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Romanization of Chinese () is the use of the Latin alphabet to transliterate
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
. Chinese uses a logographic script and its
characters Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * Character (novel), ''Character'' (novel), a 1936 Dutch novel by Ferdinand Bordewijk * Characters (Theophrastus), ''Characters'' (Theophrastus), a classical Greek set of char ...
do not represent
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
s directly. There have been many systems using Roman characters to represent Chinese throughout history. Linguist Daniel Kane recalls, "It used to be said that sinologists had to be like musicians, who might compose in one key and readily transcribe into other keys." The dominant international standard for
Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bri ...
since about 1982 has been
Hanyu Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objecti ...

Hanyu Pinyin
, invented by a group of Chinese linguists in the 1950s including
Zhou Youguang Zhou Youguang (13 January 1906 – 14 January 2017), also known as Chou Yu-kuang or Chou Yao-ping, was a Chinese economist, banker, linguist, sinologist, Esperanto-speaker, publisher, and supercentenarian, known as the "father of Pinyin", a syste ...
. Other well-known systems include
Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken lang ...
(Mandarin) and
Yale Romanization The Yale romanizations are four romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Lingui ...
(Mandarin and
Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale Yale University is a private Ivy League The Ivy League (also known as The Ancient Eight) is an American collegiate athletic conference comprising eight private research un ...
). There are many uses for Chinese Romanization. Most broadly, it is used to provide a useful way for foreigners who are not skilled at recognizing Chinese script to read and recognize Chinese. It can also be helpful for clarifying pronunciation among Chinese speakers who speak mutually unintelligible Chinese varieties. Romanization facilitates entering characters on standard
keyboards Keyboard may refer to: Text input * Keyboard, part of a typewriter A typewriter is a machine, mechanical or electromechanical machine for typing characters similar to those produced by a printer's movable type. Typically, a typewriter has an arr ...

keyboards
such as
QWERTY QWERTY () is a keyboard design for Latin-script alphabet A Latin-script alphabet (Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet) is an alphabet that uses Letter (alphabet), letters of the Latin script. The 21-letter archaic Latin alphabet and the 23 ...

QWERTY
. Chinese dictionaries have complex and competing sorting rules for characters and romanization systems simplify the problem by listing characters in their Latin form alphabetically.


Background

The Indian
Sanskrit grammarians Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominally , , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, s ...
who went to China two thousand years ago to work on the translation of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese and the transcription of Buddhist terms into Chinese, discovered the "initial sound", "final sound", and "suprasegmental tone" structure of spoken Chinese syllables. This understanding is reflected in the precise
Fanqie ''Fanqie'' ( zh, t= 反切, p=fǎnqiè) is a method in traditional Chinese lexicography to indicate the pronunciation of a monosyllabic character Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Character'' (novel), ...
system, and it is the core principle of all modern systems. While the Fanqie system was ideal for indicating the conventional pronunciation of single, isolated characters in written
Classical Chinese Classical Chinese, also known as Literary Chinese (古文 ''gǔwén'' "ancient text", or 文言 ''wényán'' "text speak"; Written vernacular Chinese, modern vernacular: 文言文 ''wényánwén'' "text speak text"), is the language of the cla ...
literature, it was unworkable for the pronunciation of essentially polysyllabic, colloquial spoken Chinese dialects, such as Mandarin. Aside from syllable structure, it is also necessary to indicate tones in Chinese romanization. Tones distinguish the definition of all
morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical itemIn lexicography, a lexical item (or lexical unit / LU, lexical entry) is a single word, a part of a word, or a chain of words ( catena) that forms the basic elements of a language's lexicon A ...
s in Chinese, and the definition of a word is often ambiguous in the absence of tones. Certain systems such as Wade-Giles indicate tone with a number following the syllable: ''ma1'', ''ma2'', ''ma3'', ''ma4''. Others, like Pinyin, indicate the tone with
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
s: ''mā'', ''má'', ''mǎ'', ''mà''. Still, the system of Gwoyeu Romatzyh (National Romanization) bypasses the issue of introducing non-letter symbols by changing the letters within the syllable, as in ''mha, ma, maa, mah'', each of which contains the same vowel, but a different tone.


