Eliminating Wade-Giles

I use the word “eliminating” because that is precisely what is necessary. This foul, non-intuitive, bastardized disaster of a way to Romanize Chinese; how can we effectively remove it from the Ile Formosa? Is it possible? Could it ever happen?

Regardless of what you think of Ma Ying Jou, I think he did the world (and i do say the world because Taipei is supposed to be international city) a great service by expelling Giles from Taipei (well at least from Taipei City’s MRT system, its road signs, and quite a few of its buses)

I understand the DPP accused Ma of wanting to be closer to China because he wished to adopt the Pinyin system they use. This is quite possibly one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. At the very least, you would think the President of Taiwan would learn to speak English properly before he decided that bastardized Wade-Giles was the most effective Romanization system for Taiwan to use.

I am learning Chinese now, but it will be quite some time before my knowledge of Chinese characters is sufficient to read more than a little. And what about foreign businesspeople and tourists who come to Taiwan? Chances are that many of them won’t know any Chinese at all. So of course, they are going to be reading the Romanized version. And when it says “Taichung” “Kaohsiung” and whatever other bastardized Wade-Giles spelling, they will inevitably mispronounce the word and become confused when a Chinese person looks at them with a puzzled expression.

So with the DPP’s insistence on the virtues of Giles, what it will it take for all of Taiwan to adopt Hanyu Pinyin? China coming in and taking over?

Wade-Giles was never used. The signpainters simply wrote down whatever they wanted. Sometimes it resembled Wade-Giles, sometimes Yale, sometimes Pinyin, othertimes…who knows? I remember when riding down Xinyi Rd you’d see 5 different spellings for Xinyi.

CS is right that they never used a consistent system. But there’s nothing wrong with WG–it works fine, and it will take you about 20 minutes to learn it if you know Hanyu Pinyin.

I totally agree. Many signs in Taiwan are just about as stupid as the movie “Signs” with Mel Gibson. I have some friends who work in the government. I’ll mention it next time I see them. Last Spring, I think, the Road Bureau or whatever had a link on their website where you can submit pictures of wrong signs and if you’re the first you could win $1000 or something like that. As more signs are changed, they might do it again.

In Kaohsiung Hsien, there’s a place called Yue Shi Jie, where the soil looks like the moon. I’ts called “Moonworld” in English. The area is called A-Lian. I’m not sure about now, but for a while the two signs were together somewhere: “Moonworld” and “Alien”

In Tainan, if you’re going north on ZhongHua W Rd and you come to the intersection of AnPing Rd and MinSheng Rds, There’s a sign for the “Woozland” water park. Next to the park is a temple, so the sign has the name of the temple in all-caps with no spaces “LUERHMENTIANHOGONG”. If you stop at that intersection, look across the canal. There’s a motel called Yun Song. Pronounced in Taiwanese, it means “orgasm”. Good name for a motel, huh? I’ve been there a number of times–nice place!

Tainan’s Dong Men Rd. recently got new signs. For a while, one of them was spelled “Dung Men”, but they fixed it before I could get a picture–Damn!!!

I have pictures of ESAT and WEAT for E. and W.

Going south from TaiNan to GaoXiong on State Route 17: just before the main intersection in Zhi Guan, it says “Gausiung 17km”. 1km later it says 11km, and 1km after that it says “Kaohsiung City”!!!

Tainan’s Ximen Rd. is now spelled Simen!!! Close, huh? Could you imagine this road? Cars sliding into each other, people falling down, trying to brush themselves off and making little “strings”…yuck!

Instead of saying "I’m taking a bus from Taipei to GaoXiong, why not say “I’m taking a bus from Platform North to HighStrong.” How about "I’m taking the South Power Horn line to Old Pavillion and transferring to New Store. (Nanshijiao…GuTing…XinDian).
Why not take the Wood Fence Line and then transfer at Loyal Duty Return Promote Station? (Muzha…ZhongXiao FuXing).
Anybody want to go shopping at New Light Three Across??? (ShinKong Mitsokoji , er, Matza Kosher, or whatever).

Enough of this–“signing” off…

At the very least, you would think someone posting about the DPP’s Romanization policy would learn what that policy actually is before he decided to spew on about Wade-Giles, which has nothing to do with afore-mentioned policy.

