Wade-Giles Transcription of Chinese

To deal with Wade-Giles transcription in your reading, you need to know how to get from Wade-Giles to the pinyin system we're using in G380.  This guide includes the most essential pointers:


If Wade-Giles has: The pinyin form would be: Notes


j or zh    The Spring-Autumn period state of Jin will be Chin in Wade-Giles
   The philosopher Zhuangzi becomes Chuang Tzu in Wade-Giles
ch' q or ch    The state of Qi becomes Ch'i; the state of Chu becomes Ch'u
hs x    The philosopher Xunzi is Hsun Tzu in Wade-Giles
k g    However, k' would equal pinyin k
  (W-G kou → pinyin gou, but W-G k'ou → pinyin kou)
p b    However, p' would equal pinyin p
t d    However, t' would equal pinyin t
j r    The Confucian virtue of ren becomes jen in a Wade-Giles world
ts z   
ts' c    Sounds like the "ts" in English hits
tzu zi    Lots of pinyin names end in -zi (Master so-and-so).  In W-G,
   this ending is either -tzu or a stand alone: Tzu.
-ih -i     Whenever a pinyin form ending in -i is pronounced as though it
    ended in "-ur" (e.g., the shi class), Wade-Giles uses -ih (shih)
u o     The state of Song is Sung in Wade-Giles
u u     Some u's stay the same:  King Wu, wuwei
ü u     But some u's add an umlaut: Junzi becomes chün-tzu

As you can see from the examples, Wade-Giles also adds hyphens to separate syllables; pinyin generally doesn't (although most online G380 course readings do add hyphens to separate syllables in  pinyin.

If you're confused about a transcribed name or term in your reading that seems important, just send me an e-mail message -- I'll try to solve the problem.