Walter Henry Medhurst
John Van Nest Talmage
since the 1830s
Taiwanese Romanization System
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Pe̍h-ōe-jī (pronounced [peʔ˩ ue˩
dzi˨] ( listen), abbreviated POJ, literally vernacular
writing, also known as Church Romanization) is an orthography used to
write variants of
Southern Min Chinese, particularly Taiwanese
Southern Min and Amoy Hokkien. Developed by Western missionaries
working among the Chinese diaspora in
Southeast Asia in the 19th
century and refined by missionaries working in
Xiamen and Tainan, it
uses a modified
Latin alphabet and some diacritics to represent the
spoken language. After initial success in Fujian, POJ became most
Taiwan and, in the mid-20th century, there were over
100,000 people literate in POJ. A large amount of printed material,
religious and secular, has been produced in the script, including
Taiwan's first newspaper, the
Taiwan Church News.
Taiwan under Japanese rule (1895–1945), the use of
Pe̍h-ōe-jī was suppressed and it faced further countermeasures
Kuomintang martial law period (1947–1987). In Fujian, use
declined after the establishment of the People's Republic of China
(1949) and in the early 21st century the system was not in general use
there. Taiwanese Christians, non-native learners of Southern Min, and
native-speaker enthusiasts in
Taiwan are among those that continue to
use Pe̍h-ōe-jī. Full native computer support was developed in 2004,
and users can now call on fonts, input methods, and extensive online
dictionaries. Rival writing systems have evolved, and there is ongoing
debate within the Taiwanese mother tongue movement as to which system
should be used. Versions of pe̍h-ōe-jī have been devised for other
Chinese varieties, including Hakka and Teochew Southern Min.
2.1 Early development
2.3 After World War II
3 Current system
3.1 Tone markings
3.3 Audio examples
3.4 Regional differences
6 Han-Romanization mixed script
7 Adaptations for other Chinese varieties
8 Current status
10 External links
Poe平 ho入 zî平
baahk wá jih
baak6 wa2 zi6
The name pe̍h-ōe-jī (Chinese: 白話字; pinyin: Báihuà zì)
means "vernacular writing", written characters representing everyday
spoken language. The name vernacular writing could be applied to
many kinds of writing, romanized and character-based, but the term
pe̍h-ōe-jī is commonly restricted to the
Southern Min romanization
system developed by
Presbyterian missionaries in the 19th century.
The missionaries who invented and refined the system used, instead of
the name pe̍h-ōe-jī, various other terms, such as "Romanized Amoy
Vernacular" and "Romanized Amoy Colloquial." The origins of the
system and its extensive use in the
Christian community have led to it
being known by some modern writers as "Church Romanization"
(教會羅馬字; Jiàohuì Luōmǎzì; Kàu-hōe Lô-má-jī) and is
often abbreviated in POJ itself to Kàu-lô. (教羅; Jiàoluō)
There is some debate on whether "pe̍h-ōe-jī" or "Church
Romanization" is the more appropriate name.
Objections to "pe̍h-ōe-jī" are that it can refer to more than one
system and that both literary and colloquial register Southern Min
appear in the system and so describing it as "vernacular" writing
might be inaccurate. Objections to "Church Romanization" are that
some non-Christians and some secular writing use it. One
commentator observes that POJ "today is largely disassociated from its
former religious purposes." The term "romanization" is also
disliked by some, who see it as belittling the status of pe̍h-ōe-jī
by identifying it as a supplementary phonetic system instead of a
fully-fledged orthography. Sources disagree on which of the two is
more commonly used.
Pe̍h-ōe-jī inscription at a church in
commemorating Thomas Barclay
The history of Peh-oe-ji has been heavily influenced by official
attitudes towards the
Southern Min vernaculars and the Christian
organizations that propagated it. Early documents point to the purpose
of the creation of POJ as being pedagogical in nature, closely allied
The first people to use a romanized script to write
Southern Min were
Spanish missionaries in
Manila in the 16th century. However, it was
used mainly as a teaching aid for Spanish learners of Southern Min,
and seems not to have had any influence on the development of
pe̍h-ōe-jī. In the early 19th century,
China was closed to
Christian missionaries, who instead proselytized to overseas Chinese
communities in South East Asia. The earliest origins of the system
are found in a small vocabulary first printed in 1820 by Walter Henry
Medhurst, who went on to publish the Dictionary of the
Hok-këèn Dialect of the Chinese Language, According to the Reading
and Colloquial Idioms in 1832.
This dictionary represents the first major reference work in POJ,
although the romanization within was quite different from the modern
system, and has been dubbed Early Church Romanization by one scholar
of the subject. Medhurst, who was stationed in Malacca, was
influenced by Robert Morrison's romanization of Mandarin Chinese, but
had to innovate in several areas to reflect major differences between
Mandarin and Southern Min. Several important developments occurred
in Medhurst's work, especially the application of consistent tone
markings (influenced by contemporary linguistic studies of Sanskrit,
which was becoming of more mainstream interest to Western
scholars). Medhurst was convinced that accurate representation and
reproduction of the tonal structure of
Southern Min was vital to
Respecting these tones of the Chinese language, some difference of
opinion has been obtained, and while some have considered them of
first importance, others have paid them little or no intention. The
author inclines decidedly to the former opinion; having found, from
uniform experience, that without strict attention to tones, it is
impossible for a person to make himself understood in Hok-këèn.
