GR Junction

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Contents of this page

What is GR?
The purpose of GR Junction
Learn GR on the Web
GR Dictionary
Yuen Ren Chao in Wonderland
GR-aware Software
GR photographs
Other links

What is GR?

Gwoyeu Romatzyh (or GR for short) is a system of romanization for Mandarin Chinese. In other words it is, like Pinyin, a method of transcribing Chinese sounds in the Latin alphabet.

The most significant feature distinguishing it from Pinyin, Wade, Yale and other romanization schemes is its "tonal spelling". In GR the tone of a syllable is indicated by the spelling of the syllable, whereas other systems generally represent the various tones with diacritic marks or with the numerals 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

For example, in GR, we have shau "to burn", shao "few, little", and shaw "youthful". These three syllables are all spelled "shao" in Pinyin ("PY"), and the different tones (1st, 3rd and 4th respectively) are indicated by means of a diacritic mark placed over the word, as shown below.


GR is also known as

  • Gwoyeu Romatzyh
  • Gwoyeu Luomaatzyh
  • (Chinese) National (Language) Romanization
  • Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II (1928)
  • National Phonetic Alphabet II
and is written in Chinese thus:

The purpose of GR Junction

GR Junction offers information and resources for people who want to use GR as a tool for learning Mandarin Chinese. I hope you find something useful here. From time to time, I will add further content.

Learn GR on the Web

A Guide to Gwoyeu Romatzyh Tonal Spelling of Chinese
This is an article by David Prager Branner which outlines the origins of, and rationale for GR. It also describes how to determine the GR spelling of a syllable written in Pinyin, in terms of a set of nine rules, giving examples of the application of each rule.

How to read GR
This webpage, written by Nigel Greenwood, explains the rules of GR spelling, and includes a "Tone key" in the form of a chart to which you can refer while reading a GR text. An example GR text is provided, and coloured letters are used to help the learner identify which spelling rule is applicable in each syllable.

How to write GR
What is the 3rd tone form of jiau (Pinyin "jiao1")? Do you double a vowel? (jiaau?) Change the i to e? (jeau?) Change the u to o? (jiao?) It's harder to write GR than to simply recognise jeau as the 3rd tone form of jiau. Nigel Greenwood has some tips for writing GR at this webpage, which complements his "How to read GR" page.

GR Dictionary

I have produced a GR version of the public domain Chinese-English dictionary known as CEDICT, which uses GR for romanization instead of Pinyin. It is based on the version of CEDICT that was released on 1st Sept 2000, and is ordered alphabetically by GR. About 90% of it was produced automatically from the standard Pinyin version of CEDICT by a Pinyin-to-GR converter, and the remaining 10% of potentially problematic entries were edited manually by me. At present, the GR version of CEDICT is only available in Big5 encoding.

To download the GR version of CEDICT, click here. THIS SITE

To visit the CEDICT website, click here.

Yuen Ren Chao in Wonderland

Translations of Lewis Carroll into Chinese by Yuen Ren Chao, with John Tenniel's illustrations. To go there, click here. THIS SITE

GR-aware Software

  • CEL (Chinese-English Lookup) is a Chinese-English dictionary search utility that is designed to help Chinese language learners to read Chinese electronic texts in other applications such as Web browsers and word processors. It can display dictionary entries using either GR or Pinyin. CEL is freeware for Windows. To see the CEL webpage click here. THIS SITE

  • PG is a DOS utility, written by Benjamin Ao, which can convert Pinyin to GR and vice versa. PG is free for personal and educational use. To read the PG's ReadMe file, click here. To download PG.ZIP, which contains the program PG.EXE and the ReadMe file, click here.

  • CquickTrans is a shareware program for Windows which provides a full-featured interface to the CEDICT Chinese-English dictionary. It also gives information on individual characters (giving readings in both Pinyin and GR), can print study charts, and more. A demo version with some features disabled is distributed freely. To see the CquickTrans webpage, click here.

  • GRIME is a "quick and dirty" prototype for a GR IME (Input Method Editor). Type in GR and see it converted to hanntzyh. To check it out, click_here. THIS SITE

A GR hotel ...

... and a GR bus

Other links

History and Prospect of Chinese Romanization (by Benjamin Ao)

Letter to the editor of the Taipei Times from Benjamin Ao, published on 13 Jan 2000, about the romanization system to be adopted by the ROC government (2nd letter on the page)

A Sample in Good Old Gwoyeu Romatzyh: Some thoughts about GR; and a sample of the work of poet and Sung dynasty official Su Shih (Tung-P'o) displayed in characters and GR (in parallel).

Marjorie Chan's romanization links

Nigel Greenwood's MS-Word macros for converting GR to Pinyin

Erik Peterson's romanization converter: Click on "Pinyin Converter" in the sidebar (under "Learn Chinese"). Handles GR, Pinyin and other systems.

A table for converting Pinyin to GR, listing some 1250 syllables THIS SITE

A table for converting GR to Pinyin, listing some 1250 syllables THIS SITE

Tables for converting initials and finals separately (GR to Pinyin and vice versa) THIS SITE


I welcome e-mail from visitors to this webpage. Write to me (Richard Warmington) at the following address:

richwarm AT (but replace AT with @)

GR Junction Updates

If you would like to receive e-mail about updates to GR Junction (no more than a few times a year) send me a message with a blank Body and "GR subscribe" as the Subject (or "GR unsubscribe" if you don't want to get them any more).