Chinese characters are commonly composed of two parts, a semantic indicating meaning and a phonetic indicating pronunciation. Indices of phonetic groups are included in the Unihan database. This short presentation displays individual groups in a grid for ready comparison.


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This arrangement allows one to verify that phonetic similarities generally hold within each group in modern Mandarin, while also identifying those characters that differ, sometimes greatly, from the rest of the group.

The phonetic groups come from the standard reference Ten Thousand Characters, Cantonese-Mandarin-English, An Analytic Dictionary, by G. Hugh Casey. Since this reference was produced in Hong Kong, it is organized primarily by Cantonese phonetics and contains older romanizations. The reworking here of the compiled data simplifies the comparison of Mandarin pinyin pronunciations.

Phonetic indices on this page follow the most recent dataset, which is available here. Changes to this linked file will appear in future versions of Unicode. Since the file anticipates future updates, some characters might not render or be accompanined by Mandarin readings.

Characters that do not appear explicitly in Casey are assigned an index with an appended asterisk to indicate that the information is additional to the reference. These can be highlighted with the checkbox above as an aid to verifying the added data.

Simplified forms of characters not already included in each group can be copied to the clipboard with this button:

Uploaded 2020.05.31 — Updated 2024.06.08