— W. H. Medhurst
Frontispiece of Doty's Anglo Chinese Manual of the Amoy Dialect (1853)
The system expounded by Medhurst influenced later dictionary compilers
with regard to tonal notation and initials, but both his complicated
vowel system and his emphasis on the literary register of Southern Min
were dropped by later writers. Following on from Medhurst's
Samuel Wells Williams
Samuel Wells Williams became the chief proponent of major
changes in the orthography devised by Morrison and adapted by
Medhurst. Through personal communication and letters and articles
printed in The Chinese Repository a consensus was arrived at for the
new version of POJ, although Williams' suggestions were largely not
The first major work to represent this new orthography was Elihu
Doty's Anglo-Chinese Manual with Romanized Colloquial in the Amoy
Dialect, published in 1853. The manual can therefore be regarded
as the first presentation of a pre-modern POJ, a significant step
onwards from Medhurst's orthography and different from today's system
in only a few details. From this point on various authors adjusted
some of the consonants and vowels, but the system of tone marks from
Doty's Manual survives intact in modern POJ. John Van Nest Talmage
has traditionally been regarded as the founder of POJ among the
community which uses the orthography, although it now seems that he
was an early promoter of the system, rather than its inventor.
In 1842 the
Treaty of Nanking
Treaty of Nanking was concluded, which included among its
provisions the creation of treaty ports in which Christian
missionaries would be free to preach.
Xiamen (then known as Amoy)
was one of these treaty ports, and British, Canadian and American
missionaries moved in to start preaching to the local inhabitants.
These missionaries, housed in the cantonment of Gulangyu, created
reference works and religious tracts, including a bible
translation. Naturally, they based the pronunciation of their
romanization on the speech of Xiamen, which became the de facto
standard when they eventually moved into other areas of the Hokkien
Sprachraum, most notably Taiwan. The 1858 Treaty of Tianjin
Taiwan to western missionaries, and missionary
societies were quick to send men to work in the field, usually after a
Xiamen to acquire the rudiments of the language.
Khó-sioh lín pún-kok ê jī chin oh, chió chió lâng khòaⁿ ē
hiáu-tit. Só͘-í góan ū siat pa̍t-mih ê hoat-tō͘, ēng
pe̍h-ōe-jī lâi ìn-chheh, hō͘ lín chèng-lâng khòaⁿ khah
khòai bat... Lâng m̄-thang phah-sǹg in-ūi i bat Khóng-chú-jī
só͘-í m̄-bián o̍h chit-hō ê jī; iā m̄-thang khòaⁿ-khin
i, kóng sī gín-á só͘-tha̍k--ê. Because the characters in your
country are so difficult only a few people are literate. Therefore we
have striven to print books in pe̍h-ōe-jī to help you to read...
don't think that if you know
Chinese characters you needn't learn this
script, nor should you regard it as a childish thing.
Thomas Barclay, Tâi-oân-hú-siâⁿ Kàu-hōe-pò, Issue 1
Zhangzhou are two major varieties of Southern Min, and in
Xiamen they combined to form something "not Quan, not Zhang" – i.e.
not one or the other, but rather a fusion, which became known as Amoy
Dialect or Amoy Chinese. In Taiwan, with its mixture of migrants
from both Quanzhou and Zhangzhou, the linguistic situation was
similar; although the resulting blend in the southern city of Tainan
differed from the
Xiamen blend, it was close enough that the
missionaries could ignore the differences and import their system
The fact that religious tracts, dictionaries, and teaching guides
already existed in the
Xiamen tongue meant that the missionaries in
Taiwan could begin proselytizing immediately, without the intervening
time needed to write those materials.
Missionary opinion was
divided on whether POJ was desirable as an end in itself as a
full-fledged orthography, or as a means to literacy in Chinese
characters. William Campbell described POJ as a step on the road to
reading and writing the characters, claiming that to promote it as an
independent writing system would inflame nationalist passions in
China, where characters were considered a sacred part of Chinese
culture. Taking the other side, Thomas Barclay believed that
literacy in POJ should be a goal rather than a waypoint:
Soon after my arrival in Formosa I became firmly convinced of three
things, and more than fifty years experience has strengthened my
conviction. The first was that if you are to have a healthy, living
Church it is necessary that all the members, men and women, read the
Scriptures for themselves; second, that this end can never be attained
by the use of the Chinese character; third, that it can be attained by
the use of the alphabetic script, this Romanised Vernacular.
