- A system of romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration to roman script) for Mandarin Chinese based on the Mandarin dialect of the Beijing area used in the People’s Republic of China.
Although pinyin helps with pronouncing Chinese characters, one should be aware of the limits of its use as a pronunciation system. It mostly uses letters of the basic Roman alphabet, but some of these do not represent the sound that might normally be expected by an English reader. Other than to express tonality, the only letter with diacritics that is used is “ü”. It uses four different diacritics on vowels to represent tones: ā, á, ǎ, à, but these are often replaced with the superscripts 1 2 3 4 respectively when the diacritics cannot easily be represented.