Sidney Lau romanisation

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Sidney Lau romanisation is a system of romanisation for Cantonese that was developed in the 1970s by Sidney Lau for teaching Cantonese to Hong Kong Government expatriates. It is based on the Hong Kong Government's Standard Romanisation which was the result of the work of James D. Ball and Ernst J. Eitel about a century earlier.

Innovation[edit]

Lau's singular creative step was to indicate tonality with superscript numbers so as to do away with diacritics entirely.[1] His system was a plain attempt at simplification which proved popular with western learners of Cantonese as a second language and was initially the system of romanisation adopted by the University of Hong Kong.[2] However, the university now employs the Jyutping system for its Cantonese courses.[3]

Initials[edit]

b
/p/
p
/pʰ/
m
/m/
f
/f/
d
/t/
t
/tʰ/
n
/n/
l
/l/
g
/k/
k
/kʰ/
ng
/ŋ/
h
/h/
gw
/kʷ/
kw
/kʷʰ/
w
/w/
j
/ts/
ch
/tsʰ/
s
/s/
y
/j/

Finals[edit]

In his system, Lau treats /ɵ/ and /ʊ/ as allophones of one phoneme represented with "u", while they are often respectively regarded as allophones of /œ:/ and /u:/ in other systems.[4]

Coda
/i/ /u/ /m/ /n/ /ŋ/ /p̚/ /t̚/ /k̚/
Medial /aː/ a
/aː/
aai
/aːi̯/
aau
/aːu̯/
aam
/aːm/
aan
/aːn/
aang
/aːŋ/
aap
/aːp̚/
aat
/aːt̚/
aak
/aːk̚/
/ɐ/   ai
/ɐi̯/
西
au
/ɐu̯/
am
/ɐm/
an
/ɐn/
ang
/ɐŋ/
ap
/ɐp̚/
at
/ɐt̚/
ak
/ɐk̚/
/ɛː/
/e/
e
/ɛː/
ei
/ei̯/
      eng
/ɛːŋ/
    ek
/ɛːk̚/
/iː/ i
/iː/
  iu
/iːu̯/
im
/iːm/
in
/iːn/
ing
/eŋ/
ip
/iːp̚/
it
/iːt̚/
ik
/ek̚/
/ɔː/ oh
/ɔː/
oi
/ɔːy̯/
o
/ou̯/
  on
/ɔːn/
ong
/ɔːŋ/
  ot
/ɔːt̚/
ok
/ɔːk̚/
/uː/ oo
/uː/
ooi
/uːy̯/
    oon
/uːn/
    oot
/uːt̚/
 
/ɵ/
/ʊ/
  ui
/ɵy̯/
    un
/ɵn/
ung
/ʊŋ/
  ut
/ɵt̚/
uk
/ʊk̚/
/œː/ euh
/œː/
        eung
/œːŋ/
    euk
/œːk̚/
/yː/ ue
/yː/
      uen
/yːn/
    uet
/yːt̚/
 
      m
/m̩/
  ng
/ŋ̩/
     

Tones[edit]

Tone symbol Tone description Example
Romanization Word Meaning
1° or N° high flat si poem
ga1 je 家姐 elder sister
1 high falling tim1 final particle expressing

the idea of addition or regret.

2 or N* mid rising si2 history
dik1 si6* 的士 taxi
3 mid flat si3 try
4 low falling si4 time
5 low rising si5 city
6 low flat si6 is

1° indicates the high flat tone. If ° appears after any other tones, it signifies a changed tone and that the word is to be pronounced as 1°, but 1° is not the original/normal tone of the word. Similar to °, if * appears after any tones apart from tone 2, it indicates that the word is to be pronounced as tone 2, but tone 2 is not the original/normal tone of the word.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Pronunciation Guide – Initials". Sidney Lau. Retrieved 3 April 2017. 
  2. ^ 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, vol. 11. Chinese University of Hong Kong. 
  3. ^ School of Chinese, the University of Hong Kong
  4. ^ "Pronunciation Guide – Finals". Sidney Lau. Retrieved 3 April 2017. 
  5. ^ "Pronunciation Guide – Tones". Sidney Lau. Retrieved 3 April 2017. 

External links[edit]