Who put the K in 高雄 (Kaohsiung)


The Normans, and presumably the Manchu?


Thanks to both for your views.

I only had one instance i can recall where a Taiwanese person tried to correct my Taiwanese accent - and she was a Chinese language instructor in the US who seemed to definitely have a CCTV/Northern Beijing chauvinism standard. She was so proud that she spoke very standard Mandarin and that no one from China would ever believe that she was from Taiwan. Once she tried to correct the pronunciation that I and a couple other Taiwanese ABCs were using in her class - she said “If you speak that way then everyone will instantly know you are Taiwanese.” And all of us laughed out loud at her - as our Mandarin (while not terrible) was at such a level that if anyone listener thought we were a native speaker of any kind that it would be a high compliment indeed. And we went back to speaking in the Taiwanese fashion and she gave up trying to change it.


The majority of Americans say gonna, but they don’t claim the reason they say it is because they speak “American, not English”, that only foreigners say going to, or that attempts to promote going to or demote gonna are tantamount to denying American independence.

I believe this is a false dichotomy. In southern China, you can have “very standard” pronunciation but still not sound like a northerner. To my ear, the defining feature of a typical northern accent is nasalization.


Agreed regarding the false dichotomy. I don’t share my former teacher’s views. For any language, especially one with as vast a speaking base as Mandarin, I think there can be multiple “standard” accents. I’d imagine that most native Mandarin speakers might find a general Northern accent (not necessarily a strong Beijing accent) to be the “most standard” and that a general Southern accent (Shanghai metro, Wuhan metro) or a Taipei accent (as opposed to Southern Taiwan) to be generally acceptable “standard accents” as well.

Personally, I would also think that accents that many consider “non-standard” are equally acceptable in my own estimation. I know that many listeners find Canto- and Southern Taiwan accents to be somewhat deviant, but I think there is a charm and beauty to them as well, and I can’t help but feel there is some level of chauvinism involved to call them non-standard.

Of course there is a subjectivity involved in any of this. If there is no such thing as “standard” then how might one consider ABC or other “foreign” accents in Mandarin? Are they just simply another kind of standard accent, or are they “objectively” just “wrong”? I have no hard feelings on this, just musing.

Chinese translations that seem to make no sense but actually do

I do not even know what to begin with.

  1. If you need to reinforce a separate identity, then this identity appears to be a weakly construed identity to begin with.
  2. US and British English have spelling differences, but that is an example that cannot be compared to Chinese. Any romanization - be it Hanyu Pinyin or Wade-Giles - is just that: a romanization for people who cannot read Chinese characters. A romanization system does not change the way native speakers pronounce or spell words - particularly when native speakers use Chinese characters rather than the Latin alphabet.
  3. Hanyu Pinyin is both the ISO and Taiwan national standard for romanizations. Local governments are free to maintain their pre-Hanyu Pinyin romanization or maintain certain historic spellings. That is why Tamsui is not romanized as Danshui despite New Taipei City using Hanyu Pinyin. On the other hand, romanizations of names in passports have since around 2009 been made in Hanyu Pinyin for anyone who has not previously applied for a passport.


When Michele Ruggieri, Matteo Ricci, Johann Adam Schall von Bell, and Ferdinand Verbiest were in Beijing, the Chinese language in Beijing was still related today’s Nanjing language, which still had enough classical features to be called Middle Chinese. Most of them went through the transition between Ming and Qing, except von Bell, who came to China during the Kangxi era.

This can be seen in the writings of these priests, especially the Portuguese-Chinese dictionary and the True Record of the Lord of Heaven by Michele Ruggieri and Matteo Ricci.

not entirely accurate. They will ask if you have a preferred way of romanization out of a list of 5, and will used Hanyu Pinyin as the default if you don’t have a preference.


my kid got wade Giles as default after 2009.


Can you opt for a specific romanisation?

EDIT: NM just read hansiouxs post. What are the 5 romanisations available. Pinyin, Wade-Giles… what else? Yale? Tongyong?


The Taiwanese don’t know who they are, but they know who they’re not, and that’s a start.


And Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II