GR spelling rules

GR spelling follows English phonetics more closely than does PY, though in many cases the two are identical. The main departures from PY for the basic (Tone 1) forms are as follows:

GR Pinyin Examples
GR Pinyin
au ao gau gao
ch(i)- q(i)- chian, chiun qian, qun
el er el, liengl [see Erlhuah] er, lingr
i- y(i)- ing, iue ying, yue
-iou -iu liou liu
-iu -ü [u umlaut] liu, jiu, iuan lü, ju, yuan
j(y) zh(i) jong, jy zhong, zhi
sh(i)- x(i)- shian, shiue xian, xue
ts c tsong cong
tz [not dz!] z tzou zou
u- w(u)- u, uen wu, wen
uei ui duei dui
uen un chuen chun
-y -i shy, jy, ry shi, zhi, ri

The following important points are immediately apparent from the table:
  1. the vowels -i and -y (as in PY qi and chi) are always distinguished in GR

  2. ch, j, sh when followed by -i- represent the palatal consonants (PY q, j, x); otherwise they represent the retroflex consonants (PY ch, zh, sh): eg chiun, shi = qun, xi, while chuen, shy = chun, shi.

  3. -iu represents the rounded front vowel ü ( u-umlaut): eg chiu, liu = qu, lü [u umlaut]; -iou is used for the diphthong spelt -iu in PY (eg chiou, liou = qiu, liu).

  4. Basic (Tone 1) GR forms begin with i- or u-, not y- or w-: this spelling is used only in tones 2, 3 and 4.

It's a fairly safe bet that any sound not mentioned in the table is written as in PY.

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