Return of Pinyin Wars


#102

A worthy scholar. Thanks be to he, we have a tenable system.


#103

[quote]http://www.voanews.com/a/chinese-linguist-critic-dies-at-111/3676136.html
After receiving a Western-style education at Shanghai’s St. John’s University, Zhou moved to the United States and for a time worked as a banker on Wall Street. […]

In his later years, he became a scathing critic of the ruling Communist Party and an advocate for political reform, making him persona non grata at official events. He continued writing even after age 100, although many of his books were banned and the government censored discussion about his work online.
[/quote]

It turns out Hanyu Pinyin was an International Capitalist conspiracy all along! :doh:


#104

One of his dying wishes was for democracy in China.

So much for Hanyu Pinyin being Communist. :eyeroll:


#105

#106

They look pretty old…

Hanyu Pinyin isn’t suitable for Taiwan, unless the government aims to continue pushing Mandarin dominance over other native languages.

Hopefully the current administration can push forward with the national language act and specify setting up at least a phonetic transcription system that works for every single native language here on this island. That way it will enable people names and road names be written in its original language and still have every one on the island be able to read it without butchering it.


#107

Oh, these fools. Will they ever learn and not propose spending more tax-payer money on this, causing more confusion than already is in place. There is no gain from having a different system than mainland China has.


#108

Hanyu Pinyin is suitable for foreigners though. They are teaching Chinese to primary schools in the UK now and Pinyin is the international standard.


#109

Perhaps we should also have an international standard on English spelling. How about standardizing how the alphabet “z” is pronounced while we are at it.

The important thing is to have a romanization system that actually is suitable for the Taiwanese people. If people here find it useful themselves, they would use it consistently. A Mandarin dominant standard isn’t suitable for transcribing names and location names on the home island of Austronesian languages.


#110

Politely disagree. The only reason the Hanyu Pinyin is not useful to Taiwanese for romanizing Chinese is that its from China. Its the international standard for Chinese and useful for doing business with the mainland or if you ever find yourself there on a business trip. Taiwanese could use it, but wont. But for tourists or international business people, the reluctance to use it is an annoyance.


#111

I won’t be going to China until hell freezes over, but for those who can read Hanji, which is 99% of the Taiwanese people, they are not gonna be reading Pinyin when they go to China. They have a much higher chance of figuring out what 广达厂区 means than figuring out what “guanda changqu” means, even if they have never seen a since simplified Hanji before.

Most Taiwanese people are not going to be using any sort of romanization until they see a value in that romanization. So what you end up with are people pushing for different romanizations for political purposes. KMT pushed for Tongyong when it was their agenda to stand for anti-communism. When the DPP took office and accepted KMT’s proposal, which is backed by many well established Taiwanese linguists, KMT all of a sudden is all anti-Tongyong.

For people here on trips, they just need a standardized system here on the islands. That will only become a reality if people here find the system useful.


#112

I don’t know which system is which, but I really wish they would pick one and stick to it. Personally I prefer the one that spells it Zhongshan instead of Chung Shan, and Danshui instead of Tamsui. It’s much closer to how the words are actually pronounced.


#113

Th epronounciation of the words has nothing to d with the actual letters in pinyin. The idea is a system, an standarization we all agree with. It is a representation, not meant to be representing the actual sounds in teh same way a Chinese character tells you nothing about the pronounciation. You learn to read it according to conventions, and those conventions in teh case of hanyu pinyin are the ones most widely known.The pinyin is not meant to be used by Taiwanese, but by foreigners, and the one more foreigners know nowadyas is hanyu pinyin. We can argue till we are blue in teh face of its faults, but that is a fact.

It is the same with the current problem of most “English” websites. They are written by Taiwanese to be enjoyed by their superiors, hence, no real actual useful information is provided. Therefore, business opportunities are lost, no one knows a thing about Taiwan outside of Taiwan, and if anyone looks at them, they think taiwanese are not professional.

For linguistic studies, there are several international standards in place, one most generally acepted is international phonetic system. To invent one and then push it is not practical. If one were to present a paper or dissertation at an international congress or prestigious house of higher learning abroad, one wants to be understood. To share knowledge is the goal. So it is reasonable to use an international convention, a system that is in existence and that most scholars would understand. That is the point, to be understood.

