Tongyong Pinyin
通用拼音; Tong-yòng Pin-yin
Script type
CreatorTaiwan Ministry of Education
Time period
 Republic of China (2002–2009)
DirectionLeft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesTaiwanese Mandarin
Related scripts
Child systems
Daī-ghî tōng-iōng pīng-im (Taiwanese Hokkien)
IETF language tag: zh-Latn-tongyong
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
Tongyong Pinyin
Traditional Chinese通用拼音
Literal meaningGeneral-use sound spelling

Tongyong Pinyin was the official romanization of Mandarin in Taiwan between 2002 and 2008. The system was unofficially used between 2000 and 2002, when a new romanization system for Taiwan was being evaluated for adoption. Taiwan's Ministry of Education approved the system in 2002,[1][2] but its use was optional.

Since 1 January 2009, the Ministry of Education has officially promoted Hanyu Pinyin (per decision on 16 September 2008); local governments would "not be able to get financial aid from the central government" if they used Tongyong Pinyin-derived romanizations.[3][4] After this policy change, Tongyong Pinyin has been used for the transliteration of some place names and personal names in Taiwan (Republic of China).[5] Some of the romanized names of the districts, subway stations[6] and streets[7][8] in Kaohsiung,[9] Tainan,[10] Taichung,[11][12] Yunlin County[13] and other places[14][15][16] are derived from Tongyong Pinyin – for example, Cijin District (旗津, Cíjin Cyu).[17]


Fongshan District Office, Kaohsiung City (the spelling 'Fongshan' is derived from the Tongyong Pinyin Fòngshan)

The impetus behind the invention of Tongyong Pinyin came from the need for a standardized romanization system in Taiwan. For decades, the island had employed various systems, usually simplifications or adaptations of Wade–Giles. (Zhuyin, a standard phonetic system for language education in Taiwan's schools, does not use the Latin alphabet.)

Tongyong Pinyin was introduced in 1998 by Yu Bor-chuan [zh] to preserve the strengths of Hanyu Pinyin while eliminating some of the pronunciation difficulties Hanyu presents to international readers, such as difficulties with the letters q and x. Yu's system was subsequently revised.

Discussion and adoption of Tongyong Pinyin, like many other initiatives in Taiwan, quickly acquired a partisan tone turning on issues of national identity: Chinese vs. Taiwanese identity.[18] Officials who identified most strongly with the nation itself, such as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its allied parties, saw no reason to adopt Hanyu Pinyin just because mainland China and the UN had. If Tongyong Pinyin more adequately met the nation's needs, they saw this as ample justification for Taiwan to adopt it.[19] Officials who identified more strongly with Chinese culture, such as the Kuomintang (KMT), saw no reason to introduce a new system unique to Taiwan if Hanyu Pinyin had already gained international acceptance. Each side accused the other of basing its preference on anti-China or pro-China sentiment rather than an objective discussion of community goals.[20]

In early October 2000, the Mandarin Commission of the Ministry of Education proposed to use Tongyong Pinyin as the national standard. Education Minister Ovid Tzeng submitted a draft of the Taiwanese romanization in late October to the Executive Yuan, but the proposal was rejected. In November 2000, Tzeng unsuccessfully suggested that the government adopt Hanyu Pinyin with some modifications for local dialects. On 10 July 2002, Taiwan's Ministry of Education held a meeting for 27 members. Only 13 attended. Two left early, and since the chairman could not vote, the bill for using Tongyong Pinyin was passed with 10 votes.[1]

In August 2002, the government adopted Tongyong Pinyin by an administrative order that local governments had the authority to override within their jurisdiction. In October 2007, with the DPP administration still in power, it was announced that Taiwan would standardize the English transliterations of its Chinese Mandarin place names by the end of the year, after years of confusion from multiple spellings, by using the locally developed Tongyong Pinyin.[21]

In 2008, the Kuomintang won both the legislative and presidential elections. In September 2008, it was announced that Tongyong Pinyin would be replaced by Hanyu Pinyin as Taiwan's standard, at the end of the year. Since 1 January 2009, Hanyu Pinyin has been an official romanization system in Taiwan.[3][4]

On 24 August 2020, the Taichung City Council decided to use Tongyong Pinyin in the translated names of the stations on the Green line (Taichung Metro).[12]

The sign for Nanzi Station formerly read "Nanzih Station"
The sign was later changed to read "Nanzi Station". The station serves Nanzih District, Kaohsiung.

