Fan Yiying and Gu Peng have posted a story at Sixth Tone that is both surprising and not surprising at all: State Media Criticizes Chengdu Shop Signs in Romanized Chinese.
The main points I’d like to make about this are:
- Word-parsing matters.
- Hundreds of millions of people in China use Hanyu Pinyin on a daily basis but still do not know how Pinyin is meant to work as an orthographic system.
- The government of China, though it needs Pinyin, is in many ways hostile to it.
- The fonts available for writing the Roman alphabet (and thus Pinyin) far exceed those for writing Chinese characters, so there is nothing in the least artistically limiting about Pinyin per se. (Whether Chinese characters are intrinsically more beautiful than the Roman alphabet is another matter.)
Here are some screenshots from the video mentioned in the article. Note: This isn’t the loveliest voice ever….
Sorry about the triangles on the photos, which make the shots look like videos. I wasn’t good at capturing screenshots without pausing the video, which made the triangles appear.