LANGUAGE SUBTAG REGISTRATION FORM: pinyin
niall.tracey at logica.com
Mon Aug 4 18:54:28 CEST 2008
From: John Cowan
Sent: 03 August 2008 22:31
> Most uses of "Pinyin" refer to Hanyu Pinyin, the official transcription
> system (both national and ISO) of the official language of China (another
> ambiguous name, but I'm sure you know what I mean by it).
> We're following that lead.
I'm pretty certain that if anyone was to count, we'd find that most uses of the word "alphabet" refer to the Latin alphabet. Does that make "Alphabet" a valid alternative to "Latn"?
What the native speakers call their language and orthography have to be taken into account, but it is impossible to be ruled by it: there will always be clashes of terminology across borders. I'd always suggest being explicit, even if that means being more technical than a native speaker would be.
I mean, most people I know say they speak "English", not "EN_gb" or whatever, but we make that distinction. We could follow this and set up a heirarchy of pinyin subtags (including Wade-Giles) but that would be cumbersome.
> Another point: we are neither a concensus organization nor a democracy:
> we are an advisory council to an absolute dictator.
Yet can a council not advise by concensus?
And besides, sometimes dictatorships can be a good thing: in a democracy, the advocates of "pinyin" as Hanyu might well win -- there's probably more literate Mandarin speakers than speakers of other languages with pinyins. Dictatorship of the majority and all that....
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