Adoption and use

Signs using Tongyong Pinyin (Jhaishan, Jhushan and so on) in Kinmen in 2012. 金 is misspelled as jing (instead of the correct jin) in one of the signs
This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (December 2010)

Tongyong Pinyin was the official romanization system in Taiwan, but its use was voluntary.[22] The romanization system that one encounters in Taiwan varies according to the government authority that administers the facility. Street signs in most areas use Tongyong Pinyin,[citation needed] including the cities of Kaohsiung, Tainan, and surrounding counties. A contrast could be seen in the two entities that now make up the municipality of TaichungTaichung County used Tongyong Pinyin while Taichung City has used Hanyu Pinyin since at least 2004. Then-mayor Ma Ying-jeou remained committed to using Hanyu Pinyin as the Romanization standard for Taipei.[23] Taipei County (now New Taipei City) used Tongyong Pinyin, but in Taipei Metro stations, Tongyong Pinyin was given in parentheses after Hanyu Pinyin. Modified Wade–Giles spellings are popularly used for many proper names, especially personal names and businesses.

The political impasse prevented Ministry of Education from being able to replace Zhuyin in teaching pronunciation in elementary school. Zhuyin is widely used to teach Mandarin pronunciation to schoolchildren. Children's books published in Taiwan typically display Zhuyin characters next to Chinese characters in the text.

On 17 September 2008, the Ministry of Education announced that the government standard for romanization would be switched to Hanyu Pinyin nationwide, effective 1 January 2009.[3][4] However, people in Taiwan can freely choose their foreign language names. So although Tongyong Pinyin was effectively scrapped as the romanization standard of Taiwan's central government, many today choose a romanized form of their Chinese character name that is created based on the Tongyong Pinyin, Wade–Giles, or Yale romanization systems.[24]

Today, districts of Kaohsiung are named by Tongyong. Districts of Tainan are mostly named by Tongyong with exceptions such as Xinying.

Taiwanese language variant

The Tongyong Pinyin system also exists in a Taiwanese Hokkien phonetic symbol version, Daighi tongiong pingim, which lacks f but adds bh. However, in 2006, the Ministry of Education rejected the use of Daighi tongiong pingim for Taiwanese Hokkien and preferred the Taiwanese Romanization System.[25]



Some notable features of Tongyong Pinyin are:

Syuejia/SyueJia Junior High School, Syuejia District, Tainan, Taiwan (the spelling 'Syuejia' is derived from the Tongyong Pinyin Syuéjiǎ.)
Taichung Metro includes a station at Fongle Park (from Tongyong Pinyin Fonglè)


Shared features with Hanyu Pinyin

If tone is ignored, 19.47% of Tongyong Pinyin syllables are spelled differently to those of Hanyu Pinyin. The difference widens when syllables are measured according to average frequency of use in everyday life to a 48.84% difference in spellings.[26] In two cases (si and ci) the same Latin spelling denotes different syllables depending on the transcription system.


This section is written like a debate. Please help improve the section by writing in encyclopedic style and discuss the issue on the talk page. (May 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

The prevalence of Hanyu Pinyin as an established system weighs at least as heavily on the debate over Tongyong Pinyin as any feature of the system itself. Arguments presented in the ongoing debate include these.

Supporting Tongyong Pinyin

Road sign in Nanzih District, Kaohsiung in which 軍校 (Hanyu Pinyin: jūnxiào lù) is written as 'Jyunsiao Rd.', based on the Tongyong Pinyin form jyunsiào lù.



Sign at National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan in which 新生大樓 (Hanyu Pinyin: xīnshēng dàlóu) is written as 'Sin Sheng Building', based on the Tongyong Pinyin form sinsheng dàlóu.

