Phonetic Annotation - Legend

Phonetic annotation is used on this website to offer an alternative description of pronunciations besides Quốc Ngữ. While learning Chữ nôm you can use this method to record the pronunciation of a character without immediately revealing it as Quốc ngữ would do. That way you can put it directly on a flash card without having to cover the pronunciation while learning it.

A brief explanation

A syllable is split into four components: initial, nucleus, final, tone. For example thuyền is split into: TH, UYÊ, N, and the huyền tone. For each component you can lookup the corresponding shape in the table below.


  • Any character can be used as an initial symbol. The character used stands for the sound that it normally has, e.g. 又 has the pronunciation hựu, therefore it stands for initial sound h
  • The initials shown here are just examples and not obligatory.
  • The finals are all numeric characters and stand for the final sound they have in Chữ hán, e.g. has the Chữ hán pronunciation tam, therefore it stands for final sound m
  • There are no symbols for the finals nh and ch. Instead you use symbols for ng and c.
  • Words ending in anh, ách or ạch are transcribed as if they were written ơng, ớc or ợc
  • The tone marks are the same as in Quốc ngữ, except that the "dot below" is written above instead
  • The little hook on some vowels denote a closed articulation (e.g. , , vs. , , )
  • The horizontal bar denotes a gliding [w] sound, as in khoa, xuân


kem e ke tam kem己㇑三

bơmbóc ơ tam bơm卜㇉三


A E Ia'㇑ O Ua Ưa Ă'㇞
Ơ Ê I'㇚ Ô U Ư'㇡ Â'㇉

Oa㇐㇞ Ue㇐㇑ Uya㇐'㇑ ㇐'㇞
㇐㇉ ㇐㇚ Uy㇐'㇚ ㇐'㇉


N千︁thiên M三︁tam Nh/Ng〇︁linh U/O九︁cửu
T一︁nhất P十︁thập C/Ch六︁lục I/Y二︁nhi


 ́sắc  ̀huyền  ̉hỏi
 ̃ngã  ̇nặng  

Hide this section Initials

Any unambiguous character can be used for initials.

The following list is just a suggestion.

- 乙︁ ắt B/P 卜︁ bóc C 己︁ kỷ Ch 匕︁ chuỷ Đ 大︁ đại D 廴︁ dẫn
Ph 乁︁ phiết Gh 几︁ ghế Gi 之︁ H 又︁ hựu Kh 厶︁ khư L 立︁ lập
M 木︁ mộc N 乃︁ nải Ng 乂︁ nghệ Nh 人︁ nhân R 了︁ riêu S 彡︁ sam
T 夕︁ tịch Th 寸︁ thốn Tr 夂︁ truy V 习︁ X 彳︁ xích