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Beijing, Zhongguo, etc.

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Monday, August 18, 2008, 19:41

Mark J. Reed" writes:
> To go back to the subject in the header for a second - am I correct > that at the time of the creation of the romanization "Peking", the > name was actually pronounced [pe'k_jiN],
You're right about the [k_j]. Some northern Mandarin dialects still distinguish this, while in Beijing dialect, [k_j] and [ts_j] collapsed. So the earlier romanisation (postal map spelling) was 'Peking' vs. 'Tientsin' while today's official romanisation, ignoring northern dialects, has 'Beijing' and 'Tianjin'. About the [e], I am not sure. IIRC, the postal map spelling was a German invention and it could be that /ej/ was simply written as _e_ because there was no 'standard' way to write /ej/ or because it did not seem to matter or even because it seemed like an appropriate choice.
> Also, what's up with the tones? According to Wikipedia, the full > Pinyin form is Bei3jing1, withindicated falling-rising tone on the > first syllable and high level tone on the second; but the IPA > transcription on the same page has a falling tone on the first > syllable and a rising on the second...
Rising on the second would have to be a mistake, I suppose. But the first syllable's third tone, the falling-rising, is clipped depending on phonetic context and usually comes out as either a low-falling tone or (in front of another third tone) a high-rising tone, in the latter case collapsing with the second tone (IPA 35). So Bei3jing1 would be pronounced with IPA 21 on the first syllable and 55 on the second. The full IPA 213 tone is only pronounced at the end of utterances, in isolation or in very marked pronunciation, if at all. **Henrik