Here’s another in my series of photos of English with Chinese character(istic)s, that is Chinese characters being used to write English (sort of). I want to stress that these aren’t loan words, just an approximate phonetic rendering of the English.
Today’s entry — which was taken a few weeks ago in Xinzhu (usually spelled “Hsinchu”), Taiwan — is Mi2ke4 Xia4 (lit. “lost guest summer”).
Here’s a public-domain script font: Promocyja.
Last week I put online China’s official rules for Hanyu Pinyin, the 2012 revision (GB/T 16159-2012). I’ve now made a traditional-Chinese-character version of those rules for Pinyin.
Eventually I’ll also issue versions in Pinyin and English.
(Note: The image above is of course Photoshopped. I altered the cover of the PRC standard simply to provide an illustration in traditional Chinese characters for this post.)
I tend to think of Hanzi being used to write English words as “Singlish,” after John DeFrancis’s classic spoof, “The Singlish Affair,” which is the opening chapter of his essential book The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy. But these days the word is mainly used for Singaporean English. So now I usually go with something like “English with Chinese character(istic)s.”
For a few earlier examples, see the my photos of the dog and the butterfly businesses.
Today’s example is “Crunchy,” written as ke3 lang3 qi2 (can bright strange). Kelangqi, however, isn’t how to say “crunchy” in Mandarin (cui4 de is); it’s just an attempt to render the English word using Chinese characters, probably in an attempt to look different and cool.
Crunchy, which is now out of business, was just a block away from the Dog (dou4 ge2) store, which is still around.
I’ve just added to Pinyin.info the tenth and final issue (December 1989) of the seminal journal Xin Tang. I strongly encourage everyone to take a look at it and some of the other issues. Copies of this journal are extremely rare; but their importance is such that I’ll be putting all of them online here over the years.
Xin Tang 10
Although I’m giving the table of contents in English, the articles themselves are in Mandarin and written in Pinyin.
- FEATURE ARTICLES
- ZHOU YOUGUANG: The Next Step of Language Modernization
- CHEN ENQUAN: Experiments Should Be Carried Out on the Phoneticization of Chinese Characters
- LI YUAN: Romanized Chinese Must Be Finalized
- LI PING: To Be a Promoter of Script Reform
- ZHENG LINXI: Wu Yuzhang and Chinese Phonetic Spelling
- ZHANG LIQING: How Should the Tones of Chinese Spelling Be Indicated?
- LIQING: Elephants
- CHEN XUANYOU (Tang Period): The Wandering Soul
- WU JINGZI (Qing Period): Third Daughter Wang
- LU XUN: On the Collapse of Thunder Peak Pagoda
- RUI LUOBIN: The Adventures of Chunmei and Mimi
- COMIC DIALOGUES: Toad Drums
- WEI YIJIN: Dreams at Twenty
- DIAO KE: In Praise o f the Spirit of Bees
- GE XIAOLING: A Song to the Disabled Children
- YBY: The Story of the Magic Square
- SHORT SKETCHES
- DIAN EWEN: Interesting Tidbits about Script Reform Abroad
- LI YUAN: A Few Statistics on Tones Notations in Romanized Chinese
- LEARNING MANDARIN
- FROM THE EDITORS
Essays 1743 is a public-domain font family that has all of the vowel/diacritic combinations needed for Hanyu Pinyin, though the third-tone marks tend to look a bit stiff relative to everything else. Regardless, I’m a sucker for old-style figures (e.g., examples B and D).
In 2012 China revised its official guidelines for writing Pinyin.
These are the Hanyu Pinyin Zhengcifa Jiben Guize (official translation: “Basic Rules of the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet Orthography”), promulgated as GB/T 16159-2012.
Among the changes are that some alternate forms are now allowed, for example “wo de” (my) may also be written as “wode”. I’m not thrilled about that; but I know some people will welcome this.
I’ve added a few notes, such as for errors in the original document.
So far I have made only a version in so-called simplified Chinese characters. But eventually I’ll add one in traditional Chinese characters and an English translation.
The ninth issue of Xin Tang is now available here on Pinyin.info. The journal, which was published in the 1980s, is in and about romanization. By this point in its publication most everything in it was written in Hanyu Pinyin (as opposed to Gwoyeu Romatzyh or another system). Xin Tang is interesting not just as a forum in which one can read original content in Pinyin. It’s also important for the history of Pinyin itself. Over the course of its nearly decade-long run, one can see its authors (including many top people in romanization) working out Pinyin as a real script.
Xin Tang no. 9 (December 1988)
Here’s an English version of the table of contents. Note that the articles themselves are, for the most part, in Mandarin.
- Wang Jun: Perfecting Hanyu Pinyin and Broadening Its Use
- Wang Naican: “Established at Age Thirty,but the Task is Heavy and the Way is Long”
- Apollo Wu: China Needs an Alphabetical Script
- Zhang Liqing: Must Written Chinese Have Tones Indicated?
- Qian Yuzhi, Li Shuo: Research on Alphabetical Spelling of Tones
- Victor H. Mair: A Letter Concerning the Compilation of an Alphabetically Ordered Dictionary
- Pinyin and Computers
- Guo Xiao, Chen Zhiqiang: Welcoming the Era of the Popularization of Word Processors- An Interview with Professor Zhou Youguang
- Yin Binyong: Pinyin Computers Force People to Change Their Writing Styles
- Wu Yue: Using a Computerized Chinese Typewriter to Help in Creative Writing
- Jin Huishu: Few Special Spellings Are Required for “Automatic Conversion from Pinyin to Chinese Characters”
- It Is Not Difficult to Master Pinyin Computers (report from Henan)
- International Computer Conference Held in Toronto in 1988 (report from Canada)
- Children’s Corner: Literature
- Little Xie’s Long Trunk,
- The Adventures of Chunmei and Mimi (illustrated serial by Rui Luobin),
- Encounter beneath the Lighthouse,
- The Oriole and the Eagle (Liqing),
- The Fig Tree (Xu Hongxin)
- Classical Chinese Selection
- A Passage from the Zhuangzi
- Learning Mandarin
- Letters from Readers
- Commemoration of the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Scheme for Hanyu Pinyin Official
- Promulgation of the Basic Orthographical Rules for Hanyu Pinyin
- The Bilingual Pedagogical Experiment of Zhang Zhigong
- Hangzhou Experiments with a New Pedagogy Using Pinyin
- Announcement of a New Book: “Chinese Romanization: Pronunciation and Orthography”