Michael Everson everson at
Mon Sep 29 11:14:09 CEST 2008

On 29 Sep 2008, at 09:46, Mark Davis wrote:

> People from the 'broad pinyin' camp are claiming that there are a  
> set of romanizations that follow the same principles, and that  
> thereby should have the broad term 'pinyin'. No evidence or pointers  
> to documentation of those principles have yet followed, so there is  
> as yet no reason to think that that would be a good approach.

I documented the "salient features of Pinyin" this morning.

> So, consistent with that, we could define the subtag 'pinyin' as  
> being one of a set of romanizations defined by the Chinese  
> government, and have not only
> zh-Latn-pinyin
> but also, according to whatever standards the Chinese government  
> publishes:
> ug-Latn-pinyin
> bo-Latn-pinyin
> mn-Latn-pinyin
> ...

Yes, but so far we only have references for zh- and bo- for these, so  
only those prefixes have been added to my revised proposal.

> Taking that path, it would probably be best not to have specify  
> language prefixes in the registration form, but rather in the  
> Description note that 'pinyin' should be combined with a language  
> subtag and 'Latn' to indicate a romanization for that language  
> according to Chinese government standards, since they could be  
> extended over time (we would not want a precedent that would end up  
> having 50+ different Prefixs for bgn, or ungegn, or ...).

I don't see the connection between UNGEGN (or the Académie Française)  
and Pinyin. Pinyin does not refer to the Chinese government as an  
institution, but to a set of linguistic principles making up the  
alphabet. I would not see it problematic to (eventually) add mn-Latn  
or ug-Latn prefixes to the Pinyin registration, because all of those  
are applications of the pinyin alphabet to some languages.

The UNGEGN material is completely different; the romanizations are  
unrelated, based on completely different standards, whether ad-hoc or  

Michael Everson *

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