Against Tongyong Pinyin



Comparison with other orthographies

The word for 'China', written in Hanyu Pinyin, Tongyong Pinyin, and Chinese characters (traditional and simplified)

The differences between Tongyong Pinyin and Hanyu Pinyin[30] are relatively straightforward:

Vowels a, e, o
IPA a ɔ ɛ ɤ ai ei au ou an ən əŋ ʊŋ
Pinyin a o ê e ai ei ao ou an en ang eng ong er
Tongyong Pinyin
Wade–Giles eh ê/o ên êng ung êrh
Bopomofo ㄨㄥ
Vowels i, u, y
IPA i je jou jɛn in jʊŋ u wo wei wən wəŋ y ɥe ɥɛn yn
Pinyin yi ye you yan yin ying yong wu wo/o wei wen weng yu yue yuan yun
Tongyong Pinyin wun wong
Wade–Giles i/yi yeh yu yen yung wên wêng yüeh yüan yün
Bopomofo ㄧㄝ ㄧㄡ ㄧㄢ ㄧㄣ ㄧㄥ ㄩㄥ ㄨㄛ/ㄛ ㄨㄟ ㄨㄣ ㄨㄥ ㄩㄝ ㄩㄢ ㄩㄣ
Non-sibilant consonants
IPA p m fəŋ tjou twei twən tʰɤ ny ly kɤɹ kʰɤ
Pinyin b p m feng diu dui dun te ge ke he
Tongyong Pinyin fong diou duei nyu lyu
Wade–Giles p fêng tiu tui tun tʻê ko kʻo ho
Bopomofo ㄈㄥ ㄉㄧㄡ ㄉㄨㄟ ㄉㄨㄣ ㄊㄜ ㄋㄩ ㄌㄩ ㄍㄜ ㄎㄜ ㄏㄜ
Sibilant consonants
IPA tɕjɛn tɕjʊŋ tɕʰin ɕɥɛn ʈʂɤ ʈʂɨ ʈʂʰɤ ʈʂʰɨ ʂɤ ʂɨ ɻɤ ɻɨ tsɤ tswo tsɨ tsʰɤ tsʰɨ
Pinyin jian jiong qin xuan zhe zhi che chi she shi re ri ze zuo zi ce ci se si
Tongyong Pinyin jyong cin syuan jhe jhih chih shih rih zih cih sih
Wade–Giles chien chiung chʻin shüan chê chih chʻê chʻih shê shih jih tsê tso tzŭ tsʻê tzʻŭ ssŭ
Bopomofo ㄐㄧㄢ ㄐㄩㄥ ㄑㄧㄣ ㄒㄩㄢ ㄓㄜ ㄔㄜ ㄕㄜ ㄖㄜ ㄗㄜ ㄗㄨㄛ ㄘㄜ ㄙㄜ
IPA ma˥˥ ma˧˥ ma˨˩˦ ma˥˩ ma
Pinyin ma
Tongyong Pinyin ma
Wade–Giles ma1 ma2 ma3 ma4 ma
Bopomofo ㄇㄚ ㄇㄚˊ ㄇㄚˇ ㄇㄚˋ ˙ㄇㄚ
example (Chinese characters)