Uses


Non-Chinese

* Teaching spoken and written Chinese to foreigners. * Making the actual pronunciation conventions of spoken Chinese intelligible to non-Chinese-speaking students, especially those with no experience of a
tonal language Tone is the use of pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency * Pitch (music), the perceived frequency of sound including "definite pitch" and "indefinite pitch" ** Absolute pitch or "perfect pitch" ** Pitch class, a set of all pitches tha ...
. * Making the
syntactic In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...

syntactic
structure of Chinese intelligible to those only familiar with Latin grammar. * Transcribing the citation pronunciation of specific
Chinese character Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, ...
s according to the pronunciation conventions of a specific European language, to allow the insertion of that Chinese pronunciation into a Western text. * Allowing instant communication in "colloquial Chinese" between Chinese and non-Chinese speakers via a phrase-book.


Chinese

* Identifying the specific pronunciation of a character within a specific context (e.g. as xíng (to walk; behaviour, conduct) or háng (a store)). * Recitation of Chinese text in one Chinese variety by literate speakers of another mutually unintelligible one, e.g. Mandarin and
Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, Brit ...

Cantonese
. * Learning Classical or Modern Chinese. * Use with a standard QWERTY keyboard. * Replacing Chinese characters to bring functional literacy to illiterate Chinese speakers. * Book indexing, dictionary entry sorting, and cataloguing in general.


Non-Chinese systems

The Wade, Wade-Giles, and Postal systems still appear in the European literature, but generally only within a passage cited from an earlier work. Most European language texts use the Chinese
Hanyu Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objecti ...
system (usually without tone marks) since 1979 as it was adopted by the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

People's Republic of China
.


Missionary systems

The first consistent system for transcribing Chinese words in Latin alphabet is thought to have been designed in 1583-88 by
Matteo Ricci Matteo Ricci (; la, Mattheus Riccius; 6 October 1552 – 11 May 1610), was an Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian ...
and
Michele Ruggieri Michele or Michael Ruggieri (1543– 11 May 1607), born Pompilio Ruggieri and known in China as Luo Mingjian, was an Italian Jesuit The Society of Jesus (SJ; la, Societas Iesu) is a religious order of the Catholic Church The Catholi ...
for their Portuguese-Chinese dictionary — the first ever European-Chinese dictionary. Unfortunately, the manuscript was misplaced in the
Jesuit , image = Ihs-logo.svg , caption = Christogram A Christogram (Latin ') is a monogram or combination of letters that forms an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ, traditionally used as a Christian symbolism ...
Archives in Rome, and not re-discovered until 1934. The dictionary was finally published in 2001.Yves Camus
"Jesuits' Journeys in Chinese Studies"
"Dicionário Português-Chinês : Pu Han ci dian : Portuguese-Chinese dictionary", by Michele Ruggieri, Matteo Ricci; edited by John W. Witek. Published 2001, Biblioteca Nacional.
Partial preview
available on
Google Books Google Books (previously known as Google Book Search and Google Print and by its code-name Project Ocean) is a service from Google Inc. Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet ...
During the winter of 1598, Ricci, with the help of his Jesuit colleague
Lazzaro Cattaneo Lazzaro Cattaneo (Sarzana, Italy, 1560 - Hangzhou, China, 19 January 1640), (), was an Italian Jesuit The Society of Jesus (SJ; la, Societas Iesu) is a religious order of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as ...
(1560–1640), compiled a Chinese-Portuguese dictionary as well, in which tones of the romanized Chinese syllables were indicated with diacritical marks. This work has also been lost but not rediscovered. Cattaneo's system, with its accounting for the tones, was not lost, however. It was used e.g. by
Michał Boym Michał Piotr BoymHis first name is also often rendered as ''Michele'', ''Michel'', ''Miguel'', ''Michael Peter'' (;Transliterated also (using Wade-Giles) as ''Pu Che-yuen Mi-ko'' c. 1612 – 1659) was a Polish Jesuit missionary to China, scienti ...
and his two Chinese assistants in the first publication of the original and Romanized text of the
Nestorian Stele The Xi'an Stele also known as the Nestorian Stele, Nestorian Stone, Nestorian Monument, or Nestorian Tablet, is a Tang Chinese stele A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek p ...
, which appeared in ''China Illustrata'' (1667) — an encyclopedic-scope work compiled by
Athanasius Kircher Athanasius Kircher (2 May 1602 – 28 November 1680) was a German Society of Jesus, Jesuit scholar and polymath who published around 40 major works, most notably in the fields of comparative religion, geology, and medicine. Kircher has b ...