— Thomas Barclay
A great boon to the promotion of POJ in
Taiwan came in 1880 when James
Laidlaw Maxwell, a medical missionary based in Tainan, donated a small
printing press to the local church, which Thomas Barclay learned
how to operate in 1881 before founding the
Presbyterian Church Press
in 1884. Subsequently, the
Taiwan Prefectural City Church News, which
first appeared in 1885 and was produced by Barclay's Presbyterian
Taiwan Press, became the first printed newspaper in
As other authors made their own alterations to the conventions laid
down by Medhurst and Doty, pe̍h-ōe-jī evolved and eventually
settled into its current form. Ernest Tipson's 1934 pocket dictionary
was the first reference work to reflect this modern spelling.
Between Medhurst's dictionary of 1832 and the standardization of POJ
in Tipson's time, there were a number of works published, which can be
used to chart the change over time of pe̍h-ōe-jī:
Evolution of pe̍h-ōe-jī, 1832–1934
pe̍h-ōe-jī spellings comparison
Van Nest Talmage
Warnshuis & de Pree
Taiwanese kana used as ruby characters
Competition for POJ was introduced during the Japanese era in Taiwan
(1895–1945) in the form of Taiwanese kana, a system designed as a
teaching aid and pronunciation guide, rather than an independent
orthography like POJ. From the 1930s onwards, with the increasing
militarization of Japan and the Kōminka movement encouraging
Taiwanese people to "Japanize", there were a raft of measures taken
against native languages, including Taiwanese. While these moves
resulted in a suppression of POJ, they were "a logical consequence of
increasing the amount of education in Japanese, rather than an
explicit attempt to ban a particular Taiwanese orthography in favor of
Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War beginning in 1937 brought stricter
measures into force, and along with the outlawing of romanized
Taiwanese, various publications were prohibited and Confucian-style
shobō (Chinese: 書房; pinyin: shūfáng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: su-pâng)
– private schools which taught
Classical Chinese with literary
Southern Min pronunciation – were closed down in 1939. The
Japanese authorities came to perceive POJ as an obstacle to
Japanization and also suspected that POJ was being used to hide
"concealed codes and secret revolutionary messages". In the
climate of the ongoing war the government banned the
News in 1942 as it was written in POJ.
After World War II
A decree (1955) banning Pe̍h-ōe-jī.
Kuomintang government in
Taiwan had a liberal attitude
towards "local dialects" (i.e. non-Mandarin varieties of Chinese). The
National Languages Committee
National Languages Committee produced booklets outlining versions of
Bopomofo for writing the Taiwanese tongue, these being intended for
newly arrived government officials from outside
Taiwan as well as
local Taiwanese. The first government action against native
languages came in 1953, when the use of Taiwanese or Japanese for
instruction was forbidden. The next move to suppress the movement
came in 1955, when the use of POJ for proselytizing was outlawed.
At that point in time there were 115,000 people literate in POJ in
Taiwan, Fujian, and southeast Asia.
Two years later, missionaries were banned from using romanized bibles,
and the use of "native languages" (i.e. Taiwanese Hakka, Hakka, and
the non-Sinitic Formosan languages) in church work became illegal.
The ban on POJ bibles was overturned in 1959, but churches were
"encouraged" to use character bibles instead. Government
activities against POJ intensified in the late 1960s and early 1970s,
when several publications were banned or seized in an effort to
prevent the spread of the romanization. In 1964 use of Taiwanese in
schools or official settings was forbidden, and transgression in
schools punished with beatings, fines and humiliation. The Taiwan
Church News (printed in POJ) was banned in 1969, and only allowed to
return a year later when the publishers agreed to print it in Chinese
In 1974, the
Government Information Office
Government Information Office banned A Dictionary of
Southern Min, with a government official saying: "We have no objection
to the dictionary being used by foreigners. They could use it in
mimeographed form. But we don't want it published as a book and sold
publicly because of the Romanization it contains. Chinese should not
be learning Chinese through Romanization." Also in the 1970s, a
New Testament translation known as the "Red Cover Bible"
(Âng-phoê Sèng-keng) was confiscated and banned by the Nationalist
regime. Official moves against native languages continued into the
1980s, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Interior
decided in 1984 to forbid missionaries to use "local dialects" and
romanizations in their work.
With the ending of martial law in 1987, the restrictions on "local
languages" were quietly lifted, resulting in growing interest in
Taiwanese writing during the 1990s. For the first time since the
1950s, Taiwanese language and literature was discussed and debated
openly in newspapers and journals. There was also support from the
then opposition party, the Democratic Progressive Party, for writing
in the language. From a total of 26 documented orthographies for
Taiwanese in 1987 (including defunct systems), there were a further 38
invented from 1987 to 1999, including 30 different romanizations, six
adaptations of bopomofo and two hangul-like systems. Some
commentators believe that the Kuomintang, while steering clear of
outright banning of the native language movements after the end of
martial law, took a "divide and conquer" approach by promoting
Taiwanese Language Phonetic Alphabet (TLPA), an alternative to
POJ, which was at the time the choice of the majority inside the
Native language education has remained a fiercely debated topic in
Taiwan into the 21st century and is the subject of much political
See also: Comparison of
Hokkien writing systems and Written Hokkien
The current system of pe̍h-ōe-jī has been stable since the 1930s,
with a few minor exceptions (detailed below). There is a fair
degree of similarity with the Vietnamese alphabet, including the
⟨b/p/ph⟩ distinction and the use of ⟨ơ⟩ in Vietnamese
compared with ⟨o͘⟩ in POJ. POJ uses the following letters and
Chinese phonology traditionally divides syllables in Chinese into
three parts; firstly the initial, a consonant or consonant blend which
appears at the beginning of the syllable, secondly the final,
consisting of a medial vowel (optional), a nucleus vowel, and an
optional ending; and finally the tone, which is applied to the whole
syllable. In terms of the non-tonal (i.e. phonemic) features, the
nucleus vowel is the only required part of a licit consonant in
Chinese varieties. Unlike Mandarin but like other southern
varieties of Chinese, Taiwanese has final stop consonants with no
audible release, a feature that has been preserved from Middle
Chinese. There is some debate as to whether these stops are a
tonal feature or a phonemic one, with some authorities distinguishing
between ⟨-h⟩ as a tonal feature, and ⟨-p⟩, ⟨-t⟩, and
⟨-k⟩ as phonemic features.
