Based on the earlier and more complex Gwoyeu Romatzyh, the tentative version of MPS II was released on May 10, 1984 by the Ministry of Education. After two years of feedback from the general public, the official version was established on January 28, 1986 . To distinguish Zhuyin from the Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II , the first Zhuyin is officially called "Mandarin Phonetic Symbols I" .
Despite its official status for almost two decades until it was replaced by Tongyong Pinyin in 2002, MPS II existed only in some governmental publications . However, MPS II was not used for the official Romanized names of Taiwanese places. It never gained the same status as did Wade-Giles. In mainstream overseas communities, it is virtually unused and unheard of.
Tonal spelling of Gwoyeu Romatzyh is eliminated, and syllables of all tones are spelled identical . And the four diacritics representing the tones are identical to Zhuyin's.
* The Romanization of the consonants is identical to 's.
* It uses ''r'' for both:
** ㄖ , and
** what is written in pinyin as ''i'' after ''zh'', ''ch'', ''sh'', ''r''. This use is identical to .
* It uses ''z'' for both:
** ㄗ , and
** what is written in pinyin as ''i'' after ''z'', ''c'', ''s''. This use is somewhat like .
*** The ''z'' is not written after ''tz'' , however. ''Tz'' corresponds to Pinyin ''zi''.
* Like Gwoyeu Romatzyh, ''-iou'', ''-uen'', and ''-uei'' are all written out, unlike the Pinyin/ ''-iu'', ''-un'', and ''-ui''.
* Gwoyeu Romatzyh's ''au'' persists
* Gwoyeu Romatzyh's ''iu'' is written as ''-iu'' and ''yu'' .
* Gwoyeu Romatzyh's ''-ong'' is spelled now ''-ung'' .
* Gwoyeu Romatzyh's ''el'' is spelled now ''er'' .
* ''Y-'' and ''w-'' are added to or replace ''i'' and ''u'' in ways similar to Gwoyeu Romatzyh and identical to Pinyin.
An example of MPS II: "國語注音符號第二式" is written as ''guó-yǔ jù-yīn fú-hàu dì-èr shr?''. Compare with pinyin, which writes it as ''guóyǔ zhùyīn fúhào dì'èr shì.''
s are generally used in place of hyphens, except in personal names, which use hyphens in between the syllables of the given names.