LANGUAGE SUBTAG REGISTRATION FORM (R4): pinyin
everson at evertype.com
Tue Sep 9 09:41:13 CEST 2008
On 8 Sep 2008, at 17:15, Randy Presuhn wrote:
> The pinyin orthography is highly optimized for the phonology of
> Mandarin Chinese. It would be terribly ill-suited for use with
> Vietnamese, English, German, French, and Russian, to name just a few
> languages for which the it lacks sufficient tone notation, vowel
> distinctions, stress markers, or consonants.
But its orthographic conventions *are* used for other Sino-Tibetan
languages in China.
> The registration request is for a specific orthography of a specific
> language, which happens to reflect that language's phonology rather
> well. It is not a general-purpose transcription mechanism, and we
> shouldn't try to turn it into one.
The Chinese have already done so. It is analogous to UPA, which is for
the orthography of a set of related languages (Uralic ones). UPA might
not be well-suited to represent Hausa or Mandarin or Vietnamese. But
that doesn't mean that if someone had come asking to register "fonupa"
with a Prefix restricting it to Sami that it wouldn't be right to
notice that it was used with other languages as well.
I have a collection of Yi dictionaries. Some of them have Latin
transcriptions in the Sinological variant of IPA. Others are in a
Pinyin-based transcription. Should we have bopinyin, typinyin,
yipinyin, and 40 others? I don't believe so.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com
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