Author Archives: cantowordpress


Recently, I learned of the existence of Jyutcitzi, which is a script for Cantonese that was developed by a group of people without my involvement. Though it was painful to see my work pale in comparison to what their team had accomplished, I was relieved to learn that there now is a dedicated team of people working on a phonetic Cantonese script with similar goals of protecting the Cantonese language and making it more useful to people.

Their work can be found at

as well as related links:

  1. Jyutcitzi GitHub master page
  2. Transliterator, python (translates Honzi-English Cantonese passages into Honzi-Jyutcitzi passages.
  3. Jyutcitzi RIME based keyboard:
  4. Jyutcitzi fonts:
  5. Theoretical core:
  6. JCZ and related Instagrams
    Cantonese script reform:
    JCZ use demonstration:
    JCZ text:
    JCZ calligraphy:
    JCZ art:
    JCZ inspired hangeul:
    Jcz inspired hangeul:
  7. YouTube:
  8. JCZ-enabled talk page (JCZ are automatically rendered):
  9. Online traditional Chinese to Jyutcitzi converter:

It includes a font, keyboard, but most importantly, a thriving community, videos, examples and other learning materials.

Partially inspired by the Korean alphabet, the Jyutcitzi takes a different design approach than the cantobet that I worked on(with a bit of help along the way), which was mostly developed overnight during my trip to Vancouver in an attempt to inspire someone to create an alphabet for Cantonese and was designed to be simple to learn.

While I don’t like some of the design decisions behind the Jyutcitzi script, it does function well, and I feel that it has a better chance of being adopted as a real Cantonese phonetic alphabetical writing system than the one developed mostly by me. I hope people will consider using Jyutcitzi to print books in Cantonese.

As for the cantobet from the Phonetic Cantonese Institute, which is just me right now, it remains unfinished. Perhaps one day when I am less busy will continue making the writing system I actually wanted, but I already know that my failure to find people to help me has led to the futility of my own personal efforts. The real energy and innovation in Cantonese writing has shifted to the Jyutcitzi project because they have a thriving community that I was not able to create on my own. It is a sad realization for me, but I hope that the Jyutcitzi will lead to a truly phonetic Cantonese script used around the world. The world has no need for the PCI Cantobet anymore… probably.

六月二十六號二零一九年報告/June 26, 2019 Update


I recently spoke with more people about the cantobet. Although I couldn’t find someone who was interested in the cantobet, I won’t give up.


A person in Singapore named 陈智科(Kyle) helped me test out the cantobet using a few letters and discovered that a sound was missing. I will add a symbol created by Kyle into the next cantobet. The symbol looks like the word 巴。

五個新符號/Five new symbols

我好感激呢四位自願者嘅幫忙. 三位只願者要求保持私人。一位英文名係 Aimee McConnell.

Four people have volunteered their symbols for the Cantobet, and I thank them for their help. One was Aimee McConnell, and the other three people wished to remain anonymous.

G, two symbols
g and w symbols
F symbol
Symbol for p. (Does not include the square, only the contents in the square.) 圖畫唔計框

Cantobet can now be sent over email and read back!

Hello everyone,

I have been working on Project Pidgeon, which is a way for people to write the Cantobet using the computer. It’s now possible for people to type Cantobet letters using a web page, encode it, send it over email, decode the message using the same website and read the message back. The link to the page can be found here: Give it a try! Send a message to your friends, it’s ho dut yee.

Source code for project pidgeon can be found at this address: The code is released into the public domain and you are free to modify it, copy it, share it and build upon it.

The saliva symbol, originally the square has now been changed to X after some reconsideration. Other than that, all other symbols remain as in Cantobet 3.

Any help making the Cantobet a reality for millions of Cantonese speakers around the world would be greatly appreciated. You can find my contact information on the contact page.

I need help with writing in Chinese so that I can better communicate with people about my ideas, with outreach, with the production of a video explaining why this needs to be done, with software-related issues, and with compiling writing and learning materials.


SVGs of Cantobet have been released into the public domain, update

Good news. I learned how to use Inkscape and created SVG versions of Cantobet 3. You can find them under the resources menu. You are free to use the images as you wish as they have been released into the public domain.

In addition, the website has undergone a few minor changes to reflect the small increase in content that has accumulated over time. Two example poems composed by people I met in Chinatown have also been uploaded to show people what the Cantobet looks like when written down for real life poems. I was given permission to use their poems, and wrote down the Cantobet version of them, which I have uploaded into the resources section.

If you do use the Cantobet somewhere, please let me know. I am always looking for feedback and volunteers.


Trip to Vancouver

On June 21st, I took a trip to a workshop called Cantonese Worlds where different people interested in Cantonese gathered together and talked about various topics, ranging from aspects of Cantonese linguistic history, presentations from students about their educational trip to somewhere in China, Cantonese opera, research into identity issues of Cantonese speakers from Cambodia and Vietnam and other places, issues affecting Vancouver’s Chinatown, and a project for Cantonese-language adult education, and a Cantonese teacher sharing her successful and happy experience using a theme-based approach to teach students, in a method she calls Spiral learning. There were presentations of music and video, many hours and hours of Powerpoint slides, a bit of discussion, meet and greet, and a few celebrities. You can see more details here: Cantonese Worlds.

