Re: OFF: More Pinyin reform...
|From:||DOUGLAS KOLLER <laokou@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, February 26, 2000, 7:46|
From: "Daniel A. Wier"
> I went back to the drawing board for variations of Pinyin... right nowthe
> only reforms I'm sure on are:
> ao > au
> u" (u-umlaut) > iu
> ie > ieh (see below)
Okay on "au", I guess. I think Yale does something similar.
ü > iu raises some problems I think. A) There will now be ambiguous
syllables as you combine "niu2", "cow", with "nü3", "woman", and "lü2",
"donkey", and "liu2", "remain".
In a previous post you indicated that this could be easily dealt with, but
how? B) There are syllables like "nüe4", "malaria", out there which by your
system will become a slightly unwieldy "niueh". C) Are you only going to use
"iu" where "ü" occurs in pinyin or everywhere the /y/ sound occurs? This
will generate forms like xiueh, qiueh, and jiueh as well as niueh and liueh.
How will you disambiguate pinyin "xu1", "need", and "xiu1", "rest", if you
> These two are only tentative:
> in > ien (this and the next are only tentative)
> ing > ieng
Okaaaay, but why?
> >Why the need to disambiguate here since these sounds occur in mutually
> >exclusive environments?
> It's optional, and I like it for the sake of clarity. I'm more inclinedto
> pronounce "ieh" correctly than "ie", which I'm tempted to proounce as
> separate "i-e".
Okay, kind of intuitive, too, from an English speaker's perspective. But...
> Yeah, I did more research and found that out. An alternative would be to
> use "ir" after "sh", "zh", "ch" and "r". So zhi > jir, and zher > jer.
You'd have to check, but I think Yale does something similar.
> the Wade-Giles equivalent, which is "ih".
If you're using "eh" for the "real e" sound then why would "ih" represent
the retroflex as opposed to the "real i" sound?
> And it is true that forming the perfect romanization is like that "Chinese
> finger puzzle thing" -- the harder you try to pull your fingers out of it,
> the tighter the grip gets.
Too true. But isn't that true of romanizing anything other than, well,
Roman? If there's a pathological aversion to diacritics, then one ends up
with di- and trigraphs from hell or schemes like English's silent "e". Strip
Polish of its diacritics, and wouldn't you have to do back flips to mash it
into the Roman alphabet?
Back to Chinese. Trust me, the Central Committee isn't paying me commission
to tout the virtues of pinyin, really it isn't. But since that's the system
in place, anything that intends to replace it is going to have to be really
whiz-bang in my book. As an example:
chi qi different ways to represent the front of the
syllable; "i" has different values in mutually
qir/qer qi different ways to represent the back of the
syllable; "j", "q", and "x" have different
values depending on what follows.
I don't see the former or latter as being necessarily superior, but since
the former's in place, why replace it with something which works only