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Re: CHAT: Chinese romanization

From:Douglas Koller <laokou@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 30, 1998, 7:33
Nik Taylor wrote:

> But surely with Pinyin all the apostrophes, etc. can be preserved in > educational texts and beginners' texts. An analogy is accents in > Spanish. Most of the time, the written accents are unnecessary (e.g., > the suffix -ico always has antepenultimate stress). It's very helpful > for learners to know the correct pronunciation, but there is rarely any > chance of ambiguity or mispronunciation for experienced speakers, since > the accents can usually be figured out.
(not a native speaker, but distinguishing things like hable'/hable [1st person preterite vs. 1st person subjunctive] or hablo'/hablo [3rd person preterite vs. 1st person present] *in certain contexts* might take a little getting used to [albeit not insurmountable]) Keep in mind, though, that most Chinese speakers, educated or not, are not experienced readers of romanization, even with all the appropriate bells and whistles added. Case in point, the student edition of Defrancis' first year Chinese book is written in pinyin while the teacher's edition is written in characters so the teacher can read aloud naturally rather than have a cerebral hemorrhage making out the pinyin. For the situation you're describing to exist (and it does to a limited extent with Taiwanese speakers literate in their dialect [particularly older ones within the Christian community]), Chinese speakers would need to be trained in reading whole passages in romanization rather than just single words or syllables and without the corresponding characters above every line as is done in children's books. Kou