I realize that they’re in place to avoid confusion, but is it really that hard to learn the proper spelling of major cities? If you’re not going to autocorrect Taipei to Tai-B-E-I or Taichung to Tai-Z-H-O-N-G, why correct Hua-L-I-E-N to Hualian and C-H-I-A-Y-I to Jiayi? Also, it’s annoying that when one wants to refer to “M-U-C-H-A Man” it always gets corrected to Muzha Man. Place names are like people’s names: they should be spelled the way their owners want them spelled, not compelled to fit some standardized orthography.
If Forumosa is so concerned about promoting Hanyu Pinyin, why not use a correction like the one that gets activated when you type K-E-E-L-U-N-G? Watch: Keelung. That’s much less intrusive than changing the spelling of people’s words without warning.
I also find it annoying. If somebody gives me a street/place name i want the name that is going to show up on signs and not the correct HP form. If they want to do autocorrect then it should merely put the HP in parentheses.
It’s not as big of a deal now since I’ve been in Taiwan for awhile but this gave me fits when I moved here.
I, too, never understand the purpose of the place name auto-correct on this board. The pinyin correction is haphazard, as haokaiyang mentioned. M-u-c-h-a gets changed to mucha (even in lower case), yet Hsinchu, Taipei, and Taichung remain unchanged.
It feels like it’s a feature that was never finished. I say just scrap it…what’s the point?
[quote=“Steve4nLanguage”]I, too, never understand the purpose of the place name auto-correct on this board. The pinyin correction is haphazard, as haokaiyang mentioned. M-u-c-h-a gets changed to Muzha (even in lower case), yet Hsinchu, Taipei, and Taichung remain unchanged.
It feels like it’s a feature that was never finished. I say just scrap it…what’s the point?[/quote]
There is actually a reason for that. Hsinchu, Taipei, Taichung and about 10 other cities are considered internationally recognized and won’t be changed to Hanyu Pinyin. Everything else is supposed to change Hanyu Pinyin but it hasn’t happened and won’t happen for quite some time. And that’s just government signs. Private businesses are a different matter.
If I’m not mistaken, I believe the original poster and myself were referring to the auto correct feature on this forum, not to government standards, sign making, etc. At least, that’s what I was complaining about. :s
What’s the benefit of autocorrect? For the most part I see romanization used for giving directions or talking about a place. If I’m talking about a place I would definitely want see the same spelling as I’ve seen elsewhere.
Autocorrect will at least lead to the correct pinyin (ok, without tone marks), so we’ll at least be able to tell if it’s a qi or chi or che or xi or whatever. I won’t start calling C_h_i_a_y_i “車阿姨” or something. Often there is no “same spelling” - you’ll see different spellings on random signs. The naming system on this island is hopelessly inconsistent (as it is for Google and Apple Maps) - it’s nice to have at least one place, this forum, where I know what the names actually mean.
I’m generally in favour of the autocorrect, although I do also like the parenthetical “here’s how you’ll often see it” approach.
I have to add my “thumbs up” for the Pinyin auto-correct. While the wizened long-term expats among us have learned to cope with a myriad of possible spellings for the same place, standardisation is helpful for newcomers. So for example my home, the delightful garden city of Zhonghe, always carries the same spelling when different people are talking about it, rather than
…and many more I’ve seen over the years. Add apostrophes, random capital letters, and hyphens for further fun.
I’m not saying we should be able to spell places any way we want, I’m saying there are standard non-Pinyin spellings of major cities (like Chris listed) that should NOT be autocorrected. Ironlady is probably right that many of the locals don’t know how to correctly spell the name of their own city, but many do, and apparently they’re backed up by their government. It makes sense to standardize spelling for search purposes, but if the Keelung solution were adopted for all the major cities on Chris’s list, then people looking for info on those cities could find it by searching for either spelling, traditional OR Pinyin. That’s a compromise that I think would satisfy most everyone.
Steve4nLanguage is right that my original post was referring to this forum, but I’m all for standardizing street signs as well. Lately I’ve noticed a couple in oh-so-enlightened Taipei that are wrong: “JungGong” for 軍功路 (apparently the signmaker was a great admirer of Carl Jung’s contributions to psychiatry) and “GuGoung” for 故宮路. But I digress. If we can take the trouble to write Ma Ying-jeou instead of Ma Yingjiu, surely we can learn to spell traditional place names too.