Pinyin

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Hanyu Pinyin Romanization, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

The pinyin system was developed in the 1950s by many linguists, including Zhou Youguang, based on earlier form romanizations of Chinese. It was published by the Chinese government in 1958 and revised several times. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) adopted pinyin as an international standard in 1982, followed by the United Nations in 1986. The system was adopted as the official standard in Taiwan in 2009, where it is used for international events rather than for educational or computer-input purposes. But "some cities, businesses, and organizations, notably in the south of Taiwan, did not accept this", so it remains one of several rival romanization systems in use.

The word Hànyǔ (simplified Chinese: 汉语; traditional Chinese: 漢語) means "The spoken language of the Han people." Pīnyīn (拼音) literally means "spelled sounds".

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