With Pinyin Typist on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, you can quickly and easily type real Pinyin text with tone marks to write down anything you hear or want to say in Mandarin, just about anytime the need arises or inspiration strikes. It even puts the tone marks over the right vowels for you. Pinyin Typist is thus a must-have app if you are learning or teaching Mandarin, or if sometimes you want or need to write down Mandarin expressions, but you or the one(s) you’re writing to don’t (or don’t want to have to) know all the Chinese characters involved. (THIS APP IS NOT AN ALTERNATIVE WAY TO TYPE CHINESE CHARACTERS—it supports the standard iOS ways of entering characters.)
Pinyin (Pīnyīn/拼音) is the official standard of the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, the UN, and the ISO for using the Latin alphabet to write Mandarin Chinese. The Pinyin system was developed in China by Chinese people, so it is a product of Chinese culture, and it is a part of Chinese culture.
While Pinyin works well as a pronunciation aid, that’s not all it is—like Chinese Braille (which is based on Pinyin), Pinyin linguistically qualifies as and works well as a full writing system for Mandarin.
“One of the basic assumptions of modern linguistics...is that speech is primary and writing is secondary”. Yes, speech is the foundation on which writing must be built, not vice-versa. (That is just a natural result of the way we are made—our bodies have the built-in ability to produce speech, but writing requires external aids such as pens and paper, keyboards and screens, etc.) Thus, it is very good that the Pinyin writing system represents Mandarin speech so straightforwardly and easily, and that it enables us to focus on speech. Yes, while Chinese characters, as beautiful and traditional as they are, demand distractingly large commitments of precious time and energy just for themselves, Pinyin frees and empowers us to focus on communicating in Mandarin.
More and more people are striving to learn and use this beautiful and widely spoken language, and Pinyin is truly a very powerful supercharger of their efforts to do so. However, because of its dastardly, diabolical diacritical tone marks, many have also found Pinyin to be a real pain to type into their computing devices.
Because of that, and because Apple does not give third-party developers the option of installing international keyboards on iOS, Pinyin Typist was developed as an app that provides the quickest, easiest, most natural, most fun, and most beautifully iOS-native way to type exactly the Pinyin you want, with proper diacritical tone marks, on the iPad, the iPhone, and the iPod touch. It turns typing Pinyin from a pain into a pleasure.
After typing some Pinyin with tone marks (and whatever else iOS’s international keyboards let you type) in the Pinyin Typing tab view of Pinyin Typist, you may then
Note: Pinyin Typist can also be used to type Cantonese Yale romanization, as explained below.
Here are some comments about Pinyin Typist from experts and happy users:
“Congratulations for an excellent and *very* useful piece of work.”
—Marjolein Hoekstra, on Quora
“The most efficient way that I’ve seen to get proper tones marks in iOS.” “It is a lot more convenient than the alternatives that I know of (using a character-to-pinyin converter app or website, or using one of several apps that let you pick individual unicode characters).” “I think it’s essential for students and teachers of Chinese, or anyone who works with pinyin in iOS.”
—Lin Ai of 中网 Zhongweb Chinese, here, here, and here.
Good App! ★★★★★
Is helping me to take notes in pinyin while learning basic Chinese. Would recommend!
Does exactly what I need it to do ★★★★★
I use this app to type out Mandarin speeches in pinyin. Works perfectly for my needs.
Great app for typing pinyin on my iPad ★★★★★
This is a great app if you want to type your own pinyin words. It’s really easy to use and you can set the correct tones right at your fingertips. I would recommend this to anyone who is learning Mandarin Chinese.
Awesome! Zhēn hǎo! ★★★★★
So easy to work with. ... Super app! Xièxiè. I use it e.g. for my continuous traditional Chinese medical study and work. It saves time and I can focus on content instead of being busy finding the right key(s). Study? Hobby? Mail with Chinese friends? Just enjoy I’d say! ... the flexibility and easy approach this software offers! If you are into Chinese stuff in whatever way, this app is an absolute must have!
“This app is hands down the best way to type in Pinyin.”
“This is a very fast way of creating Pinyin text. And the font size slider is actually a nice feature. Worth the price.”
“I love it!”
“What a fantastic app. Thanks so much. I love it!!!”
“My life saver: the Pinyin Typist app”
—Pramesti, user, on Twitter
In the Pinyin Typing tab view of Pinyin Typist, to type a vowel with a Pinyin tone mark over it,
Or, you can
Pinyin Typist can convert both lowercase and uppercase vowels, and it has dedicated Ü, hyphen, and apostrophe buttons. All the Pinyin Typist toolbar buttons enter typographically correct Unicode characters.
Here are some examples:
To change a previously typed regular vowel into a Pinyin vowel, just move the insertion point to the immediate right of that vowel, then tap the appropriate tone button above the regular keyboard.
If a hardware keyboard is connected, the onscreen keyboard does not appear during typing, so at such times the Pinyin tone buttons simply appear at the very bottom of the display and continue to work normally. If you place your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch just above or in front of your hardware keyboard, the onscreen Pinyin tone buttons will be fairly close by, not much farther for your fingers to reach than the upper row of number keys on your hardware keyboard.
Pinyin Typist produces Unicode plain text, which can be used to produce, among other things, Markdown, MultiMarkdown, HTML/XHTML, and CSS code. When such code is rendered in supporting environments, formatting can be seen that’s like the formatting seen in web pages:
Below are some simple code examples. (The onscreen keyboard buttons for the special symbols can be accessed using the .?123 / 123 and #+= buttons.)
|bold italic||**_bold italic_**||<b><i>bold italic</i></b>
One way to take advantage of HTML and/or CSS formatting code is through the HTML emails that you can send from Pinyin Typist, as noted above:
(Actually, entire web pages with their various kinds of formatting could be written using Pinyin Typist, since web pages are made up of HTML and/or XHTML code, and perhaps CSS code.)
Another possible workflow, using Markdown code, could be:
As a universal app, Pinyin Typist is a single binary that is optimized for your iPad, and also optimized for your iPhone or iPod touch.
iOS 4.3 or greater is required. The split keyboard and other features of iOS 5 and above are supported.
Educational institutions can get a 50% discount off the price of Pinyin Typist in quantities of 20 or more. For more information, go to Apple’s Volume Purchase Program page.
If you have some nice things to say about Pinyin Typist, please leave a positive review for it in the App Store. :-)
However, since app developers have no way of replying to App Store reviews, please email feedback and support questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Enjoy using Pinyin Typist!