See also


  1. ^ a b "Tongyong Pinyin the new system for romanization". Taipei Times. 11 July 2002. p. 3.
  2. ^ "Taiwan Authority Concerned Passes Tongyong Pinyin Scheme". People's Daily Online. 12 July 2002.
  3. ^ a b c Shih Hsiu-Chuan (18 September 2008). "Hanyu Pinyin to be standard system in 2009". Taipei Times. p. 2.
  4. ^ a b c "Gov't to improve English-friendly environment". The China Post. 18 September 2008. Archived from the original on 19 September 2008. But local governments will not be able to get financial aid from the central government if they insist on using the provincial Tongyong Pinyin system for all new street signs, documents, tourist maps, and other things related to Chinese romanization.
  5. ^ "NOTICE TO READERS". Taipei Times. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2019. To reflect general acceptance of the Tongyong Pinyin system by local governments, from today, Taipei Times will adopt this as the default Romanization system for place names in Taiwan. Exceptions apply for Taipei City, for which the Hanyu Pinyin system applies; city and county names whose traditional spelling has been retained (e.g., Kaohsiung, Keelung, Hsinchu); and localities with commonly accepted variations (e.g. Tamsui).
  6. ^ Liu Chien-kuo; Chen Ting-fei; Kuan Bi-ling; Cheng Pao-chin (18 January 2017). "Language: A tool for messages or identity". Taipei Times. Retrieved 29 July 2019. Since Taiwan's Tongyong pinyin is closer to how English is actually pronounced and spoken around the world, – it uses "si" instead of "xi" – the new MRT line should use Tongyong pinyin. Kaohsiung's MRT has used Tongyong pinyin for many years, yet foreign visitors and residents have no problem navigating the system.
  7. ^ 劉婉君 (15 October 2018). 路牌改通用拼音? 南市府:已採用多年. Liberty Times (in Chinese (Taiwan)). Retrieved 28 July 2019. 基進黨台南市東區市議員參選人李宗霖今天指出,台南市路名牌拼音未統一、音譯錯誤等,建議統一採用通用拼音。對此,台南市政府交通局回應,南市已實施通用拼音多年,將全面檢視路名牌,依現行音譯方式進行校對改善。
  8. ^ Eryk Smith (27 November 2017). "OPINION: Hanyu Pinyin Should Not Be Political, Kaohsiung". Retrieved 13 July 2019. why does Kaohsiung City insist on making visitors guess what 'Shihcyuan' is supposed to represent? Especially when a few blocks away, the same road has somehow morphed into 'Shiquan' (十全路) Road? Move away from Kaohsiung's city center and streets, neighborhoods or townships can have several romanized names ... sometimes on the same signage.{...}The refusal to adopt Hanyu in Kaohsiung seems based on nothing more than groundless fear of loss of identity or diminished regional autonomy. Listen, Kaohsiung: we won't lose our identity or our freedom by changing the romanized spelling of Singjhong Road (興中)to Xingzhong.
  9. ^ "Administrative Districts". Kaohsiung City Government. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2019. Taoyuan District Maolin District Namasia District Jiasian District Liouguei District Shanlin District Meinong District Neimen District Cishan District Dashu District Daliao District Zihguan District Linyuan District Tianliao District Yanchao District Dashe District Renwu District Siaogang District Fongshan District Mituo District Alian District Gangshan District Niaosong District Ciaotou District Nanzih District Zuoying District Gushan District Sanmin District Sinsing District Cianjin District YanCheng District Lingya District Cijin District Cianjhen District Hunei District Lujhu District Cheting District Yongan District
  10. ^ "District Office". Tainan City Government Global Website. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2019. Eastern District Office North District Office West Central District Office South District Office Anping District Office Annan District Office Sinying District Office Yanshuei District Office Baihe District Office Liouying District Office Houbi District Office Dongshan District Office Madou District Office Xiaying District Office Lioujia District Office Guantian District Office Danei District Office Jiali District Office Syuejia District Office Sigang District Office Cigu District Office Jiangjyun District Office Beimen District Office Sinhua District Office Shanhua District Office Sinshih District Office Shanshang District Office Yujing District Office Nansi District Office Nanhua District Office Zuojhen District Office Rende District Office Gueiren District Office Guanmiao District Office Longci District Office Yong Kang District Office Anding District Office
