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Mandarin Chinese / Putonghua

Mandarin Chinese / Putonghua is used in most of northern & southwestern China as well as parts of Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and in other Chinese communities around the world.

Varieties shown below:  Northeastern, Northern, Shaanxi, Southern, and Yunnan

See also Classical/Literary Chinese

Mandarin can be written several different ways, as illustrated by the Southern Mandarin translations below:

  Simplified characters, traditional characters, and Zhuyin Fuhao (Bopomofo) phonetic ruby & linear text

Various romanization schemes have been developed for Chinese over the years, some are illustrated below using the Southern Mandarin translations:

  Gwoyeu Romatzyh, Hanyu Pinyin, IPA, Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II, Tongyong Pinyin, Wade-Giles, and Yale,


top Northeastern Mandarin / Dongbei dialect

The Dongbei dialect of Mandarin (Dongbeihua/Dongbeiguanhua) is used in the northeastern part of China.

[Northeastern Mandarin using simplified characters, as written in China] [Northeastern Mandarin using Hanyu Pinyin romanization]

Language information at Wikipedia



top Northern Mandarin

[Northern Mandarin using simplified characters, as written in China] [Northern Mandarin using Hanyu Pinyin romanization]


top Shaanxi / Guanzhong dialect

The Shaanxi dialect of Mandarin is used in Xi'an and the Guanzhong region of China.

[Shaanxi dialect of Mandarin using simplified characters] [Shaanxi dialect of Mandarin using Hanyu Pinyin romanization]

Translation complements of the professional China Tour Online company.

Language information at Wikipedia

Alternate names for the Shaanxi dialect include Shaanxi hua, Guanzhong hua, and Xi'an hua



top Southern Mandarin

Southern Mandarin using simplified characters, as written in China:

[Southern Mandarin using simplified characters, as written in China] [Southern Mandarin using Hanyu Pinyin romanization]

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Southern Mandarin using traditional characters, as written outside of China:

[Southern Mandarin using traditional characters, as written outside of China] [Southern Mandarin using Hanyu Pinyin romanization]


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Southern Mandarin with Zhuyin Fuhao (Bopomofo) phonetic ruby text:

[Southern Mandarin with Zhuyin Fuhao (Bopomofo) phonetic ruby text]

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Southern Mandarin as Zhuyin Fuhao (Bopomofo) phonetic linear text:

[Southern Mandarin with Zhuyin Fuhao (Bopomofo) linear text]


top Yunnan dialect

The Yunnan dialect belongs to the southwestern subdivision of Mandarin. It is used in the Yunnan province of China and parts of Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar.

[Yunnan Mandarin using simplified characters, as written in China] [Yunnan Mandarin using Hanyu Pinyin romanization]


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Romanization Schemes for Mandarin Chinese

Various romanization schemes have been developed for Chinese over the years. Several are shown below representing Southern Mandarin:


Gwoyeu Romatzyh romanization:

Woo ·de farngjian tzay naalii?

Haebian tzay naalii?

Jeoubaa tzay naalii?

Bur yaw mho woo nahlii!

Gwoyeu Romatzyh information at Wikipedia and Omniglot


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Hanyu Pinyin romanization with tone diacritics and tone numbers:

[Southern Mandarin using Hanyu Pinyin romanization]

An unofficial method of color-coding tones can be used as a visual aid for learning:

[Southern Mandarin using colored Hanyu Pinyin romanization]

Hanyu Pinyin information at Wikipedia and Omniglot


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International Phonetic Alpahabet (IPA), shown with and without tones:

[Southern Mandarin using IPA]

IPA information at Wikipedia and Omniglot

IPA fonts and a comprehensive Unicode test page for IPA in the Gallery of Unicode Fonts


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Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II (MPS II):

[Southern Mandarin using MPS II]

MPS II information at Wikipedia


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Tongyong Pinyin

[Southern Mandarin using Tongyong Pinyin]

Tongyong Pinyin information at Wikipedia


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Wade-Giles romanization:

Wo3 te fang2-chian1 tsai4 na3-li3?

Hai3-pian1 tsai4 na3-li3?

Chiu3-pa1 tsai4 na3-li3?

Pu2 yao4 mo1 wo3 na4-li3!

Wade-Giles information at Wikipedia and Omniglot


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Yale romanization:

[Southern Mandarin using Yale romanization]

Yale information at Wikipedia and Omniglot


See also the Uniscript page

Chinese fonts in the Gallery of Unicode Fonts

Sinitic language map

Language information at Wikipedia and Ethnologue

Chinese writing system information at Omniglot

Shaanxi translation complements of the professional China Tour Online company.

Alternate names for Mandarin Chinese include Mandarin, Putonghua, Guanhua, Beifang Fangyan, and Guoyu


The four essential
travel phrases in English:

1) Where is my room?
2) Where is the beach?
3) Where is the bar?
4) Don't touch me there!
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