pinyin (and wadegile) request has gotten derailed

CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Fri Sep 19 19:19:33 CEST 2008


I second Peter's suggestion that supporters of [pinyin] as a generic variant should try to document the ways [pinyin] is a generic variant.

However, I am not expert enough on the [pinyin] alphabet to do so; I can email someone all the links online I found on it; that's about it.  (Maybe those links will help . . .  there are just a few additional characters in the Tibetan Pinyin; I think a summary comment of the similarities and differences will do  )

I still think that if the various alphabets are closely related the subtag should probably apply to all Pinyin alphabets (that is [pinyin] should be a generic variant)--but it should not if they are distantly related

(of course, the name [hanyu] as a Addison suggested some time back would have been a better name if Mark wanted a distinct variety of pinyin registered; [pinyin] was available--but it is just a bit confusing maybe)

Unless Tongyong is really a distinct tradition
then the only way I see to register [pinyin] as a generic variant is to do something like what we did with Resian . . . as I agree here with Randy that the country code would be meaningless now.  So we might have to deal with Tongyong at this point--if we are registering a generic variant . . .

--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at

(Tongyong seems to derive from Pinyin-- is this just the same as Pinyin's deriving from the Wade Giles Romanization or is this a closer relationship? The Tongyong and Hanyu systems look quite close to me; to me they areno more different than transliterating Arabic dipthings with vowels + long vowels versus consonants; if you look at the Hans Wehr Romanization
you can see for example that you can translate the glide w as either w or u ; the glide y as i or y . . . both are readable to the same group; thus house can be 'bait' or 'bayt' -- no problem reading either.
If my understanding is wrong, if Tongyong Pinyin is in the same relation to Hanyu Pinyin as Hanyu Pinyin is to the Wade Giles Romanization, please correct me .)

Date:  Wed, 17 Sep 2008 15:12:13 -0700
From: Peter Constable 

> There are two issues that have been on the table: 1. Should
> the semantic scope of the subtag be specific to an
> orthography for Mandarin only, or should it encompass other
> (however-related) orthographies?

Yes, that's it, as Randy says, should it be a sort of generic variant?

> A subtag "af" may hold certain mnemonic value for people interested in> Afar, but that doesn't mean that it would be correct for people to
> use "af" for Afar content, AND it also doesn't mean that we should have> the semantic scope of "af"
> be broad enough to encompass both Afar and Afrikaans.

Afar and Afrikaans are not even close that I know of--why this analogy?

To my understanding it is not just the name Pinyin that the variants have in common.

(To those who know Mandarin, etc.:  Is this correct ??  The alphabets look similar . . . )

> Perhaps you should be preparing an alternate request form in which
> you point to documentation defining Pinyin conventions that cover all
> three languages.
I would like to see this actually anyway

Message: 6
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2008 20:56:13 -0700
From: "Randy Presuhn" randy_presuhn at
Subject: Re: Tongyong Pinyin bites the dust (was: Pinyin)
> From: "John Cowan" 
> To: "Doug Ewell" 
>> Doug Ewell scripsit:
>>> Unfortunately, this doesn't cause all existing Tongyong Pinyin content>>> to vanish off the earth, and so if there was a need to tag Tongyong
>>> content before, that need has not gone away.
>> True. But it also means that we don't have to worry about how to
>> represent Tongyong at this stage, since no one has asked for it. We
>> can decide later or never....
> But it *does* mean that using the region subtag to disambiguate
> doesn't make sense.
> Randy

Yes that does seem so to me too.

--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at

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