pinyin (and wadegile) request has gotten derailed

CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Wed Sep 17 19:14:41 CEST 2008


I still think it's o.k. if Tongyong Pinyin and Tibetan Pinyin are grouped with Hanyu Pinyin.

However because I do not think a country code is the best way to distinguish Tongyong Pinyin from Hanyu Pinyin (it's a very imperfect way--I wish there were another way and feel we might ultimately add additional variant subtags that go with [pinyin] for those times when we wish to distinguis the two varieties), it would also be fine to just include the similar orthographies that have become official in the People's Republic of China (the Tibetan orthographies related to Pinyin along with Hanyu Pinyin).

If we do the latter, Mark will get what he requested; the tag [zh-Latn-pinyin] will only be usable for the Pinyin Romanization of Mandarin as it will not include Cantonese or Tongyong, just Mandarin and some languages in the Tibetan group:
4. Intended meaning of the subtag:
To distinguish the Pinyin Romanization used officially in the People's Republic of China for Mandarin, Tibetan, and some other languages in the Sino-Tibetan family from other Romanizations of these languages including the earlier Wade Giles Romanization, the Penkyamp Romanization of Cantonese, and the Yale Romanizations of various Sino-Tibetan languages.  Pinyin is also used unofficially as a Romanization of Mandarin in Taiwan where Tongyong is the official Romanization.
??Maybe Hanyu with the Tibetan Pinyins is too ridiculous a lumping together; maybe not??

But alas with the subtag just limited to the official Pinyin Romanizations for the People's Republic of China, we do not have a subtag for Tongyong and would not Mark's company and the rest also like to tag material that is in Tongyong??

Or not at this time?  Not with this subtag?


--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at

From: "David Starner" 

> On Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 9:05 AM, John Cowan  wrote:
>> The comparison is not at all a happy one: Spanish and Italian orthograpies
>> differ in all sorts of inessential ways. If Italian were written with
>> ll and ? rather than gl(i) and gn(i), and t(t)s rather than z(z),
>> and with non-penultimate stress marked with the acute, and half a dozen
>> other things, we could truly say that the languages shared, if not an
>> orthography, certainly a set of orthographic principles.

> But what would the need to tag that be? Unless we were
> talking about a
> formalized pan-Romance orthography, I'd think it be better to tag
> each
> orthography separately with tags appropriate to their history and
> common name.
However, ietf at this point has not found it necessary to spell out separate orthographies for Romance; the various orthographies are close enough and the language subtags themselves serve to distinguis the variation.  I doubt also that ietf will trouble itself by creating such subtags any time in the near future.
>> The various Soviet Turkic languages are also indisputably distinct,
>> but we managed to assign a single tag to cover the Jangalif orthography
>> for all of them.

> But (a) they are all Turkic, (b) the orthography
> was designed for them
> as a group, and (c) the users are likely to be familiar with it> as an
> orthography for a group of languages. In this case (a) we're> talking
> about unrelated languages, (b) the orthography was
> designed and
> standardized (by ISO) for Mandarin only, with Tibetan
> coming later and
> (c) most users are likely to be familiar with Hanyu
> Pinyin only.
I think however that many users (particularly in Taiwan) will be familiar with both Hanyu Pinyin and Tongyong Pinyin??  Isn't that correct?
> In
> fact, I think the possibility of abuse is greatly reduced by
> specifying exactly one orthography for Mandarin Chinese,
> rather then
> calling it vaguely defining a set of orthographies and
> hoping people
> realize that Cantonese Pinyu isn't part of that set.
You have a point here; I'm willing to let Michael decide however as it would be nice if we could include several closely related orthographies.

--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at

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