CHAT: Chinese romanization
|From:||John Cowan <cowan@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, December 23, 1998, 18:05|
Douglas Koller wrote:
> If the point of romanization is to make the Chinese language more
> accessible to non-speakers, it fails.
I don't think *any* romanization scheme could do that. :-) Besides,
which non-speakers? The vowels are bad for English-speakers, but
then all Latin vowels are bad for English speakers.
> Pinyin 'x' and 'q' aren't
> especially intuitive,
Well, "x" is good for Portuguese-speakers, and "q" is really a
borrowing of CYRILLIC LETTER CHE, slightly reshaped. (1/2 :-))
> If GYRMT can be "picked
> up" at all, I doubt it's with speed, and I suspect it's more likely that
> you have to hunker down and consciously "learn" it.
It's a lot simpler than most traditional spelling systems in Latin-alphabet
languages, except those (Croatian, Spanish, Czech, Turkish) which
are recently adopted or reformed.
Its chief virtue is that it "locks in" tones. All too often, Pinyin
and W-G just leave off the tone marks, which certainly impedes
learning for CSLs and sometimes leaves natives confused too, by
> [S]ince tone gets
> alphabetized along with everything else, like-sounding words with
> different tones are scattered to different parts of the dictionary
Yi and Hmong tonal spelling represent the tone in the last letter or
two, which helps quite a bit. There are a couple of Pinyin variants
out there which are tonal-spelling also (typical example:
tang1 = tang, tang2 = taang, tang3 = tarng, tang4 = tahng), but none
at the end.
ObConScript: How about a Pinyin-based scheme with final tone
letters? Things like -s, -h, -x would be plausible (-h is silent
in many Western languages, and silent -s and -x appear in French).
Though I admit -ngx is unaesthetic (worse yet, -ngrx).
John Cowan http://www.ccil.org/~cowan firstname.lastname@example.org
You tollerday donsk? N. You tolkatiff scowegian? Nn.
You spigotty anglease? Nnn. You phonio saxo? Nnnn.
Clear all so! 'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)