Hanyu Pinyin Battle Lost?


#121

Because they don’t want to.[/quote]
Actually, that’s about the only good reason.

The only problem is that the government keeps saying it wants to attract lots of foreign tourists, including Americans, Europeans, etc. But almost all of these tourists are likely to have experience with Hanyu Pinyin, not Tongyong Pinyin, either because they’ve visited China or because most travel guides and phrase books use it. So adopting Tongyong just makes it harder for tourists to get around, which are supposedly the people the government wants to attract.


#122

Such a monolithic “they” you posit. Opposition to hanyu pinyin, however, is not nearly as widespread as many believe.

Since Chen Shui-bian became president, Minister of Education Ovid Tzeng, who is very well qualified when it comes to linguistics, came out for hanyu pinyin. Shortly thereafter, he was out of office, a lesson not lost on those working for or wishing to work for the government. The new minister, who is nowhere in Tzeng’s league in linguistics, promptly announced support for tongyong.

The 26-member Mandarin Promotion Committee had just 10 votes in favor of tongyong, and even some of those were made with less than wholehearted support. Others sat on their hands or stayed home, because it was clear that opposition to the program would cost them dearly. This is especially noteworthy given that the committee was basically a stacked deck.

Among those allowed to vote were those who had helped create the system; they did not recuse themselves.

Plenty of people, even within the DPP, are opposed to tongyong. Many if not most favor hanyu pinyin, as a practical matter. But for now they’ll only say so in private.

Other than for personal names, it’s gone, and it’s never coming back. And given what a complete SNAFU Taiwan has made of it, we’re lucky to be rid of it.


#123

No they wouldn’t.

Brian


#124

Such a monolithic “they” you posit. Opposition to hanyu pinyin, however, is not nearly as widespread as many believe.

Since Chen Shui-bian became president, Minister of Education Ovid Tzeng, who is very well qualified when it comes to linguistics, came out for hanyu pinyin. Shortly thereafter, he was out of office, a lesson not lost on those working for or wishing to work for the government. The new minister, who is nowhere in Tzeng’s league in linguistics, promptly announced support for tongyong.

The 26-member Mandarin Promotion Committee had just 10 votes in favor of tongyong, and even some of those were made with less than wholehearted support. Others sat on their hands or stayed home, because it was clear that opposition to the program would cost them dearly. This is especially noteworthy given that the committee was basically a stacked deck.

Among those allowed to vote were those who had helped create the system; they did not recuse themselves.

Plenty of people, even within the DPP, are opposed to tongyong. Many if not most favor hanyu pinyin, as a practical matter. But for now they’ll only say so in private.

Other than for personal names, it’s gone, and it’s never coming back. And given what a complete SNAFU Taiwan has made of it, we’re lucky to be rid of it.[/quote]

Cranky took his vitamins today! All of these points make sense except the ones about Ovid Tzeng – I’m pretty sure that he is pro-Tongyong and is posting on forumosa under the name Hobart.


#125

You’re wrong. Initially, Zeng Zhilang (Ovid Tzeng) was in favour of Tongyong, but said the issue needed further study. After spending some time researching the issue, he changed his mind, went against the party that gave him his position, and publically endorsed Hanyu Pinyin as being the romanization system most suited to Taiwan’s needs. He was fired for that very reason. And as Cranky pointed out, Mr Huang Rongcun, the new Education Minister, has so far not made the same “mistake” of extensive research as his predecessor. :unamused:


#126

Because they don’t want to.[/quote]
Actually, that’s about the only good reason.

The only problem is that the government keeps saying it wants to attract lots of foreign tourists, including Americans, Europeans, etc. But almost all of these tourists are likely to have experience with Hanyu Pinyin, not Tongyong Pinyin, either because they’ve visited China or because most travel guides and phrase books use it. So adopting Tongyong just makes it harder for tourists to get around, which are supposedly the people the government wants to attract.[/quote]

I don’t believe this to be true. I have traveled in China with friends from back home and foreign clients, they couldn’t read most of the Hanyu pinyin they saw and they had no interest in learning it. They were only there to see China. The romanization was just something that helped them get around with their maps to get back to their hotel etc. It is not that they are familiar with Hanyu pinyin and would get warm feeling inside when they see it in Taiwan like people that studied Chinese abroad. However, if they could have an intuitive way that they could look at the sign once and know how to pronouce the place then they wouldn’t get corrected by me and blank stares from the locals. Perhaps Tongyong is not any better, so I suggest they find a new one for the long run.


#127

I should really get into the sign business. :sunglasses:

AND fund both Tongyong and Hanyu supporters to keep the battle going for many years ahead. :smiling_imp:


#128

You’re wrong. Initially, Zeng Zhilang (Ovid Tzeng) was in favour of Tongyong, but said the issue needed further study. After spending some time researching the issue, he changed his mind, went against the party that gave him his position, and publically endorsed Hanyu Pinyin as being the romanization system most suited to Taiwan’s needs. He was fired for that very reason. And as Cranky pointed out, Mr Huang Rongcun, the new Education Minister, has so far not made the same “mistake” of extensive research as his predecessor. :unamused:[/quote]

Maoman, I was just joking (I’m trying to keep my e-mail smiley-free).

Yes, Tzeng’s position cost him, but should the pan-blues win the next election, Huang will probably be on his way out, too.


