On Monday, September 6, 2004, at 06:59 , Tamas Racsko wrote:

> On 5 Sep 2004 Ray Brown <ray.brown@FREE...> wrote:
>> Yep - on I this agree - but, as you rightly say, it is un-German.
>> And the use of |j| as an affricate is most distinctly un-German
>> (but not un-English).
>   I wrote "the _consonant (onset)_ notation is heavily _influenced_
> by German transcription" (=GT), not "the whole romanization is an
> adaption of GT" or so.

Yes, I know. But |j| is a consonant onset, I think.

Having looked at German, French and other transcriptions, I must confess I
do not myself see anything particularly Germanic ablout Pinyin.

> they were). I do not want to extend this debate immoderately,

Nor do I, as I do not think we will reach any definite conclusion. I think
we had best 'agree to disagree' over this.

>   However, GT uses |dj-| for PY |j-| (and GT |tj-| for PY |q-|),
> therefore "monographization" of the German system could result in a
> solution like |j-|.

It does, but the GT treatment of the dental, retroflex & palatal series
does not strike me as having much bearing on the Pinyin system:
                   IPA          GT                 Pinyin
dental         ts tsʰ s      ds ts s            z  c  s
retroflex      tʂ tʂʰ ʂ  ʐ   dsch tsch sch j    zh ch sh r
palatal        tɕ tɕʰ ɕ      dj tj hs           j  q  x

The GT system does even use German |z| = /ts/.

>   You are right, I left the Russian out of consideration in this
> point. (I think, though, even the Russian transcription system
> (=RT) might borrowed it from German.

It is possible, but not necessarily so.

> /z`/ as {sh-}* ~ {zh-}, while PY does not: |sh-| ~ |r-|. Moreover,
> as far I know, RT does not distiguish between Pinyin |hs-| and
> |s-|, it uses {s-}** for both onsets. The same is true for PY |z-|
> ~ |j-| vs. common RT {ts.z-}.

Arguably, as I said in a mail I sent last evening, the palatals are
allophones of the dental series. The RT is by no means alone in treating
them this way.

> And least but not last, note this
> latter strange notation: the voiced--unvoiced contrast is not full
> in RT: the unaspirate pair of aspirate /ts_h/ {ts-} is not one of
> the voiced Cyrillic letters {dz-} or {z-} but a digraph {ts.z-}...
>   These features are not reflected in PY.

I do not claim that the RT had any _direct_ influence on Pinyin; what
influence it had came through Latinxua.
>> I would be extremely surprised, given the politics of post-WWII
>> years, if the People's Republic had been influenced by any German
>> practice.
>   I lived in one of these kind of countries;

I know.

>   Moreover, Germany never attacked China, they were only a distant
> ally of Japan.

I know that also. But I think the post-war Chinese dislike of the Japanese
was so great that they would have viewed anyone who had sided with the
Japanese with similar dislike. Also the Chinese at that time were under
Moaist Communism and I'm sure Germany was still in the 1950s viewed as the
state that had espoused the anti-Communist creed of Nazism.

> And before Japan, China had several wars with the
> British Empire: Chinese politics was afread rather of the British
> ally than of the hostile Germans. The same was true for Russia:
> they were rival conquerors in Siberia for a long time. This
> continuous rivalization for the local domination was the cause of
> the later split between the communist China and the communist
> Soviet Union.

All true - which makes me even more of the opinion that the Maoist
government were concerned basically with the earlier _Chinese_

>   (You mentioned Soviet contrubution in PY project. T

No - the Soviet contribution to Latinxua.

>> |c| is used consistently to represent /ts/ in all the Slavonic
>> Roman orthographies and the Russian Cyrillic transcription
>   Hungarian uses, too, but this is due to the German cultural
> influence (the early universities of the area were in Germany).

But that's going way back in history.

> However, if Slavonic notation would be significant, PY would
> implement Czech-style diacritic marks even on consonants.

I did not say it was! I merely pointed out that by 1950, there was nothing
particularly German about |c| = /ts/. Why, that is the Esperanto

>> the Russian Cyrillic transcription also used monographs
>   According to my sources, it is not true for /dz_0/ |z-|, I found
> digraph {ts.z-} for it, cf.

No alphabetic system AFAIK consistently uses monographs; some use them
more than others. (I do not consider the Zhuyin Fuhao, aka Bopomofo, to be
an alphabet)

>> The use of |z| = [dz] is found in Italian (tho I don't suppose
>> the People's republic was unduly influenced by that).
> [...]
>> The writing of the diphthong /aw/ as |ao| is surely an Italian
>> conventio and, I guess, goes right back to Matteo Ricci's
>> transcriptions.
>   If we consider |z| as an Italian tradition

I do not - as my words above show.

>   However, I wrote about German influence only in case of onset
> consonant notation. Coda notation is a bit mess (especially in case
> of codas containing /u/ element). However, German-style |ü| for
> instances of /y/ can be also a sign of taking German into
> consideration.

But |ü| is used only after |l| and |n|. In all other instances PY writes
[y] simply as |u|.

