Romanization of Wu Chinese

Wu Chinese has three major schools of romanization.

The most popular school, Common Wu Pinyin (通用吴语拼音), was developed by amateur language clubs and local learners. There are two competing schemes; both adhere to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and are very similar to each other. The initial scheme was "Wu Chinese Society pinyin" (吴语协会拼音, developed around 2005)[1] and it formed the basis of "Wugniu pinyin" (吴语学堂拼音, around 2016).[2] Either of them is the default romanization scheme in most learning materials.

The second school is the Latin Phonetic Method (吴语拉丁式注音法, French-Wu or Fawu [法吴]). Its use is in decline. It utilizes the similarities between French and Wu phonetics and thus adheres to both IPA and French orthography. It was developed in 2003 by a Shanghai-born surgeon based in Lyon, France.[3][4]

The final, and least used school, adheres to Mandarin-Putonghua pinyin as sanctioned by the State Council. It is the only school developed by professional linguists, mostly working in state-administered universities. While more than 20 competing schemes within this school have been published since the 1980s, the most notable one is the Shanghainese Pinyin (上海话拼音方案, often shortened to Qian's Pin [钱拼]), developed by Qian Nairong in 2006.[5]

Comparison chartEdit


All examples are given in Shanghainese

IPA Romanization schemes Characters
Wu Chinese Society Wugniu French-Wu Qian's Pinyin
p p p p b 巴百
ph ph ph p 怕捧
b b b b bh 旁别
m m m m mh 没母
ˀm 'm m mh m 闷美
'm m m m 姆亩
f f f f f 夫反
v v v v fh 佛犯
ˀv v v vh v [6]
t t t t d 多德
th th th t 体通
d d d d dh 地同
n n n n nh, -n 纳努
ˀn 'n n nh ng 囡呢
ȵ[7] ny gn gn nh 尼女
ˀȵ[7] 'ny gn kn n 研妞
ng n n n
l l l l lh 勒路
ˀl 'l l lh l 拎了
ts ts ts tz z 子张
tsʰ tsh tsh ts c 超参
s s s s s 书三
z z z z sh 传食
c c c j 居尖
tɕʰ ch ch ch q 曲青
j j dj jh 求极
ɕ sh sh x x 需血
ʑ z zh j xh 谢墙
k k k k g 工各
kh kh kh k 苦客
ɡ g g g gh 共搞
ŋ ng ng ng nhg-, -ng 鹅牙
ˀŋ ng ng nk ng 我砑
ŋ̍ ng ng ng ng 五鱼
ɦ gh gh r hh 红合
ɻ r er -l -r (er) 而尔
ʔ '- -q -q -k


IPA† Romanization schemes Characters
Wu Chinese Society Wugniu French-Wu Qian's Pinyin
i i i 西谢
ɿ[7] y y 资处
u u u 多坏
y iu (y)u[8] 须卷
a a a 拉写
o o o 沙画
e e e 海难
ɔ au ao 少表
ɤ eu ou 头流
ø oe oe 看完
ə e e 登而
ã an an 长横
ɑ̃ aon ang 刚光
Vowels with glottal stops
ɐʔ aq ak 白脚
əʔ eq ek 合活
oq ok 角肉
iɪʔ iq ik 笔吃
yɪʔ iuq yuik 血月


  1. ^ "吴语通用拼音教程: 学习吴语自己的拼音". 吴语公众号. 26 April 2020. Archived from the original on 7 August 2021.
  2. ^ "吴语学堂,重新出发". 吴语学堂. 18 March 2018. Archived from the original on 7 August 2021 – via Zhihu.
  3. ^ 唐骋华; 孔亮 (19 August 2007). "都市年轻人为传承上海方言走到一起". Youth Daily [青年报] (in Chinese). Shanghai. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013.
  4. ^ "吳語拼音草案" (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 4 March 2010.
  5. ^ Qian, Nairong (6 December 2006). "首届国际上海方言学术研讨会审定上海话拼音方案". 北大中文论坛 (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 16 February 2021.
  6. ^ 出现在三个或以上音节的语音词的第一个音节。
  7. ^ a b c [ɿ ᴀ ᴇ ȵ] are IPA used exclusively among Sinologists-linguists, not accepted by the general IPA community.
  8. ^ yu开头的韵母与除nl外的声母相拼时省去y, 如qyuoe(“券”)写作quoe