gpinyin man page

gpinyin — Chinese European-like writing within groff



gpinyin -h|--help
gpinyin -v|--version


This is a preprocesor for groff(1). It allows to add the Chinese European-like language Pinyin into groff(7) files.


Breaking Options

An option is breaking, when the program just writes the information that was asked for and then stops. All other arguments will be ignored by that. The breaking options are here

-h | --help

Print help information with a short explanation of options to standard output.

-v | --version

Print version information to standard output.

Filespec Options

So far, there are only filespec and breaking options.

filespec arguments are file names or the minus sign - for standard input. As usual, the argument -- can be used in order to let all following arguments mean file names, even if the names begin with a minus character -.

Pinyin Parts

Pinyin parts in groff files are enclosed by two .pinyin requests with different arguments. The starting request is

\.pinyin start


\.pinyin begin

and the ending request is

\.pinyin stop


\.pinyin end

Pinyin Details

Pinyin is used for writing the Chinese language in a European-like (romanization) way. The Chinese language consists of more than 400 syllables, each with one of 5 different tones. In Pinyin, such toned syllables can be appended to word-like connections.


The Chinese language is based on about 411 defined syllables, see

In Pinyin, each syllable consists of 1 to 6 European-like letters, the normal ASCII characters in upper and lower case, the only unusual characters are the U dieresis (umlaut) in both cases, i.e. [a-zA-ZüÜ].

In the groff gpinyin input, all ASCII letters are written as usual. But the u/U dieresis can be written as either as \['u] or ue in lower case or \['U], Ue, UE in upper case.


Each syllable has exactly one of 5 defined tones. The 5th tone is not written at all, but each tone 1 to 4 is written as an accent above a defined vowel within the syllable.

In the source file, these tones are written by adding a number 0 to 5 after the syllable name.

In each writing, the tone numbers 1 to 4 are transformed into accents above vowels.

The 1st tone is the horizontal macron \[a-] ¯ , similar to a minus or sub character, but on top of the vowel. In each source file, write the 1st tone as syllable1.

The 2nd tone is the accute accent \[aa] ´. In each source file, write the 2nd tone as syllable2.

The 3rd tone is the caron sign, \[ah] ˇ , which looks a bit like a small v above the vowel. In each source file, write the 3rd tone as syllable3.

The 4th tone is the grave accent \[ga] `. In each source file, write the 4th tone as syllable4.

The 5th tone is the no-tone. The numbers 0 and 5 can be used for the (no-tone). The no-tone number can be omitted, when the syllable is the end of some word. But within a word of syllables, one of the no-tone numbers 0 or 5 must be written.

See Also


Man-pages with section 1 related to groff. They can be called with either

man name

Man-pages with section 7 related to groff. They can be called with either

man 7 name
groffer 7 name

Internet documents related to pinyin are


Copyright © 2014 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

This file is part of gpinyin, which is part of groff, a free software project.

You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2 as published by the Free Software Foundation.

The license text is available in the internet at


This file was written by Bernd Warken <>.


4 November 2014 Groff Version 1.22.3