Taizhong street signs are ‘wushasha’

This isn’t much of a story, really. But since it talks, however vaguely, about the messy romanization situation in Taizhong and since I haven’t put up anything lately in Pinyin itself, I decided to go ahead and post it.

Just don’t expect any useful news herein, unless you’d be surprised to hear that Taizhong’s street signs are a mess.

Táizhōng Shì lùpái suǒ shǐyòng de Yīngwén pīnyīn qiānqíbǎiguài, pīnyīnfǎ jìyǒu Tōngyòng, Hànyǔ, zhùyīn fúhào dì-èrshì, Wēituǒmǎ pīnyīn, děng, jiù yǒu mínzhòng xiàng běnbào bào liào, zhǐchēng zhèxiē lùpái ràngrén kàn de “wùshàsha,” wàiguó guānguāngkè gèng zhǐnéng gān dèngyǎn.

Yǐ Táizhōng Shì nánqū Wǔ-quán Nánlù [i.e, “the Five Branches of Government South Road”] de xīn-jiù lùpái láishuō, jiù yǒu lùpái shì cǎiyòng Wēituǒmǎ pīnyīn, yīncǐ “權” zì shǐyòng chuan, ér gānggāng wángōng de xīnshì lùpái “權” zì zéshì shǐyòng cyuan, shìwéi Tōngyòng Pīnyīn, rán’ér xiànzài Táizhōng Shìzhèngfǔ zǎoyǐ quánmiàn gǎiyòng Hànyǔ Pīnyīn, “權” zì yīnggāi shì quan cái zhèngquè.

Lìngwài, zài nánqū xīng dàlù de lùpái, jiù yǒu lùpái “興” zì de pīnyīn wéi hsing, shì shǐyòng Wēituǒmǎ pīnyīn, rìqián gāi lùduàn yě gēnghuàn xīnshì lùpái shàng, shìyǐ Hànyǔ Pīnyīn jiāng “興” zì pīnyīn wéi xing, dàn liǎng ge lùpái dōu xuánguà zài lùkǒu, ràngrén kàn de “wùshàsha.”

Zhēnduì Táizhōng Shì lùpái suǒ shǐyòng Yīngwén pīnyīn gèzì bùtóng de qíngkuàng, Táizhōng Shìzhèngfǔ Jiāotōngchù jiāotōng guīhuà kē biǎoshì, zài gègè niándài suǒ xīngjiàn de lùpái shǐyòng bùtóng de pīnyīn fāngshì, cái huì zàochéng xiànjīn hùnluàn de qíngkuàng, mùqián Táizhōng Shì yǐjing quánmiàn cǎiyòng Hànyǔ Pīnyīn, wèile jiějué cǐ yī wèntí, yóu Táizhōng Shìzhèngfǔ dūshì fāzhǎn chǔyǐ “chéng-xiāng xīnfēngmào” de jīngfèi, jìnxíng tǒngyī lùpái pīnyīn de gōngzuò. Zài Wǔ-quán Nánlù de xīn lùpái fāngmiàn, yuánběn yīnggāi shǐyòng Hànyǔ Pīnyīn, dàn chéngbāoshāng què fāshēng cuòwù, mùqián yǐjing yāoqiú gǎijìn; zhìyú zài xīng dàlù fāngmiàn, yě huì yāoqiú chéngbāo yèzhě jiāyǐ gǎizhèng.

source: Lù míng pīnyīn luànzāozāo — kàn dé rén wùshàsha (路名拼音亂糟糟 看得人霧煞煞), Zìyóu Shíbào (Liberty Times), March 21, 2009

signage snafus in Taizhong/Taichung/Taijung…

An observant reader, Sonarchic, sent in the top two photos below, both of which were taken in Taizhong (Taichung), Taiwan. The first one is especially interesting in that what would be written zhong in Hanyu Pinyin is here written two different ways: chung and zhueng.

sign with what is written Z-H-O-N-G in Hanyu Pinyin spelled here both C-H-U-N-G and Z-H-U-E-N-G

Here’s an older street sign.

sign with what is written Z-H-O-N-G in Hanyu Pinyin spelled here J-U-N-G (MPS2)

I’ve appended two photos I took myself in Taizhong about two years ago.

The first was taken on a highway near Taizhong. Since highways are under the central government’s jurisdiction, these signs are in Tongyong Pinyin.

sign with what is written Z-H-O-N-G in Hanyu Pinyin spelled here J-H-O-N-G (Tongyong Pinyin)

And here is a relatively new street sign with Taizhong itself. Note the use of Hanyu Pinyin, which, despite reports to the contrary, is not limited in Taiwan to Taipei City. I don’t know what “C1” refers to; I certainly hope it’s not a variant of Taipei’s idiotic nicknumbering system. Note also how any mention of the road’s sections (duan) are omitted from the romanization — very bad. Moreover, it has always seemed to me that Taizhong’s street signs suffer from too much information: just look at all those numbers. That can’t be good for readability.

sign with what is written Z-H-O-N-G in Hanyu Pinyin actually spelled Z-H-O-N-G

So, to wrap up, these signs in and near Taizhong, give us:

All that for a simple zhong (?).

Taiwan city and county names

As most readers of this site know, Taiwan has approached romanization and signage with a sloppiness that sometimes beggars belief. Although the situation has improved somewhat this decade, many errors remain. And even where there are not errors, people still must often contend with a variety of romanization systems.

Thus, my list of Taiwan place names may come in handy.

I made the list more than a year ago but put it on another website and never drew much attention to it. Now I’ve moved it here to Pinyin Info, where it may do more good.

The list, which is arranged by county and then by city, gives Chinese characters, Hanyu Pinyin (both with and without tone marks), Tongyong Pinyin (ugh!), and a commonly seen older form (usually bastardized Wade-Giles).

I have not bothered to include MPS2, because it is seen more on street signs than on maps. And, anyway, it’s on its way out. I strongly recommend using Hanyu Pinyin.

Taichung/Taizhong busstop names

Dan of Jidanni.org has come up with a list of Taizhong’s busstops in the mixed style of Hanyu Pinyin and English that has become standard in Taiwan and is becoming so in China.

I hear that this list may actually be implemented! If so, that would be much to Taizhong’s credit, as local governments elsewhere in Taiwan are often not so responsive.

Here are the lists:

Good work, Dan!

Just out of curiousity, I removed the English and numerals from the list and then compared how it would be written in Hanyu Pinyin (the international standard) vs. Tongyong Pinyin (Taiwan’s international embarassment). This revealed that 337 of 633 entries would be written differently in Hanyu Pinyin and Tongyong Pinyin, giving a difference rate of 53.2 percent.