pinyin (and wadegile) request has gotten derailed

CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Wed Sep 17 01:08:24 CEST 2008

Hi, John, Randy, others:
Thanks for the information; I think I'm agreed with John here that Cantonese Pinyin should not be included in the subtag [pinyin] but that Tibetan Pinyin can be--and optionally so can Tongyong Pinyin.

--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at 

John Cowan cowan at 
Tue Sep 16 15:05:27 CEST 2008

> Randy Presuhn scripsit:

>>>  1.  How different is the Tongyong Pinyin romanization (the alternate
>>> Taiwanese romanization) of Mandarin from the Hanyu Pinyin romanization
>>> of Mandarin?
>> About as different as Pinyin and Wade-Gile.

> Quantitatively, no.  Of the 412 Modern Standard Mandarin syllables
> (disregarding tone), Hanyu Pinyin and Tongyong Pinyin differ in the
> spelling of only 81 of them, whereas HYPY and Wade-Giles differ in the
> spelling of 270 of them.  The only things that TYPY and WG have in common
> are that they don't have the features, peculiar to HYPY, of separating
> the alveolopalatals by writing different initials and of eliding central
> vowels in certain triphthong rhymes.

Thanks for the info!

>>> 2.  And how different is Tibetan Pinyin from Hanyu Pinyin?

> By contrast, Tibetan Pinyin is as like HYPY as the nature of Tibetan
> will allow it to be.
That was my understanding
>> 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)

> I don't see what 'cmn' has to do with it.  Tibetan is in no way part of 'zh'.
My mistake--I was thinking of Tongyong Pinyin which is a part of [zh] but [cmn] won't help there either!
> The whole point of language tagging is distinguishing languages and
> their important variants.  To do things which would obscure the
> distinction between two indisputably distinct languages would be
> counterproductive.

> 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.
That's the example I thought of.
>> (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.)
> This is a strong argument for *not* merging the two.

The obvious tactic is zh-(Latn)-TW-pinyin vs. zh-(Latn)-CN-pinyin.
Admittedly, zh-TW has been used to mean zh-Hant in the past, but this
is a truly appropriate use of TW for the orthography specific to Taiwan.

This is problematic though as both Hanyu Pinyin and Tongyong Pinyin seem to be used in Taiwan--but it would serve to distinguish the two official orthographies.

Another option I thought of:



or [pinyntai]

but these are totally obscure and non-transparent; however an option is t o use [pinyin] for all similar Romanizations used in the People's Republic of China and use some other name (such as [tongyong]?) for the other variety.

>> Reading online I understand that Cantonese Pinyin is quite distant
>> (correct me if I'm wrong) from Hanyu Pinyin --
> Yes.

> I agree.  This should not be tagged with the wide-scope 'pinyin' subtag,
> although I suppose it sometimes will be.
Thanks for the reply; agreed!
> John Cowan   cowan at

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