Compiled by the UNGEGN Working Group on Romanization Systems
Version 4.0, September 2013


The United Nations resolution III/8 in 1977 recognized the Scheme for a Chinese Phonetic Alphabet (Pinyin) as China's official Roman alphabet scheme and recommended the alphabet as the international system for the romanization of Chinese geographical names. In China Tibetan geographical names are transcribed directly from the Tibetan script into Pinyin. The scheme was published in Toponymic Guidelines for Map and Other Editors: China, 19821.

The system is used in China and in international cartographic products.

Tibetan uses an alphasyllabic script. The romanization scheme is based on the pronunciation of Tibetan names in the Tibetan broadcasts by the Central People's Broadcasting Station (the Lhasa pronunciation). Due to the historic nature of the script the rules of correspondence between the script and the pronunciation are complicated and the romanization is not reversible to its original written Tibetan form.


I. Consonant characters

1 ga
2 ka
3 ka, gaA
4 nga
5 ja
6 qa
7 qa, jaA
8 nya
9 da
10 ta
11 ta, daA
12 na
13 ba
14 pa
15 pa, baA
16 ma
17 za
18 ca
19 ca, zaA
20 wa
21 xa
22 sa
23 a
24 ya
25 ra
26 la
27 xa
28 sa
29 ha
30 a

II. Consonant combinations at the beginning of syllables (the list is not complete)

1 ཀྱ gya
2 ཁྱ kya
3 གྱ kya, gyaA
4 ཀྲ zha
5 ཁྲ cha
6 གྲ cha, zhaA
7 ཧྲ sha
8 ལྷ lha

III. Vowel characters (ཀ stands for any consonant character)

1 a
2 ཀི i
3 ཀུ u
4 ཀེ e
5 ཀོ o

IV. Other symbols

syllable separation character, e.g. ནག་ཆུ Nag Qu.

V. Syllable endings

1 a
2 ཨའུ au
3 ཨག ag
4 ཨགས ag
5 ཨང ang
6 ཨངས ang
7 ཨབ ab
8 ཨབས ab
9 ཨམ am
10 ཨམས am
11 ཨར ar
12 ཨལ ai [ä]
13 ཨའི ai [ä]
14 ཨད ai [ä]
15 ཨས ai [ä]
16 ཨན ain [än]
17 ཨི i
18 ཨིལ i
19 ཨིའི i
20 ཨིའུ iu
21 ཨེའུ iu
22 ཨིག ig
23 ཨིགས ig
24 ཨིད i
25 ཨིས i
26 ཨིང ing
27 ཨིངས ing
28 ཨིབ ib
29 ཨིབས ib
30 ཨིམ im
31 ཨིམས im
32 ཨིར ir
33 ཨིན in
34 ཨུ u
35 ཨུག ug
36 ཨུགས ug
37 ཨུང ung
38 ཨུངས ung
39 ཨུབ ub
40 ཨུབས ub
41 ཨུམ um
42 ཨུམས um
43 ཨུར ur
44 ཨུལ ü
45 ཨུའི ü
46 ཨུད ü
47 ཨུས ü
48 ཨུན ün
49 ཨེ ê
50 ཨེལ ê
51 ཨེའི ê
52 ཨེག êg
53 ཨེགས êg
54 ཨེད ê
55 ཨེས ê
56 ཨེང êng
57 ཨེངས êng
58 ཨེབ êb
59 ཨེབས êb
60 ཨེམ êm
61 ཨེམས êm
62 ཨེར êr
63 ཨེན ên
64 ཨོ o
65 ཨོག og
66 ཨོགས og
67 ཨོང ong
68 ཨོངས ong
69 ཨོབ ob
70 ཨོབས ob
71 ཨོམ om
72 ཨོམས om
73 ཨོར or
74 ཨོལ oi [ö]
75 ཨོའི oi [ö]
76 ཨོད oi [ö]
77 ཨོས oi [ö]
78 ཨོན oin [ön]


  1. Prefixed consonant characters ག (k), ད (t), བ (p), མ (m), འ (a), and superscripted consonant characters ར (r), ལ (l), ས (s) remain mostly unpronounced and are not reflected in the romanization.
  2. Subscript characters ྭ (w), ྱ (y), ྲ (r), ླ (l) are pronounced only in certain combinations (see also the consonant combinations at the beginning of syllables).
  3. A number of homonyms exist in the Tibetan language and they are not all listed here.
  4. The characters འ and ཨ are treated as without initials when transcribed with Pinyin.
  5. When the prefixed characters མ and འ or the superscripted consonant ལ give the preceding syllable an additional nasal or make the vowel in it nasalized, it is spelt according to the actual pronunciation. The nasalized vowels (a), (o), (u) are represented by the finals an, on, un in the Pinyin system.
  6. Where two Roman equivalents are given, the second (in brackets) is used for recording the pronunciation of place-names while the first form is for general use.


  1. Fourth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. Geneva, 24 August – 14 September 1982. Vol. II. Technical papers, pp. 121–125.