USAGE: Chinese Romanization (was: USAGE: Help with Chinese phrase)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Monday, September 6, 2004, 19:51|
On Monday, September 6, 2004, at 12:15 , Tim May wrote:
> Ray Brown wrote at 2004-09-05 07:21:57 (+0100)
>> BTW I am very familiar with both Pinyin and Gwoyeu Romatzyh, but
>> have _very_ little information on Latinxua. A quick search on
>> Google wasn't helpful. Does anyone have more information on this
> Google turns up a few things for me:
When I said 'quick' search, I should've said maybe "very quick &
superficial". Sadly, at the moment, I don't have unlimited access to the
Internet (I must do something about that) and extensive searches are very
awkward at the moment.
> There's a nearly complete scan of a 1936 primer online here, if you
> can read Chinese
Nor I :=(
> There's an equivalence chart here .
Very interesting & helpful.
> On the subject of Pinyin origins, this might be interesting,
> although the tone is somewhat combative. You're better equipped than
> myself to judge its accuracy.
The site wouldn't upload today, tho I think I did get it yesterday and on
a first glance was put off by its combative tone. I think IIRC it was
combative about Cyrillic influences - but I think  has really answered
that in any case.
On Sunday, September 5, 2004, at 11:25 , John Cowan wrote:
> Here's a (possibly not comprehensive) list of differences between Beifang
> Latinxua (aka BeiLa, aka BL) and Hanyu Pinyin (PY).
Maybe we ought to explain to those unfamiliar. Latinxua means just
'Latinization'; the full name of the system I've been calling Latinxua is
apparently "Beifangxua Latinxua" (Northern Latinization, i.e. of the
northern or 'Mandarin' form of Chinese) shortened to "Beila". _Pinyin_
means, roughly, 'alphabet' and the full form Hanyu Pinyin (Han-language
alphabet) distinguishes it from another system, Tongyong Pinyin which, I
understand, has official status on Taiwan.
However Hanyu Pinyin is more often than not simply referred to as Pinyin,
and I shall continue to do that below.
> PY h = BL x.
> PY r = BL rh.
|rh| seems a little odd, but it will be found that Beila uses |h| with
only one function, namely to show retroflexion thus: zh, ch, sh, rh
(correspinding to Pinyin zh, ch, sh, r)
> PY j, q, x = BL z, c, s when the historic sound was a palatal, or
> BL g, k, x when the historic sound was a velar.
It should be explained that the palatal sounds occur only before [i] and
[y] and that neither the velars nor the dental fricative and affricates
occur before those sounds. So what we have in Beila is that:
- z, c, s represent [tɕ], [tɕʰ] and [ɕ] before [i] or [y], and [ts], [tsʰ]
and [s] elsewhere;
- g, k, x represent [tɕ], [tɕʰ] and [ɕ] before [i] or [y], and [k], [kʰ]
and [x] elsewhere.
This may be diachronically correct, but one wonders if it is the best
solution. The synchronic phonemic status is open to argument. Are the
palatals synchronically allophones of the dental series or of the velar
series? Indeed, it is even further complicated by the fact that the
retroflex series are not found either before [i] and [y], therefore it
could be argued that the palatals are allophones of the retroflex
affricates and fricative - this, in fact, is how they were treated in the
Gwoyeu Romatzyh system.
It is interesting that the French system of Ecole français
d'Extrême-Orient adopted the same sort of solution as Beila, namely:
- ts, ts' and s represent palatals before [i] and [y] but dentals
- k, k' and h represent palatals before [i] and [y] but velars elsewhere.
Pinyin, of course, give separate sets of symbols to the dental, retroflex,
palatal and velar series.
> PY e is usually o in BL (Pinyin only uses o in o, bo, mo, po, fo).
Yep - in fact the phonemic status of [o] is debatable.
> PY er is just r in BL.
> PY )Büpresumably typo for just plain ü
> (and u when that represents [y]) is y in BL,
> so yu, ju, qu, xu are y, zy, cy, sy respectively,
> and ue/yue, uan/yuan, un/yun are ye/yo, yan, yn respectively.
Umm - |y| is OK if the system is basically IPA, but not I'm not
enthusiastic about it.
> PY i in zi ci si zhi chi shi ri is not written in BL.
..and the Pinyin sound is not [i] in these combos either. After the
dentals it is essentially a vocalized [z] described as a "blade-alveolar
vowel"; and after the retroflex consonants it is a high front unrounded
rhotic vowel. Different Romanizations have done all sorts of things with
> PY ong = BL ung.
Now that I'd go along with. I've always considered Pinyin's -ong [uŋ] a
> PY iong = BL yng.
But the sound is [juŋ], is it not? The Beila transcription implies [yŋ]
Anyway, thanks Tim & John. I now have the Latinxua or Beila version.
Just a few points.
I notice that Beila also uses |b|, |d|, |g| for unaspirated voicless
plosives and [p], [t], [k] for the aspirated voiceless plosives, just as
GR did. This must surely make it certain that Pinyin's use of the symbols
has nothing directly to do with German transcriptions, but are due to the
same transcriptions being used by both GR and Beila.
Having now seen the German system, I am even less convinced that German
has anything to do with Pinyin's use of single letters to represent the
dental and palatal series, especially when I discover that it represented:
- the dentals as: ds, ts, s
- the palatals as: dj, tj, hs
- the retroflex as: dsch, tsch, sch (wow!)
Lastly, I discover that |q| did _not_ form part of the Beila system and
that I was the victim of an urban myth which claimed that Beila borrowed
it from Cyrillic ч. I now agree that Pinyin's use of |q| = [tɕʰ] may well
have been influenced by the Albanian use of |q| = [c].
"They are evidently confusing science with technology."
UMBERTO ECO September, 2004