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So in chinse, the phrase "How are you?" in pinyin is:

nihaoma?

However, when I try to enter it in, I get this: enter image description here
And the words are broken. Also, the text "so" is:

zheme

However, it comes out as: enter image description here

Why is this so?

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The default pinyin in Ubuntu does have this quirk. I personally use Sun pyinyin or Intelligent pinyin.

You can get both with sudo apt-get install ibus-libpinyin ibus-sunpinyin. Once downloaded, add those in the Settings -> Region & Language -> Input Sources

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How your system handles pinyin input largely depends on the system input method. From your pictures I am unable to figure out which one you use. Is it sunpinyin?

Have you considered installing Sogou Pinyin? Sogou has no problem handling the phrases nihaoma and zheme -- I have just checked it on my system.

I have posted instructions on how to install Sogou Pinyin on an Ubuntu machine here

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