From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Cantonese pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see {{IPA-yue}}, {{IPAc-yue}} and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

See Cantonese phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Cantonese.

IPA Yale Jyutping Character English approximation
Nonsyllabic consonants
p syllable-initial b span
syllable-initial p pan
m m moon
f f fan
t syllable-initial d stand
syllable-initial t tan
n n noon
l l leaf
ts[1] j z cats
tsʰ[2] ch c cats hissing
s s saw
k syllable-initial g scan
syllable-initial k can
gw[3] squeak
kʷʰ kw[4] quick
ŋ ng singing
h h house
j y j you
w w water
syllable-final p apt
syllable-final t Atkins
syllable-final k doctor
Syllabic consonants
m rhythm
ng[5] (syllabic ng)

All non-syllabic consonants except [p̚, t̚, k̚] may begin a
syllable, but some speakers don't have initial [n, ŋ].[6]
The six non-syllabic consonants [p̚, t̚, k̚, m, n, ŋ] may end a syllable.[7]

IPA Yale Jyutping Character English approximation
syllable-final a
aa father (Australian English)
aːi aai time
aːu aau how
ɐ non-syllable-final a a cut
ɐi ai Canadian price (see Canadian Raising)
ɐu au Canadian clout (see Canadian Raising)
ɛː e yes
ei ei hey
ɛːu eu [8] roughly like yeah well
e/ɪ i before k or ng sick
œː eu before k or ng
or syllable-finally
oe roughly like fur in British English; fleuve in French
ɵy eui eoi No English equivalent; like Japanese koi but rounded even at the end
ɵ eu before n or t eo roughly like again but rounded
ɔː o law
ɔːy oi roughly like boy
ou ou hoe (American English)
o/ʊ u before k or ng look
i see
iːu iu roughly like few
non-syllable-initial yu[9] yu No English equivalent; menu in French
u food
uːy ui roughly like phooey
IPA Yale Jyutping Tone number Character Description
siː˥ 55 síː si1[10] 1 high level
siː˥˧ 53 sîː 1b (7) high falling
siː˧˥ 35 sǐː si2 2 mid rising
siː˧ 33 sīː si si3 3 mid level
sìh si4 4 low falling or very low
si̬ː síh si5 5 low rising or very low risinɡ
siː˨ 22 sìː sih si6 6 low level
piːt̚˥ 5 píːt̚ bīt bit1 7 (1) high checked
siːt̚˧ 3 sīːt̚ sit sit3 8 (3) mid checked
siːt̚˨ 2 sìːt̚ siht sit6 9 (6) low checked


  1. ^ Often pronounced as /t͡ʃ/ (Hong Kong)
  2. ^ Often pronounced as /t͡ʃʰ/ (Hong Kong)
  3. ^ [kʷ] is often merged with [k] before [ɔː] in Hong Kong Cantonese.
  4. ^ [kʷʰ] is often merged with [kʰ] before [ɔː] in Hong Kong Cantonese.
  5. ^ Some speakers replace [ŋ̩] by [m̩].
  6. ^ Non-syllabic initial [ŋ] is not pronounced in Hong Kong Cantonese by younger speakers, who replace it with a glottal stop [ʔ] before a, e, o. Also, initial [n] may be replaced by [l].
  7. ^ Non-syllabic final [ŋ] may be replaced by [n] in Hong Kong Cantonese except after [e, o]. [i, u] in diphthongs are equivalent to a final /j, w/. After rounded vowels, an i becomes [y].
  8. ^ [ɛːu] is pronounced only in colloquial speech.
  9. ^ Syllable-initial yu is [jo] before k or ng, and [jyː] otherwise.
  10. ^ The high level and high falling tones have merged to high level in Hong Kong Cantonese for most words.


  • Zee, Eric (1999), "Chinese (Hong Kong Cantonese)" (PDF), Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-65236-7