Tongyong Pinyin (Chinese: ?; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Tongyong Pinyin: Tongyòng Pinyin; literally: "general-use spelling of sounds") was the official romanization of Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan between 2002 and 2008. The system was unofficially used between 2000 and 2002, when a new romanization system for Taiwan was being evaluated for adoption. Taiwan's Ministry of Education approved the system in 2002, but its use was optional. Since January 1, 2009, Tongyong Pinyin has no longer been official because of the Ministry of Education's approval of Hanyu Pinyin on September 16, 2008.
The impetus behind the invention of Tongyong Pinyin came from the need for a standardized romanization system in Taiwan. For decades, the island had employed various systems, usually simplifications or adaptations of Wade-Giles. (Zhuyin, a standard phonetic system for language education in Taiwan's schools, does not use the Latin alphabet.)
Tongyong Pinyin was introduced in 1998 by Yu Bor-chuan to preserve the strengths of Hanyu Pinyin while eliminating some of the pronunciation difficulties Hanyu presents to international readers, such as difficulties with the letters q and x. Yu's system was subsequently revised.
Discussion and adoption of Tongyong Pinyin, like many other initiatives in Taiwan, quickly acquired a partisan tone turning on issues of national identity: Chinese vs. Taiwanese identity. Officials who identified most strongly with the nation itself, such as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its allied parties, saw no reason to adopt Hanyu Pinyin just because Mainland China and the UN had. If Tongyong Pinyin more adequately met the nation's needs, they saw this as ample justification for Taiwan to adopt it. Officials who identified more strongly with Chinese culture, such as the Kuomintang (KMT), saw no reason to introduce a new system unique to Taiwan if Hanyu Pinyin had already gained international acceptance. Each side accused the other of basing its preference on anti-China or pro-China sentiment rather than an objective discussion of community goals.
In early October 2000, the Mandarin Commission of the Ministry of Education proposed to use Tongyong Pinyin as the national standard. Education Minister Ovid Tzeng submitted a draft of the Taiwanese romanization in late October to the Executive Yuan, but the proposal was rejected. In November 2000, Tzeng unsuccessfully suggested that the government adopt Hanyu Pinyin with some modifications for local dialects. On 10 July 2002, Taiwan's Ministry of Education held a meeting for 27 members. Only 13 attended. Two left early, and since the chairman could not vote, so the bill for using Tongyong Pinyin was passed with 10 votes.
In August 2002 the government adopted Tongyong Pinyin by an administrative order that local governments had the authority to override within their jurisdiction. In October 2007, with the DPP administration still in power, it was announced that Taiwan would standardize the English transliterations of its Chinese Mandarin place names by the end of the year, after years of confusion from multiple spellings, by using the locally developed Tongyong Pinyin.
In 2008, the Kuomintang won both the legislative and presidential elections. In September 2008, it was announced that Tongyong Pinyin would be replaced by Hanyu Pinyin as Taiwan's standard, at the end of the year. Since January 1, 2009, Hanyu Pinyin has been the only official romanization system in Taiwan.
This section needs to be updated.(December 2010)
Tongyong Pinyin was the official romanization system in Taiwan, but its use was voluntary. The romanization system that one encounters in Taiwan varies according to the government authority that administers the facility. Street signs in most areas use Tongyong Pinyin, including the cities of Kaohsiung, Tainan, and surrounding counties. A contrast could be seen in the two entities that now make up the municipality of Taichung--Taichung County used Tongyong Pinyin while Taichung City has used Hanyu Pinyin since at least 2004. Taipei uses only Hanyu Pinyin (save for the name of the city itself and Tamsui, which would be Dànsh?i in Hanyu Pinyin).Taipei County (now New Taipei City) used Tongyong Pinyin, but in Taipei Metro stations, Tongyong Pinyin was given in parentheses after Hanyu Pinyin. Modified Wade-Giles spellings are still popularly used for many proper names, especially personal names and businesses.
The political impasse prevented Ministry of Education from being able to replace Zhuyin in teaching pronunciation in elementary school. Zhuyin is still widely used to teach Mandarin pronunciation to schoolchildren. Children's books published in Taiwan typically display Zhuyin characters next to Chinese characters in the text.
On September 17, 2008, the Ministry of Education announced that the government standard for romanization would be switched to Hanyu Pinyin nationwide, effective January 1, 2009. Individuals can still choose the spellings for their names, and many still choose do to spell their names in Tongyong Pinyin or in Wade-Giles today. Nonetheless, Tongyong Pinyin was effectively scrapped as Taiwan's standard.
The Tongyong Pinyin system also exists in a Taiwanese Hokkien phonetic symbol version, Daighi tongiong pingim, which lacks f but adds bh. However, in 2006, the Ministry of Education rejected the use of Daighi tongiong pingim for the Taiwanese dialect and preferred the Taiwanese Romanization System.
Some notable features of Tongyong Pinyin are these:
If tone is ignored, 19.47% of Tongyong Pinyin syllables are spelled differently to those of Hanyu Pinyin. The difference widens when syllables are measured according to average frequency of use in everyday life to a 48.84% difference in spellings.
The prevalence of Hanyu Pinyin as an established system weighs at least as heavily on the debate over Tongyong Pinyin as any feature of the system itself. Arguments presented in the ongoing debate include these.
The differences between Hanyu Pinyin and Tongyong Pinyin are relatively straightforward:
|example (Chinese characters)||?||?||?||?||?|
Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II
| Official romanization adopted
by the Republic of China (Taiwan)