Athanasius Kircher
. The transcription of the Nestorian Stele can be found in pp. 13-28 of ''China Illustrata'', which i
available online on Google Books
The same book also has a
catechism A catechism (; from grc, κατηχέω, "to teach orally") is a summary or exposition of doctrine Doctrine (from la, doctrina, meaning "teaching, instruction") is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught pri ...
in Romanized Chinese, using apparently the same transcription with tone marks (pp. 121-127).
In 1626 the Jesuit missionary
Nicolas Trigault Nicolas or Nicolás may refer to: People Given name * Nicolas (given name) Nicolas or Nicolás may refer to given names cognate to English Nicholas. The given name ''Nicolas'' is widely used in France () and Brazil (). The variant Nicolás () ...
devised a romanization system in his ''Xiru Ermu Zi'' (simplified Chinese: 西儒耳目资; traditional Chinese: 西儒耳目資; pinyin: Xīrú ěrmù zī; literally: ''Aid to the Eyes and Ears of Western Literati''). In his 1670 Portuguese language ''Vocabulario da lingoa mandarina'', the Dominican missionary
Francisco Varo Francisco Varo (October 4, 1627 - January 31, 1687) was a Dominican friar, missionary in China, and author of the second grammar of Mandarin Chinese in a western language, "Arte de la lengua mandarina" (1703). His Chinese names were Wan Fangjige ( ...
expanded on Trigault's system. His Spanish language ''Vocabulario de la lengua Mandarina'' was published in 1682 and his ''Arte de la lengua mandarina'', published in 1703, is the earliest known published Chinese grammar. Later on, many linguistically comprehensive systems were made by the
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
s, such as that used for
Robert MorrisonRobert, Bob, Bobby or Rob Morrison may refer to: Academics * Robert Hall Morrison (1798–1889), president of Davidson College * Robert J. H. Morrison (born 1961), Canadian academic * Rob Morrison (scientist) (born 1942), Australian zoological rese ...
's
dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexemes from the lexicon of one or more specific languages, often arranged Alphabetical order, alphabetically (or by radical-and-stroke sorting, radical and stroke for ideographic languages), which may include in ...
and the
Legge romanization Legge romanization is a Romanization of Mandarin Chinese, transcription system for Mandarin Chinese, used by the prolific 19th century sinologist James Legge. It was replaced by the Wade–Giles system, which itself has been mostly supplanted by Pi ...
. In their missionary activities they had contact with many languages in Southeast Asia, and they created systems that could be used consistently across all of the languages with which they were concerned.


Wade-Giles

The first system to be widely accepted was the (1859) system of the British diplomat , revised and improved by
Herbert Giles Herbert Allen Giles (, 8 December 184513 February 1935) was a British diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. I ...

Herbert Giles
into the (1892) Wade-Giles () system. Apart from the correction of a number of ambiguities and inconsistencies within the Wade system, the innovation of the Wade-Giles system was that it also indicated tones. The Wade-Giles system used the
spiritus asper In the polytonic orthography of Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the foll ...
,
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
al marks, and superscript digits (e.g. Ch῾üeh4).


French EFEO system

The system devised in 1902 by Séraphin Couvreur of the
École française d'Extrême-Orient The French School of the Far East (french: École française d'Extrême-Orient, ), abbreviated EFEO, is an associated college of PSL University dedicated to the study of Asian societies. It was founded in 1900 with headquarters in Hanoi , ...

École française d'Extrême-Orient
was used in most of the French-speaking world to transliterate Chinese until the middle of the 20th century, then gradually replaced by hanyu pinyin.


Postal romanization

Postal romanization Postal romanization was a system of transliterating Chinese place names developed by postal authorities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For many cities, the corresponding postal romanization was the most common English-language form ...
, standardized in 1906, combined traditional spellings, local dialect, and "Nanking syllabary." Nanking syllabary is one of various romanization systems given in a popular Chinese-English dictionary by
Herbert Giles Herbert Allen Giles (, 8 December 184513 February 1935) was a British diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. I ...

