Ricci's pinyin?


From Jerry Norman’s “Chinese”, Cambridge U. Press:

What scheme was this? Do we know?


A smart man, that Ricci.

Ricci’s romanization dates back to roughly 1600. I’ve never seen a full comparison chart between it and more modern systems. (FWIW, it does use the letter x, which, to hear some people in Taiwan talk, is a sign Ricci must be the devil. :unamused: )

I’m not sure an exact correspondence chart could be devised, given that he wasn’t after a complete and consistent system – not to mention the possible shifts in pronunciation since then. I’ve been doing some work on Robert Morrison’s romanization method, which came more than 200 years later; even that doesn’t appear consistent with currently assigned pronunciations.

Perhaps someone over at the Taipei Ricci Institute would know. The website is much larger and more informative than it appears at first glance; unfortunately, however, it suffers from extremely poor navigation and even worse HTML.


Source: A Dialogue Concerning the ‘Russian-Cyrillic Origin’ of Certain Pinyin Letters, ‘Accuracy’ of Romanisations, ‘Dialect-Bridges’, and other Myths