Southern Min dialects also have an
optional nasal property, which is written with a superscript ⟨ⁿ⟩
and usually identified as being part of the vowel.
A legitimate syllable in
Hokkien takes the form (initial) + (medial
vowel) + nucleus + (stop) + tone, where items in parenthesis indicate
The initials are:
ㄇ 毛 (mo͘ )
ㄋ 耐 (nāi)
ㄫ 雅 (ngá)
ㄅ 邊 (pian)
ㆠ 文 (bûn)
ㄉ 地 (tē)
ㄍ 求 (kiû)
ㆣ 語 (gí)
ㄆ 波 (pho)
ㄊ 他 (thaⁿ)
ㄎ 去 (khì)
ㄗ 曾 (chan)
ㆡ 熱 (joa̍h)
ㄐ 尖 (chiam)
ㆢ 入 (ji̍p)
ㄘ 出 (chhut)
ㄑ 手 (chhiú)
ㄙ 衫 (saⁿ)
ㄒ 寫 (siá)
ㄏ 喜 (hí)
ㄌ 柳 (liú)
ㄧ 衣 (i)
ㆪ 圓 (îⁿ)
ㄨ 污 (u)
ㆫ 張 (tiuⁿ)
ㆤ 禮 (lé)
ㆥ 生 (seⁿ)
ㄜ 高 (ko)
ㆦ 烏 (o͘ )
ㆧ 翁 (oⁿ)
ㄚ 查 (cha)
ㆩ 衫 (saⁿ)
Diphthongs & Triphthongs
ㆬ 姆 (ḿ)
ㆭ 酸 (sng)
POJ has a limited amount of legitimate syllables, although sources
disagree on some particular instances of these syllables. The
following table contains all the licit spellings of POJ syllables,
based on a number of sources:
Licit POJ syllables
Sources: Campbell, Embree, Kì.
Chinese tone name
vertical line above
The five tone markings used in pe̍h-ōe-jī, representing tones 2, 3,
5, 7, and 8
In standard Amoy or
Taiwanese Hokkien there are seven distinct tones,
which by convention are numbered 1–8, with number 6 omitted (tone 6
used to be a distinct tone, but has long since merged with tone
2). Tones 1 and 4 are both represented without a diacritic, and
can be distinguished from each other by the syllable ending, which is
a vowel, ⟨-n⟩, ⟨-m⟩, or ⟨-ng⟩ for tone 1, and ⟨-h⟩,
⟨-k⟩, ⟨-p⟩, and ⟨-t⟩ for tone 4.
Southern Min dialects undergo considerable tone sandhi, i.e. changes
to the tone depending on the position of the syllable in any given
sentence or utterance. However, like pinyin for Mandarin Chinese,
POJ always marks the citation tone (i.e. the original, pre-sandhi
tone) rather than the tone which is actually spoken. This means
that when reading aloud the reader must adjust the tone markings on
the page to account for sandhi. Some textbooks for learners of
Southern Min mark both the citation tone and the sandhi tone to assist
There is some debate as to the correct placement of tone marks in the
case of diphthongs and triphthongs, particularly those which include
⟨oa⟩ and ⟨oe⟩. Most modern writers follow six rules:
If the syllable has one vowel, that vowel should be tone-marked; viz.
⟨tī⟩, ⟨láng⟩, ⟨chhu̍t⟩
If a diphthong contains ⟨i⟩ or ⟨u⟩, the tone mark goes above
the other vowel; viz. ⟨ia̍h⟩, ⟨kiò⟩, ⟨táu⟩
If a diphthong includes both ⟨i⟩ and ⟨u⟩, mark the ⟨u⟩;
viz. ⟨iû⟩, ⟨ùi⟩
If the final is made up of three or more letters, mark the second
vowel (except when rules 2 and 3 apply); viz. ⟨goán⟩, ⟨oāi⟩,
If ⟨o⟩ occurs with ⟨a⟩ or ⟨e⟩, mark the ⟨o⟩; viz.
If the syllable has no vowel, mark the nasal consonant; viz.