Herbert Giles
. It is based on Nanjing pronunciation. The French administered the post office at this time. The system resembles traditional romanizations used in France. Many of these traditional spellings were created by French missionaries in the 17th and 18th centuries when Nanjing dialect was China's standard. Postal romanization was used only for place names.


Yale system

The Yale Romanization system was created at
Yale University Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
to facilitate communication between American military personnel and their Chinese counterparts. It uses a more regular spelling of Mandarin phonemes than other systems of its day. This system was used for a long time, because it was used for phrase-books and part of the Yale system of teaching Chinese. The Yale system taught Mandarin using spoken, colloquial Chinese patterns. The Yale system of Mandarin has since been superseded by the Chinese Hanyu Pinyin system.


Chinese systems


Qieyin Xinzi

The first modern indigenous Chinese romanization system, the Qieyin Xinzi (;
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
: New Phonetic Alphabet) was developed in 1892 by Lu Zhuangzhang (1854–1928). It was used to write the sounds of the of
Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucrac ...
. Some people also invented other phoneme systems.


Gwoyeu Romatzyh

In 1923, the
Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT), also referred to as the Guomindang (GMD) or the Chinese Nationalist Party, is a political party in the Taiwan, Republic of China, initially Republic of China (1912–1949), on the Mainland China, Chinese mainland and ...
Ministry of Education instituted a National Language Unification Commission which, in turn, formed an eleven-member romanization unit. The political circumstances of the time prevented any positive outcome from the formation of this unit. A new voluntary working subcommittee was independently formed by a group of five scholars who strongly advocated romanization. The committee, which met twenty-two times over a twelve-month period (1925–1926), consisted of
Zhao Yuanren Yuen Ren Chao (; 3 November 1892 – 25 February 1982), also known as Zhao Yuanren, was a Chinese-American linguist, educator, scholar, poet, and composer, who contributed to the modern study of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something rela ...
,
Lin Yutang Lin Yutang ( ; October 10, 1895 – March 26, 1976) was a Chinese inventor, linguist, novelist, philosopher, and translator. His informal but polished style in both Chinese and English made him one of the most influential writers of his generati ...

Lin Yutang
, , Li Jinxi (), and one Wang Yi. They developed the
Gwoyeu Romatzyh Gwoyeu Romatzyh (, literally "National Language Romanization"), abbreviated GR, is a system for writing Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese in the Latin alphabet. The system was conceived by Yuen Ren Chao and developed by a group of linguistics, li ...
() system, proclaimed on 26 September 1928. The most distinctive aspect of this new system was that, rather than relying upon marks or numbers, it indicated the tonal variations of the "root syllable" by a systematic variation within the spelling of the syllable itself. The entire system could be written with a standard QWERTY keyboard. Despite the fact that it was created to eventually replace Chinese characters, and that it was constructed by linguists, Gwoyeu Romatzyh was never extensively used for any purpose other than delivering the pronunciation of specific Chinese characters in dictionaries. The complexity of its tonal system was such that it was never popular.


Latinxua Sinwenz

The work towards constructing the Latinxua Sinwenz () system began in Moscow as early as 1928, when the Soviet Scientific Research Institute on China sought to create a means through which the large Chinese population living in the Far East of the Soviet Union could be made literate, facilitating their further education. From the very outset, it was intended that the Latinxua Sinwenz system, once established, would supersede the Chinese characters.Chen (1999), p.186. It was decided to use the Latin alphabet because it was thought to serve their purpose better than the
Cyrillic alphabet , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is ...
. Unlike Gwoyeu Romatzyh, with its complex method of indicating tones, Latinxua Sinwenz system does not indicate tones at all, and since it is not Mandarin-specific, it can be used for other Chinese varieties. The eminent Moscow-based Chinese scholar
Qu Qiubai Qu Qiubai (; 29 January 1899 – 18 June 1935) was a leader of the Communist Party of China The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), officially the Communist Party of China (CPC), is the founding and One-party state, sole ruling party of the Chin ...
(1899–1935) and the Russian linguist V.S. Kolokolov (1896–1979) devised a prototype romanization system in 1929. In 1931 a coordinated effort between the Soviet
sinologist Sinology or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's ...
s B.M. Alekseev, A.A. Dragunov and A.G. Shrprintsin, and the Moscow-based Chinese scholars Qu Qiubai, Wu Yuzhang, Lin Boqu (), Xiao San, Wang Xiangbao, and Xu Teli established the Latinxua Sinwenz system. The system was supported by a number of Chinese intellectuals such as
Guo Moruo Guo Moruo (; November 16, 1892 – June 12, 1978), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, includi ...

