[KS] Romanisation and Pinyin

Stefan Ewing sa_ewing at hotmail.com
Tue Jun 7 13:33:38 EDT 2005

Dear fellow KS members:

In reply to Rupert's comment, Mandarin Chinese does possess an alphabet of 
sorts, Zhuyin Fuhao, a.k.a. the _bopomofo_ phonetic alphabet.  It used 
primarily in Taiwan, evidently, so it may still be valid to say that Hanyu 
Pinyin is for all intents and purposes the (Mainland) Chinese "alphabet."

In appearance, Zhuyin looks somewhat like Japanese Katakana, but with 
separate symbols for consonants and vowels, _a la_ Hang(e)ul.  There is an 
article about it on the Omniglot website 
(http://www.omniglot.com/writing/mandarin.htm#bopomofo), with a link at the 
bottom of the section to a comparison table.

Stefan Ewing

P.S.: In a follow-up to Charles Muller's last post, I realize I haven't 
actually tried submitting Korean script to the KS list (only the failed 
o-breve and u-breve).  This is to see if it renders properly.  (If it works, 
it will likely be visible in Korean encoding and not Unicode):

Cheol-su and Yeong-hui are writing their entrance exam.
ôÊâª¿Í çµýì°¡ ìýùÊãËúÐÀ» Ä¡¸¥´Ù.

>From: "rupert" <rupert at aks.ac.kr>
>Reply-To: Korean Studies Discussion List <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
>To: <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
>Subject: [KS] Romanisation and Pinyin
>Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2005 11:49:18 +0900
>Gari Ledyard wrote how he is impressed by how easily the Pinyin system for 
>Chinese has gained broad acceptance. Well, I heard that one of the 
>motivations for making the new Korean system was the success of Pinyin. I 
>have been studying Chinese for a while and Pinyin does seem to be 
>exceedingly good. Also, unlike Koreans, Chinese students learn it - indeed 
>it has become their 'alphabet'. All the foreign Chinese students in our 
>school know it. Truly amazing. Of course, Koreans do not really need such 
>as they have their own alphabet, hence the confusion to purpose. 
>Accordingly, several systems coexist side by side.
>1 Yale - A clever system for linguists. Only used by specialists - no one 
>else has a clue, yet it is good.
>2  MR - A clever system for foreigners based on compromise between sound 
>and transliteration. Easy to learn but hopeless on computers.
>3  KOR 2000 - A simple system for Koreans based on transliteration (not 
>sound). Useful for computer users. Easy for lifers but confusing to 
>It seems to be a case of - take your pick ... but who you are will 
>determine which one you will like. Or, maybe the best version is still 
>waiting to be discovered.
>Rupert Atkinson

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