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Y. R. Chao

Yuen Ren Chao (趙元任 Pinyin: Zhào Yuánrén) (November 3, 1892 - February 25, 1982) was a Chinese phonologist and dialectologist who shaped Gwoyeu Romatzyh.

Born in Tianjin with ancestry in Changzhou, Jiangsu, Chao went to the United States with a scholarship in 1910 to study mathematics in Cornell University, and switched to philosophy later. He later gained his doctorate in philosophy from Harvard University.

When in U.S. in 1921, Chao recorded the standard Mandarin pronunciation gramophones distributed nationally (as proposed by Commission on the Unification of Pronunciation). Chao died in Cambridge, Massachusetts.