⟨m̄⟩, ⟨ǹg⟩, ⟨mn̂g⟩
A single hyphen is used to indicate a compound. What constitutes a
compound is controversial, with some authors equating it to a "word"
in English, and others not willing to limit it to the English concept
of a word. Examples from POJ include ⟨sì-cha̍p⟩ "forty",
⟨bé-hì-thôan⟩ "circus", and ⟨hôe-ho̍k⟩ "recover (from
illness)". The rule-based sandhi behaviour of tones in compounds has
not yet been clearly defined by linguists. A double hyphen
⟨--⟩ is used when POJ is deployed as an orthography (rather than
as a transcription system) to indicate that the following syllable
should be pronounced in the neutral tone. It also marks to the
reader that the preceding syllable does not undergo tone sandhi, as it
would were the following syllable non-neutral. Morphemes following a
double hyphen are often (but not always) grammatical function
Sian-siⁿ kóng, ha̍k-seng tiām-tiām thiaⁿ.
A teacher/master speaks, students quietly listen.
Kin-á-jit hit-ê cha-bó͘ gín-á lâi góan tau khòaⁿ góa.
Today that girl came to my house to see me.
Thài-khong pêng-iú, lín-hó. Lín chia̍h-pá--bē? Ū-êng, to̍h
lâi gún chia chē--ô͘!
Space friends, how are you? Have you eaten yet? When you have the
time, come on over to eat.
NASA Voyager Golden Record)
In addition to the standard syllables detailed above, there are
several regional variations of
Hokkien speech which can be represented
with non-standard or semi-standard spellings. In the Zhangzhou
dialect, spoken in
Zhangzhou and parts of
Taiwan close to it,
particularly the northeastern coast around Yilan City, the final
⟨ng⟩ is replaced with ⟨uiⁿ⟩, for example in "egg"
⟨nuiⁿ⟩ and "cooked rice" ⟨puiⁿ⟩. The /ε/ vowel is
written as <ε> or <e͘> (with a dot above right, by
analogy with <o͘>).
Goân-khí-thâu Siōng-tè chhòng-chō thiⁿ kap tōe. Tōe sī
khang-khang hūn-tūn; chhim-ian ê bin-chiūⁿ o͘-àm; Siōng-tè
ê Sîn ūn-tōng tī chúi-bīn. Siōng-tè kóng, Tio̍h ū kng,
chiū ū kng. Siōng-tè khòaⁿ kng, sī hó; Siōng-tè chiong kng
àm pun-khui. Siōng-tè kiò hit ê kng chòe Ji̍t, kiò àm chòe
Mî. Ū ê-hng ū chá-khí sī thâu chi̍t-ji̍t.
Due to POJ's origins in the church, much of the material in the script
is religious in nature, including several Bible translations, books of
hymns, and guides to morality. The
Tainan Church Press, established in
1884, has been printing POJ materials ever since, with periods of
quiet when POJ was suppressed in the early 1940s and from around 1955
to 1987. In the period to 1955, over 2.3 million volumes of POJ books
were printed, and one study in 2002 catalogued 840 different POJ
texts in existence. Besides a
Southern Min version of in
the orthography, there are teaching materials, religious texts,
and books about linguistics, medicine and geography.
Lán ê Kiù-chú Iâ-so͘ Ki-tok ê Sin-iok (1873 translation of the
Lāi-goā-kho Khàn-hō͘-ha̍k, by George Gushue-Taylor, 1917
Chinese–English dictionary of the vernacular or spoken language of
Amoy, by Carstairs Douglas, 1873
Lear Ông, translation of
King Lear by Tē Hūi-hun
POJ was initially not well supported by word-processing applications
due to the special diacritics needed to write it. Support has now
improved and there are now sufficient resources to both enter and
display POJ correctly. Several input methods exist to enter
Unicode-compliant POJ, including
OS X and Microsoft
Windows), the cross-platform Tai-lo Input Method released by the
Taiwanese Ministry of Education, and the
Transliterator, which allows in-browser POJ input. When POJ was
first used in word-processing applications it was not fully supported
Unicode standard, thus necessitating work-arounds. One employed
was encoding the necessary characters in the "Private Use" section of
Unicode, but this required both the writer and the reader to have the
correct custom font installed. Another solution was to replace
troublesome characters with near equivalents, for example substituting
⟨ä⟩ for ⟨ā⟩ or using a standard ⟨o⟩ followed by an
interpunct to represent ⟨o͘⟩. With the introduction into
Unicode 4.1.0 of the combining character COMBINING DOT ABOVE RIGHT
(U+0358) in 2004, all the necessary characters were present to write
regular POJ without the need for workarounds. However, even
after the addition of these characters, there are still relatively few
fonts which are able to properly render the script, including the
combining characters. Some of those which can are Charis SIL, DejaVu,
Doulos SIL, Linux Libertine, and Taigi Unicode.
