Anglicisation: Americans can say "Taibei" -_-

What’s up with all the non-Pinyin attempts to “make it easier for foreigners”?

Taipei = Taibei

…what? There’s no “B” in our alphabet? When we tell a taxi driver taipei instead of taibei, how would that help us? I know all taxi drivers likely know this one, but this is just an example.

…so many strange non-pinyin standards that think English folks can’t say a common English sound.

(who decides this?! lol)

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As a linguist, I’d love to spend the next hour or so explaining this, but instead I will simply point out that “early” (:joy:) representation of the Chinese language with the Roman alphabet was…not pinyin.


Many of these types of weird romanizations are because the romanization is not based on the Mandarin Chinese pronunciation, but instead some other dialect like Hokkien. Tamsui instead of Danshui is a good example of this.

However, for Taipei it is because of the Wade Giles system of romanization, which used to be widely used to romanize Chinese names before the invention of Pinyin. The reason cities in China don’t use Wide Gales anymore is because the Chinese government really pushed Hanyu Pinyin everywhere. Taiwan on the other hand has no nation-wide rule on what romanization must be used, so cities decide for themselves.


And that Taipei is recognised as an English name.

English speakers can easily pronounce Roma.

But the English name is Rome.

This is not an attempt to make it easier for foreigners. Taipei’s name in English is Taipei. For many reasons.

You’re assuming this is for foreigners. It’s not.

Pinyin is romanization, not english. Putting mandarin sounds into a Roman alphabet. Just imagine how French people think around the world :sweat_smile:

“b” sound is in “our” language. whether english or mandarin is your language, it exists in both :slight_smile:

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To be fair, the second consonant in 台北 isn’t pronounced like an English “b.” It’s less aspirated than an English “p,” but unlike an English “b,” it isn’t voiced. It’s somewhere between a “p” and a “b.”


That’s not what’s going on there at all. The spelling results from the bastardization of a Romanization system designed for use by scholars.

Thanks for the clarification.

How would it hinder you?

Pronounced correctly in Mandarin, the “p” in Taipei isn’t an English “b.”

It’s Wade-Giles Romanization. Dudes were smoking crack when they compiled the system.

Taipei = Daibei
T’ai-p’ei = Taipei


In the end, all better than “hit dog”. Perhaps one of those times where the Chinese really did trump the Japanese.

Fully agree. I think the point was that it isnt really about english. But to be fair, the first “letter” in the mandarin “alphabet” is sounded out pretty close to the phonics version of “b”, at least in the recital of each respective alphabets. Fair enough the mandarin has a little more sassy P lip service to the B :slight_smile:

I think you’re on your way to coming up with a cute mnemonic for Mandarin learners. :slightly_smiling_face:


Nope, I quit the teaching industry years ago for that exact reason. Will leave that up to you professionals! But ya cant deny it, can ya? :smiling_face:

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I’ve never been accused of being professional. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


A useful mnemonic for Mandarin learners might be “For good pronunciation take your B / And tickle it until it starts to P?

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Didn’t see that. Childish minds think alike :slight_smile:

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I identify as “juvenile.”

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you’re welcome.


If you’re “juvenile” I must be a “neonate” — it’s all boobs and blowing bubbles with me


It honestly doesn’t even matter unless you start speaking another dialect like Minnan, where you have p’/p/b/m. Precisely exact native accent (whatever that even is) isn’t the same as proficiency.

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