Guo Moruo
and
Lu Xun Zhou Shuren (25 September 1881 – 19 October 1936), better known by his pen name Lu Xun (or Lu Sun, Wade–Giles: Lu Hsün), was a Chinese writer, essayist, poet, and literary critic. He was a leading figure of modern Chinese literature. Writ ...
, and trials were conducted amongst 100,000 Chinese immigrant workers for about four years and later, in 1940–1942, in the communist-controlled
Shaanxi Shaanxi (; , ; Chinese postal romanization, alternately Shensi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Officially part of Northwest China, it borders the province-level divisions of Shanxi (NE, ...

Shaanxi
-
Gansu Gansu (, ; alternately romanized as Kansu) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnatio ...

Gansu
-
Ningxia Ningxia (, ; Chinese postal romanization, alternately romanized as Ninghsia), officially the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (NHAR), is a landlocked Autonomous regions of China, autonomous region in the Northwest China, northwest of the China, Pe ...

Ningxia
Border Region of China. In November 1949, the railways in China's north-east adopted the Latinxua Sinwenz system for all their telecommunications. For a time, the system was very important in spreading literacy in Northern China, and more than 300 publications, totaling half-a-million issues, appeared in Latinxua Sinwenz. However, the use of the system was later cancelled because of its proposed target of superseding logographic Chinese characters altogether, which was deemed too radical:
In 1944 the latinization movement was officially curtailed in the communist-controlled areas f Chinaon the pretext that there were insufficient trained cadres capable of teaching the system. It is more likely that, as the communists prepared to take power in a much wider territory, they had second thoughts about the rhetoric that surrounded the latinization movement; in order to obtain the maximum popular support, they withdrew support from a movement that deeply offended many supporters of the traditional writing system.


Hanyu Pinyin

In October 1949, the Association for Reforming the Chinese Written Language was established. Wu Yuzhang (one of the creators of Latinxua Sinwenz) was appointed Chairman. All of the members of its initial governing body belonged to either the Latinxua Sinwenz movement (Ni Haishu (), Lin Handa (), etc.) or the Gwoyeu Romatzyh movement (Li Jinxi (),
Luo Changpei Luo Changpei (; 9 August 1899 – 13 December 1958) was a Chinese linguist. He made important contributions to the study of historical Chinese phonology. He was also a pioneer of the modern studies of Chinese dialects and of non-Chinese languages ...
, etc.). For the most part, they were also highly trained linguists. Their first directive (1949–1952) was to take "the phonetic project adopting the Latin alphabet" as "the main object of
heir Inheritance is the practice of passing on private property Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property Public property i ...
research"; linguist
Zhou Youguang Zhou Youguang (13 January 1906 – 14 January 2017), also known as Chou Yu-kuang or Chou Yao-ping, was a Chinese economist, banker, linguist, sinologist, Esperanto-speaker, publisher, and supercentenarian, known as the "father of Pinyin", a syste ...
was put in charge of this branch of the committee. In a speech delivered on 10 January 1958,
Zhou Enlai Zhou Enlai (; 5 March 1898 – 8 January 1976) was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China The premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, abbreviated to Premier, sometimes also referred to informally as ...

Zhou Enlai
observed that the Committee had spent three years attempting to create a non-Latin Chinese phonetic alphabet (they had also attempted to adapt ) but "no satisfactory result could be obtained" and "the Latin alphabet was then adopted". He also emphatically stated: The development of the
Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objecti ...

