online texts in Hanyu Pinyin

Chris recently wrote and asked for a list of texts in Pinyin. This site, of course, has at least a few things in Pinyin. Unfortunately, however, they can be a bit difficult to find. So having a list is indeed a good idea.

Here are some readings in Hanyu Pinyin:

Some song lyrics

I should probably figure out a way to incorporate this into the recommended readings section. One of the problems with this site is that it has grown much, much larger than I ever expected, which has resulted in some pages not fitting well within the structure I initially established for Pinyin Info. Over the years various additional readings have been added to the site, a few of which are even in Hanyu Pinyin. But since Pinyin Info’s recommended readings section is set up for books rather than essays, songs, etc., this will involve a rethinking of that page.

I very much hope people can help expand the list by providing links to readings elsewhere in Pinyin. But before listing something in the comments, please make sure it is in real Hanyu Pinyin (e.g., with word parsing instead of bro ken syl la bles, with tone marks instead of tone numbers, and with proper capitalization and punctuation). Alas, most texts that are supposedly in Pinyin do not follow those rules.

16 thoughts on “online texts in Hanyu Pinyin

  1. How well-defined is the “proper capitalization and punctuation”? Is there an actual PRC body in charge of such recommendations? I see for example that you use title capitalization in your examples (“Hànzì Bù Tèbié Bi?oyì” instead of “Hànzì bù tèbié bi?oyì”), which I would say is typically an English-language practice.

  2. “And one song whose name and performer I can’t remember”

    How can you not know the name of that song! A KTV classic! Or is it so well known on your little island that you can use irony?

    “Duìmiàn de n?hái (kàn guòlai)” was most famously sung by Richie Rèn Xiánqí (a.k.a. Jen Hsian-Chih), but written by ? Niú (alias Tan Kheng Seong, probably Chén Qìngxiáng in Mandarin but I’m not certain).

  3. About the problem of maintaining the recommended readings section: I’m no expert, but this is a typical kind of problem driving the rise of social bookmarking sites like, for example or Hao Hao Report. There are ways to automatically incorporate data from these kinds of sites into your own website, see, for example, this help page.

    The Hao Hao Report is cool because it’s a Digg-like site where users vote on articles, and thus drive up their prominence in listings. It would be nice, as you said above, if other readers of this site could suggest readings, etc.

    I have totally given up trying to keep up with this technology, though — maybe other people have better (or more specific) suggestions.

  4. Hi, Mats.
    There are different levels of “proper” when it comes to Pinyin orthography. The basic level is covered by the official rules I linked to above (approved by the PRC gummit, FWIW), which cover basic things (e.g., sentences and proper nouns beginning with capital letters).

    However grouchy I might sound about rules, such basics are usually enough to keep me happy. I don’t expect people to know too much about the particulars of Pinyin’s orthography. After all, why should they? China certainly doesn’t teach this properly or even emphasize it in the slightest. And most Mandarin textbooks for foreigners are no better.

    So I’m not saying that everything has to be perfect. Heaven knows I can be lazy in my practices, too. Still, some things just aren’t hard, especially since the rules tend to be much the same as those for English. I’m sick of seeing, say, “wo men dou xi huan xue pu tong hua” instead of “Women dou xihuan xue Putonghua.” (Or “W?men d?u x?huan xué P?t?nghuà.“)

    If people would like to further explore the detailed rules for Pinyin orthography, they should consult two books by Yin Binyong. In English there’s Chinese Romanization: Pronunciation and Orthography (selections available on this site); in Mandarin there’s the more recent Xinhua Pinxie Cidian.

  5. Matt: Sure, I know the song. I could probably even sing most of it without the words in front of me — not that anyone would want to hear me do so in my awful voice. And, anyway, I regard KTVs as a form of torture; it’s just that most people other than me don’t recognize this and have a good time anyway.

    I just couldn’t remember the writer or whose cover of it is best known. Thanks for filling in that info!

  6. Pingback: Links 19 May 2008 - David on Formosa

  7. We are trying to figure out a way to convert a lot of our content we have licensed from what I would call the standard format (totally random) to the proper format. We work hard to ensure that anything new we add is written correctly, but we have tons of old data that would take an amazingly long time to change by hand, so we are looking for a way to do it automatically. The solution has eluded us thus far.

  8. Pingback: Pinyin news » Mandarin newspaper with Pinyin

  9. First off I want to say how much I enjoy reading your blog. Your recent rant on Ruiyan Xu was great!

    What I want to comment on here, though, is that, in my opinion, what is needed to help make Pinyin a ‘living language’ is to have plenty of living text for people to read. I’m afraid the smattering of readings you have on your site, although very helpful, just won’t make it. Huayu Xuebao is a good idea but totally useless. A blog (such as this one in Esperanto) would really be useful. Anybody up for the challenge?

Leave a Reply

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