LANGUAGE SUBTAG REGISTRATION FORM (R4): pinyin
kent.karlsson14 at comhem.se
Tue Sep 9 12:04:52 CEST 2008
I note that you for "acad" want to micromanage that by introducing year numbers for variations that, I gather, have quite small
differences, whereas in the case of "pinyin" want to go in the quite opposite direction, lumping several fairly different
into one variant subtag.
To just say "a Latin romanisation of Chinese" in an IANA language tag, "zh-Latn" suffices. Similarly, for "a Latin romanisation of
Tibetan, "bo-Latn" suffices. Neither of which requires any new registration.
But the requests here was to be able to distinguish two Latin romanisations of Mandarin, in particular, by registering a variant
subtag for each of the variants in question. But I note that the word "pinyin" may be unfortunate for this, since that word is used
(with varying degrees of commonality) to several romanisations (including Wade-Giles) of different languages. The Wade-Giles
romanisation appears to apply to several related languages too.
From: ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no] On Behalf Of Michael Everson
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2008 9:41 AM
To: ietflang IETF Languages Discussion
Subject: LANGUAGE SUBTAG REGISTRATION FORM (R4): pinyin
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
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 <http://www.evertype.com/>
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