Help:IPA/Cantonese

The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Cantonese pronunciations in Wikipedia articles.

See Cantonese phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Cantonese. Please note that English equivalents given in this page may only represent very approximate sounds to the original pronunciations.

IPAYaleJyutpingCharacterEnglish approximation
Non-syllabic consonants
fffan
hhhouse
jyjyou
ksyllable-initial gscan
syllable-final kdoctor
syllable-initial kcan
gw[1]squeak
kʷʰkw[2]quick
llleaf
mmmoon
nnnoon
ŋngsinging
pbspan
syllable-final papt
syllable-initial ppan
ss西saw
tdstand
syllable-final tAtkins
syllable-initial ttan
tsjzcats
tsʰchccats hissing
wwwater
Syllabic consonants
mrhythm
ŋ̩
ŋ̍
ng[3](syllabic ng)

All non-syllabic consonants except [p̚, t̚, k̚] may begin a
syllable, but some speakers do not have initial [n, ŋ].[4]
The six non-syllabic consonants [p̚, t̚, k̚, m, n, ŋ] may end a syllable.[5]

IPAYaleJyutpingCharacterEnglish approximation
Vowels
aa,
syllable-final a
aafather (Australian English)
aːiaaitime
aːuaauhow
ɐnon-syllable-final aacut
ɐiaikite (short)
ɐuauhouse (short)
eieihey
ɛːeyes
ɛːueu[6]roughly like yeah well
ei before k or ngsick
isee
iːuiuroughly like few
ououhoe (American English)
ɔːolaw
ɔːyoiroughly like boy; Häuser in German
œːeu before k or ng
or syllable-finally
oeroughly like fur in British English; fleuve in French
ɵeu before n or teoroughly like again but rounded
ɵyeuieoiNo English equivalent; like Japanese koi but rounded even at the end
ou before k or nglook
ufood
uːyuiroughly like phooey; almost like nouille in French
non-syllable-initial yu[7]yuNo English equivalent; menu in French
IPAYaleJyutpingCharacterDescription
Tones
síːsi1[8]high level: siː˥˥
sîːhigh falling: siː˥˧
sǐː si2mid rising: siː˧˥
sīː sisi3mid level: siː˧˧
si̭ː
sȉː
sìhsi4low falling: siː˨˩
or very low: siː˩˩
si̬ːsíhsi5low rising: siː˨˧
sìːsihsi6low level: siː˨˨
píːt̚bītbit1high checked: piːt̚˥
sīːt̚sitsit3mid checked: siːt̚˧
sìːt̚sihtsit6low checked: siːt̚˨

Notes

  1. ^ [kʷ] is often merged with [k] before [ɔː] in Hong Kong Cantonese.
  2. ^ [kʷʰ] is often merged with [kʰ] before [ɔː] in Hong Kong Cantonese.
  3. ^ Some speakers replace [ŋ̩] by [m̩].
  4. ^ Non-syllabic initial [ŋ] is not pronounced in Hong Kong Cantonese by younger speakers, who replace it with a glottal stop [ʔ] before a, e, o. Also, initial [n] may be replaced by [l].
  5. ^ Non-syllabic final [ŋ] may be replaced by [n] in Hong Kong Cantonese except after [e, o]. [i, u] in diphthongs are equivalent to a final /j, w/. After rounded vowels, an i becomes [y].
  6. ^ [ɛːu] is pronounced only in colloquial speech.
  7. ^ Syllable-initial yu is [jo] before k or ng, and [jyː] otherwise.
  8. ^ The high level and high falling tones have merged to high level in Hong Kong Cantonese for most words.