early ‘universal’ romanization system

No-Sword brings up Karl Richard Lepsius’s early, IPA-like system, with Matt linking to Google Print’s online edition of Standard Alphabet for Reducing Unwritten Languages and Foreign Graphic Systems to a Uniform Orthography in European Letters.

The book groups Taiwanese, Hakka, and Mandarin — or Hok-lo, Hak-ka, and Mandarinic (my favorite), as it refers to them — under “monosyllabic languages” (grr). OTOH, Tibetan is given as an “isolated language.” Interestingly, Mandarin pronunciation is given following the practice of Nanjing, not Beijing; a similar choice made a couple of hundred years ealier is also part of what’s behind the “Peking” spelling for what is now referred to as Beijing (1 MB PDF).

3 thoughts on “early ‘universal’ romanization system

  1. Well, I did let “dialect” slide on this one. But then I read that in Mandarin “the monosyllabism is developed to the highest degree, every syllable being a whole word….”

    Sorry, but monosyllabism is developed to the highest degree not in Mandarin but in Hup Hup. Sheesh, you’d think Karl Richard Lepsius had never heard the tale of the vengeful curtain rod! (One of my favorite stories — really.)

  2. Pingback: Pinyin news » 17th century proposal for a universal alphabet

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