Re: [unicode] kJapaneseOn and kJapaneseKun Use What Romanization Standard?

From: Ed Trager (
Date: Mon Jan 25 2010 - 10:15:18 CST

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    On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 10:33 AM, <> wrote:
    > On Mon, 25 Jan 2010 10:19:12 -0500
    > Ed Trager <> wrote:
    >>> If anybody wants to "improve" kJapanese{On,Kun} in Unihan.txt,
    >>> the detailed use-case should be described, because there might
    >>> be some conflicts among the solution for each use-case.
    >>IMHO, a good improvement in Unihan.txt would be to have the readings
    >>in Kana instead of romanization.  Especially if the romanization is a
    >>mixture of 2 different systems, that makes no sense.
    > Excuse me, could you tell me what kind of problems are
    > caused by mixing 2 different romanization systems? I
    > feel it uncomfortable slightly, but not so serious.

    As I am sure you know and will agree, romanization systems in general
    lead to very ambiguous pronounciation and are clearly no substitute
    for native writing systems that are better suited to the languages
    they were designed for.

    The little that I know about Japanese romanization systems is that
    they often do not mark long vowels (like in "Tokyo") because of the
    typographic inconvenience of doing so -- and that clearly leads to
    ambiguous and incorrect pronounciation by people just like myself.

    I only know a small smattering of the Japanese language (Mandarin
    Chinese is the East Asian language that I studied formally). So I
    really don't any Japanese romanization system. And in light of the
    deficiencies of such systems, I see no reason to learn one either. To
    the extent that I have time and opportunity to study Japanese, of
    course I want to learn correct pronounciation, and learning to read
    kana is the best way to achieve that.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but most foreign students of Japanese --just
    like Japanese school children-- now start off directly with Hiragana.
    Perhaps because of the popularity of Manga and Anime from Japan, along
    with ready access to information on the internet, I know of middle
    and high school students here in the USA with no formal schooling in
    Japanese who can read hiragana.

    Therefore, among those people with serious interests in the Japanese
    language, romanization systems have little utility but kana has a lot
    of utility. While Unihan.txt is of primary interest to software
    developers, those software developers tend to be people with strong
    interests in languages and linguistics who will not only find little
    obstacle in dealing with kana, but will probably enjoy the challenge
    and benefits of learning kana if so required for their work.

    Best - Ed

    > Regards,
    > mpsuzuki

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