Is Tongyong Pinyin easier to type than Hanyu Pinyin?

Supporters of Tongyong Pinyin have claimed that it is easier to type in their preferred romanization system than in Hanyu Pinyin. Moreover, they have claimed that this is Tongyong's greatest advantage over Hanyu.

Do these claims have any merit? In examing this, we should of course ignore all syllables spelled the same in Tongyong Pinyin and Hanyu Pinyin. That leaves 83 syllables spelled differently. First, let's examine those differently spelled syllables that have the same numbers of letters in both Tongyong Pinyin and Hanyu Pinyin.

Tongyong Hanyu advantage explanation
fong feng Tongyong slightly easier to alternate between hands
jyong jiong Hanyu ji easier than jy, in which the j finger has to shift
ci qi Tongyong left middle finger down easier than left pinky up
cia qia Tongyong
cian qian Tongyong
ciang qiang Tongyong
ciao qiao Tongyong
cie qie Tongyong
cin qin Tongyong
cing qing Tongyong
cyong qiong neither c is easier than q, but i is easier than y
wun wen Tongyong slightly easier to alternate between hands
wong weng Tongyong slightly easier to alternate between hands
si xi Tongyong easier to use left ring finger in initial position (s) than to shift it down (x)
sia xia Tongyong
sian xian Tongyong
siang xiang Tongyong
siao xiao Tongyong
sie xie Tongyong
sin xin Tongyong
sing xing Tongyong
syong xiong neither s is easier than x, but i is easier than y
jha zha Hanyu easier to alternate between hands and fingers (left pinky to right index finger) than shifting the right index finger
jhai zhai Hanyu
jhan zhan Hanyu
jhang zhang Hanyu
jhao zhao Hanyu
jhe zhe Hanyu
jhei zhei Hanyu
jhen zhen Hanyu
jheng zheng Hanyu
jhong zhong Hanyu
jhou zhou Hanyu
jhu zhu Hanyu
jhua zhua Hanyu
jhuai zhuai Hanyu
jhuan zhuan Hanyu
jhuang zhuang Hanyu
jhun zhun Hanyu
jhuo zhuo Hanyu

At this point the score is a tie: 19 points for Tongyong Pinyin vs. 19 points for Hanyu Pinyin, with two entries not given to either side. Thus, from the examination so far, Tongyong Pinyin offers no advantage over Hanyu Pinyin in typing.

We began this examination by looking at the 40 syllables Hanyu Pinyin and Tongyong Pinyin spell (differently) with the same number of letters.

Now let's turn to the 43 syllables that Hanyu Pinyin and Tongyong Pinyin spell with different numbers of letters. While we're on the subject, note how, when examining the differences between Tongyong Pinyin and Hanyu Pinyin, more syllables have letter counts that are different (43) than are the same (40).

Tongyong Hanyu advantage explanation
chih chi Hanyu Hanyu Pinyin requires fewer keystrokes than Tongyong Pinyin
chuei chui Hanyu
cih ci Hanyu
cuei cui Hanyu
diou diu Hanyu
duei dui Hanyu
guei gui Hanyu
huei hui Hanyu
jiou jiu Hanyu
jyu ju Hanyu
jyuan juan Hanyu
jyue jue Hanyu
jyun jun Hanyu
kuei kui Hanyu
liou liu Hanyu
lyu * Hanyu
lyue lüe * Hanyu
lyun lün * Hanyu
miou miu Hanyu
niou niu Hanyu
nyu * Hanyu
nyue nüe * Hanyu
ciou qiu Hanyu
cyu qu Hanyu
cyuan quan Hanyu
cyue que Hanyu
cyun qun Hanyu
rih ri Hanyu
ruei rui Hanyu
shih shi Hanyu
shuei shui Hanyu
sih si Hanyu
suei sui Hanyu
tuei tui Hanyu
siou xiu Hanyu
syu xu Hanyu
syuan xuan Hanyu
syue xue Hanyu
syun xun Hanyu
jhih zhi Hanyu
jhuei zhui Hanyu
zih zi Hanyu
zuei zui Hanyu

* ü is typed by using the letter v, which is but one keystroke.

Here, in every instance, Tongyong Pinyin takes more keystrokes than Hanyu Pinyin to type. So that's 43 more points in favor of Hanyu Pinyin and 0 in favor of Tongyong Pinyin.


Total Score

Hanyu Pinyin


Tongyong Pinyin


Winner: Hanyu Pinyin by a factor of more than 3 to 1.

Conclusion: The claim that Tongyong Pinyin is easier to type than Hanyu Pinyin is not only wrong but backwards. Hanyu Pinyin is easier to type than Tongyong Pinyin.