more on Taiwan’s new Tongyong move

This morning all three of Taiwan’s English-language newspapers ran the AP story on the Ministry of the Interior’s plan to expand the use of Tongyong Pinyin. (Bonus points to the copy editor at the Taipei Times who changed the original article’s sloppy “Taiwan will standardize the English transliterations of its Chinese Mandarin place names by the end of the year” to “The Romanization of Mandarin place names will be standardized by the end of this year.”)

I have made a few calls about this, but to little effect so far. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time today to track down someone at the Ministry of the Interior who can give some definitive information about this.

Meanwhile, here’s another article. It gives a little more information: no intercapping (good), hyphens instead of apostrophes (bad), some screwed-up word parsing (bad).

But all of this sounds like old news. How this will be any different in implementation is still unclear.

Wàijí rénshì lái Táiw?n g?ngzuò huò l?yóu, z?ng bèi Táiw?n de dìmíng yì xi? g?o de “wù shàsha,” jiéjú cháng y? mílù sh?uch?ng. Nèizhèngbù 30 rì g?ng bù “bi?ozh?n dìmíng yì xi? zh?nzé” c?o’àn, míng dìng dìmíng yì xi? y? “y?nyì” wèi yuánzé, bìng c?i “T?ngyòng P?ny?n” wèi j?zh?n, ruò dìmíng y?u lìsh?, y?yán, guójì guànyòng, shùzì d?ng tèxìng, zé y? dìmíng xìngzhì f?nyì, rú Rìyuè Tán yì wéi “Sun Moon Lake;” 306 g?odì yì wéi “Highland 306.”

G?i c?o’àn shì y?jù “guót? cèhuì f?” dìngdìng, bìng nàrù Jiàoyùbù zhìdìng de “Zh?ngwén yìy?n sh?yòng yuánzé” zuòwéi yì xi? bi?ozh?n, dìmíng yì xi? f?ngshì yóu dìmíng zh?gu?n j?gu?n zìxíng juédìng.

C?o’àn zh?ch?, wèi bìmi?n yì xi? zh? duì wényì rènzh? bùtóng, ch?nsh?ng yì xi? ch?yì, t?ngy? xíngzhèng q?yù de bi?ozh?n yì xi? f?ngshì, sh?ng “Province,” shì “City,” xiàn “County,” xi?ng-zhèn “Township,” q? “District,” c?nli “Village.” Ji?dào míngch?ng y? t?ngy? yì xi?, dàdào “Boulevard,” lù “Road,” ji? “Street,” xiàng “lane,” nòng “Alley.” Lìrú K?idágélán Dàdào wéi “Kaidagelan Boulevard.”

C?o’àn míng dìng, bi?ozh?n dìmíng de yì xi? c?i t?ngyòng p?ny?n, dàn dìmíng hány?u “sh?xìng míngch?ng” shí, y? sh?xìng míngch?ng yìyì f?ngshì yì xi?, rú D?ng F?ng zhíyì wéi “East Peak.”

Ruò sh?xìng míngch?ng y? bi?ozh?n dìmíng zh?ngt? shìwéi y? ge zhu?ny?u míngch?ng shí, bù lìng y? yìyì f?ngshì f?nk?i yì xi?, rú “Ji?-Nán dà zùn [zhèn?]” yì wéi “Jianan dazun;” Yángmíng Sh?n yì wéi “Yangmingshan;” Zhúzi Hú yì wéi “Jhuzihhu.”

Lìngwài dìmíng y?u d?ngdì lìsh?, y?yán, f?ngsúxíguàn, z?ngjiào xìny?ng, guójì guànyòng huò qít? tèsh? yuány?n, j?ng zh?gu?n j?gu?n bào zh?ngy?ng zh?gu?n j?gu?n hédìng hòu, bù shòu “sh?xìng míngch?ng” xiànzhì, rú Yù Sh?n zhíyì wéi Jade Mountain; zh?ngy?ng sh?nmài yì wéi “Central Mountains.”

C?o’àn gu?dìng, bi?ozh?n dìmíng yì xi? sh?xi? f?ngshì, dì-y? ge zìm? dàxi?, qíyú zìm? xi?oxi?, rú b?nqiáo yì wéi “Banciao,” ér f?i “Ban Ciao” huò “Ban-ciao.” Dàn dìmíng de dì-y? ge zì y?hòu de p?ny?n zìm?, ch?xiàn a, o, e shí, y? qián d?nzì ji?n y? du?nxiàn liánji?, rú Q?l?’àn yì wéi “Cili-an,” Rén’ài Xi?ng wéi “Ren-ai Township.”

C?wài, c?o’àn y? t?ngy? zìrán dìl? shít? sh?xìng míngch?ng, rú píngyuán, péndì, d?oy?, qúnd?o, liè y?, ji?o, t?n, sh?zh?u, ji?ji?o, sh?n, sh?nmài, f?ng, hé x?, hú, tán d?ng shíw? zh?ng yì xi? f?ngshì. Lìrú, D?ngsh? Qúnd?o yì wéi “Dongsha Islands;” Diàoyútái liè y? “Diaoyutai Archipelago;” B?iwèi T?n “Beiwei Bank;” “?l? Sh?n sh?nmài” yì wéi “Alishan Mountains;” zh?f?ng yì wéi “Main Peak;” Sh?nhútán zhíyì wéi “Shanhu Pond.”

source: Y?ngyì y?u “zh?n” — l?owài zh?o lù bùzài wù shàsha (?????? ?????????), China Times, October 31, 2007

13 thoughts on “more on Taiwan’s new Tongyong move

  1. (Bonus points to the copy editor at the Taipei Times who changed the original article’s sloppy “Taiwan will standardize the English transliterations of its Chinese Mandarin place names by the end of the year” to “The Romanization of Mandarin place names will be standardized by the end of this year.”)