Pinyin
() system was a complex process involving decisions on many difficult issues, such as: * Should Hanyu Pinyin's pronunciation be based on that of Beijing? * Was Hanyu Pinyin going to supersede Chinese written characters altogether, or would it simply provide a guide to pronunciation? * Should the traditional Chinese writing system be simplified? * Should Hanyu Pinyin use the Latin alphabet? * Should Hanyu Pinyin indicate tones in all cases (as with Gwoyeu Romatzyh)? * Should Hanyu Pinyin be Mandarin-specific, or adaptable to other dialects and other Chinese varieties? * Was Hanyu Pinyin to be created solely to facilitate the spread of Putonghua throughout China? Despite the fact that the "Draft Scheme for a Chinese Phonetic Alphabet" published in "People's China" on 16 March 1956 contained certain unusual and peculiar characters, the Committee for Research into Language Reform soon reverted to the Latin Alphabet, citing the following reasons: * The Latin alphabet is extensively used by scientists regardless of their native tongue, and technical terms are frequently written in Latin. * The Latin alphabet is simple to write and easy to read. It has been used for centuries all over the world. It is easily adaptable to the task of recording Chinese pronunciation. * While the use of the Cyrillic alphabet would strengthen ties with the U.S.S.R., the Latin alphabet is familiar to most Russian students, and its use would strengthen the ties between China and many of its Southeast Asian neighbours who are already familiar with the Latin alphabet. * As a response to Mao Zedong's remark that "cultural patriotism" should be a "weighty factor" in the choice of an alphabet: despite the fact that the Latin alphabet is "foreign" it will serve as a strong tool for economic and industrial expansion; and, moreover, the fact that two of the most patriotic Chinese, Qu Qiubai and Lu Xun, were such strong advocates of the Latin alphabet indicates that the choice does not indicate any lack of patriotism. * On the basis that the British, French, Germans, Spanish, Polish and Czechoslovakians have all modified the Latin alphabet for their own usage, and because the Latin alphabet is derived from the Greek alphabet, which, in turn came from Phoenician and Egyptian, there is as much shame attached to using the Latin alphabet as there is in using Arabic numerals and the conventional mathematical symbols, regardless of their point of origin. The movement for language reform came to a standstill during the
Cultural Revolution The Cultural Revolution, formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a sociopolitical movement Movement may refer to: Common uses * Movement (clockwork), the internal mechanism of a timepiece * Motion (physics), co ...
and nothing was published on language reform or linguistics from 1966 to 1972. The Pinyin subtitles that had first appeared on the masthead of the ''
People's Daily The ''People's Daily'' () is the largest newspaper group in China. The paper is an official newspaper of the Central Committee Central committee is the common designation of a standing administrative body of communist parties, analogous to ...
'' newspaper and the ''
Red FlagRed flag may refer to: * Red flag (idiom), a metaphor for something signalling a problem ** Red flag warning, a term used by meteorologists ** Red flag (racing), used in auto racing when conditions are too dangerous to continue the session Politi ...
'' journal in 1958 did not appear at all between July 1966 and January 1977. In its final form Hanyu Pinyin: * was used to indicate pronunciation only * was exclusively based on the pronunciation of the Beijing dialect * included tone marks * embodied the traditional "initial sound", "final sound", and "suprasegmental tone" model * was written in the Latin alphabet Hanyu Pinyin has developed from Mao's 1951 directive, through the promulgation on 1 November 1957 of a draft version by the State Council, to its final form being approved by the State Council in September 1978, to being accepted in 1982 by the
International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic discipline ...
as the standard for transcribing Chinese.See
List of ISO standards This is a list of publishedThis list generally excludes draft versions. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standardization, standards and other deliverables.
, ISO 7098: "Romanization of Chinese"
John DeFrancis John DeFrancis (August 31, 1911January 2, 2009) was an American linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (S ...
has described Mao Zedong's belief that pinyin would eventually replace Chinese characters, but this has not come to pass, and in fact such a plan had already ceased together with the end of Latinxua Sinwenz movement.


Variations in pronunciation

"The Chinese and Japanese repository" stated that romanization would standardize the various differing pronunciations Chinese often had for one word, which was common for all mostly unwritten languages. Contributor Rev James Summers wrote, in 1863:


See also

* Comparison of Chinese romanization systems *
Transliteration of Chinese The different varieties of Chinese have been transcribed into many other writing systems. General Chinese General Chinese is a diaphonemic orthography invented by Yuen Ren Chao Yuen Ren Chao (; 3 November 1892 – 25 February 1982), also ...
*
Transcription into Chinese characters Transcription into Chinese characters is the use of traditional or simplified Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write oth ...
*
Romanization of Japanese The romanization of Japanese is the use of Latin script to write the Japanese language. This method of writing is sometimes referred to in Japanese as . There are several different romanization systems. The three main ones are Hepburn romanizati ...
*
Vietnamese language Vietnamese ( vi, tiếng Việt, links=no) is an Austroasiatic language The Austroasiatic languages , also known as Mon–Khmer , are a large language family of Mainland Southeast Asia, also scattered throughout parts of India, Bangladesh, ...

