Help:IPA for Cantonese

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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Cantonese Chinese pronunciations in Wikipedia articles.

See Cantonese phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Cantonese Chinese. Please note that English equivalents given in this page may only represent very approximate sounds to the original pronunciations.

IPA Yale Jyutping Chinese English approximation
f f fan
h h house
j y j you
k g-, -k scan
k can
gw[1] squeak
kʷʰ kw[2] quick
l l leaf
m m moon
m mmm
n n noon
ŋ ng song
ŋ̍ ng (syllabic ng)
p b-, -p span
p pan
s s 西 saw
t d-, -t stand
t tan
ts j z casts
tsʰ ch c cats (aspirated)
w w water
ʔ (before a, e, o) uh-oh!

All of these consonants may begin a syllable,
though some speakers do not have /n, ŋ/.[3]
In addition, /p, t, k, m, n, ŋ/ may end one.[4]

IPA Yale Jyutping Chinese English approximation
Vowels and diphthongs
aa-, a aa father (Australian English)
aːi aai time
aːu aau how
ɐ a cut
ɐi ai kite (short)
ɐu au house (short)
ei ei hey
ɛː e yes
ɛːu eu [5] roughly like yeah well
e i sick
iːu iu roughly like few
ou ou hoe (American English)
ɔː o law
ɔːy oi boy
œː eu oe roughly like fur in British English; fleuve in French
ɵ eo roughly like again, but it's rounded
ɵy eui eoi No English equivalent; like neutre in Quebec French
o u look
uːy ui roughly like phooey; almost like nouille in French
yu No English equivalent; menu in French
IPA Yale Jyutping Chinese Description
si1[6] high level: si˥˥
high falling: si˥˧
si2 mid rising: si˧˥
si si3 mid level: si˧˧
sìh si4 low falling: si˨˩
or very low: si˩˩
si̬ síh si5 low rising: si˨˧
sih si6 low level: si˨˨
bít bīt bit1 high checked: pit˥
sīt sit sit3 mid checked: sit˧
sìt siht sit6 low checked: sit˨


  1. // is often merged with /k/ before /ɔ/ in Hong Kong Cantonese.
  2. /kʷʰ/ is often merged with // before /ɔ/ in Hong Kong Cantonese.
  3. Initial /ŋ/ is not pronounced in Hong Kong Cantonese by younger speakers, leaving a glottal stop /ʔ/ before a, e, o, and initial /n/ may be replaced by /l/.
  4. Final /ŋ/ may be merged into /n/ in Hong Kong Cantonese, except after /ɪ, ʊ/. /i, u/ in diphthongs are equivalent to a final /j, w/. After rounded vowels, a i becomes /y/.
  5. /ɛːu/ is pronounced only in colloquial speech.
  6. The high level and high falling tones have merged to high level in Hong Kong Cantonese for most words.