CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Mon Sep 29 17:03:35 CEST 2008

Hi, Randy, all!

This is not my area of expertise and I am happy enough with Michael Everson's proposal excluding Tongyong Pinyin since this solves the problem of distinguishing to two--this is the most convenient solution I guess
(whether or not it is the best grouping of the Pinyins I cannot say).

> To be used to indicate transcriptions, typically of Mandarin Chinese,
> approved by the Chinese government on February 11, 1958-02-11 and
> adopted by the International Organization for Standardization as an
> international standard in 1982.

Can we also mention here that in 2009 Hanyu Pinyin will also be the standard romanization in use in Taiwan?

we've been discussing this a bit)

Date: Sat, 27 Sep 2008 12:06:04 -0700
From: "Randy Presuhn" 

> Hi -

> From: "CE Whitehead" 
> To: 
> Sent: Saturday, September 27, 2008 8:01 AM
> Subject: Re: Pinyin
> I can see that Romanizations of Mandarin Chinese will be the most
> important in terms of the numbers of people they reach, but looking
> at the characters (sorry for my misuse of the term) in each orthography,
> I did not see enough differences (though I am not an expert) to warrant
> not including the Pinyin Romanizations of Tibetan and also the Pinyin
> Romanization of Mandarin that is called Tongyong (the big trick is
> distinguishing Tongyong from Hanyu though--but my guess is most
> people who can read one can read the other so is differentiating
> these that important?).

> Wow. I cannot believe that I am reading this on the

> mailing
> list that agreed to distinguish -tarask and "academic"

> Belarusian,
> on the mailing list that maintains (correctly) that there are

> real
> uses cases where the differences between en-US and en-CA
> matter. While I might have dismissed earlier claims of

> a double-
> standard as hyperbole, I'm not so sure now.
We agreed to the various applications of the Unified Turkic alphabet; that was the precedent I drew on.  The Belarussians asked specifically to distinguish their various orthographies and that was the sole purpose of that subag; of course we do need to distinguish the differences too for [pinyin] and that is being done nicely with the prefixes now that we've dropped Tongyong Pinyin from the bunch.

> I *might* be persuaded to support "re-use" of the subtag with multiple
> prefixes *iff* each registration request spelled out exactly what
> orthography was intended in each case (an actual reference,
> not just and arm-waving "using the principles of Hanyu Pinyin").

Michael Everson has described the salient features of Hanyu Pinyin o.k. for me (but not my area of expertise):

> Salient features of Pinyin> romanization are the use of 
> for [t? t?? ? ??> ??? ?] respectively. The subtag zh-Latn-pinyin refers to Hanyu
> Pinyin romanization of Mandarin Chinese. The subtag bo-Latn-pinyin
> refers to Tibetan Pinyin romanization of Tibetan.

I think I briefly tried to compare Tibetan Pinyin to Hanyu Pinyin in a previous posting
and Randy I think pointed out that Tibetan Pinyin orthography also makes use of additional vowels.

Regarding Tongyong Pinyin, as far as I can tell,
Tongyong Pinyin (see and
Hanyu Pinyin 



use the same consonants to represent the same sounds (there may be slight differences with q and x but they are similar in both orthographies as far as I can tell again
(see on the differences:
"The sounds Hanyu Pinyin assigns to the letters q and x, for example, are not idiomatic in the languages of most users of the Roman alphabet. Tongyong Pinyin represents an effort to preserve the strengths of the pinyin system while overcoming some of these difficulties.");
I cannot tell from the resources I have how close the vowels are in the two orthographies as this is not my area of expertise.

> But I strenuously object to lumping things on the claim that "most
> people who can read one can read the other," particularly since
> my own experience with Hanyu Pinyin does not support such
> a claim in the least.

My goof; apparently in Taiwan both are in use however (according to Wikipedia)and in one county both are in use officially:
"Taipei County uses Hanyu Pinyin with Tongyong Pinyin given in parentheses"
(again see )

but this is a moot issue now.

> At the very least, I though we had gotten
>  past the idea that there was any reason to lump Tongyong
> and Hanyu Pinyin together.

O.k. by me if that is what everyone wants at this point.  It's more convenient this way and I'm, really not expert enough to argue further one way or another all by myself.

> Randy


--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at 

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list