Vietnamese language
*
History of writing in Vietnam During ancient times, the ancestors of the Vietnamese were considered to have been Proto-Austroasiatic (also called ''Proto-Mon–Khmer'') speaking people, possibly traced to the ancient Dong Son culture. Modern linguists describe Vietnamese as ...


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* Anon, ''Reform of the Chinese Written Language'', Foreign Languages Press, (Peking), 1958. * Chao, Y.R., ''A Grammar of Spoken Chinese'', University of California Press, (Berkeley), 1968. * Chappell, H., "The Romanization Debate", ''Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs'', No.4, (July 1980), pp. 105–118. * Chen, P., "Phonetization of Chinese", pp. 164–190 in Chen, P., ''Modern Chinese: History and Sociolinguistics'', Cambridge University Press, (Cambridge), 1999. * DeFrancis, J., ''Nationalism and Language Reform in China'', Princeton University Press, (Princeton), 1950. * Hsia, T., ''China's Language Reforms'', Far Eastern Publications, Yale University, (New Haven), 1956. * Ladefoged, Peter; & Maddieson, Ian. (1996). ''The sounds of the world's languages''. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. (hbk); (pbk). * Ladefoged, Peter; & Wu, Zhongji. (1984). Places of articulation: An investigation of Pekingese fricatives and affricates. ''Journal of Phonetics'', ''12'', 267-278. * Lehmann, W.P. (ed.), ''Language & Linguistics in the People's Republic of China'', University of Texas Press, (Austin), 1975. * Lin, Y., ''Lin Yutang's Chinese-English Dictionary of Modern Usage'', The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1972. * Milsky, C., "New Developments in Language Reform", ''The China Quarterly'', No.53, (January–March 1973), pp. 98–133. * Norman, J., ''Chinese'', Cambridge University Press, (Cambridge), 1988. * Ramsey, R.S.(1987). The Languages of China. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. * San Duanmu (2000) ''The Phonology of Standard Chinese'' * Seybolt, P.J. & Chiang, G.K. (eds.), ''Language Reform in China: Documents and Commentary'', M.E. Sharpe, (White Plains), 1979. * Simon, W., ''A Beginners' Chinese-English Dictionary Of The National Language (Gwoyeu): Fourth Revised Edition'', Lund Humphries, (London), 1975. * Stalin, J.V., "Concerning Marxism in Linguistics", ''Pravda'', Moscow, (20 June 1950), simultaneously published in Chinese in ''Renmin Ribao'', English translation: Stalin, J.V., ''Marxism and Problems of Linguistics'', Foreign Languages Press, (Peking), 1972. * Wu, Y., "Report on the Current Tasks of Reforming the Written Language and the Draft Scheme for a Chinese Phonetic Alphabet", pp. 30–54 in Anon, ''Reform of the Chinese Written Language'', Foreign Languages Press, (Peking), 1958. * Zhou, E., "Current Tasks of Reforming the Written Language", pp. 7–29 in Anon, ''Reform of the Chinese Written Language'', Foreign Languages Press, (Peking), 1958. * Zhou, E., "The Immediate Tasks in Writing Reform", pp. 228–243 in Seybolt, P.J. & Chiang, G.K. (eds.), ''Language Reform in China: Documents and Commentary'', M.E. Sharpe, (White Plains), 1979. *


External links

* * (the University of California) * * (the University of California) *
Mandarin Chinese Pinyin Table the complete listing of all Pinyin syllables and their variations used in standard Mandarin, along with native speaker pronunciation for each syllable




* ttp://www.edepot.com/taoroman.html Chinese romanization
www.pinyin.info

www.romanization.com

Chinese Phonetic Conversion Tool
- Converts between Pinyin, Zhuyin, and other formats {{Portal bar, Language, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore