Meyer–Wempe

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Meyer–Wempe romanization was the system used by two Roman Catholic missionaries in Hong Kong, Bernard F. Meyer and Theodore F. Wempe, for romanizing Cantonese in their Student's Cantonese English Dictionary published in 1935.[1]

Provenance[edit]

Although some [2] attribute development of the system to them, there was nothing new in it[1]:Explanatory Notes as their entire schema followed the system devised in the last decade of the 19th century known as Standard Romanization (SR), which, in turn, was almost identical to John Chalmers' system of 1870.[3] Chalmers' system was significant in that it was the first system to virtually do away with diacritics entirely, the sole survivor being final ö, which is oeh in SR.

Initials[edit]

p
[p]
p'
[pʰ]
m
[m]
f
[f]
t
[t]
t'
[tʰ]
n
[n]
l
[l]
k
[k]
k'
[kʰ]
ng
[ŋ]
h
[h]
kw
[kw]
k'w
[kʰw]
oo, w
[w]
ts
[ts]
ts'
[tsʰ]
s
[s]
i, y
[j]
ch
[tɕ]
ch'
[tɕʰ]
sh
[ɕ]

The distinction between the alveolar sibilants ([ts], [tsʰ], and [s]) and alveolo-palatal sibilants ([tɕ], [tɕʰ], and [ɕ]) has been lost in modern Cantonese, though the distinction still existed at the time this system was devised. See Cantonese phonology for more information.

Finals[edit]

a
[aː]
aai
[aːi]
aau
[aːu]
aam
[aːm]
aan
[aːn]
aang
[aːŋ]
aap
[aːp]
aat
[aːt]
aak
[aːk]
  ai
[ɐi]
au
[ɐu]
am, om
[ɐm]
an
[ɐn]
ang
[ɐŋ]
ap, op
[ɐp]
at
[ɐt]
ak
[ɐk]
e
[ɛː]
ei
[ei]
      eng
[ɛːŋ]
    ek
[ɛːk]
i
[iː]
  iu
[iːu]
im
[iːm]
in
[iːn]
ing
[eŋ]
ip
[iːp]
it
[iːt]
ik
[ek]
oh
[ɔː]
oi
[ɔːy]
o
[ou]
  on
[ɔːn]
ong
[ɔːŋ]
  ot
[ɔːt]
ok
[ɔːk]
oo
[uː]
ooi
[uːy]
    oon
[uːn]
ung
[oŋ]
  oot
[uːt]
uk
[ok]
oeh
[œː]
ui
[ɵy]
    un
[ɵn]
eung
[œːŋ]
  ut
[ɵt]
euk
[œːk]
ue
[yː]
      uen
[yːn]
    uet
[yːt]
 
      m
[m̩]
  ng
[ŋ̩]
     

The finals m and ng can only be used as standalone nasal syllables.

Tones[edit]

Diacritics are used to mark the six tones of Cantonese.[4] The tone mark should be placed above the first letter of the final.

No. Description Contour Tone mark Example
1 high flat/high falling 55 / 53 No mark ma
2 high rising 35 Acute accent ( ´ )
3 mid flat 33 Grave accent ( ` )
4 low falling 21 Circumflex ( ˆ )
5 low rising 23 caron ( ˇ )
6 low flat 22 Macron( ¯ )

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Meyer, Bernard F; Wempe, Theodore F (1935). The Student's Cantonese-English Dictionary. Hong Kong: St Louis Industrial School. 
  2. ^ English-Cantonese Dictionary, Cantonese in Yale Romanization. Hong Kong: New-Asia-Yale-in-China Chinese Language Center, Chinese University of Hong Kong. 1991. p. 8. ISBN 9627141186. 
  3. ^ Kataoka, Shin; Lee, Cream (2008). "A System without a System: Cantonese Romanization Used in Hong Kong Place and Personal Names". Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics: 82. 
  4. ^ Huang, Parker; Kok, Gerard P. (1973). Speak Cantonese - Book 1 3rd Edition. Far Eastern Publications, Yale University. p. 15. ISBN 978-0887100949.