Place names not usually seen in W-G

Most Taiwan place names are given in a largely useless form of Wade-Giles. That old and problematic romanization system is hobbled in Taiwan because almost everyone leaves out the apostrophes, which are vital for dintinguishing between several common sounds. (The example I usually give is the “Kuting” MRT stop. Is it pronounced Kuting (K’u-t’ing), Kuding (K’u-ting), Guting (Ku-t’ing), or Guding (Ku-ting)? The use of bastardized W-G makes it impossible to know the correct answer from the romanization.)

A few Taiwan place names, however, are usually given in something other than bastardized W-G. There’s Keelung (Jilong); Tamsui (Danshui), which is now usually misspelled Tamshui because of the MRT’s blunder; Taroko (Tailuga); and Kinmen (Jinmen).

Those are just a few off the top of my head. There must be more such names. What are the rest?

Isn’t Taroko a Japanese name?

From the language of one of the tribes, I think. But maybe it’s a Japanese corruption of the original. (The Japanese, though, didn’t have any trouble with “tai” in “Taihoku” (their name for Taipei), so I don’t think that’s it.)

Well, either way, I’m still interested in developing a list of names of Taiwan places whose names are romanized according to a language other than Mandarin or in a Mandarin romanization other than some form of Wade-Giles.

These come to mind:

Zhong Shan/Chong Shan/Jung Shan

What’s the apostroph supposed to represent btw?

The apostrophe is supposed to represent the “hard” sound, while it’s absence would indicate the “soft” sound, e.g., while ch is pronounced like j, ch’ would be pronounced like ch. Same for k and g, etc.

Isn’t Taroko Tai-lu-ge? I’ve never heard of Tailuga.

Originally posted by Poagao:

quote[quote]Isn't Toroko Tai-lu-ge? I've never heard of Tailuga.[/quote] Yes, you're right. Tailuge, not Tailuga. My bad. But it's Taroko, not Toroko. (Unless that's another mistake that has somehow become official.)

Just a little curious - why are we starting again - almost ever place name in Taiwan is mis-spelled somewhere by the simple test that it is spelled differently in two places - often side by side.

To answer Rian’s question: I’m not interested in misspellings – well, I am, but not particularly in this thread – but in spellings that deviate from Taiwan’s de facto “standard” (such as it is).

Keelung, Tamsui, Taroko, and Kinmen are all different. If they are misspellings, that’s only incidental. The main point is that these names, unlike almost every other place name in Taiwan, did not come from a Wade-Giles romanization of a Mandarin name. I’m interested in how they managed to hold onto these older and different forms, and if there are other place names in Taiwan that are the same.

Kinmen/Jinmen was historically romanized as Quemoy.

Is that K in place of the (da lu) pinyin J not a Wade-Giles thing? I always assumed it was. What about NanKing Rd (and the city in China) for Nanjing? I’m sure there are others. Is it a pre W-G system perhaps?


Originally posted by Bu Lai En: Is that K in place of the (da lu) pinyin J not a Wade-Giles thing? [. . .] Is it a pre W-G system perhaps?
Yes, it's a different system, not Wade-Giles. The k=j (sometimes, sorta) usually belongs to the Chinese postal system, which doesn't seem to be particularly systematic from what little I know of it. (If anyone knows where I can find a copy of the early 20th century Postal Atlas of China, let me know. I couldn't find one at Academia Sinica. Maybe the National Library, but I didn't spot it in the on-line catalogue.)

Nanking/Nanjing is one example. Others are Peiking/Beijing and Chungking/Chongqing.

For a comparison of a variety of romanization systems, see

Due to the current Taiwan government’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy
about how to spell things around here, I guess our only option is to
wait for to liberate us from the mess. As one can
see, it is “party time” with the road signs around here on drugs.

What about the independent commission to fix the problem the education
minister made the press release about? Will that plan get forgotten
again? Is he following up on it?

K in Kinmen might be from a habit like that of B. Karlgren’s books in
which one could say instead of writing J, we write J or G depending on
historical origin, even though we still read it as J.