I was not a presenter, and attended the event in the hopes of inspiring some of these researchers to help me make a phonetic Cantonese alphabet a practical daily reality. I also went around telling people about the Cantobet that I created with the help of various very kind people I met along the way. Though the results of my efforts may not have been very successful, I did end up telling a lot of people to come to this website, so I feel it is important to make this blog post.

I write in English because my ability to write in Chinese is limited. Writing a single paragraph often takes up a lot of my time, and though a worthwhile endeavour, I feel compelled to communicate in the language that I am most comfortable in, which is English. I will make an effort to write in Chinese in the future, but for now, I will write in English, which is the only language I can write in without spending a lot of time asking people for help, learning how to use online tools, and using a combination of various dictionaries.

The two PDF files that can currently be found on this website, the files for Cantobet 1, I realize are not easily understood, and I wanted to make this blog post to tell people that I am working on presenting the information in a much better way. It is my goal to reupload a newer version, Cantobet 2, which will have a big improvement to readability, comprehensibility, and will fix some errors in the writing system that I have discovered, ranging from missing sounds(the sound of sh, iu and ai) to extra sounds(the symbols for the swallowed sounds for t,p,k, I feel can be omitted without losing much). You can still use the old files, but I hope to upload the newer version soon.

I also wanted to make another call out for volunteers. As usual, if you are interested in helping to make a Cantonese alphabet, there are many things that you can do, including: 1)Trying it out, writing something in Cantonese using the Cantobet, and sharing it with friends. 2)Helping to spread the idea that Cantonese is language that deserves to have its own alphabet. 3)Share your Cantobet writing online to give a reason for others to read it. 4)Help me figure out what the most common sounds and tones are in Cantonese so that the most common tones for various vowel combinations is known. This would be boring work of counting dictionary entries and associating them with tones for various vowels until you have gone through the dictionary several times for all the vowels, and have counted the most common tone, second-most common, third,fourth, fifth, sixth and maybe even seventh most common tone for each of the vowels. 4)Many other things such as helping out with this website, collecting and updating a set of links, providing information on how to learn, developing a kind of online curriculum that will get a person from a complete beginner into a fluent speaker, helping figure out the complicated space of online writing in Cantonese, and basically anything that will help people achieve their language goals for Cantonese.

The greatest need I have is to find leadership, the ability of someone to take this project from its current state to a successful conclusion. I would really value help that I could get. Basically, I could use the help of anybody really interested in moving this project forward, to do a whole bunch of random things. There are many other things that I could use help on, but have not listed here because I could come up with a very long list.

I know there is a great chance of people coming to this site, looking at the PDF files and being disappointed when they see the alphabet I promised isn’t so easy to understand and I am trying to do a better job, and will give an update as soon as I have come up with Cantobet 2, which will have be basically almost the same as Cantobet 1 that you can find in the PDF files, but with a few improvements. Don’t give up on the Cantobet because of this site! An update is coming as soon as I can manage it.

Good news! Preliminary Cantobet Version 1 has been Created!

Hello everybody,

I have finally created a Cantobet, and have posted it to this website. I am in the process of testing it, and could use a lot of help. I can use help making good, proper, legible copies of the Cantobet, help with writing in Chinese, help with telling people about this project, help with creating a critical mass of literature to get the alphabet going, and more!

Please have a look at the preliminary Cantobet! I hope someone will start writing with it soon!

Here is the link to preliminary Cantobet 1!

Because the words need to reference Chinese characters for the pronunciation, I have only created a Chinese version for the Cantobet. I will need more time to create an English version.

Result of alphabet creation workshop

Unfortunately, I came 10 minutes late, and did not meet anybody who knew about the workshop beforehand. In the end, there were a few passersby who helped draw some pictures. For example: a wave for the s sound. They also gave me valuable experience and reminded me that not everybody pronounces Cantonese in the Hong Kong way or uses traditional characters. I also met another person who told me that I need better marketing and suggested that I get people’s emails and send out reminders in the future a day before the event.

Lessons learned.

In any case, the workshop failed to produce a full alphabet. However, I did make some preparations for the workshop, and have uploaded an Open Office file that is an alphabet-creation toolkit/workbook. Basically, all anyone needs to do in order to create a Cantonese alphabet is to create symbols for all the sounds listed in the workbook. I will attempt again to create an alphabet an hopefully, this time, I will be more successful.

The link to the alphabet-creation toolkit can be found here: Cantonese Alphabet Creation Toolkit-Make Your Own Alphabet.


Alphabet creation date and location set for Saturday, August 20th, 2016 at Kitchener City Hall at 2:00pm

On August 20th, 2016 at 2:00pm at Kitchener City Hall, in front of the fountain, there will be a meeting to create an alphabet for Cantonese. I will bring papers explaining the various sounds that exist in Cantonese, and will supply blank paper and writing utensils. Different people will draw symbols for different letters of the alphabet, and at the end, the people there will get together and choose the letters to use for the various sounds and add them up together to make an alphabet. We will test the alphabet out on some Cantonese phrases and make some adjustments to the letters if necessary.

The created alphabet will be the first version and will be posted to the website when completed. Perhaps more alphabets will be created in the future, but after this event, we can say that there is at least one available for use!

I hope to see you there!