Basic Cantonese Course - Jyutping
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Jyutping

Jyutping is a popular way of romanizing Cantonese characters - which means writing Cantonese using letters.

Tones

Tones in Jyutping are represented as follows:

aa1
aa2
aa3
aa4
aa5
aa6

The other three tones also use the numbers 1, 3 and 6 and end on k, p or t.

Initals & Finals

Every character in Cantonese represents at least one syllable. Syllable is the way this character is pronounced and each of those syllables consists of an initial and a final, both being sounds.

This way of splitting up pronounciation is helpful for some, but by far not everybody. If it is helpful it can be used, but it is by no means something that needs to be studied intensely.

Initals

Initials are the first part of every syllable and therefore of every Jyutping-word. The initials in use are:

b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, s, t, w and z as well as gw, kw and ng

For more information, please have a look at Wikipedia.

Finals

With initials being the first part of a syllable, finals are, of course, the second and last part. The finals in Cantonese are:

aa, aai, aau, aam, aan, aang, aap, aat, aak, ai, au, am, an, ang, ap, at and ak

e, ei, eu, em, eng, ep and ek

i, iu, im, in, ing, ip, it and ik

o, oi, ou, on, ong, ot and ok

u, ui, un, ung, ut and uk

oe, oeng and oek

eoi, eon and eot

yu, yun and yut

Furthermore, m and ng can be used without initials. Apart from examplese like those two where no initals are used, all syllables are a combination of one of the listed initials with one of the listed finals. All combinations with sound files can be found in the Pronounciation Tool.

For more information on initals, finals and everything else concerning Jyutping, please have a look at Wikipedia.