pinyinAID 近音检字法

Self-study Software for Chinese Pinyin Input Method - Free download


Many people know the Chinese characters, understand and speak Putonghua (Mandarin) but
with inexact pronunciation; and consequently very hard for them to use the Pinyin Input Method. This software arranges together the Chinese characters with similar sound, and provides linkage between them.

With a few mouse clicks it displays all similar characters and their exact pinyin; and hence helps the users to learn it. The users may also copy and paste the needed character to any documents.  There are about 3000 common-use characters.  Here we adopt the extended GB2312 Version (Guojia Biaozhen - National Standard) with 10800
characters. It includes 5600 characters common to the simplified and traditional style; and 2600 simplified characters and 2600 pure traditional characters. It should be enough for any usual applications. There are some duplicates because the same character may be pronounced differently in various situations.

Many Pinyin Input Software select only the most common pinyin of each character and ignore other pronunciation. This software can fill the gap. To find out various pinyin of the same character, just type ctrl-F or Edit/Find, then copy&paste it and search.

Initials, Finals and Tones of the Chinese Character

The pronunciation of Mandarin consists of 3 parts: Initials, Finals, and Tones. There are 24 Initials, with examples like 波bo破po摸mo佛fo. There are 33 Finals, with examples like 啊a饿e衣i污u. The 5 Tones are Flat(妈ma), Rising(麻ma), Falling-Rising(马ma), Falling(骂ma) and Neutral(吗ma). They all have the same pinyin because almost all
Pinyin Input Methods ignore the Tones. Note that the ancient "Inward Tone" does not exist in Mandarin.

Scheme for the Chinese phonetic alphabet (ISO7098) sets the standard for the Mandarin
pronunciation and it is in the school syllabus. The Scheme defines 21 Initials and 35 Finals, about one-third of which are not the same as used in the Pinyin Input Methods.

Some are not in the generally used keyboard. It may be a good idea to unify these two standards for practical purposes.

Finals Table

In the first page there is a Finals Table which shows all the 33 Finals and a few special characters. There are two groups: The 5 columns in the left hand side contains those without ending sound. The 5 columns in the right hand side have the ending sound like m,n, and ng. The very right column shows the special characters. Both groups are arranged in the order of the vowel aeiou.

We first determine which group that the required character belongs to, and click its Final. Then a page of all characters with the same Final will be displayed. Clicking the Initial will give all characters of the same Initial and Final. Alternatively the same result can be seen by moving the page up and down without the second clicking.

The characters with different Tones are separated by dots, which help the character selection. If the needed character is not there, then click another close-by Finals on the same page.

Usage Example: To search for the character 富, click its Final "u". You can see all the characters of the same Final. Again, clicking the Initial "f" will get the required character.

Another Example: To search for the character 统, click its Final "ong". You can see all the characters of the same Final. Again, clicking the Initial "t" will get the required character.

It is advisable to use the Finals Table instead of the Complete Pinyin Table. You only need to understand the concept of matching the Finals sound and memorize the Finals Table. With a couple of quick clicking you can get the character.

Complete Pinyin Table

The first page also shows a Complete Pinyin Table. It displays all combination, totally 408, of the pinyin and their representative characters. Both the Initials (rows) and Finals (columns) are arranged in alphabetical order. With this table it is possible to search the pinyin either by the Initials or by the Finals.

Click the representative character of the same Initial and Final, and move up and down the page, all the characters of similar sound will be seen. Characters with different tones are separated by dots which make it easier to select the character.

Usage Example: To search the character 富, on the line with Initial f click the character 夫 of similar sound. All characters of the same Initial and Final will be displayed. Hence you get the character 富 and its pinyin. You can use the copy&paste
method to input the character.

Another example: To get the character 统, on the line with Initial t click the character 通. All characters of the same Initial and Final will be displayed for selection.

Double Pinyin

For reference purpose the Complete Pinyin Table also shows the corresponding keyboard position for the Microsoft Double Pinyin Method, which is commonly used by the professionals. The method uses a single keystroke to type out the Initial and another keystroke to type out the Final. The technique, rules and memorizing methods will be
described in another article.

Pinyin Poem

Mandarin has 24 initials (consonants) and 33 finals (vowels). Apart from a few special characters, all the initials and finals are put into a poem according to the order of the finals. If you learn this poem and its pinyin by heart, it would be much easier to
grasp the Pinyin Input Method.

大才早乐悲 思家妙别秋
佛口污花怪 却吹说安邦
人能先想拚 英雄通换装 准


China has a unified written language but no unified speaking language. After the 1911 Revolution, the Ministry of Education appointed 400 linguists to standardize the pronunciation based on the speaking used in the inner city of Beijing. The Manchu royal families living there did not use the rolling tongue and ending tone. Therefore, the standard language replaces most of the retroflex by ch, sh, and zh initials. It also gets rid of the sound ending with p, t, and k (the so-called entering tone); and replaces the ending sound of m by n. It uses the phonetic symbols invented by Zhang
Taiyan (Lu Xun's teacher) based on the Xiaozhuan strokes; and sets the standard pronunciation of 6500 characters in the phonetic analysis book written by Li Guangdi of the Qing Dynasty. It becomes the National language (Mandarin). The phonetic symbols (zhuyin) is still in use in Taiwan. They use the computer keyboard keys to represent
each symbol and create the zhuyin input method.

After the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, the standard language is essentially the same, but it uses the pinyin method based on the Roman alphabets, and is renamed as "Putonghua" (common language). Through the training of teachers and school curriculum, Putonghua is promoted to everywhere in China. After many year of hard working, according to the statistics in the year 2010 more than half of the population (54%) can understand and speak the language. To compare the zhuyin and pinyin methods, please refer to the "Zhuyin symbols and Pinyin table" of this software.

Method of Practice

1) Memorize the Finals Table. Click each Final and read the characters of the same Final. Confirm the pronunciation of the Finals.
*** In practical use, it is suggested to search a character starting  from the Finals Table.

2) Study the Complete Pinyin Table in detail. For each Initial read all the characters with various Finals. Confirm the pronunciation of the Initials.

3) Copy and paste a paragraph of any article to Notepad or Word; and start up this software. Try to use the Pinyin Input Method to type out all words of the paragraph.

If it fails then use this software to search the pinyin. If not found then type ctrl-F; copy and paste the needed character to the pop-up window. It always works. Memorize the pinyin of those difficult characters. With some hard work every day, you must succeed.

4) For computer input using the Cantonese pronunciation, you can refer to another software '粤音检字法 cantoneseAID'.

Software Download and Installation

You can directly use the pinyinAID at the following website:

This software is a HTML file and not necessary to install. It is suggested to put it in the Favorite so that it can be easily invoked. It can be downloaded free-of-charge from the websites below:

The software can be found in the Attachment below. Do not open it directly unless your computer is set up to run the Google cookies. However, you can download it to run in your computer.

Copyright and Revision

In order to promote the Pinyin Input Methods, the author does not claim the copyright.

It is welcomed to put the design concept or original codes in any other software for use. The pinyinAID 近音检字法 can also be used as a supplemental tool for teaching and learning of the Chinese Language.

It is a tedious job to manipulate over ten thousands Chinese characters and hard to avoid errors. Please send email to for any correction and recommendation. Thanks.

Pin Yin,
Jul 9, 2013, 6:01 PM