I did lynx -dump |
awk ‘NF==6 && $4!=$6 {print $4 “\t” $6}’
and saw jyu and cyuan, but not jyuan. Therefore you have “hurt” the
“much maligned” Yu Boquan by “misrepresenting his Tongyong scheme” even better
than he could do on his own. Anyways if I were you I would also
provide a link directly to the Yu Boquan document that has his
spellings. Also another link to a copy of that document that you keep
on site in case the “real” one suddenly “gets improved” or flies by night.

Also some of Yu’s syllables are “can use either of a pair”, but I see
you have chose one of the pair for him. I believe they are -iou/-iu.
Yes, the whole point of a system is to “chose one”, not waver, so we
must let customers know the truth about Yu. Indeed this wavering is
just the tip of the iceberg, with his 甲式乙式 crap.

It’s so hard to keep track of that damn slippery tongyong. I’ll recheck the charts, but probably won’t be able to get any serious changes made for at least a couple more weeks. (Last month and this one have been very busy.)

As for some of the choices, I’d gone with Tsai Chih-hao’s posted version. (You know his site, right? It’s very useful.)

Your post, though, made me think again of the way I’ve presented tongyong. And you helped me realize that I’ve been going about it all wrong. The way it’s listed on my site makes it look like a real, coherent system, which it isn’t. I need to start sticking warning labels on all pages with “tongyong.”

Re. your question a while back about me going out to Academia Sinica to see Yu (“Mr. Tongyong” or “Dr. Evil,” as you put it) myself, I have been out there lots of times to do research or see people I know. I’ve even been by his office. (This might be a good moment to tell those who don’t know that Yu isn’t a linguist; he’s in the ethnology department.) But he was never there when I dropped by. I suppose I should set up an appointment.

From what I’ve heard, he doesn’t get much respect from his colleagues at Academia Sinica.

From what I’ve heard, he doesn’t get much respect from his
colleagues at Academia Sinica.
On the contrary, there are a whole gaggle of Tongyong zombies in the Ethnology
dept. like Lin Meirong. In the Linguistics Dept. however, his stuff
is a No Sale. (Not to say that the Linguistics Dept. isn’t full of
anti-Hanyu Pinyin polters. It’s that they realized that their fun and
games were just helping Yu, so quieted down.)

Actually, could you please visit him soon. I haven’t heard much out
of him recently and am concerned that what ever took over his head
might be now taking over his body, etc.

anti-Hanyu Pinyin polters.
Oops, I meant “plotters”, co-conspirators. You know, like the Logic
Team stacking the Mandarin board
國語推行委員會 who were
appointed by Zeng Zhilang before he woke up the realities of using
just any old brand of pinyin.

What gets me is that the Logic Team [meaning their brains are highly
equipped with higher logic then us] is chock full of TaiDa language

Can you interview them just for fun and see if they ever heard that
their boy Yu Boquan has ever turned sour on a road sign he has already
hung? Also quiz the Mandarin board chief, Cao Fengfu: at a slide show
you showed a “MuZha Rd.” slide and said it was hanyu pinyin. Being
that we haven’t been invaded yet, how could it get there?" Guess who
hung it? No. Not Ma Yingjiu. That man there with the look of denial
on his face. Yes, none other then you fellow star board member, Yu
Boquan. Mr. Cao, are you aware of this?

(Cao is a middleoftheroader. He has middleoftheroad down to an art.
That’s why he’s chief.)
Oh no it’s a power play, my man Luo Zhaojin has been shuttled off in
the corner to the Kejia small group, whilst Cao has been given instant
command of the Mandarin/Road sign small group. Only yesterday was the
Minister still talking about a 3rd party, but now that’s all scuttled
and the ball is up up up, and in the hoop for Tongyong.

But wait,
says their terms are all expiring. If there’s one little slip up then
awww, start all over deciding again. we
see that they will make a computer interface [hopefully fitted into Yu
and pals’ eyeglasses] to convert the offending system.