Taiwan’s still official but probably-not-long-for-this-world romanization system for Mandarin is Tongyong Pinyin. Tongyong Pinyin, however, is basically unknown outside Taiwan and, in truth, very little known even within Taiwan. (And many of those — like me — who do know it don’t like it.) But still, it’s what the Chen administration forced into use on highway signs, within train stations, and on some other signage throughout the country. So there’s certain to be some interest for it here. But in Taiwan how does interest in it compare against interest in Hanyu Pinyin, use of the latter system being regarded as something close to a sign of the apocalypse among some Tongyong supporters? The new Google Insights provides some clues.
Here’s a relative look at Google searches from Taiwan in 2008 for the terms “漢語拼音” (Hanyu Pinyin) and “通用拼音” (Tongyong Pinyin).
In Taiwan, searches for Hanyu Pinyin have clearly been more popular this year.
What about in the longer term? Below is a chart from 2004 to the present. (The lines are a little different because in the long-term chart averages are by month; but the monthly averages probably give a clearer picture anyway.)
Again, interest in Hanyu Pinyin comes out on top — consistently — even in Taiwan.
Not surprisingly, in searches worldwide, Tongyong Pinyin basically doesn’t even register against Hanyu Pinyin, so great is the disparity.
If you’d like to run some searches on your own, note that Google Insights distinguishes between traditional and “simplified” Chinese characters, i.e., a search for “漢語拼音” will yield substantially different results than one for “汉语拼音”.