pinyin (and wadegile) request has gotten derailed

CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Tue Sep 16 00:52:36 CEST 2008

At this point, I would say it would be great to move [wadegile] forward if that is o.k. with the requestor and with Michael. 

Also, Addison, I think Randy cleared up my questions about [pinyin] and the prefix [zh]!  So I agree, [zh] can be a prefix for pinyin whether it stands for the Hanyu Pinyin romanization of Mandarin exclusively or no. 

Now for my questions:

 1.  How different is the Tongyong Pinyin romanization (the alternate Taiwanese romanization) of Mandarin from the Hanyu Pinyin romanization of Mandarin?

2.  And how different is Tibetan Pinyin from Hanyu Pinyin?  (Looking quickly online I could only see about five unique letters in Tibetan Pinyin:  lh gy ky ny ng.  (Correct me if there are many more; if not, the alphabet used to write Farsi/Persian has a character for p for example whereas the alphabet for Arabic does not--and so on, yet it is considered the same alphabet.  I see no problem with having to use a meta-content description tag to distinguish Tibetan from Hanyu pinyin until [cmn] and other codes become available)

(Alas, since Tongyong Pinyin and Hanyu Pinyin are both for Mandarin, ISO 639-3 codes will not help to distinguish these two if they need to be distinguished with something other than a description in a meta tag.  That's the only problem I can foresee with lumping the two together for now.)

Reading online I understand that Cantonese Pinyin is quite distant (correct me if I'm wrong) from Hanyu Pinyin--and its name for alphabet is even pronounced a bit differently than in Mandarin--so maybe it would be best not to include that romanization in the scope of this subtag.

--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at 

( Following are some of the sources I consulted for anyone else who wants to see the Tibetan Pinyin and Hanyu Pinyin alphabets:

Sat Sep 13 20:53:35 CEST 2008

Randy Presuhn randy_presuhn at 

Hi -

>> From: "CE Whitehead">
> To:>
> Sent: Saturday, September 13, 2008 10:53 AM
> Subject: RE: pinyin (and wadegile) request has gotten derailed
>>  however I think Tibetan does not require so many distinctions in tone
> as to make Hanyu Pinyin ill-suited; see:

> While Pinyin doesn't have the tone distinctions necessary for Cantonese,
its problem with respect to Tibetan is that it lacks representations for
some Tibetan phonemes.  The article you cite shows, for example,
additional characters needed to adequately represent Tibetan vowels
that  do not occur in Mandarin.

Thanks for the information on this!

>> If Mark wants to use [zh-Latn-pinyin] (or whatever) to tag
> primarily Mandarin content that is fine as [zh] is the only
> subtag available, and Mandarin speakers will probably
> be able to find their content??  But we don't have to
> restrict the subtag [zh] here to mean that . . .

> No one is proposing that we change the zh- subtag in any way.
The question is whether the subtag -pinyin should be for a specific
orthography of a specific language, as requested, or should be
broadened into a new kind of generic subtag usable for any member
of a family of  -Latn orthographies

(Hanyu Pinyin and its modification?? )

, with some other mechanism
used to identify the specific language in question.

> Randy


--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at

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