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Romanization of Chinese Words
When you learn Chinese, you are to use transcription of Chinese words.
There are several systems of Chinese transcription.
Zhuyin - the first successfully developed phonetic alphabet by Chinese linguists. Utilizes special signs derived from the elements of traditional characters. Used in some dictionaries and for keyboard input in some Chinese software.
Wade-Giles - transcription used by anglophones since 19th century; now it is mainly used for writing Chinese names of historical heritage (i.e. Mao Tse-tung, Chiang Kai-shek), and names of habitants of westernized Hong Kong and Taiwan (i.e. Raymond Chow). However, a lot of Chinese personal and geographic names were transcribed voluntarily and thus non-systematically at start.
Pinyin - official romanization of Putonghua (Mandarin). Widely used in all modern dictionaries and learning books, and also for transcribing people's and geographic names. There are clear differences between Wade-Giles and Pinyin. Compare: Mao Tse-tung and Mao Zedong, Peking and Beijing. Pinyin is greatly formalized and quite logical. Once you have learned this system, there's no trouble to pronounce new words from dictionary or learning book. Pinyin is also convenient to input Chinese characters from keyboard.
For correspondence between Pinyin and Wade-Giles see the table.
Most of the Chinese words used on this site are in Pinyin.
In printed learning books and dictionaries words in Pinyin are accompanied by tone signs. Text processing software usually cannot execute such a function. Because of it, some people use arabic figures (1-4) right after the syllables to mark tones.
Site of OCLC. Here you can find conversion tables for Wade-Giles and Pinyin.
The site located in Singapore offers very curious concept HLV Pinyin.
© Dmitry Alemasov
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