Re: Gwoyeu Romatzyh marking the optional neutral tone

From: Charlie Ruland (
Date: Mon Jul 13 2009 - 08:09:08 CDT

  • Next message: Christoph Burgmer: "Re: Gwoyeu Romatzyh marking the optional neutral tone"

    of course it was Y. R. Chao (and Lin Yutang) who developed —and hence
    defined— Gwoyeu Romatzyh (GR).

    As far as I know, however, the Chinese Republic’s government made GR
    their official (or ‘standard’) romanization scheme in 1928, while Chao
    introduced the ‘optional neutral tone marker’ we are talking about much
    later, in ‘A Grammar of Spoken Chinese’. I doubt this usage ever became
    the national standard of the Republic.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong.


    ***** Original Message/原始郵件 *****
    From/寄件者: Christoph Burgmer <>
    Subject/主旨: Re: Gwoyeu Romatzyh marking the optional neutral tone
    Date/日期: Mon Jul 13 2009 11:52:25 GMT+0200
    >> Charlie Ruland schrieb:
    >>> No, Robert, what Christoph was looking for was not an IPA character to
    >>> mark voicelessness, but a Gwoyeu Romatzyh transcription character to
    >>> express optional tone neutralization.
    >>> I personally do not expect there is an ‘encouraged’ Unicode character
    >>> for this marginal case which is by no means standard Gwoyeu Romatzyh
    >>> usage.
    > Who defines standard GR here, if Chao doesn't? Or, as somebody else mentioned
    > to me: If Chao is so influential shouldn't his forms be viewed as being
    > standard?
    >>> Seeing that compulsory neutral tone is expressed with a full stop
    >>> (u+002E) I wonder if Y. R. Chao didn’t have an ideographic full stop
    >>> (u+3002) in mind when he was looking for a way to express optional
    >>> tone neutralization. The only trouble is: in all *computer* fonts I
    >>> know this character always has ‘full width’, so it doesn’t look as
    >>> intended...
    > Oh, this might be possible, too.
    > The 3 pictures all stem from the same book. In 'A Grammar of Spoken Chinese'
    > by Chao the optional tone is more rendered like a small Latin O, less roundish
    > and with stronger sides (excuse my non-typographic description). I'll post a
    > picture once I can get hold of my camera.
    > -Christoph

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