The 3% diff pronunciations in Chinese Mandarin between Mainland and Taiwan

Given 100 questions, a Pinyin student answered all correctly, but a Zhuyin teacher might only give him a score 97% . Why ?

Mainland Common Tongue (Pǔtōnghuà 普通話) and Taiwan National Language (Guóyǔ 國語)

By “character” : 13~38% Diff

There were many essays related to the topic “Pronunciation differences in Chinese Mandarin between Mainland and Taiwan”. e.g. :

“Comparison of the Chinese pronunciations between Mainland China and Taiwan” (海峽兩岸字音比較) by Qingmei Li (李青梅), 1992

 “A Study of the Distinction of Pronunciation Standards between Taiwan and Mainland China” (兩岸語音規範標準之差異探悉) by Jihong Nan (南基弘), 2008

Most of them are based on “Diff by character” : The 3500 high frequency words specified in “List of Commonly Used Characters in Modern Chinese” (現代漢語通用字表, 1988).

Experts check the differences character by character. While a mismatched pronunciation was found, essays usually provide several example “words / vocabularies” with that character.

E.g.: 绩/績 (means “achievement”) is pronounced differently. In Mainland it is tone 4  (jì ㄐㄧ\), while in Taiwan it is tone 1 (jī ㄐㄧ). As an example, the vocabulary “成绩/成績” :

In this way, a final diff percentage was calculated, based on characters:

“13%~38%” is a large difference. It makes people feel like a student could only get a reduced score of 62%, with his 100% corret study from the other side? A little bit more than realistic.

By “vocabularies” : 3% Diff

In stead of only compare the 3500 characters, ToneOZ tried a new way : To compare all 170,000+ words / vocabularies in the dictionary. The Chinese characters are pronounced differently after they are combined into words / vocabularies, this should give us some data from a different point of view.

By “vocabularies”, there are 513 characters from around 6K words/vocabularies have been identified with different pronunciation between the Common Tongue and the National Language. It is based on a programmatically comparison and then a manual review for around 170K words/vocabularies from several word banks :

CEDICT (the largest open source Mandarin-English Dictionary)

National Language Mandarin official dictionaries “Applied Modern version Jian-Bian-Ben” (國語辭典簡編本) and “Literature version Zhong-Bian-Ben” (國語辭典重編本) by the Taiwan Ministry of Education)

“Jeiba” Chinese text segmentation database.

The diff rate is 3.88% : In all 170,580 words, there are 6,623 words are pronounced differently.

We also use word banks to filter percentages from “high frequency words” only. In Australia, there are 2 common Chinese certifications:

Chinese Proficiency Test, Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi
(漢語水平考試 , HSK)

Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language
(華語文能力測驗, TOCFL)

They are both designed for non native Chinese speakers to learn general conversations. As results:

The results filtered by HSK and TOCFL are all close to 3%, which gives us more confidence in this number. And if we filter from basic levels only, the percentage becomes around 1%(For basic conversation ability, HSK level 3 or TOCFL level 4 is required).

In conclusion : There are pronunciation differences in Chinese Mandarin between Mainland and Taiwan, but not too much, only about 3% words are pronounced differently. In general conversation the difference rate could become 1% only. You don’t have to worry too much about these differences if you are learning Chinese. provides a list for all the Chinese words with pronunciation differences, and it can also check pronunciation differences from a whole Chinese sentence.

Read More

  • 兩岸字形筆畫比對 :用思源黑體分析繁體常用4808字

    兩岸字形筆畫比對 :用思源黑體分析繁體常用4808字

    本文利用比對「思源黑體Noto Sans」的 “繁體TC” 與 “簡體SC” 版,來找出兩岸中文字形中,有多少字是電腦編碼相同但是筆畫存在差異?先講答案:繁體4808個常用字中,有「2275」個 思源黑體 字在兩岸同編碼但字形筆畫有差異 。 我們都知道中文有繁體字與簡體字,例如「聲(unicode …
  • 澳声通拼音文楷。免费、美观、可选多音字的TrueType拼音字型


    这是一款基于「FONTWORKS Klee One」以及「LXGW 霞鹜文楷」的中文字体,搭配「免费免安装」在线多音字选音工具: 多音字选音编辑器  「表意文字变体多音字选择器」的概念来自But Ko的「注音IVS字型规格」。 字型下载请点这里「澳声通拼音文楷 ]SIL Open …
  • 拼音字型「多音字自动修正工具」支持 Office可贴上内嵌拼音资讯的纯文字、金山文档可贴上输出图档。

    拼音字型「多音字自动修正工具」支持 Office可贴上内嵌拼音资讯的纯文字、金山文档可贴上输出图档。

    在线工具網址 本文介绍「自动多音字拼音校正」的「拼音字型输入工具」 , 能够将内嵌拼音资讯的纯文字(IVS字型)贴到Office,省下大量排版及破音字校正的时间。 IVS選音工具 is designed by ButKo. 特色 …
  • 拼音注音編輯器IVS字型工具,輸入瞬間即時自動修正多音字。 Office可貼上內嵌拼音資訊的純文字,Google Doc可貼上輸出圖檔。

    拼音注音編輯器IVS字型工具,輸入瞬間即時自動修正多音字。 Office可貼上內嵌拼音資訊的純文字,Google Doc可貼上輸出圖檔。

    編輯器網址 本文介紹「自動多音字拼音校正」的「拼音字型輸入工具」 , 能夠將內嵌拼音資訊的純文字(IVS字型)貼到Office,省下大量排版及破音字校正的時間。 特色 即時系統,輸入時瞬間自動多音字拼音校正。 可手動訂正拼音 相容所有軟體。Office,線上文書軟體,手機APP…全部相容 可圈選隱藏部分字詞的拼音 免費商用、支援Web Font免安裝 …
  • ピンインフォント拼音字型  多音字自動修正入力ツール。

    ピンインフォント拼音字型 多音字自動修正入力ツール。

    「Win/Mac Office」から「携帯アプリ」まで、ピンイン付ける漢字を入力 ♪~ 新しいツール「拼音IVS字型輸入工具」 を紹介します。 中国語の場合、同じ漢字でピンイン(拼音)が異なることがあります。このツールで中国語を入力したあと、多音字を自動/マニュアルで修正することができます。 ★おすすめポイント★ 入力したあと、すぐに多音字のピンインが自動的に修正されます 意味による音を修正できる …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *