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Re: OFF: More Pinyin reform...

From:Daniel A. Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Friday, February 25, 2000, 22:45
I went back to the drawing board for variations of Pinyin...  right now the
only reforms I'm sure on are:

ao > au
u" (u-umlaut) > iu
ie > ieh  (see below)

These two are only tentative:

in > ien  (this and the next are only tentative)
ing > ieng

>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 inclined to pronounce "ieh" correctly than "ie", which I'm tempted to proounce as separate "i-e".
>That's probably good, since there are words like "e2", "goose", and "e4", >"hungry" which you'll have to deal with separately if you use zero for >schwa.
I've officially dropped the idea of unwritten schwa. It was lame.
> > _chi_ becomes _qi_, _zhi_ becomes _ji_, and _shi_ becomes _xi_ -- but > > there's already a _qi_, _ji_ and _shi_! What do we do? Remember that > > lonely <er> syllable which never begins with anything? Turns out that >the > > <i> after retroflexes sounds like English "er", and Mandarin has the >same > > value for <er>. So let that be our new vowel! Now we have _qer_, _jer_ >and > > _xer_; no more ambiguity! > >But it creates new ones. The "er" in "er2qie3", "and", and "er2zi", "son" >does not sound the same as the "i" in "zhi1", which you would render as >"jer". Too, how to disambiguate "zher4", "here", and "zhi4", "until", both >of which look like they'll be rendered as "jer" in your system.
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. Or the Wade-Giles equivalent, which is "ih".
>Pity the poor general reader who might encounter one of these in "Time >Magazine". Hu Shi, the celebrated scholar, becomes Hu Xr. Go ahead, Mom, >try >and pronounce that. I dare ya, I *double* dare ya.
Another bad idea I scrapped. According to what I have above, the name would be Hu Xir.
>I'd be interested in seeing your scheme in toto, but it seems that by >solving a problem or disambiguating in one area, you trade in for a new set >of problems or ambiguities elsewhere.
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. Now I have the sudden craving for Kung Pao Chicken. Danny ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at