Hanyu Pinyin Battle Lost?


#221

A few words on the Yale system.

It was developed in the first half of the 1940s, mainly by George Kennedy of Yale University. There is a brief but unusually frank biography of him here: www.umass.edu/wsp/methodology/gallery/kennedy.html . My website has an essay by him: “Fennolosa, Pound and the Chinese Character.” He was one of the earlier Western scholars to see through the myths about Chinese characters.

Kennedy, who also worked for the U.S. military at the time, developed the Yale romanization system for Mandarin with speakers of American English in mind. Like all other romanization systems for Mandarin, however, it must be learned to be used properly; there is no such thing as a “magic bullet” that will allow English speakers to naturally and without study pronounce Mandarin properly.

Taiwan’s own MPS2 romanization system is quite similar to the Yale system. MPS2, however, was supplanted as Taiwan’s official romanization system for Mandarin by Tongyong.

For a full comparison of Yale with other systems, see the chart on my site:
www.pinyin.info/romanization/compare/yale.html


George A. Kennedy


#222

I like the Yale system. From a native English-speaker point of view, it achieves a good compromise of approximating Mandarin sounds while not misleading the user into thinking that these sounds are equivalent to others in English.

But…

As we know nobody uses Yale any more and the time for choosing international standards for romanization systems has long passed.


#223

Yes joesax - the time is passed - hanyu pinyin or people with heads stuck in bum

Then again that is pretty normal for Taiwan politians


#224

Just another of the mistaken variations of pinyin. Most signs I seem to see use neither Hanyu or Tongyong but either the old Wade Giles or no recognized system.


#225

So the new / revised freeway signs are not correct tongyong - I guess I would not have a lot of trouble believing that - so why the f**k did they bother to change them


#226

I have no clue. Some of the revised signs are worse than what they replaced. Part of the problem is that very few people even know pinyin because here in Taiwan, they use the bo po mo fo system. In China, children use pinyin when they enter elementary school. Not so here in Taiwan. I had to learn the bo po mo fo system in order for my wife to be able with some words because she has no idea about any of the Romanization systems.


#227

Funnily enough my wife is learning hanyu pinyin as it is the only way to send Chinese with her new hand phone. I gave bopofomo a miss the moment I found Njstar which allows you to write traditional Chinese in hanyu pinyin.


#228

Another common Tongyong mistake, at least here in Taichung. The character for middle is often rendered here as Jung, when in Tongyong it should be Jhong (at least according to my textbook).


#229

Jung (for zhong) is MPS2, which was the official romanization system for Mandarin until recently. Lots of signs scattered throughout Taiwan have not been changed from this yet.

Of course, it could still be a new sign with incorrect tongyong. As I think everyone has noticed, quality control has seldom been a priority in the making of signs in Taiwan.


#230

I don’t want to sound really picky, but some contributors to this thread have been calling Taiwan’s Mandarin Phonetic Symbols “bo, po, mo, fo.” This isn’t really the name of the system; mainlanders also refer to learning pronunciation with Hanyu pinyin in primary school as learning “bo, po, mo, for.” The actual name of Taiwan’s Mandarin Phonetic System in Chinese is


#231

Yes Jive Turkey

You probably know a lot more about this than me.

I never heard a mainlander use bopofomo to refer to a system used in mainland - but have heard and seen both zhuyin and bopofomo used to specifically describe the phonetic system used in Taiwan. Maybe I am a little removed from junior school teaching terms.

I always try to use the term “hanyu pinyin” to describe the official mainland system.

At the risk of being flamed again, I am unaware of how to write bopofomo in hanyu pinyin. (well at least it is not in any of my dictionaries)


#232

Jive Turkey:

In Taiwan, if someone says ‘bopomofo’ they are refering to the Mandarin Phonetic Symbols. This usage is very widespread.


#233

Widespread? Maybe using “bo-po-mo-fo” as a noun for Mandarin Phonetic Symbols is widespread in first year primary school classrooms and among foreigners who can only speak survival Guoyu. However, any person with a basic education will generally refer to Mandarin Phonetic Symbols as Zhuyinfuhao


#234

Sorry if you took offense, jive turkey. I was only speaking from my own experience, which is undoubtedly very limited compared to yours. Guess most people must take me as someone with only low-level survival skills in Mandarin :blush:

Could the situation perhaps be parallel to the way we formally speak about our phonetic symbols as something like ‘Roman alphabet’ but also colloquially say ‘ABCs’?


#235

Since I have only been in the part of the world for 3 years - some parts of my Mandarin are clearly inferior to a 6 year old native speaker - but I am sure that some parts are superior. Learning the language as a third major language is likely to be one of those areas, further complicated by moving from Taiwan to Shanghai.

So maybe people think I speak like a kid when I use “bopofomo” as a noun - but mature people understand me - and with one exception - nobody corrected me yet. In future I will use “zhuyin”. I am not convinced that the rest of the phase is necessary unless it is not obvious that we are speaking about Chinese language. Just like “tai” usually gets you offered a tyre if you go to a tyre shop, and is probably somewhat more impressive than just pointing.

Being able to dicuss the price etc will probably lead them to forget that you do not exactly remember “wheel cover” or what ever Chinese use for tyre.


#236

Maybe a little off topic

There are two native Chinese speakers that I know on an almost daily basis. When taking a taxi - one does pretty much what I always do - street intersection or known building. Guide the driver when you get close. Maybe sometimes 2 sentences to be sure we both know where we are going (taxi driver and me).

The other seems to need to talk to the taxi driver for several minutes to sort out where we are going - often we are going to the same place that I got to simply and quickly using method “A” above. I guess the frustrating part is the long conversation exceeds my Chinese skills:) And the driver still needs guiding when we get close.


#237

[quote]Widespread? Maybe using “bo-po-mo-fo” as a noun for Mandarin Phonetic Symbols is widespread in first year primary school classrooms and among foreigners who can only speak survival Guoyu. However, any person with a basic education will generally refer to Mandarin Phonetic Symbols as Zhuyinfuhao


#238

Jung (for zhong) is MPS2, which was the official romanization system for Mandarin until recently. Lots of signs scattered throughout Taiwan have not been changed from this yet.

Of course, it could still be a new sign with incorrect tongyong. As I think everyone has noticed, quality control has seldom been a priority in the making of signs in Taiwan.[/quote]

I have never heard of MPS2 nor heard that it was an official romanization system in Taiwan. I know that the old Wade-Giles was the old official system and that Tongyong and Hanyu both have official sanction in Taiwan.


#239

Your mistaken impressions are understandable, given how little Taiwan did to back MPS2 (Mandarin Phonetic Symbols – second scheme) and how comon it still is here to see a bastardized form of Wade-Giles. Nonetheless, the ROC never officially promulgated Wade-Giles, though its [generally incorrect] use was common.

The ROC has had three official romanization systems for Mandarin: Gwoyeu Romatzyh, MPS2, and now Tongyong Pinyin.

Hanyu Pinyin is not official at the national level.


#240

So next week I need to write my daughter’s chinese name down, romanised, for her passport. Is it up to me on how to spell it?

Wade Giles : Huang Hsuan Ni
MPS2 : Huang Shiuan Ni
Hanyu : Huang Xuan Ni
Yale : Hwang Sywan Ni
Tongyong : Huang Syuan Ni

Actually now looking at all those alternatives, I think my parents would only be able to read Tongyong :blush: and maybe WG. No chance at the others.