Spelling refinements

Neutral tone (chingsheng)
The neutral tone is indicated by preceding the unstressed syllable with a period (full stop): eg ge.ge, dih.dih. As the second example shows, the original tone is usually indicated. Not all writers mark all cases of chingsheng, however; and some mark hardly any.

Abbreviations for common morphemes
Certain very common syllables are usually abbreviated—though not all GR writers follow this convention either. The main abbreviations are: g[ge], -j[-zhe], nemm[na4me], sh[shi4], sherm[shen2me], tzeem[zen3me], tzemm[zhe4me], -tz[-zi].

Erlhuah (Er2hua4/"rhotacization")
The rules for indicating the -r colouring of a syllable (particularly common in the Peking dialect) are somewhat complex. The general rule is to add -l (since -r itself is used to indicate Tone 2), while possibly modifying the spelling in other ways (including dropping final -n) to approximate the actual pronunciation. Some typical examples are: jell[zher4], shell[shir4] (in these two words the ending must be written -ll to show that they are in Tone 4, jiel[jir1, jinr1] and liengl[lingr2]. For a more exhaustive account, see D P Branner's website.

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