‘Hot-Milk Road’ and other street-name errors

Just 3.6 percent of Taipei’s street names need apostrophes. But those that need them really do need them, and Taipei’s ill-advised, counterproductive, and downright annoying InTerCaPiTaLiZaTion on street signs is no substitute for doing things right.

Because Taipei continues to omit required apostrophes from street names, one of the city’s main thoroughfares is labeled the Mandarin equivalent of Hot-Milk Road. This is because according to the rules of Hanyu Pinyin RENAI is RE+NAI, not REN+AI. Thus, rather than a road named after rén’ài (love for one’s fellow man; humanity; 仁愛), Taipei has rènǎi (hot milk) road (熱奶路).

I’m not going to bother giving all of the misleading readings, as I did in my earlier entry on mistakes in Taipei’s MRT system. But there are plenty of awkward results of Taipei’s mistakes.

Below are all of Taipei’s street names that require an apostrophe. Almost all of these contain the character 安 (an).

Note the tone marks on Tóng’ān St. (同安街) and Tōng’ān St. (通安街). More about those in a later entry.

Chinese characters Pinyin and English mix
保安街 Bao’an St.
北安路 Bei’an Rd.
博愛路 Bo’ai Rd.
長安東路 Chang’an E. Rd.
長安西路 Chang’an W. Rd.
大安路 Da’an Rd.
惠安街 Hui’an St.
民安巷 Min’an Ln.
寧安街 Ning’an St.
農安街 Nong’an St.
仁愛路 Ren’ai Rd.
瑞安街 Rui’an St.
泰安街 Tai’an St.
同安街 Tóng’ān St.
通安街 Tōng’ān St.
萬安街 Wan’an St.
西安街 Xi’an St.
新安路 Xin’an Rd.
信安街 Xin’an St.
興安街 Xing’an St.
鍚安巷 Yang’an Ln.
永安街 Yong’an St.
詔安街 Zhao’an St.

5 thoughts on “‘Hot-Milk Road’ and other street-name errors

  1. I lived on ??? for a year, but when I told Taipei residents that, some of them didn’t seem to know it and thought I was just mispronouncing ???. By the way, great work on this blog. I’m torn between wanting Taiwan to standardize properly on Hanyu-pinyin for their romanization just because it’s the only way that make sense, while on the other hand loving the silly and chaotic mix of arbitrary romanization you see all over the country.

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  3. This annoying and ugly InTerCaPiTaLiZaTioNs are so common in Shenzhen, where lots of western expats would go for weekend bargain hunting. It seems the local authorities are not so serious about the romanization of the city towards foreign visitors and residents. Chinese-speaking locals just don’t show any interests on pinyin.

    By the way, South China Morning Post has Chinese names in pinyin romanization in every first appearance of the article, with proper use of apostrophes. I hope it will not be long before we may see the pinyin transcriptions with tone diacritics on them.

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