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Lessing-Othmer is a romanisation of Mandarin Chinese that was once used by Germans written by F. Lessing and Dr. W. Othmer, who in 1912 printed their book "Lehrgang der nordchinesischen Umgangssprache" (Course in the North Chinese Colloquial Language) in Qingdao (Chinese: 青島; pinyin: Qīngdǎo) whilst it was a German colony in 1912 through the "Deutsch-Chinesische Druckerei und Verlagsanstalt."

In 1979, the State Council of the People's Republic of China for Romanisation ruled that translations of foreign-language publications should use Lessing romanisation 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
j [ʐ]
ㄖ r
hs [ɕ]
ㄒ x
h [x]
ㄏ h
Lateral l [l]
ㄌ l


Nucleus a ə
Coda i u n ŋ i u n ŋ ɻ
Medial a [ɑ]
ㄚ a
ai [aɪ̯]
ㄞ ai
au [ɑʊ̯]
ㄠ ao
an [ɑn]
ㄢ an
ang [ɑŋ]
ㄤ ang
ö [ɯ̯ʌ]
ㄜ e
e [eɪ̯]
ㄟ ei
ou [ɤʊ̯]
ㄡ ou
ën [ən]
ㄣ en
ëng [əŋ]
ㄥ eng
örl [ɑɻ]
ㄦ er
ï [ɨ]
U+312D.svg -i
i ia [i̯ɑ]
ㄧㄚ ia
iau [i̯ɑʊ̯]
ㄧㄠ iao
iän [i̯ɛn]
ㄧㄢ ian
iang [i̯ɑŋ]
ㄧㄤ iang
ㄧㄝ ie
iu [i̯ɤʊ̯]
ㄧㄡ iu
in [in]
ㄧㄣ in
ing [iŋ]
ㄧㄥ ing
i [i]
ㄧ i
u ua [u̯ɑ]
ㄨㄚ ua
uai [u̯ɑɪ̯]
ㄨㄞ uai
uan [u̯ɑn]
ㄨㄢ uan
uang [u̯ɑŋ]
ㄨㄤ uang
o [u̯ɔ]
ㄨㄛ uo
ui [u̯eɪ̯]
ㄨㄟ ui
un [u̯ən]
ㄨㄣ un
ung [ʊŋ]
ㄨㄥ ong
u [u]
ㄨ u
y üan [y̯ɛn]
ㄩㄢ üan
üä [y̯œ]
ㄩㄝ üe
ün [y]
ㄩㄣ ün
iung [i̯ʊŋ]
ㄩㄥ iong
ü [y]
ㄩ ü


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