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Lessing-Othmer is a romanization of Mandarin Chinese that was introduced by F. Lessing and Dr. W. Othmer, who in 1912 printed their book „Lehrgang der nordchinesischen Umgangssprache“ („Course in the North Chinese Colloquial Language“) through the „Deutsch-Chinesische Druckerei und Verlagsanstalt“ in Tsingtau (Chinese: 青島; pinyin: Qīngdǎo) while it was a German colony.

In 1979, the State Council of the People's Republic of China for Romanization ruled that translations of foreign-language publications should utilize Lessing-Othmer romanization in German-speaking countries, and Pinyin in English-speaking countries.[1]


The tones romanized differently from Pinyin are highlighted in blue.


Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Retroflex Alveolo-palatal Velar
Voiceless Voiced Voiceless Voiceless Voiced Voiceless Voiced Voiceless Voiceless
Nasal m [m]
ㄇ m
n [n]
ㄋ n
Plosive Unaspirated b [p]
ㄅ b
d [t]
ㄉ d
g [k]
ㄍ g
Aspirated p [pʰ]
ㄆ p
t [tʰ]
ㄊ t
k [kʰ]
ㄎ k
Affricate Unaspirated ds [ts]
ㄗ z
dsch [ʈʂ]
ㄓ zh
dj [tɕ]
ㄐ j
Aspirated ts [tsʰ]
ㄘ c
tsch [ʈʂʰ]
ㄔ ch
tj [tɕʰ]
ㄑ q
Fricative f [f]
ㄈ f
s [s]
ㄙ s
sch [ʂ]
ㄕ sh
hs [ɕ]
ㄒ x
h [x]
ㄏ h
Liquid l [l]
ㄌ l
j [ɻ~ʐ]
ㄖ r


/i/ /u/ /n/ /ŋ/ /ɻ/
Medial ï [ɨ]
ö [ɤ]
ㄜ e
a [a]
ㄚ a
e [ei]
ㄟ ei
ai [ai]
ㄞ ai
ou [ou]
ㄡ ou
au [au]
ㄠ ao
ën [ən]
ㄣ en
an [an]
ㄢ an
ung [ʊŋ]
ㄨㄥ ong
ëng [əŋ]
ㄥ eng
ang [aŋ]
ㄤ ang
örl [aɚ]
ㄦ er
/j/ i [i]
ㄧ i
ㄧㄝ ie
ia [ja]
ㄧㄚ ia
iu [jou]
ㄧㄡ iu
iau [jau]
ㄧㄠ iao
in [in]
ㄧㄣ in
iän [jɛn]
ㄧㄢ ian
iung [jʊŋ]
ㄩㄥ iong
ing [iŋ]
ㄧㄥ ing
iang [jaŋ]
ㄧㄤ iang
/w/ u [u]
ㄨ u
o [wo]
ㄨㄛ uo
ua [wa]
ㄨㄚ ua
ui [wei]
ㄨㄟ ui
uai [wai]
ㄨㄞ uai
un [wən]
ㄨㄣ un
uan [wan]
ㄨㄢ uan
ung [wəŋ]
ㄨㄥ ueng
uang [waŋ]
ㄨㄤ uang
/ɥ/ ü [y]
ㄩ ü
üä [ɥe]
ㄩㄝ üe
ün [yn]
ㄩㄣ ün
üan [ɥɛn]
ㄩㄢ üan


  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, 2004 edition, "Pinyin romanization" article