pinyin (and wadegile) request has gotten derailed

Randy Presuhn randy_presuhn at
Wed Sep 17 01:59:59 CEST 2008

Hi -

> From: "CE Whitehead" <cewcathar at>
> To: <ietf-languages at>
> Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 4:08 PM
> Subject: pinyin (and wadegile) request has gotten derailed
> Thanks for the information; I think I'm agreed with John here that
> Cantonese Pinyin should not be included in the subtag [pinyin]
> but that Tibetan Pinyin can be--and optionally so can Tongyong Pinyin.

I'm surprised at the conclusion that Tongyong and Hanyu Pinyin should
be regarded as a single variety.  John wrote:

> > Of the 412 Modern Standard Mandarin syllables
> > (disregarding tone), Hanyu Pinyin and Tongyong Pinyin differ in the
> > spelling of only 81 of them, whereas HYPY and Wade-Giles differ in the
> > spelling of 270 of them. 

Almost 20% of the possible syllables would be written differently, yet
we'd end giving the same tag to materials in both Tongyong and
Hanyu Pinyin orthographies?  This does not seem like a useful path
to travel.  Consider, for example, the percentage of German words
that are written differently under the various German orthographic
conventions we've discussed.  I'm amazed that we'd maintain the
German distinctions (which I agree are necessary and useful) while
throwing two very different orthographies for Mandarin into the
same bucket.


More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list