Essay in Hanyu Pinyin

Although I have a few texts here on Pinyin Info written in Pinyin, most of them aren’t long and are usually conversions from texts written in Chinese characters. So it is with very great pleasure that I announce the Internet release of an extensive and important essay by Zhang Liqing (張立青,张立青) that was written in Pinyin originally: Hànzì Bù Tèbié Biǎoyì.

Here is the opening:

Dàduōshù huì Hànzì de rén rènwéi Hànzì shì biǎoyì wénzì. Jiù shì shuō Hànzì gēn biéde wénzì bù yīyàng, bùbì yīkào fāyīn huòzhě biéde yǔyán tiáojiàn; yī ge rén zhǐyào xuéhuì le hěn duō Hànzì, kànjian Hànzì xiě de dōngxi jiù zhīdao shì shénme yìsi.

Zhè dàduōshù rén yòu kàndào liǎng jiàn shìqing. Dì-yī, Hànzì zài Zhōngguó liánxù yòng le sānqiān duō nián, bìngqiě dào xiànzài hái zài yòng. Dì-èr, Hànzì zài Dōng-Yà jǐ ge guójiā liúchuán le hěn cháng yī duàn shíjiān. Yúshì, tāmen yǒu tuīxiǎng chū liǎng ge jiélùn. Yī ge shuō Hànzì chāoyuè shíjiān; lìngwài yī ge shuō Hànzì chāoyuè kōngjiān. Guībìng qǐlai jiù shì Hànzì biǎoyì, kěyǐ chāoyuè shí-kōng. Zuìhòu gèng jìnyībù, bǎ Hànyǔ yě lājìnlái, shuō Hànzì zuì shìhé Hànyǔ.

Shàngmiàn de kànfǎ hé jiélùn “gēn shēn dì gù”, dànshì bùxìng dōu hěn piànmiàn, bù fúhé zhēnzhèng qíngkuàng. Wèishénme ne? Hěn jiǎndān….

Nothing would make me happier than for Mandarin teachers the world over to distribute this work to their students, for it’s much more than an exercise in Pinyin; it’s an essay with important points to make about the nature of Chinese characters. (And, yes, O teachers of the world, the copyright terms do allow you to reprint this.)

This essay appeared originally in 1991, in the Sino-Platonic Papers release of Schriftfestschrift: Essays on Writing and Language in Honor of John DeFrancis on His Eightieth Birthday, so some of you may have seen it already. But the full Schriftfestschrift is a whopping 15 MB, while this essay is a more manageable 759 KB PDF.

This special release of this article is in honor of the seventieth birthday this month of Zhang, some of whose work appears here at Pinyin Info. So, after reading Hanzi bu tebie biaoyi, I recommend that you turn to her translations of Lü Shuxiang (first seen here on this site!) and Zhou Youguang:

Those readings are also available in the original Mandarin:

In addition to being a writer, educator, and translator, Zhang is an associate editor of the excellent ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary, which is by far my favorite Mandarin-English dictionary.

Happy birthday, Liqing!

5 thoughts on “Essay in Hanyu Pinyin

  1. Typos: ‘láijìnlái’ in the second paragraph of the excerpt should be ‘l?jìnlái.’ ‘Shànmiàn’ in the third paragraph should be ‘Shàngmiàn.’ Also, a very minor point: some of the punctuation is full-width: the comma following ‘Yúshì’ in paragraph two, the open double quotation mark preceding ‘g?n sh?n dì gù’ in the 3rd paragraph.

  2. Hi, Prince Roy. As far as I know, this is the only version there is. In this case, the medium really is part of the message.

    Those not used to reading full texts written in Pinyin might stumble a bit at first in some spots; but most readers who know both Mandarin and Pinyin can adapt quickly, within just a few pages. At any rate, I’m pretty certain it would take much less time for even a relative novice to Pinyin (but not to Mandarin, of course) to read this as is than for the same person to type it all out so as to convert it to Chinese characters.

    But if you know of someone who would be interested in taking the trouble to convert it to Hanzi, please let me know.

  3. sorry to go off topic, but for anyone interested in the Taiwanese romanization debate, A15 of today’s ???? carries a letter/commentary by two elementary school teachers of Taiwanese critisizing the recent decision by the Ministry of Education to adopt Tái-luó-b?n P?ny?n (?????) over the Tongyong version. I don’t know enough about either system (or Taiwanese) to compare them, but I still think a decent compromise to the whole romanization mess would be to use Hanyu pinyin for Mandarin and Tongyong for Taiwanese.

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