Jyutping Basics

Jyutping is a system in which one spelling is mapped to only one pronunciation, vice versa. As a result, once having mastered Jyutping, one can pronounce any Cantonese syllable presenting in Jyutping spellings. Meanwhile, upon hearing a Cantonese syllable, one can transcribe it in Jyutping instantly.

A Cantonese syllable may be consisted of three parts – the initial, rhyme and tone. Initial is the consonant at the beginning of a syllable. The sound(s) after initials are called rhymes. Rhymes include vowels, and optional nasals or stops at the end. Cantonese use tones to distinguish lexical meanings. In the following example, a high pitch tone and a lower pitch tone mean different things.

Listen and Compare: gaa1 ‘home’ – gaa3 ‘price’

Cantonese syllable must have a rhyme and a tone, while an initial is optional.

For example:


“m” is the initial. “aak” is the rhyme. “6” is the tone.

Begin the demo (use ID: "demo")