Chinese Mandarin Pinyin Romanization System


The Pinyin Romanization system or Hanyu Pinyin Romanization system is one of the common romanization systems for Mandarin in Chinese.

Pinyin uses Roman alphabets together with a corresponding tone to form the pronunciation of Chinese characters. One character usually consists of the combination an initial and a final but there are cases where only the final is used. There are five different tones that can be associated with a Chinese character. These tones are the flat tone (or high level tone), the rising tone (or high-rising tone), the falling-rising tone (or low tone), the falling tone (or high-falling tone) and the neutral tone.

These tones are usually represented by diacritics for example:

Tone Tone Number Pinyin Example Mandarin Example
Flat 1
Rising 2
Falling-Rising 3
Falling 4
Neutral 5† ma
The Representation of Tones in Pinyin

You can find more information from the Wikipedia on the Pinyin Romanization.

† The neutral tone is also referred as the zeroth tone.


The Gong system supports the input, display and storage of the Pinyin romanization system for Mandarin. This romanization system is the official scheme used in the People's Republic of China. It is primarily used for teaching Mandarin pronunciations.

The box on the right explains briefly the romanization system. In summary, there are three components for each chinese character. They are the initial, the final and the tone. The initial and final are represented by alphabets while the tone can be represented by a tone marker or the tone number.

The Gong system provides an easy-to-use user interface for inputting the Pinyin representation of Chinese characters. There are five tones which can be associated with each romanized form of a character. The tone marker can be shown as a line above the character or as a diacritic above one of the alphabets of the romanized form of the character.


The Pinyin Toolbar
The User Interface for the Pinyin System

The five tones are shown as five buttons in the user interface with their corresponding pitch lines. There is also a button used for inserting the ü vowel which is not always easy to type. When the user presses one of the tone buttons, the tone will be automatically associated with the selected romanization of the Chinese character. For example, the following steps are needed for the input of the Chinese character "hǎo" (好):

Type the Romanized Word
1. Type the word
Select the Word
2. Select the word
Click on the Tone Button
3. Click the tone button

The above example is only one of the tones available in the system. Selecting different tones yields a different display of the Chinese character. The table below shows the tones supported by the Gong system and their corresponding display.

Flat Tone
Flat Tone
Word with Flat Tone
Rising Tone
Rising Tone
Word with Rising Tone
Falling-Rising Tone
Falling-Rising Tone
Word with Falling-Rising Tone
Falling Tone
Falling Tone
Word with Falling Tone
Neutral Tone
Neutral Tone
Word with Low Falling Tone

The following is the lyrics of a song of Jay Chou from Pīnyī that is being put into the Gong system.

Lyrics of Jay Chou
A Pinyin Example with the Lyrics of Jay Chou