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Pinyin used in Taiwan?


Outofin
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Confusing indeed.

As of right now, only Taipei city is using Hanyu Pinyin for names of streets, districts and places. However, some of the more "established" names such as "Taipei" remains unchanged to avoid confusion.

Taiwan also has its own system of pinyin called 通用拼音 Tongyong Pinyin. It is essentially identical to Hanyu Pinyin with some minor differences. The reason for the existence of Tongyong Pinyin is to differentiate Taiwan from mainland China for political reasons, quite impractical and illogical if you ask me. However, I don't know where exactly is Tongyong Pinyin even used.

As for people's name, most people in Taiwan don't really care about the romanization of their names as usage of English and Roman letters in general is simply not that big of a deal in Taiwan. Probably the only time one would use romanization of their name is when they leave the country. Even today, romanization of names is still done with a bastardized version of Wade-Giles, very useless and confusing.

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Very confusing indeed. I was lost in Taipei as the map says a street has this character "Jen" in its name and I could not figure out that it was 仁 (ren) (having seen many Q's and X's on the road signs, it was difficult to use those maps with J's meaning R's).

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Unfortunately politics has got in the way of practicality. Some politicians from the pan-Green camp seem to think that using Hanyu Pinyin is virtually the same thing as re-unification with China. So they invented there own system called Tongyong pinyin. It is based on hanyu pinyin, but uses "jh" instead of "zh", "s" instead of "x" and "c" instead of "q" and a few other differences. Rather than improving on Hanyu pinyin (which is possible) it makes a bigger mess of it all.

Aside from the politics behind it, I think most people in Taiwan simply don't care. That is the biggest problem. Many signs are simply wrong. i.e. they don't correspond to any system of romanisation. Because people are taught Mandarin using Zhuyin Fuhao they never need to learn a system of romanisation. They also cannot understand why romanisation is important for foreigners and for international communication. The hodge-podge of systems in concurrent use only helps to reinforce people's negative views of romanisation.

I often joke to myself that it is ironic that a society can teach its people to be literate in a language with several thousand characters yet still be totally confused by an alphabet of 26 letters.

Have a look at romanization.com and pinyin.info for some more information on the issue.

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Aside from the politics behind it, I think most people in Taiwan simply don't care. That is the biggest problem. Many signs are simply wrong. i.e. they don't correspond to any system of romanisation. Because people are taught Mandarin using Zhuyin Fuhao they never need to learn a system of romanisation. They also cannot understand why romanisation is important for foreigners and for international communication. The hodge-podge of systems in concurrent use only helps to reinforce people's negative views of romanisation.

It's funny, the same situation also exists in South Korea. Although Korean Hangul is a phonetic writing system, it would SEEM only logical that a standardized Korean romanization would be used. But in reality, Korean romanization is just as messy as Chinese romanization in Taiwan simply because of the fact that most people never really need to deal with romanization.

I often joke to myself that it is ironic that a society can teach its people to be literate in a language with several thousand characters yet still be totally confused by an alphabet of 26 letters.

Although I know you're just "joking", it's not that Taiwanese are "confused" by the 26-letter alphabet, it's just that they simply don't care because it doesn't play an important role in their lives.

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A little change on pinyin would not be too bad. Like "Qi", "Chi" would make more sense to English speakers. And "ei" should really be "ay", such "wei" becomes "way" and "mei" becomes "may".

My feeling is that they didn't invent the system only by English. Maybe it involves many languages like Italian and French. Sometimes I like the way that it produces exotic words. No one would like to translate his/her name to "way" or "may", but "wei" or "mei" looks just fine.

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A little change on pinyin would not be too bad. Like "Qi"' date=' "Chi" would make more sense to English speakers. And "ei" should really be "ay", such "wei" becomes "way" and "mei" becomes "may".

My feeling is that they didn't invent the system only by English. Maybe it involves many languages like Italian and French. Sometimes I like the way that it produces exotic words. No one would like to translate his/her name to "way" or "may", but "wei" or "mei" looks just fine.[/quote']

Hanyu Pinyin is Chinese ROMANIZATION, not Anglicization... meaning it is used to write Chinese with Roman letters, not in English, there is a MAJOR difference.

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Common misconception, I think, that English speakers should be taken into account when coming up with romanisation for Chinese. First off, which english - there are differences within and between countries which would make it necessary to refer to some 'standard' English - or more likely a combination of Englishes so you can gather all the sounds together. Secondly, the vast majority of users of pinyin are sitting in elementary schools around China, and are profoundly indifferent to how English and pinyin relate.

Roddy

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If it's not used in Taiwan, where is it used? Or is it used at all?

I don't believe it is used at all. It definitely wouldn't be used anywhere outside of Taiwan as the system was came up with by Taiwanese politicians, namely from the green camp... who simply wanted to differentiate themselves from mainland China.

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You can see Tongyong pinyin in use in Taiwan, although making it out from the amorphous mess of systems may be a little difficult. For example, the city of Banqiao, in Taipei County, now spells its name Banciao, in accordance with Tongyong pinyin. It used to be spelt Pan Chiao.

Another problem in Taiwan is the use of intercapitalisation. e.g. Zhongxiao Road is written ZhongXiao Road. It is not in accordance with the rules for Hanyu Pinyin and I don't think it makes it easier to read.

Outofin, I think the merits of pinyin might have been discussed elsewhere in this forum, but there are sound linguistic reasons why we write "mei" not "may".

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About seven years ago, when I was in taiwan, every time I showed people (other than my teachers) something written in Pinyin or Wade-giles, they said it was "English"

That sort of attitude is quite annoying for non-English speakers like myself. It's like those forms from language schools where there's a field for your "English name" (英文名字). I'm always tempted to write 没有.

Regarding pinyin, I agree that it shouldn't resemble English, but some choices are unfortunate. A case that I particularly dislike about pinyin is its use of the letter q. Syllables like qi, qu or qian are usually mispronounced by all foreigners. For example, the Ch'ing dynasty is now commonly referred to as the "King" dynasty by many people.

I wonder if anyone knows where the adoption of q in pinyin comes from. The only European language that uses this letter in a more or less similar way to pinyin is Albanian. Could the former status of Albania as the only Western friend of Mao's China have played a part in the adoption of q in pinyin? Or maybe it was just the only Latin letter that was left.

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A case that I particularly dislike about pinyin is its use of the letter q. Syllables like qi, qu or qian are usually mispronounced by all foreigners. For example, the Ch'ing dynasty is now commonly referred to as the "King" dynasty by many people.

I also have always wondered why a q is use for a ch sound.

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That sort of attitude is quite annoying for non-English speakers like myself. It's like those forms from language schools where there's a field for your "English name" (英文名字). I'm always tempted to write 没有.

I agree "English" isn't appropriate. What should it say? Name (written in Latin alphabet)? International name? :-?

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