Liǎng Fēng Gěi Biānzhě d Xìn: 1

March 25, 2010



Mr. Swofford,


Zhang Jinghe is my oldest sister. In our generation, including all of our cousins, she is the oldest. She taught elementary school in Taiwan for over three years. In the 1960s she went to America, and there she taught Mandarin in universities and colleges for thirty years. During the 1980s she suddenly began to say that China needed to adopt (in addition to Chinese characters) a kind of alphabetic writing, and that we could try to use Hanyu Pinyin of Mainland China.

In college she majored in Chinese; but my two older brothers, my second eldest sister, and I all majored in science and engineering. Consequently, although she explained things to us many times, we never could understand very well, and so it was hard for us to approve of her approach.

Unfortunately, in 2004 our oldest sister (Jinghe) was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer and noncommunicable TB. As a result, since that time she has been undergoing treatment that has serious side effects. Recently, as her health had deteriorated still further, she asked me to send you some short memoir essays that she wrote in Pinyin (Romanization) while she was ill. She told me that although you two have never met face to face, you are a supporter of Pinyin, so she hopes that you will publish these essays on the Web or elsewhere and see how many people can read them.

I myself can’t read Pinyin, so I don’t know what my oldest sister has written in these essays. Yet, because I love her, I venture to trouble you by requesting that you help her fulfill her last wish.

Enclosed is an undated letter in Pinyin that she wrote to you.


May your editing go smoothly.



Zhang Wenhe