Click here to see the 自然码 keyboard layout with ㄅㄆㄇㄈ (bopomofo) phonetics.
The 自然码 zìránmǎ system is also called 自然双拼 zìránshuāngpīn
because you can type just two keys on the keyboard to represent the full 拼音 pīnyīn
pronounciation of any character. This saves a lot of keystrokes! The 自然码
system is easy to learn too!
In Mandarin Chinese, most characters consist of an initial consonant (声母 sheng mǔ)
followed by a simple or compound vowel ending (韵母 yǜn mǔ). To use this
system to select a character, simply type the key representing the
initial consonant (声母 shown in black or blue above),
followed by the key representing the simple or compound vowel ending
(韵母 shown in green).
Here is an example of using James Su's program,
to select the chinese character, "吃". After typing "
for the phonetic pronounciation, one simply types the
number of the desired character (i.e., "1" for 吃):
Implementations of the 自然码 system also provide short-cuts
for commonly used phrases. Entering a short-cut consists of typing just the initial
consonants (声母) of the characters in the phrase followed by the ' or " key.
For example, in SCIM, typing "
nm" provides a selection the characters
pronounced nian, (i.e., 年 nián), but typing "
one immediately to "你们":
Depending on the implementation, shortcuts for longer phrases, like "
for 自行车 (bicycle) and "
zvq'" for 自治区 (Autonomous Region),
may also be present.