Han-Romanization mixed script
翻 tńg 工，我 koh hap i tī Hotel ê 餐廳食西式 ê chái
起，我講 beh tò 去稅厝 ê 所在，i beh 送我去，我 kā
拒絕，mā 無 beh hō͘ i 知我 ê
地址、電話番，講若有緣就會 koh 再相會。I
講人海茫茫，我若無 tī hit 間跳舞、唱歌，i beh 去 toh
位 chhōe--我？「就是 án-ni m̄-chiah 講是緣」，我嘴是
án-ni 應，心肝內知影 kap i 自細漢到這時 ê
牽連、綿纏無 hiah 簡單就煞。
Sample mixed orthography text
One of the most popular modern ways of writing Taiwanese is by using a
mixed orthography called Hàn-lô (simplified Chinese: 汉罗;
traditional Chinese: 漢羅; pinyin: Hàn-Luó; literally
Chinese-Roman), and sometimes Han-Romanization mixed script, a style
not unlike written Japanese or (historically) Korean. In fact, the
term Hàn-lô does not describe one specific system, but covers any
kind of writing in
Southern Min which features both Chinese characters
and romanization. That romanization is usually POJ, although
recently some texts have begun appearing with Taiwanese Romanization
System (Tâi-lô) spellings too. The problem with using only Chinese
characters to write
Southern Min is that there are many morphemes
(estimated to be around 15 percent of running text) which are not
definitively associated with a particular character. Various
strategies have been developed to deal with the issue, including
creating new characters, allocating
Chinese characters used in written
Mandarin with similar meanings (but dissimilar etymology) to represent
the missing characters, or using romanization for the "missing
15%". There are two rationales for using mixed orthography
writing, with two different aims. The first is to allow native
speakers (almost all of whom can already write Chinese characters) to
make use of their knowledge of characters, while replacing the missing
15% with romanization. The second is to wean character literates
off using them gradually, to be replaced eventually by fully romanized
text. Examples of modern texts in Hàn-lô include religious,
pedagogical, scholarly, and literary works, such as:
Chang Yu-hong. Principles of POJ. 
Babuja A. Sidaia. A-Chhûn. 
Adaptations for other Chinese varieties
POJ has been adapted for several other varieties of Chinese, with
varying degrees of success. For Hakka, missionaries and others have
produced a Bible translation, hymn book, textbooks, and
dictionaries. Materials produced in the orthography, called
Hak-ngi Sṳn-kin, Sin-yuk lau Sṳ-phien: Hien-thoi Thoi-van Hak-ngi
Yit-pun (Hakka Bible,
New Testament and Psalms: Today's
Version). Bible Society. 1993.
Phang Tet-siu (1994). Thai-ka Loi Hok Hak-fa (Everybody Learn Hakka).
Taipei: Southern Materials Center. ISBN 957-638-017-0.
Phang Tet-siu (1996). Hak-ka-fa Fat-yim Sṳ-tien (Hakka Pronunciation
Dictionary). Taipei: Southern Materials Center.
Hak-ka Sṳn-sṳ (Hakka Hymns). Tainan: PCT Press. 1999.
A modified version of POJ has also been created for Teochew.
Some books which use pe̍h-ōe-jī, including textbooks, dictionaries,
a bible, poetry, and academic works
Southern Min speakers in
Taiwan are unfamiliar with POJ or
any other writing system, commonly asserting that "Taiwanese has
no writing", or, if they are made aware of POJ, considering
romanization as the "low" form of writing, in contrast with the "high"
form (Chinese characters). For those who are introduced to POJ
alongside Han-lo and completely Chinese character-based systems, a
clear preference has been shown for all-character systems, with
all-romanization systems at the bottom of the preference list, likely
because of the preexisting familiarity of readers with Chinese
POJ remains the Taiwanese orthography "with the richest inventory of
written work, including dictionaries, textbooks, literature [...] and
other publications in many areas". A 1999 estimate put the number
of literate POJ users at around 100,000, and secular
organizations have been formed to promote the use of romanization
among Taiwanese speakers.
Outside Taiwan, POJ is rarely used. For example, in Fujian, Xiamen
University uses a romanization known as Bbánlám pìngyīm, based on
Pinyin. In other areas where
Hokkien is spoken, such as Singapore, the
Speak Mandarin Campaign
Speak Mandarin Campaign is underway to actively discourage people from
Hokkien or other non-Mandarin varieties in favour of
switching to Mandarin instead.
In 2006, Taiwan's Ministry of Education chose an official romanization
for use in teaching
Southern Min in the state school system. POJ
was one of the candidate systems, along with Daighi tongiong pingim,
but a compromise system, the
Taiwanese Romanization System
Taiwanese Romanization System or
Tâi-Lô, was chosen in the end. Tâi-Lô retains most of the
orthographic standards of POJ, including the tone marks, while
changing the troublesome ⟨o͘⟩ character for ⟨oo⟩, swapping
⟨ts⟩ for ⟨ch⟩, and replacing ⟨o⟩ in diphthongs with
⟨u⟩. Supporters of Taiwanese writing are in general deeply
suspicious of government involvement, given the history of official
suppression of native languages, making it unclear whether Tâi-Lô
or POJ will become the dominant system in the future.
