Hanyu Pinyin Battle Lost?


#1

Is the battle lost?

Just back in Taiwan after 3 months away. Driving down the bei er gao (No 3 Freeway) it would appear that the Highway Dept has grabbed tongyong pinyin with both hands.

Curiously there is a “XiZhi (Sijhih)” sign on a Tiding Blvd on-ramp, and I saw a “XiZhi” sign in that area too.


#2

What difference does it make? Actually, I think it makes it easier to read when they capitalize the middle letters like that.

God knows that I write every which way when I write down phoneticized Chinese. I don’t see why people get so worked up over what version other people use.


#3

“XiZhi” is right, isn’t it ?


#4

InTerCaPiTalIZaTion, Or “CaMel Caps,” Is AcTuAlLy A VeRy, VeRy Bad Thing On A NumBer Of LeVels. It Makes ReadIng HarDer, Not EaSiEr, Through An UnNeCesSaRy And AbSurd AlTerIng Of OrThoGraPhiCal StanDards That Have Been CenTuRies In The MaKing.

In Ter Cap I Tal I Za Tion Al So Tends To Re Sult In The Mean Ing Less, Awk Ward And Con Fus Ing Frag Men Ta Tion Of Words. I Have Been See Ing An In Crease Of This Re Cent Ly. The Hor Ror, The Hor Ror.

It’s actually very easy to distinguish syllables in hanyu pinyin.

All syllables begin with consonants, unless there is something else to indicate otherwise (the beginning of a word, or an apostrophe).

Thus, “Taiwan,” for example, is not in the least ambiguous. “TaiWan,” on the other hand, is both patronizing and absurd, as well as tending to lead to the problems I addressed above.

Some examples of words needing apostrophes – and it is worth noting that there are very few of these (less than 2 percent) – are Chang’an (Changan, on the other hand, would be chan + gan), Ren’ai (which would otherwise be re + nai), and Xi’an (otherwise the monosyllabic xian).

As for the new highway signs, at least most of them seem to be in “correct” tongyong. I’ve seen lots and lots of things that are supposed to be in tongyong but which are wrong. :unamused:


#5

“Xizhi” is correct hanyu pinyin. “Sij[color=#000040]h[/color]ih” is tongyong.


#6

[quote]
All syllables begin with consonants, unless there is something else to indicate otherwise (the beginning of a word, or an apostrophe). [/quote]-

Like Dean Rd:)


#7

mmm - so we have Sijhih - Sindian - etc - I guess tongyong is designed to ensure that English speakers will be lost if they try to read the signs - the words that most Taiwanese chinese say as “sh” are “s” on the signs and the ones they say as “s” are “sh” on the signs


#8

Yes, that’s one of the things I really dislike about tongyong: the way s is used for two completely different sounds. Hanyu pinyin uses s for, well, s, and x for the light sh-like sound represented by hs in Wade-Giles. Tongyong uses s for both.

Thus, hanyu pinyin has Sanxia. In tongyong, however, that becomes San[color=#000040]s[/color]ia; note that the first s and second s represent different sounds.

Tongyong also does this with c, which it uses for both hanyu pinyin’s c and hanyu pinyin’s q. Thus, tongyong’s “x and q are evil” approach leads it into using the same consonants for different sounds.


#9

now, cranky, whatever romanization is decided on or used or abused as the case may be, don’t tell me you actually expected the highway sign department to get it right??? :slight_smile::):slight_smile:


#10

[quote=“Screaming Jesus”]What difference does it make? Actually, I think it makes it easier to read when they capitalize the middle letters like that.

God knows that I write every which way when I write down phoneticized Chinese. I don’t see why people get so worked up over what version other people use.[/quote]

I agree 100%. Nice Post S.J.! :stuck_out_tongue:


#11

It’s a big deal if you are a foreigner just arrived in taiwan and can’t find your destination on the highway!

Like my friend who missed the Hsinchu stop (he was looking for xinchu or some other variation) and sailed onto Taichung on the train. It also means it’s hard to use computers to do searches for locations etc.


#12

I guess it will soon be Sinchu???


#13

Maybe we should consider ourselves lucky there is any romanization at all. Perhaps they could have used bopomofo or nothing at all. I agree however, that they should have something uniform islandwide and don’t change it anymore.


#14

Bollocks it’s not important. Like someone just said, computer searches are a good example of why an international standard is necessary. EG if I want to find nude pictures of Xu Qi, I have to do multiple searches of different variant spellings of her name, just because she’s Taiwanese.

Brian


#15

Her name is Hsu Chi and if you use the Chinese characters for her name you would find a lot more anyway. :wink:


#16

That’s good to know. Is she pretty?


#17

No it’s not. Her name is


#18

Umm…what you don’t get is that the name in her passport is Hsu Chi. <-- This is for argument’s sake. For example it is not Li Deng Hui, even it that is the correct Hanyu Pinyin pinyin way to romanize his name, it is still Lee Teng Hui. Change it to Li Deng Hui and a lot people will be lost.

I know Cranky and a lot of others hate me for this, but as much as I love Hanyu pinyin, I still think that it is Commie pinyin. Taiwan should differentiate itself with some other romanization which must be uniform across the island. But aain they shouldn’t go changing place names and I doubt they will change anyone’s name in their passport.


#19

Who knows if the name in her passport is Hsu Chi. They let you choose anyway you want to spell it. The point is that if, at the time she got her passport, they’d had a standard, then we’d know for sure. The second point is that the standard has to be internation, otherwise it’s not a standard. It’s an international world. Hsu Chi, was born in Taiwan, lives in Hong Kong, and to people in the west might be thought of as ‘Chinese’. Internet searches, databases and discussion boards are international. Books, newspapers and magazines are international. Whocares if Hanyu Pinyin was invented in communist China. Are you scared of what they think? The point I made on one of these discussions ages ago was, if the Internet had started in China would Taiwan be insisting on using its own Internet? It’s just stupid. China set a standard decades ago. Taiwan failed to do so, and now China’s standard is the international standard.

Brian


#20

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