Revamp Mandarin diphthongs (onset glides should be part of the onset)

The current Mandarin phonemes have a vast amount of diphthongs and triphthongs, and I think this is a bad choice, for the following reasons:

  • They aren’t consistent with Bopomofo, which separates the onset glide from the vowel. For example, ia isn’t assigned a separate Bopomofo letter, but is rather expressed as two letters, “ㄧㄚ”.

  • Theoretically, fricatives and approximants would suffer from the lack of distinction by palatalization [ʲ] or labialization [ʷ]. For example, [ɕ] and [ɕʷ] sound different, and thus should be assigned different SynthV phonemes.

  • And perhaps most importantly, this scheme of phonemes hinders the ability to synthesize languages that are not officially supported. When I synthesize Korean with SynthV, though many Korean phonemes are covered by Mandarin phonemes, it’s quite annoying to insert a separate semivowel phoneme between the onset and the vowel and adjust its length.

So here’s my suggestion. Turn the current scheme of Mandarin phonemes to legacy, and the new scheme shall be as follows:


Phoneme Examples
b ba
bI bie
bU bo
p pai
pI pie
pU po
m ma
mI mie
mU mo
f fa
fU fo
d da
dI diao
dU duan
t ta
tI tian
tU tuan
n na
nI 尿 niao
nU nuo
nY e
l la
lI liang
lU luo
lY e
g ga
gU guo
k ka
kU kua
h ha
hU hua
jI jia
jY juan
qI qian
qY quan
xI xi
xY xue
z za
zU zui
c ci
cU cui
s si
sU sui
Z zhi
ZU zhuan
C che
CU chuan
S shi
SU shui
r ri
rU ruan


Phoneme Examples
a a, 广 an, 卬 ang, 牙 ya, 洋 yang, 咓 wa, 丸 wan, 尢 wang
@ e, 恩 en, 鞥 eng, 文 wen, 瓮 weng
e 也 ye, 言 yan, 月 yue, 元 yuan
i yi, 引 yin, 英 ying
o o, 育 yo, 我 wo
u wu, 用 yong
v yu, 云 yun


Phoneme Examples
aI ai, 外 wai
aO ao, 幺 yao
eI ei, 卫 wei
oU ou, 又 you


Phoneme Examples
y ya
w wo
Y yue

Syllabic consonants:

Phoneme Examples
m= m
N= ng


Phoneme Examples
:n 广 an
N 卬 ang