From: Peter Kirk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Jan 14 2004 - 13:44:18 EST
On 06/01/2004 03:16, Andrew C. West wrote:
>On Mon, 5 Jan 2004 17:37:30 -0800 (PST), Kenneth Whistler wrote:
>>Perhaps someone on the list who knows more about the actual
>>history of orthographic reform in the Zhuang Autonomous Region
>>of Guangxi could chime in with more details.
>Well, I'm not really that knowledgeable about Zhuang, but but my father-in-law
>is a native Zhuang speaker, and I've visited "Zhuangland" many times, so I have
>absorbed some knowledge on the subject by osmosis.
>The original Zhuang alphabet devised in 1955 and officially promulgated in 1957
>used an unwieldy mixture of Latin and Cyrillic letters together with the special
>tone letters encoded at U+01A7/01A8 [tone 2], U+01BC/01BD [tone 5] and
>U+0184/0185 [tone 6]. However, in 1982 the Zhuang alphabet was amended to use
>basic Latin letters only, so that the old tone letters are now written as "z",
>"j", "x", "q" and "h" :
I received the following reply from a Zhuang researcher, which agrees
with what Andrew has written:
> The officially approved Zhuang orthography is, in fact, a strictly
> Latin one. When I type it, I use a QWERTY keyboard and whatever
> English font I happen to want to use. Yes, there was sort of a
> Cyrllic/Latin hybrid orthography developed during the early 50s by
> some Russian linguists and approved by the government, but it was
> revised to the Latin-based orthography some years later. I assume the
> date given in the message below (1986) it correct, but I can't confirm
> that out of my own personal knowledge. I can tell you that no Cyrllic
> characters are in use today, except that I think some paper money
> printed in China still has some of the older orthography on it.
> In the messages below, there is a bit of confusion about the tone
> spelling system. It works like this:
> For syllables that do not end in a stop:
> Tone 1, no tone letter
> Tone 2, 'z'
> Tone 3, 'j'
> Tone 4, 'x'
> Tone 5, 'q'
> Tone 6, 'h'
> For syllables that are "checked" (i.e., end in a stop), the system
> works like this:
> Tone 7, either 'p,' 't,' or 'k,' depending on the point of articulation.
> Tone 8, either 'b,' 'd' or 'g,' depending on the point of articulation.
> Note that these three stops all sound the same, the spelling
> difference indicates difference in syllable tone, not in the nature of
> the stop itself.
> There are two other orthographies in use in Zhuang. Most important,
> there is an ancient Zhuang square-character script that has never been
> standardized. If it ever is, maybe we can get a unicode font for it.
> Until then, I wouldn't worry about it much. Second, sometimes, very
> informally, people will use Chinese characters to write Zhuang. This
> happens rarely.
On this last paragraph, I note that this ancient Zhuang script has not
even been roadmapped. From a brief Internet search, I found that it
consists of about 10,000 characters. Or is it roadmapped under another
name? Or is it unified with CJK - despite the researcher clearly
distinguishing it from Chinese characters?
-- Peter Kirk email@example.com (personal) firstname.lastname@example.org (work) http://www.qaya.org/
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