Hanyu Pinyin (ISO standard)
Latinxua Sin Wenz
Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II
Scuanxua Ladinxua Xin Wenz
Hong Kong Government
S. L. Wong (phonetic symbols)
S. L. Wong (romanization)
Taiwanese, Amoy and related
Modern Literal Taiwanese
Daighi tongiong pingim
Kienning Colloquial Romanized
Taiwanese Phonetic Symbols
Mongolian transliteration of Chinese characters
Transcription into Chinese
Romanization in Hong Kong
Romanization in Singapore
Romanization in Taiwan
^ a b c Klöter (2005), p. 90.
^ a b Klöter (2002), p. 1.
^ a b c Klöter (2005), p. 89.
^ a b c Chang (2001), p. 13.
^ a b Klöter (2005), p. 248.
^ a b c Klöter (2005), p. 92.
^ Klöter (2002), p. 2.
^ Heylen (2001), p. 139.
^ a b Heylen (2001), p. 142.
^ a b Chang (2001), p. 14.
^ Heylen (2001), p. 144.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 109.
^ Medhurst (1832), p. viii.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 110.
^ Heylen (2001), p. 145.
^ a b c Heylen (2001), p. 149.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 111.
^ Klöter (2005), pp. 111, 116.
^ a b c Klöter (2005), p. 93.
^ Ang (1992), p. 2.
^ Heylen (2001), p. 160.
^ Klöter (2002), p. 13.
^ Quoted in Band (1936), p. 67
^ a b "Our Story".
Taiwan Church News. Archived from the original on
2009-03-01. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
^ Copper (2007), p. 240.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 114.
^ Adapted from Klöter (2005), pp. 113–6
^ Medhurst (1832).
^ Doty (1853).
^ MacGowan (1869).
^ Douglas (1873).
^ Van Nest Talmage (1894).
^ Warnshuis & de Pree (1911).
^ Campbell (1913).
^ Barclay (1923).
^ Tipson (1934).
^ Klöter (2005), p. 136.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 153.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 154.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 135.
^ Lin (1999), p. 21.
^ a b c d e f Chang (2001), p. 18.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 231.
^ a b c Lin (1999), p. 1.
^ Tiuⁿ (2004), p. 7.
^ Sandel (2003), p. 533.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 217.
^ "Guide to Dialect Barred in Taiwan: Dictionary Tried to Render Local
Chinese Sounds". New York Times. September 15, 1974. sec. GN, p. 15.
Retrieved 18 December 2014. ; quoted in Lin (1999), p. 22
^ Iûⁿ (2009), p. 24.
^ Sandel (2003), p. 530.
^ Wu (2007), p. 1.
^ Wu (2007), p. 9.
^ Chiung (2005), p. 275.
^ Chang (2001), p. 19.
^ Chiung (2005), p. 273.
^ Loa Iok-sin (2009-02-28). "Activists demand Hoklo exams". Taipei
Times. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
^ "Premier's comments over language status draws anger".
2003-09-25. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 98.
^ Chang (2001), p. 15.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 99.
^ a b Chung (1996), p. 78.
^ Norman (1998), p. 237.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 14.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 15.
^ a b Ramsey (1987), p. 109.
^ Chang (2001), p. 30.
^ Chang (2001), p. 33.
^ Campbell (1913), pp. 1–4: Entries under the initial ts have
been tallied under the modern spelling of ch.
^ Embree (1973).
^ Kì (2008), pp. 4–25.
^ Maryknoll (1984), pp. 5–7.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 100.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 101.
^ a b Klöter (2005), p. 102.
^ Chang (2001), pp. 86–88.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 103.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 103–104.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 104.
^ Chang (2001), p. 134.
^ Barclay et al. (1933), p. 1.
^ Tiuⁿ (2004), p. 6.
^ Tiuⁿ (2004), p. 8.
^ Iûⁿ (2009), p. 23.
^ Iûⁿ (2009), p. 29.
^ a b c Iûⁿ (2009), p. 20.
^ Iûⁿ (2009), p. 11.
^ "Combining Diacritical Marks" (PDF). unicode.org. p. 34.
^ Sidaia (1998), p. 264.
^ a b c Klöter (2005), p. 225.
^ Ota (2005), p. 21.
^ Iûⁿ (2009), p. 10.
^ Lin (1999), p. 7.
^ Lin (1999), pp. 9–11.
^ Klöter (2005), p. 230.
^ Chang (2001).
^ Sidaia (1998).
^ Wu & Chen (2004).
^ 潮州字典-韵母表 (in Chinese). Hailufeng. Retrieved
^ Ota (2005), p. 20.
^ Baran (2004), p. 35–5.
^ Chiung (2005), p. 300.
^ Chiung (2005), p. 301.
^ Chiung (2005), p. 272.
^ Lin (1999), p. 17.
^ Chiung (2007), p. 474.
^ Wong-Anan, Nopporn (2009-09-16). "Eyeing China,
Mandarin as its future". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
^ Tseng (2009), p. 2.
Southern Min native language teaching to use
Taiwan Southern Min
Romanization) (in Chinese), Central News Agency
^ Tseng (2009), pp. 2–5.
