Siu Nim Tau, Siu Lim Tao or Siu Nim Tao???
Since Wing Chun Kung Fu was originated in the central Canton area, Wing Chun terminology should follow Cantonese pronunciation as close as possible. However during the popularization of the art in the western world, spelling of the terms varies according to particular Sifus’ gut feeling. The Wing Chun Elements Project respects some wrongly spelt but widely accepted and important terms. Such as Wing “Chun” and “Kung” Fu.
In marking the Cantonese pronunciation to English spelling, we follow the most widely accepted standard of Cantonese Romanization Scheme promoted by the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong: http://www.lshk.org/node/31 . We hope that all non-native Cantonese speakers will be able to pronounce the Cantonese terms properly by following the standard scheme.
Back to the question. The first Wing Chun Form 小念頭 should be properly romanized as SIU2 NIM6 TAU4. The numbers indicate one of the 9 tones of Cantonese pronunciation system. Most western speakers have difficulty differentiating the 9 tones, as a result, most pronounce the first form as SIU1 NIM1 TAU1.
Native Cantonese voices of the Wing Chun glossary will be provided in the future.