  11. ^ 喻文玟 (15 June 2019). 漢語拼音vs.通用拼音 中市捷運、街道不同調. 聯合新聞網 (in Chinese (Taiwan)). Retrieved 28 July 2019. 台中捷運綠線明年底通車,目前18站有命名爭議,捷運迷也發現,車站名稱的英文拼音「一市兩制」,台中的道路採「漢語拼音」,捷運站是用「通用拼音」,以主要幹道文心路為例,路牌是漢語拼音「wenxin」;捷運站是通用拼音「wunsin」。
  12. ^ a b Ching-Tse Cheng (25 August 2020). "Station names of central Taiwan Metro pass preliminary review". Taiwan News. Retrieved 31 August 2020. The Taichung City Council on Monday (Aug. 24) gave initial approval to station names on the Taichung Mass Rapid Transit's (TMRT) green line, which is set to begin operation by the end of this year.
    After a preliminary inspection of the 16.71-km line Monday, the city council gave a nod to the 18 station names on the green line. The English station names were converted using Tongyong pinyin (通用拼音) while four of the stations will also have alternate names, according to CNA.
  13. ^ "Village, Township and City offices". 雲林縣政府 YUNLIN COUNTY GOVERNMENT. 24 September 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2020. Title PostDate Shueilin Township{...}Linnei Township{...}Kouhu Township{...}Cihtong Township{...}Sihhu Township{...}Dapi Township{...}Yuanchang Township{...}Gukeng Township{...}Taisi Township{...}Beigang Township{...}Baojhong Township{...}Tuku Township{...}Dongshih Township{...}Siluo Township{...}Mailiao Township{...}Huwei Township{...}Lunbei Township{...}Dounan Township{...}Erlun Township{...}Douliou City{...}
  14. ^ "Information". Zhongshan District Office, Keelung City. Retrieved 28 September 2019. Wunhua Rd. Fusing Rd. Fusing Rd.
  15. ^ "bg01". 基隆市信義區公所 (in Chinese (Taiwan) and English). Retrieved 28 September 2019. 基隆市信義區公所 Keelung City Sinyi District Office
  16. ^ "Introduction". Sinyi District Household Registration Office, Keelung. Retrieved 28 September 2019. Subordinated to Keelung City Government, Sinyi District Household Registration Office is located in the center of Keelung City. The current district area is 10.670 sq. km., including 20 villages and 412 neighborhoods in total. Since many government institutions are here and a large proportion of the residents are government officials, Sinyi District is also called ¡§educational and cultural district.¡¨ It is adjacent to Jhongjheng District in the east and north, Renai District in the south, Rueifang District, New Taipei City in the South-east.
  17. ^ "History". Cijin District Office,Kaohsiung City. Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 13 July 2019. Cijin district
  18. ^ Hsu Wen-lian (19 July 2002). "Rush to Tongyong Pinyin reckless". Taipei Times. p. 8.
  19. ^ Lin Mei-chun (17 July 2002). "Minister to play down Tongyong controversy". Taipei Times. p. 3.
  20. ^ "Hanyu, Tongyong: survival of the fittest?". The China Post. 2 January 2007.
  21. ^ "Taiwan to standardize English spellings of place names". International Herald Tribune. 27 October 2007.
  22. ^ Ko Shu-ling (5 October 2002). "Tide of Romanization could shift". Taipei Times. p. 2.
  23. ^ Huang, Sandy (3 August 2002). "Ma remains Tongyong Pinyin holdout". Taipei Times. p. 2. Despite the central government's decision to make Tongyong Pinyin the official system for the Roman-ization of street signs, Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday remained firm in his stand that the Taipei City Government would continue using Hanyu Pinyin as its Romanization standard.
  24. ^ Martin Boyle (22 January 2017). "Pinyin and a Taiwanese identity". Retrieved 14 July 2019. Taiwan has held on to traditional characters and bopomofo, resolutely resisted simplified characters, mostly retained Wade–Giles and Yale for personal, political and geographical names in Taiwan, but grudgingly accepted the linguistic arguments for Hanyu pinyin signage in public spaces.
  25. ^ Swofford, Mark (2 October 2006). "MOE approves Taiwanese romanization; Tongyongists protest". Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  26. ^ Tsai, Chih-Hao (1 July 2004). "Similarities Between Tongyong Pinyin and Hanyu Pinyin: Comparisons at the Syllable and Word Levels". Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  27. ^ Hong, Charles (15 November 2004). "Promote Tongyong Pinyin". Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  28. ^ Hwang Hsuan-fan; Chiang Wen-yu; Lo Seo-gim; Cheng Liang-wei (9 January 2000). "Romanization must strike a balance". Archived from the original on 22 November 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  29. ^ Te Khai-su (21 January 2017). "Letter: Phoney pinyin war". Taipei Times. Archived from the original on 27 October 2017.
  30. ^ "Tongyong Pinyin romanization system for Mandarin Chinese". Retrieved 13 July 2019.