Correction for pinyin

Alexandre Lecoq alexandre.lecoq at
Sun Mar 7 13:45:15 CET 2010

Name : Alexandre Lecoq
Email: alexandre.lecoq at

Related entries:

Type: language
Subtag: pny
Description: Pinyin
Added: 2009-07-29

Type: variant
Subtag: pinyin
Description: Pinyin romanization
Added: 2008-10-14
Prefix: zh-Latn
Prefix: bo-Latn

Problem description: 

There is no such thing as a Pinyin language. Pinyin (pinyin) is a variant of Latin script (Latn).
It is a phonetic transcription using latin alphabet, and is only defined for Mandarin (zh-cmn, cmn) if it's a short for hanyu pinyin, otherwise it's nothing but something that means romanization in this context.

Therefore pny can't be a language. It could be an alias for Latn-pinyin in the best case.
And since hanyu pinyin is defined for zh-cmn, pinyin prefix should be zh-cmn-Latn or cmn-Latn and not bo-Latn.

It should be remembered that "pinyin" means something like "phonetics" or "spelling sounds". "Pinyin" is generally the short for Hanyu Pinyin (romanization for zh-cmn), but meaning wise: it is pretty generic, for example there is also Tibetan Pinyin, Tongyong Pinyin, etc... They are all romanizations, but they are different ones, and possibly for different languages.

As a conclusion, pny should be deprecated, and pinyin should probaly be clarified sooner or later.

Alexandre Lecoq

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