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CHAT: Pinyin Reformed (Re: John Cowan mangles Pinyin again)

From:Daniel A. Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Thursday, February 10, 2000, 22:05
>From: John Cowan <jcowan@...>
>Generally speaking the checked syllables of the ru tone in Middle >Chinese got distributed semi-randomly among the other three tones >when final stops were lost. If there truly are more of them >in the 4th tone (= Middle 3rd tone) category, I'd be interested >in the evidence.
There is a HUGE database of Unihan characters somewhere among the dusty shelves at Let me find the URL... Beware: this is one complicated thing we're dealing with here. It's hard to read, and the .txt file with the names and other data (no glyps) is something like a meg plus -- there you get Cantonese (modified Yale translit) along with Japanese (native and Sino-Japanese), Korean and Mandarin pronunciations. Good luck!
>The objection here is that ' is used in all (except Yale?) romanizations >to divide syllables when the "natural" division is wrong, >thus Chang'an to avoid reading Chan'gan, or Xi'an to avoid reading Xian.
Oh, sorry; I was thinking in terms of Pinyin. I used to have memorized the Yale method of transing, but all I remember is that "szu" syllable sounded like "szzzzz", roughly speaking.
>Toneless syllables are very few in number, though very common. >I say write them as if in the first tone, and live with the ambiguity.
Again I say the unmarked form. Oh yeah, and what do you do about ü (u-umlaut) if you want a ASCII-only system? Using Y as a vowel perhaps? But as for the retroflexes, I'd just leave them with the -h marking. But -r isn't unreasonable at all. Danny ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at