Chinese Zhuyin


The Lamb Who Came for Dinner by Steve Smallman in Chinese on Google Play

Last week, when I browsed for Chinese children’s books at Kinokuniya Bookstore, I remember that there were picture books which showed little letters right at the side of Chinese characters, something like Japanese furigana (hiragana letters written near kanji to show pronunciation). When I browsed for Chinese children’s books on Google Play, I noticed those little letters again.

From the internet, I learn that they are indeed there to show pronunciation of Chinese characters, they’re called 注音符号 (zhùyīn fúhào, or Chinese zhuyin, or bopomofo), used only in Taiwan which uses traditional Chinese characters. Simplified Chinese uses pinyin (alphabets/romanization) to show pronunciation.

So now I know that ‘zhuyin’ is a sign that the book uses traditional Chinese, not simplified one. Should I avoid books with ‘zhuyin’ because I’m learning simplified Chinese? But I think traditional Chinese looks more similar to Japanese kanji than simplified Chinese so actually I don’t mind learning it along simplified Chinese. ###


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