Zhuyin, popularly known as bopomofo, is a system designed to represent the Mandarin Chinese sounds. It is still used in Taiwan as a teaching aid for children and as the phonetic symbols in dictionaries. The pinyin system, in the other hand, was designed in China to be both a phonetic and a romanization system. Since both systems were designed on the same Mandarin dialect, the conversion from one system to the other is straightforward.
The zhuyin system, not being encumbered by the Roman alphabet is more efficient way to represent Mandarin sounds. Although the symbols it uses were derived from Chinese characters, they are not Chinese characters themselves. The ordering of the zhuyin alphabet helps demonstrate the limited number of sounds that exist (excluding the tones, of course). In Zhuyin, a Mandarin syllable can be composed of up to three parts: an initial, a medial, and a final, where one or more parts may be omitted. The set of valid combinations is shown in our Pinyin Initials and Finals Combination Table.
|Labial Initials||ㄅ B||ㄆ P||ㄇ M||ㄈ F|
|Dental Initials||ㄉ D||ㄊ T||ㄋ N||ㄌ L|
|Guttural Initials||ㄍ G||ㄎ K||ㄏ H|
|Palatal Initials||ㄐ J||ㄑ Q||ㄒ X|
|Retroflex Initials||ㄓ ZH||ㄔ CH||ㄕ SH||ㄖ R|
|Dental Sibilant Initials||ㄗ Z||ㄘ C||ㄙ S|
|Medials||ㄧ I,YI||ㄨ U,WU||ㄩ Ü,YU|
|Finals||ㄚ A||ㄛ O||ㄜ E||ㄝ E,YE|
|ㄞ AI||ㄟ EI||ㄠ AO||ㄡ OU|
|ㄢ AN||ㄣ EN||ㄤ ANG||ㄥ ENG||ㄦ ER|