Re: CJKV ideographic, was Re: Perception that Unicode is 16-bit

From: Thomas Chan (
Date: Tue Feb 27 2001 - 22:40:22 EST

On Tue, 27 Feb 2001, Richard Cook wrote:

> Thomas Chan wrote:
> > But is a romanized version of U+6F22 U+5B57 based on the Cantonese
> > pronunciation ever used in English writing the way <hanzi> (based on
> > Mandarin pronunciation) is?
> it could be ... it might even be used as a special term to distinguish
> "Cantonese Ideographs" ...

If that sort of usage exists, I'd like to know where.

But I hope not. Writing <honji> or the like in English text seems like an
attempt to use the native term/pronunciation, except, as Michael
(akerbeltz.alba) pointed out, it isn't--zhongwenzi \u4e2d\u6587\u5b57
'characters of the Chinese (written) language' (Cant. jungmanji) is more
common--although I feel this is non-specialist usage, c.f., the often
juxtaposed term yingwenzi \u82f1\u6587\u5b57 'characters of the
English (written) language' (Cant yingmanji), even if it is say, French
text under discussion.

More importantly, Han \u6f22 (Cant. Hon) really isn't an ethnonym used
by the Cantonese and other southern Chinese; rather, Tang \u5510 (Cant.
Tong) is used instead, e.g., tangcan \u5510\u9910 'Chinese cuisine' (Cant.
tongchaan), tanghua \u5510\u8a71 'Chinese (spoken) language' (Cant.
tongwa), tangren \u5510\u4eba 'Chinese person' (Cant. tongyan), tangrenjie
\u5510\u4eba\u8857 'Chinatown' (Cant. tongyangaai), tangshan \u5510\u5c71
'China (lit. "Tang mountain")' (Cant. tongsaan), etc. Some of these terms
are kind of old-fashioned or rustic, though.

I think I heard of a tangzi \u5510\u5b57 (Cant. tongji) term once; this
would be most ideal to make use of, if one wanted to invent new English
terminology. But that still leaves the problem of distinguishing the
"dialect" characters of other southern Chinese languages from the
mainstream characters, and the Cantonese "dialectal" characters.

> > For those familiar with "ASCII IPA", it's /hOn33 tSi22/. (<O> denotes
> > ESH.)[1] Yale romanization would write it <honjih>, a modified Yale would
> > write it <hon3ji6>, etc.
> I think that modern uses of romanized Cantonese are few and far between

Basically just linguistic transcription, like the recently-created Hong
Kong-indigenous Jyutping \u7cb5\u62fc (Mand. Yuepin) system. Unlike some
other Chinese languages, romanization (usu. introduced by missionaries)
didn't catch on, and the dominant (and conservative) trend is to write in
Han characters, even if that means having to create new ones, hijacking
existing ones, or resurrecting old ones.

Thomas Chan

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