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Penkyamp (拼音; Yale: ping1 yam1, Jyutping: ping1 jam1) or Cantonese pinyin, is a romanization system for transliterating Cantonese Chinese. Series of romanization efforts of Cantonese seek to standardize the language spoken by large number of residents in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Auckland, Vancouver and San Francisco, from the status of a vernacular to that of a literary language. On the other hand, the Linguistic Society Hong Kong adopts another Cantonese Romanization called Jyutping, which is not yet popularized among Cantonese-English or English-Cantonese dictionaries. The current most widely accepted system for Cantonese Romanization are Meyer-Wemp and Yale.

The two systems are improvements from previous systems. The features of Penkyamp includes:

In terms of practicality and visual esthetics Jyutping is not a clumsy or ugly system.

Drawing a parallel between Cantonese and Japanese, Penkyamp is analogous to the Kunrei system, whereas Jyutping to the Hepburn system.

The following descriptions applies to Penkyamp.


A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P (q) S T U W Y Z

Shengmus (Consonants aided by International Phonetic Alphabets. In order to see proper display of IPA, you must download a Unicode font)

Special Attention



Yunmus aided by International Phonetic Symbols




Short vowels are those in short yunmus, and long vowels in long yunmus. All short vowels are pronounced with tighter, smaller enclosure of lips than are their long counterparts.


Long yunmus followed by consonants: Short yunmus followed by consonants:


  1. Yin1Ping2 or high Yin1Ru4 (Yamp1Penk4 cum high Yamp1Yap6): a1, ä (umlaut)
  2. Yin1Shang3(Yamp1Seong5): a2, ã (tilde)
  3. Yin1Qu4 or low Yin1Ru4 (Yamp1Hoy3 cum low Yamp1Yap6): a3, â (circumflex)
  4. Yang2Ping2(Yeong4Penk4): a4, a (plain)
  5. Yang2Shang3(Yeong4Seong5): a5, á (acute)
  6. Yang2Qu4(Yeong4Hoy3): a6, à (grave)

'''6 tones represented by numerical scales of pitch, "1" being the lowest, "6" the highest"

Either the tone numbers 1-6 or the
diacritic marks may be used

Zaw1 Haw2 Dim3, Ho4 Mow2 Dow6
Zhou1 Kou3 Dian4, He2 Mu3 Du4 (Mandarin)
(周口店, 河姆渡)

Zhoukoudian is an archeological site near Beijing containing a 500,000 year old Homo Erectus habitat; Hemudu is a Zhejiang archeological site of Neolithic human activities


Text sample in the Standard Cantonese Penk3yamp1 (simplified chinese text are place holders for now):

trad simp pinyin Penkyamp meaning
北京 北京 Bei3 jing1 Bak1 genk1 Beijing
Hua1 Fa1 flower
Xie3 Se3 write
Zi4 Zi6 chinese character
Wo3 Ngo5 I, me
Hu2 Wu4 lake
Xue1 Heo1 boot
Zhu4 Ceu5 pillar
吧(?)啦(?)ba4 lah1 one of the interjections at the end of a sentence
Huai4 Wai6 bad
Wai4 Ngoi6 outside
Bei4 Bui3 back
Jiao1 Gau3 teach
Yao1 Yiu1 waist
Fei4 Fay3 lung
Di4 Dey6 ground
Zhui1 Zoy1 pursue
Gou3 Gaw2 dog
Lu4 Low6 road
Ya1 Ngab3 duck
Sha1 Sad3 kill
Bai3 Bag3 hundred
San1 Sam1 three
Man4 Man6 slow
Xing2 Hang4 walk
Ju4 Keg6 drama
Jing4 Geng3 mirror
Ye4 Yib6 page
Re4 Yid6 hot
Jian4 Gim3 sword
Xian4 Sin3 thread
Ke3 Hod3 thirst
Guo2 Guog3 state,nation
An4 Ngon6 shore
Bang1 Bong1 help
Huo2 Wud6 to live
Huan4 Wun6 exchange, replace
Ji2 Gap1 hasty
Shi1 Sat1 lost

De2 Dak1 gain
Xin1 Samp1 heart
Xin1 Sant1 new
Sheng1 Sank1 student
Shi2 Sek6 to eat
Jing1 Zenk1 essence
Chu1 Cot1 outside
Ku1 Hok1 to cry, weep
Xin4 Sont3 to trust
Zhong1 Zonk1 middle


Cantonese Font:

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A, E(Ẽ), I(Ĩ), O, U(Ũ);

a, e(ẽ), i(ĩ), o, u(ũ);

From Common Western Font missing: E-tilde I-tilde U-tilde

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Ẽ Ĩ Ũ ũ ĩ ẽ