Ang, Ui-jin (1992).
Taiwan Fangyan zhi Lü (A Journey Through
Taiwanese Regional Speech) (in Chinese). Taipei: Avanguard Publishing.
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Literature Society. OCLC 4386066.
Baran, Dominika (2004). "Taiwanese don't have written words": Language
ideologies and language practice in a Taipei County high school. 2004
International Conference on Taiwanese Romanization. 2.
Barclay, Thomas; Lun, Un-jîn; Nĝ, Má-hūi; Lu, Iok-tia (1933).
Sin-kū-iok ê Sèng-keng. OCLC 48696650.
Campbell, William (1913). A Dictionary of the Amoy Vernacular spoken
throughout the prefectures of Chin-chiu, Chiang-chiu and Formosa.
Taiwan Church Press. OCLC 867068660.
Campbell, William (2006) . A Dictionary of the Amoy Vernacular.
Tainan: PCT Press. ISBN 957-8959-92-3.
Chang, Yu-hong (2001). Principles of POJ or the Taiwanese Orthography:
An Introduction to Its Sound-Symbol Correspondences and Related
Issues. Taipei: Crane. ISBN 9789572053072.
Chiung, Wi-vun Taiffalo (2003). Learning Efficiencies for Different
Orthographies: A Comparative Study of Han Characters and Vietnamese
Romanization.' (PhD dissertation). University of Texas at
Chiung, Wi-vun Taiffalo (2005). Language, Identity and Decolonization.
Tainan: National Cheng Kung University. ISBN 9789578845855.
Chiung, Wi-vun Taiffalo (2007). Language, Literature and Reimagined
Taiwanese Nation. Tainan: National Cheng Kung University.
Chiung, Wi-vun Taiffalo (2011). Nations, Mother Tongues and Phonemic
Writing. Tainan: National Cheng Kung University.
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Southern Min in
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Taiwan (Republic of
China) (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.
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Guangzhou: Samuel Wells Williams. OCLC 20605114.
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Vernacular or Spoken Language of Amoy (1st ed.). London: Trübner.
OCLC 4820970. OL 24969218M.
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spoken language of Amoy. Shanghai: The Commercial press,
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current usage in
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Carstairs Douglas, Thomas Barclay, and Ernest Tipson. Hong Kong: Hong
Kong Language Institute. OCLC 2491446.
Heylen, Ann (2001). "Romanizing Taiwanese: Codification and
Standardization of Dictionaries in
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Wei-ying; De Ridder, Koen. Authentic Chinese Christianity, Preludes to
Its Development: Nineteenth & Twentieth Centuries. Leuven: Leuven
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客家語羅馬字文獻的版本研究 [Books Written in Hakka
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Media related to
Pe̍h-ōe-jī at Wikimedia Commons
"Tai-gu Bang". –
Google group for Taiwanese language
enthusiasts – uses POJ and Chinese characters.
Unicode Correspondence Table" (PDF). Tailingua.
2009. – information on
Unicode encodings for POJ text
"Taiwanese Romanization Association". – group dedicated to the
promotion of Taiwanese and Hakka romanization
"Open Vanilla". – open source input method for both Windows
and Mac OS X.
"Taigi-Hakka IME". – Windows-based input method for both
Hokkien and Hakka variants.
"Tai-lo Input Method" (in Chinese). – cross-platform input
method released by Taiwan's Ministry of Education.
"Transliterator". – extension for the
Firefox browser which
allows POJ input in-browser.
"Charis SIL". SIL International. – serif font in regular,
bold, italic, and bold italic.
"DejaVu". Archived from the original on 2009-12-13. –
available in serif, sans-serif, and monospace.
"Doulos SIL". SIL International. – Times New Roman-style
"Gentium". SIL International. – open source serif.
"Linux Libertine". –
GPL and OPL-licensed serif.
Linux Libertine G". –
GPL and OPL-licensed serif.
"Taigi Unicode". – serif font specifically designed for POJ.
Texts and dictionaries
Min Nan Chinese edition of, the free encyclopedia
"Taiwanese bibliography". Archived from the original on
2006-08-18. – list of books in Taiwanese, including those
written in POJ.
"Memory of Written Taiwanese". Archived from the original on
2009-11-29. – collection of Taiwanese texts in various
orthographies, including many in POJ.
"Tai-Hoa Dictionary". – dictionary which includes POJ,
Taiwanese in Chinese characters, and Mandarin characters. Some English
definitions also available.
Exhibits: Taiwanese Romanization Peh-oe-ji – sample images of
various older POJ texts.
Chinese Character to
Pe̍h-ōe-jī Online Transliterator -
Southern Min Characters and Mandarin Characters to POJ.
Kienning Colloquial Romanized
Taiwanese Romanization System
Taiwanese Language Phonetic Alphabet
Daighi tongiong pingim
Teochew Transliteration Scheme
Hainanese Transliteration Scheme
Fuzhou dialect Transliteration Scheme
Jian'ou dialect Transliteration Scheme
Qi Lin Bayin