HS writes:

>  Douglas Koller, Latin & French wrote:
>  > The FOAW and other sources give "jioh8" as the most common baihua
>>  reading for "stone", with "xia7" plunking in only in the word for
>>  "pomegranate" (perhaps HS, the native, can verify).
>Unfortunately, in my dialect of Hokkien, the word for "stone" is a Malay
>borrowing ("batu"). The older generation in my family uses "jioh8"; and
>somehow, the two has come to co-exist, with "batu" meaning "stone" and
>"jioh8" meaning "rock" (larger than stone, relatively speaking). I've
>never heard of "xia7" for "stone".

Again, my dictionary lists it as only occuring in the compound for
"pomegranate" ("shi2liu2" in Mandarin). Dunno if your dialect differs.

>I wouldn't be surprised if it was a broken romanization. Back in the days
>of my grandparents, when romanization was a new concept and quite devoid
>of a common standard, people did all kinds of weird approximations and odd
>renderings, esp. for names when registering in a census. For example, my
>grandfather transcribed my father's surname as "Teoh" (which I inherited);
>but my uncle (father's older brother) has the surname "Cheang". And my
>uncle's daughter somehow got her surname to be "Teng", and her brothers
>(one younger, one older than her) spelt it "Chang". But all of this is in
>fact the one and same name, _dio~1_ (sorry, I forgot my tone numbers again
>:-P), which is the same as the Mandarin _zhang1_.

"Teoh" for "Zhang"? Who'da thunk. (There does seem, however, to have
been a tradition among some of the
Chinese-moving-through-Ellis-Island crowd to morph names deliberately
out of fear and for political reasons.) It's a dicey game, I'll grant
you. It's still *very* easy to imagine Changsha-born grandparents
with Cantonese-speaking grandchildren emigrating somewhere, and
everyone romanizing to their own drummer though of the same family.

>As you can see, before the establishment of a standard transcription
>scheme, it's a jungle out there. :-)

Tell me about it. A common grouse among expats in Taiwan was the
indecipherably inconsistent use of romanization on street signs,
which could change for the same street as you went along from
intersection to intersection. (I'd rather expats just learn some
Chinese, but what can you do?)