pinyin (and wadegile) request has gotten derailed

Michael Everson everson at
Wed Sep 17 10:02:03 CEST 2008

I agree. What I have requested is a subtag for distinguishing a  
particular set of orthographic conventions for romanization of  
Mandarin Chinese, not Tibetan. If John wants a subtag that includes  
(for whatever reasons you have) both romanizations of Chinese and  
Tibetan, that's fine. But that's not what I applied for, nor what my  
company needs.

But the


On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 1:33 AM, Phillips, Addison  
<addison at> wrote:
I note that Mark has requested a subtag for explicitly Hanyu Pinyin  
and not for any other kind of Pinyin. While it is possible for Hanyu  
(other) pinyin's to be included into a single subtag, I can't tell if  
that would meet Mark's requirements or not. I would be very astonished  
and not all that well served if I were to request a subtag 'twain' [to  
identify the dialect usage of writer Mark Twain] and got instead  
'1880' [to identify dialectical usages of late-19th-Century American  
writers] instead. Yes, one encompasses the other. But that doesn't  
necessarily meet the requirements I am trying to address, and, in this  
case, which we, as a group, might not fully know.

Mark, as the requester, do you have an opinion or requirements related  
to this?


Addison Phillips
Globalization Architect -- Lab126

Internationalization is not a feature.
It is an architecture.

 > -----Original Message-----
 > From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-
 > bounces at] On Behalf Of CE Whitehead
 > Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 4:08 PM
 > To: ietf-languages at
 > Subject: pinyin (and wadegile) request has gotten derailed
 > 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:
 > [pinynprc]
 > [pinyntwn]
 > 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
 > _______________________________________________
 > Ietf-languages mailing list
 > Ietf-languages at
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