web-Based Learning — ICWL 2005. Springer Verlag. pp. 209–220. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  2. ^ Ng Lam & Chik 2000: 515. "Appendix 3: Tones. The student of Cantonese will be well aware of the importance of tones in conveying meaning. Basically, there are seven tones which, in the Yale system, are represented by the use of diacritics and by the insertion of h for ..."
  3. ^ Gwaan 2000: 7. "Basically, there are seven tones which, in the Yale system, are represented by the use of diacritics and by the insertion of h for the three low tones. The following chart will illustrate the seven tones: 3 Mid Level, 1 High Level, 5 Low Faliing, 6 Low Level..."
  4. ^ a b Modern Standard Cantonese has only six tones, with the high-flat and high-falling tones having merged. Therefore, they are represented with the same tone number.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]