Take a look around the site: search under Romanisation , pinyin, Hanyu or (hint, hint) Tongyang.

I think some of the central points were that romanization in Taiwan is confusing to many, no consistent system is used and one (of several) of the systems used here often leads mispronunciations. I agree with those sentiments. Romanization here is troublesome. The political aspect of it only adds to the madness. Is it xian or hsien? Is it Kaohsiung or Gaoxiong? Taichung or Taizhong? It’s just silly.

Edit: I love how this site automatically places hanyu pinyin in brackets. hsien hsien hsien

LOL :laughing: :bravo:

The DPP inists on something far worse than Wade-Giles - it’s that monstrosity called “Tongyong Pinyin”. After seeing Tongyong Pinyin scattered throughout Taiwan, I long for the days of Wade-Giles.

Ma Ying-Jeou is a hero in this battle for promoting the best romanization system in existence, in my opinion: Hanyu Pinyin. (However, for some odd reason, the Hanyu Pinyin is intercapitalized.)

I used to derive amusement from the fact that there was an intersection on Jianguo S. Rd. where the street was spelled two different ways depending on which corner you were standing on.

I remember when Tonghua St. and Dunhua S. Rd. has the same spelling on their signs, causing me to get off at the wrong bus stop. I remember when Jianguo Rd. was spelled, alternately: Chienku0 (sorry - this site automatically re-spelled it “Jianguo”), Chienkwo, Kienkuo, Kienkwo and (oddly enough) Kienkow.

My ex-girlfriend works for the government here. She told me that they use Giles. No, it’s Tongyang? If so, then I stand corrected, but what is used in most of Taiwan looks suspiciously to me like bastardized Wade Giles, and anyone who wants to have a conversation about Wade Giles, that’s fine, I’m prepared, I know the system quite well. It just doesn’t work when you carelessly omit the apostrophes; hence my disgust with the situation outside of Taipei City.

The government officially adopted Tongyong Pinyin a while back, IIRC, although a lot of stuff is in WG, while a lot is in TYPY, a decent amount in HYPY, and a smattering in randomly romanized Zhuyin (“Zhuengshan” anyone?). The WG stuff could probably be classed as “legacy” by now. And as for the discussion on WG - that whole conversation is a dead horse that’s been flogged well and truly by now. A quick trawl through the search function will no doubt turn up a number of conversations you could read through and contribute to.

Okay, she’s Vietnamese, not Taiwanese, but I give this as an example of possibly the worst case of bad Romanization ever:


Chew Shit Fun is Vietnamese? I thought she was a Singaporean Hoklo.

[quote=“Etheorial”]My ex-girlfriend works for the government here. She told me that they use Giles. [/quote]Ex-girlfriend? How long ago did you break up? Tongyong Pinyin has only been “official” for only a few years, so if she told you that, say, 5 years ago, then that’s understandable.

Tongyong Pinyin can mainly be seen on street signs and road signs outside of Taipei City. (If you see the letters “jh”, you’ll instantly know you’re dealing with Tongyong Pinyin, e.g. “Jhongjheng Rd.”) There’s also an English-language news program broadcasting local news, which uses Tongyong. Names of businesses, people, and the largest cities in Taiwan are often Wade-Giles due to legacy (i.e. it would be very hard for the government to rename Taipei “Taibei” when the world has been spelling it “Taipei” for over a century, or for a person who has his name spelled a certain way on all his official documents to change the spelling of his name).

You’ll often still see Wade-Giles and MPS-2 spelling on some street signs outside of Taipei - city governments often have more pressing priorities than correcting the spellings on their street signs. Taipei City has been a maverick by adopting and aggressively promoting Hanyu Pinyin. Hats off to the Taipei City Council!

[quote=“Rubicon Bojador”]Okay, she’s Vietnamese, not Taiwanese, but I give this as an example of possibly the worst case of bad Romanization ever:

How about Man Fuk Road in Hong Kong?

Fook Yu and Fook Mi.

That was pretty funny CS.

Some one once posted a picture of a noodle bar in Vietnam called “Yu Phat Fuk.”