By the 1950s the Chinese People's Republic could find |ü| = [y] in many
other places, including Turkey - but I am *not* suggesting Turkish

It may be argued that historically all the other uses of |ü| = [y] are
ultimately derived from german practice - but that IMO is an entirely
different matter.

>  They could choose |y| instead to maintain the
> unaccented notation of basic vowels.

They could and, indeed, must have considered this as this is the
transcription used in Latinxua.

>> ...or both. But wasn't |q| used this way in Latinxua? I would've
>> been surprised if Albanian had contibuted to that.
>   Personally, I do not like the Cyrillic theory of |q|:

I have retracted that also. I was certainly mistaken about it being used
in Lainxua and the Cyrillic theory, now I've followed it up a bit, seems
to have all the traits of an urban myth.

>> My understanding (I'm not a sinolog) is that:
>   Basically I agree with these opinions but I consider the German
> traditions more stressed than the others in case of initials

On that, as I said above, I think we just have to agree to disagree   :)

> (maybe
> this traditions were present already in Gwoyeu Romatzyh, or
> Latinxua as well).

They were.

> ----
>> Except that he lists:
>> _E_ or _Nge_ (not _Ngo_)
>> _O_ or _Ngo_ or _Wo_ (the only example of w- given)
>   According to my OUP Chinese dictionary PY |e^| (e with
> circumflex) = [E] and |o| = [o] are subphonemical sounds found in
> interjections (and they are out of the syllabic system just as
> |ei|, |hng| etc.)

The whole debate about the phonemic status of [E] and [o] is not settled
AFAIK. I think most (all?) agree that [E]is an allophone of the mid
central unrounded vowel [ə] (CXS [@])

[o] occurs only after bilabials and the labiodental /f/. It's phonemic
status is debatable; some consider it an allophone of [ə], others as an
allophone of the diphthong |uo| /wə/ (/w@/), and others as a separate

> I wonder whether this makes the distinction in
> this notation, or they are the equivalents of PY |e| and |wo|,
> respectively.


>> _Ou_ or _Ngou_ (not _Ngeou)
>   In FT |ou| reads as in French, i.e. /u/, therefore diphthong /@U/
> is rendered as "eou".

Yes, I understand that. But of course it then gives a French version which
would surely suggest [nZu] (oddly, my mailer has objected to the IPA ezh
symbol!) to those with no other knowledge of the system - but, I guess,
that's up to te French.
On Monday, September 6, 2004, at 07:18 , Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:

>> Ray Brown wrote:
> [snip]
>>>   Germans trascribed aspirate -- inaspirate contrast as unvoiced --
>>> voiced (a number of German dialects know inaspirate unvoiced mediae
>>> in constrast with aspirate unvoiced tenues) as in current Pinyin
>> True.
> NB this is nowise uniquely German.  A similar analysis is in fact
> possible for all Germanic languages except Dutch and Afrikaans,

Yes, I agree. In my 1960 edition of TY Chinese, which uses the Wade-Giles
transcription, I find:
"Ch.   J in jeep.
  Ch'.  Ch in cheap.
K.   G hard as in gay, gum, etc.
K'.  K as in kerb, and many initila hard c's lile can, card"

I'm fairly certain there were some anglophone systems that did show the
plosives as they are in Pinyin. I guess that because it's such an obvious
method of transcription for anglophones, I saw nothing particularly German
about it. My wonder, indeed, is why the "apostrophe system" ever got into
Wade-Giles. I don't know its history, but presumably it was following a
more "southern European" tradition.

>> It was the "monographic" principle again to
>> choose "x-" for the English-German "hs-" digraph.
> This may have been based in Vietnamese, whose use of _x_ for /S/
> is derived from Portuguese.

Possibly. But it was also one of the allophonic pronunciations of |x| in
Latinxua. I have also learned that |x| was used this way in Matteo Ricci's
17th cent. system.

>>>    Letter "q" was choose for
>>> /ts\/ either for the Albanian-Chinese friendship or for its
>>> resemblance to a Cyrillic letter;
>> ...or both. But wasn't |q| used this way in Latinxua? I would've been
>> surprised if Albanian had contibuted to that.
> I have actually seen an early version of PY which used
> the cyrillic letter!

Have you? That's interesting. I am wrong about |p| being in Latinxua and
was coming to the conclusion the Cyrillic explanation was an urban myth.
Now you throw the cat among the pigeons   :)

>> I imagine many western schemes had some ultimate input. The writing of
>> the
>> diphthong /aw/ as |ao| is surely an Italian convention and, I guess, goes
>> right back to Matteo Ricci's transcriptions.
> An interesting point is that Ricci IIRC used _b d g_ the same way PY
> does.

That's very interesting. If you recall rightly, it makes the German theory
of the origin even less likely IMO. So the tradition of using _b d g_ this
way possibly goes back 4 centuries!

Anyone got details about Ricci's system?

> I for my part would do things very, very differently...

Me also!

I always thought that the Gwoyeu Romatzyh idea of having tones built into
the spelling rather than denoted by diacritics was a good idea (anglophone
Newspapers always ignore diacritics); but I confess I thought GR made it
too complicated. I would have done it more simply.

But I guess it is up to the Chinese how their language is Romanized.

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"They are evidently confusing science with technology."
UMBERTO ECO				September, 2004