#129

Think of it this way: What is the best-case scenario for Tongyong Pinyin and Hanyu Pinyin as they regard tourists.

In those cases where the tourists have seen neither or don’t care about the systems (maybe they are in a tour group, etc. where everything is taken care of), it doesn’t matter.

But in the cases where tourists are familiar with a romanization system (because they have lived or traveled in China or have looked at phrase books, maps, etc.), it’s going to be with Hanyu Pinyin and not Tongyong Pinyin. In this case, Hanyu Pinyin would be more useful.

So, overall, Hanyu Pinyin would be more useful for tourists.


#130

I have developed a special technique for coping with ‘funky romanization’ of place names. I rapidly cycle through a whole variety of pronunciation possibilities, sometimes throwing in tone changes as well, until I see a glimmer of recognition on the listener’s face. I’m getting good at it, and the aural effect is quite unique. Maybe I should go on a variety show on the TV.


#131

[quote=“joesax”]I have developed a special technique for coping with ‘funky romanization’ of place names. I rapidly cycle through a whole variety of pronunciation possibilities, sometimes throwing in tone changes as well, until I see a glimmer of recognition on the listener’s face. I’m getting good at it, and the aural effect is quite unique. Maybe I should go on a variety show on the TV.[/quote]Must be fun to do
K
uting, that could represent 64 different sounds. :slight_smile:


#132

Think of it this way: What is the best-case scenario for Tongyong Pinyin and Hanyu Pinyin as they regard tourists.

In those cases where the tourists have seen neither or don’t care about the systems (maybe they are in a tour group, etc. where everything is taken care of), it doesn’t matter.

But in the cases where tourists are familiar with a romanization system (because they have lived or traveled in China or have looked at phrase books, maps, etc.), it’s going to be with Hanyu Pinyin and not Tongyong Pinyin. In this case, Hanyu Pinyin would be more useful.

So, overall, Hanyu Pinyin would be more useful for tourists.[/quote]

marginally, not even worth mentioning. first the systems are almost alike. anyone who has learned hanyu enough to remember it… quite a feat for the average tourist… is not going to have to go through mental calisthenetics to figure out tongyong. when I consider how many tourists visiting taiwan have first visisted china and have learned hanyu enough to remember it but not enough to figure out tongyong, i have to say it is of no importance in the larger picture.


#133

Whether or not tourists are familiar with Hanyu Pinyin, if they know any romanisation it will be HP, if they have a guidbook it’ll use HP and if they have a phrasebook it’ll use HP.

There is no intuitive way. Liek I said before, the sounds (of English and Chinese) are too different, and there’s not enough letters to go round.

That’s rubbish. The spelling of place names with the two systems would only be 72% similar at the very most.

Brian


#134

Big Fluffy Mathew - unless you were born blind - there are 15 different systems in Taiwan - and Tongyong is absolutely the most incomprehensible one if you ever became familiar with any of the others before. Sure if you never saw a romanisation system before Tongyong might be OK - apart from using that same characters for different sounds. Hanyu Pinyin may not be perfect - but at least it is consistent. Try to read Danish aloud if English is you first language!


#135

[quote=“lysfjord”]I should really get into the sign business. :sunglasses:

AND fund both Tongyong and Hanyu supporters to keep the battle going for many years ahead. :smiling_imp:[/quote]

Forget about signs for waiguoren - I watched with great interest as new highways were being built and the Chinese was coverered up to indicate that the road was not yet open and the various versions of romanisation were left exposed to the world.


#136

HW’s like Hobart seem to be blind to the fact that many places have many spellings in the current scheme of things - If Tongyong was universally adopted people who had been to another Chinese speaking country might wonder if Taiwan speaks Korean, or Mongolian


#137

[quote=“HakkaSonic”]

So, overall, Hanyu Pinyin would be more useful for tourists.[/quote]

Having the same romanization might help to reinforce in those tourists minds the PRC lie that Taiwan is province of China. It is not worth the risk. I think we will all survive without Hanyu pinyin in Taiwan.


#138

That wouldn’t be too bad. At least they would think that Taiwan and China are two different countries.


#139

[quote=“Sir Donald Bradman”]

Whether or not tourists are familiar with Hanyu Pinyin, if they know any romanisation it will be HP, if they have a guidbook it’ll use HP and if they have a phrasebook it’ll use HP.[/quote]

If they had a guide book on Taiwan it would spell the street names and towns in whatever way that is used on the signs if that is Tongyong then it would be Tongyong. The LP doesn’t use Hanyu pinyin in the Lonely Planet Taiwan guidebook now. However, I could picture an aside about how the same street is frequently spelled 5 different ways or they use 4 different romanizations in Taiwan. Again I agree they need one standard, I just don’t think that standard should be Hanyu pinyin for the place names and street signs.

So what if they have a phrase book that uses Hanyu pinyin. I got plenty of them and I never get lost here. My phrase book is to help me speak or read Chinese not read the romanization. All phrase books worth a sh*t would also have the characters. If tourists have a phrase book it would be to help speak to the shop keepers or the bus driver. Most tourists however don’t get beyond xiexie or ni hao.


#140

I agree, whenever I see the Hanyu pinyin roadsigns in Taipei, I forget where I got my visa from and keep thinking “This is a province of China after all, my renminbi looks funny”. When I see Chinese signs in London, Obviously the PRC has taken over there too. And in Japan, they use simplified characters, must be part of the PRC.