However as said, politics get into play and decisions are taken based on making a name. It is like Taiping Island, no matter how many times we call Abu Daba or whatever, that is not going to make it any much ours. As a matter of fact, it will discourage support as people will not know what the heck you are talking about.

We cannot make fetch happen.


#114

So in Japan they have the funky Chinese style characters, and they’ve got an alphabet or two, and they just mix it all up. Arguably, that’s more complicated, but not by much. Add a hundred or so characters when you’ve already got thousands?

For ideological reasons, Taiwanese won’t be happy with a system from the mainland. They might be disposed to use bopomofo for more than just typing on the smartphones. They might also be disposed to write foreign names as foreign names, with western characters, and just say them instead of these hopeless attempts at transliteration. All of this can be a gateway for eventually jettisoning Hanzi in a few generations, by solving some problems here and now.

Bopomo… isn’t there a variant with more symbols to handle various languages found on Taiwan? If not, come up with a romanization that covers all those bases.

The western alphabets are an opportunity squandered. We could have had a purely phonetic writing system in English, but no…

As for Hanyu, I would rather not have to explain to my friends that “guanxi” is not pronounced “gwanksy” and “qiche” is not “kwitchy” (and has nothing to do with spinach and cheese.)


#115

The government doesn’t need to continue pushing Mandarin dominance over other native languages. That ship has already sailed, and it’s never sailing back. Mandarin is the dominant language, and will be for the foreseeable future. It’s just a fact. The only way to change this would be for the government to engage in the kind of large-scale social engineering that made Mandarin the dominant language in the first place, and I don’t think that’s going to fly with society as it exists today. [quote=“hansioux, post:106, topic:87309”]
Hopefully the current administration can push forward with the national language act and specify setting up at least a phonetic transcription system that works for every single native language here on this island. That way it will enable people names and road names be written in its original language and still have every one on the island be able to read it without butchering it.
[/quote]
Unless you want to try to get everyone to learn something like IPA, that just isn’t a practical goal. Names are going to get butchered in any case. It’s not the end of the world.[quote=“hansioux, post:109, topic:87309”]
Perhaps we should also have an international standard on English spelling. How about standardizing how the alphabet “z” is pronounced while we are at it.
[/quote]
That’s not a bad idea, but probably not politically feasible.[quote=“hansioux, post:109, topic:87309”]
The important thing is to have a romanization system that actually is suitable for the Taiwanese people.
[/quote]
That’s actually not the important thing, because there is no romanization system that’s suitable for the Taiwanese people, becuase they don’t even want or need a romanization system. If they want to transcribe something phonetically, they already have 注音符號. Unless you want to replace it completely with a romanization system, which I’m sure would be met with all kinds of resistance.[quote=“hansioux, post:109, topic:87309”]
A Mandarin dominant standard isn’t suitable for transcribing names and location names on the home island of Austronesian languages.
[/quote]
Of course it isn’t, because it wasn’t designed to do that. But Tongyong is also a Mandarin dominant standard, and isn’t suitable either.

Now you’re making sense. There’s only one reason really for adding a flawed, cobbled-together, Frankenstein-like romanization system to an already crowded field, and it isn’t linguistic.


#116

#117

Indeed, it’s an understandable and in my opinion laudable goal to have a system which is able to encompass all local languages.


#118

That’s the truth, and in a perfect world linguistics and politics would be totally separated, but this isn’t a perfect world, and Taiwan is a lot less perfect than most :slight_smile: when it comes to politics. Politics take on a different meaning when you have a country threatening your political existence at will, and the rest of the world displays varying degrees of indifference.


#119

They (theoretically) have a smaller set of characters, even with the additional ones, and they have a very sensible romanization system.


#120

Well that’s a problem. Isn’t the whole point of pinyin so that foreigners who are used to the Latin alphabet to have a chance at being able to read and pronounce the words? I’m just saying one of the systems comes closer to achieving that goal than the other, at least for me. I don’t know the history or politics behind it, so for me it’s purely a practical thing.


#121

By making Mandarin the only official language is the government asserting effort to force Mandarin dominance. By simply allowing other native languages to be recognized as official languages, people can decide themselves whether or not they want to push for a revival for their own native language.

We don’t need to have a miracle like the Hebrew revival, just something like Hawaiian revival or Maori would be nice.