    I beg to differ. Any editor who changes active voice to passive should lose his job.

  2. LOL! You’ve got a point there, though I have nothing but sympathy for most of the no-doubt overworked and underpaid copy editors at the local rags. I was just happy to see someone recognize the difference between romanization and English for a change. And “Chinese Mandarin” is hardly ideal either.

  3. I guess this is the MOI’s way of saying they really don’t care about what the users of the system think. Taiwanese people who can read the characters don’t need romanization at all– it really is here for the sake of us foreigners and yet the MOI completely disregarded our overwhelming preference for standard pinyin.

  4. Mark: Taiwanese people who can read the characters don’t need romanization at all– it really is here for the sake of us foreigners.

    So, you are suggesting that Taiwan government to use a system easier for Taiwanese at where Taiwanese need romanization, and use a system that suitable for foreigners at where Taiwanese don’t need romanization at all ?

    If not, then you are suggesting that Taiwanese government to completely disregard Taiwanese need but only take into consideration of foreigners ?

  5. Echo, as I’ve said before the vast majority of Taiwanese don’t need or use any form of pinyin.

    What I’m suggesting is that the government go along with the prevailing standard, which would make everyone’s lives easier. Hanyu Pinyin is used by over a billion Chinese people, and it’s the romanization of choice of the US, the EU, Australia, Japan, the UN, and over a hundred million Mandarin students around the world. There is no Taiwanese “need” for a system the rest of the world finds ridiculous.

    Furthermore, those few Taiwanese who do need pinyin, such as those who chose to become CSL teachers abroad or use a Chinese cell phone while on business in Shanghai, really do need to know the standard system. Surely you don’t hope for Taiwan to ignore the rest of the world, become even more isolated?

  6. Mark,

    Like I said in the other post, new generation of Taiwanese use Pingyin to input chinese characters EVERYDAY. The old style of input method, using “form” instead of “sound” is much much harder to learn. Unless those professionals who need fast and correct typing, most would adapt to the Pingyin inputfor daily use. The increase of typos is a vivid support of this claim, ‘cos some chinese sounds could represent up to more than 20 different characters, and users often lost the patience to “choose the correct char” if they don’t want their typing interrupted by those back-and-forward corrections. This kind of typos won’t be seen if they use “form-based” input method. In fact the percentage of typos increase significantly even from professional journalists, indicating that even professionals using Pingyin too.

    Besides, learning Pingyin-based input allows users to learn both Chinese input and English input at the same time.

    I wrote articles, diaries, emails … in Chinese using Pingyin everyday. Many of my friends, net pals I met … using Pingying everyday. So I really don’t know how you came up with the conclusion that “Taiwanese don’t need any form of pingyin.” Which isolated corner have you been living in Taiwan exactly?

    “There is no Taiwanese“need” for a system the rest of the world finds ridiculous.”

    LOL, Mark, you live in some isolated corner of Taiwan but think your idea represents the whole world ? Don’t kill me, man.

  7. Hi, guys:

    I’m still having to retrieve most of your comments from the spam bucket.

    I get too much spam to look through all of it comment by comment, so it’s best to include “pinyin”, “Taiwan”, or “Chinese” in your comment, as I generally search the spam bucket for those words to check for false positives.

    If you have this trouble with your comments on other sites as well, I recommend writing Akismet and telling them you’re not a spambot.

    I had the same problem. But since I wrote Akismet everything appears hunky-dory.

    My guess would be that everything from many Taiwan IPs is automatically getting flagged as spam.

  8. Echo, your comment is nearly incomprehensible.

    The vast majority of Taiwanese people, including younger generations, use a zhuyin input method (which is NOT “form-based”, FYI). In living in several cities all over the island, I’ve never met a single Taiwanese person who relies on a pinyin based IME. Many Taiwanese cell phones don’t even offer the option of a pinyin IME.

    I have difficulties believing you use “pingyin” everyday as you claimed because if you did, you’d undoubtedly be able to spell “pinyin”.

    FYI, I live within walking distance of 101… hardly isolated. Ad hominem is a terrible way to try to make an argument.

  9. Mark,

    For the typo of “Pingyin”, I’ve explained the reason in another post:

    so I won’t repeat here.

    Based on your reply, I realized that using zhuyin could result in the same situation of “increaing typos”, as what I assume the result of using “pinyin”. So it’s possibly that our circle of friends are simply different.

    As for “Ad hominem”, I apologized. You are right that it’s not the way to make an argmument.

    I was indeed carried away by your statement of assuming that your point of view (“There is no Taiwanese“need” for a system the rest of the world finds ridiculous.”) represents that of the whole world.

    That, is not a way to make any argument either, unless you have any data to support your statement.

    (Sorry to site admin, my typos must have added extra burden on your workload)

  10. Isn’t the fact that every cell phone sold in Taiwan has a zhuyin IME, while pinyin IMEs are rare data enough to show that zhuyin is the dominant IME in Taiwan?

    If not, then look at which IME is enabled by default on Taiwan-localized Windows. It’s zhuyin.

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