Romanization in Taiwan - Which system is suited for Taiwan?

There has been a lot of talk about the Romanization of Chinese characters in Taiwan. I’d have to agree there needs to be a standardized system used for street signs, etc. I’ve tried my best to include all the most well known systems and the differences between them.

Here are the five most common systems and some basic differences.

Hanyu pinyin: (zhong), (bei), (jiong),(dui)
Tongyong pinyin: (jhong), (bei), (jyong),(duei)
Yale: (jung), (bei), (jyung),(dwei)
Wade-Giles: (chung), (pei), (chiung),(tui)
bopofomo (zhuyin): (ㄓㄨ&#12581), (ㄅ&#12575), (ㄐㄩ&#12581),(ㄉㄨ&#12575)

This chart is not completely representative, it is just a rough outline of the differences. There are many many more differences, to learn more please see: (slow)

Also see the forum topic disscusions at:

quote[quote]There has been a lot of talk about the English spelling of Chinese characters in Taiwan.[/quote]Not to be a pedant, but it is not English spelling, any more than [i]Gesundheit[/i] is English spelling of German. Pinyin is Chinese, just a different way of representing it.

You ask two different questions in the poll. Which system is better and which system is better suited for Taiwan are two different issues. I personally like the Yale system. However, in light of the fact that the internationally accepted way for representing Mandarin is using the Hanyu Pinyin system, and considering that Taiwan needs to become more international, I think that Hanyu Pinyin is the way to go.

Regarding the differences of Pinyin systems, I think it is worthwhile to note that BoPoMoFo does NOT necessarily refer to Zhu Yin Fu Hao, as China also teaches their schoolchildren Bo Po Mo Fo, they just do so using the Roman alphabet.

It is also uselful to point out that although one of the biggest arguments in favour of using Tongyong Pinyin is the “fact” that it can also be used for Taiwanese, Hakka and all of Taiwan’s aboriginal languages. In fact, this is patently untrue. Tongyong as it is used to represent Mandarin cannot be used to represent Taiwanese, plain and simple. They are using two distinct romanizations but giving it one name. Politically smart maybe given this era of hysterical Ben Tu Hua, but academically unsound.

The differences between the systems are not only linguistic, but also political and cultural.

Thanks for pointing that out, I have changed the title of the thread to reflect the question asked in the poll.