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Hope this doesn't get too mangled in transmission!

On 29/07/2017 12:28, BPJ wrote:
> Den 2017-07-29 kl. 11:37, skrev Siva Kalyan:
>>> Something like establishing a Romanization of Middle Chinese and 
>>> then using
>>> that with modifications for the modern Mandarin.   It would take 
>>> some time
>>> to do properly but could be fun for those so inclined.  :)
>> Didn't Yuan Ren Chao himself do something like this before Gwoyeu 
>> Romatzyh? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Chinese.
>>
>> Siva

Oh, I hadn't known this - thanks, very interesting.


> IIRC it was quite a while *after* GR and quite an improvement on it.

Yes, GR was developed in the mid 1920s.   I first came across it in the 
1950s.   I liked the
idea of indicating tones in the spelling without using diacritics or 
superscript numerals; but
the way GR did it seemed a bit kludgey to me and I devised two or three 
'improved' versions
of GR as far as I remember.   :)

I can't pin down a date for General Chinese but, like BPJ, I get the 
impression it was quite
a while later.  It does seem a better system in many respects.  If one 
is going to develop a
Romanization that goes a long way to distinguishing homophones, one 
really should look at
General Chinese if only to avoid re-inventing the wheel.

>
> The obvious model is Tibetan orthography, which still essentially 
> depicts the sesquisyllabic[^1] language of over a millennium ago, 
> which enables those 'dialects' which have converted complex initials 
> and some finals into tones and those which preserve more or less of 
> the initials and finals to use the same orthography -- at a high 
> educational price to be sure.
>
> /bpj
>
> [^1]: <http://sealang.net/sala/archives/pdf8/thomas1992sesquisyllabic.pdf>

Thanks - an interesting article.  One is always learning new things on 
this list, even
at my advance years.   :)

Ray