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Can we change the Chinese Names over to Wade-Giles

Discussion in 'Rhye's and Fall - Dawn of Civilization' started by AtlantaMarty, Jan 31, 2016.

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  1. AtlantaMarty

    AtlantaMarty No longer active

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  2. Hightower

    Hightower Chieftain

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    (1) Pinyin is standard these days, with Wade-Giles used basically only in Taiwan and has lost official status even there.

    (2) "More common historically" is misleading - Wade-Giles wasn't in use particularly long before being supplanted (was only completed in 1912 (when it still competed with other Romanization systems), and began being supplanted by Pinyin in 1958), and, during most of the history governed by the mod, there was no particular Romanization system in place at all.

    (3) There's a strong preference for using Romanization systems that reflect local preference (consider the inclusion of "Toukyou" instead of "Tokyo" or "Makkah" instead of "Mecca"). Pinyin is clearly the local preference today.

    (4) It's at best debatable which is more phonetic. Asserting that Wade-Giles is does not make it so. There are a lot of languages, dialects and accents included in "Chinese", and choosing one Romanization system over another inevitably favors one local or regional choice over another. Wade-Giles has advantages over Pinyin but also significant disadvantages.

    I do note that the mod calls the religion "Taoism" even though proper Pinyin would call it "Daoism".
     
  3. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    Yeah, I would also support Pinyin, thanks for summing up all the reasons so exhaustively.

    We should instead look for city names that currently don't conform to our romanization standard. As for Taoism, I would argue that it's an established English word, but I'm open to renaming it as well.
     
  4. ozqar

    ozqar Chieftain

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    Wade-Giles is not used by the Chinese (Pinyin is official in both mainland China and in Taiwan), it looks very, very outdated, and, at least in my opinion, seems more like a colonial imposition of the British.
     
  5. BenZL43

    BenZL43 Physician - still can't spell this correctly.

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    Wade-Giles name could be used if European civilization control any Chinese city - just for flavor.
     
  6. Tomorrow's Dawn

    Tomorrow's Dawn Heroes Never Die

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    Hightower and ozqar hit the nail on the head.

    I wouldn't use Wade-Giles if my life depended on it.
     
  7. Hightower

    Hightower Chieftain

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    There's a whole Wikipedia article on the subject! I don't feel particularly strongly one way or another, but "Daoism" does seem better for consistency.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daoism–Taoism_romanization_issue

    On an only vaguely related note, anyone who speaks Chinese able to give a Chinese name for Samarkand? I haven't been able to find one through a bunch of searching, but considering it was ruled by the Tang dynasty for a few decades before the Battle of Talas, it should probably have a Chinese dynamic name.
     
  8. ozqar

    ozqar Chieftain

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    Samarkand: 撒馬爾罕
    Although, more useful to the mod, in Pinyin it's Sāmǎ'ěrhǎn
     
  9. AtlantaMarty

    AtlantaMarty No longer active

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    Yikes! Why such an extreme viewpoint?
     
  10. Tomorrow's Dawn

    Tomorrow's Dawn Heroes Never Die

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    It's one thing to read Wade-Giles. It's another to read it and say it out loud then see how that compares with actual Mandarin spoken by actual people.

    Compare:
    Hei-lung-chiang
    w/
    Hēilóngjiāng

    If you tried to read aloud the Wade-Giles rendering of the city, it probably wouldn't sound anything like what it does.

    Pinyin also has a double benefit:
    -It's in use and developed by actual Chinese people, so you get something useful that is consistently applied today
    instead of looking like you just donned your safari hat, kissed Rudyard Kipling and started pining for the "good old days" as ozqar pointed out
    -It's easier to teach/give an approximation to non-native speakers of Mandarin due to the fact that it has fewer rules that impact basic entry.
    At it's most basic level, you just need to learn the four tonal marks and learn that you say and get a different word if you shift your tone.
    And we have a lot of non-native Mandarin speakers here.
     
  11. MISER SVM

    MISER SVM Grand Procrastinator

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    Pinyin sure has its flaws, but at least for learners it is a step up. And as pointed out before, Wade-Giles is actually not that "historical"! There are/were loads of romanisations around. Try having a look at Jesuit literature from the Ming Dynasty, or say James Legge's translations, or the totally idiosyncratic old postal pinyin...

    Having said that, I don't know if that whole Edward Said angle is really that necessary. W-G as a political statement comes across as a novelty at best- never really heard of that one (btw, the inventor of pinyin has fallen afoul of the party as it appears, so make out of that what you want). After all, of Western scholarly literature until the 1980s/90s predominantly used Wade-Giles- and quite a few of the authors had Chinese roots as well. At one point you get used to it. Having said that, pinyin is way easier on the eyes. If you want phonetical anyway, go IPA.

    Now if we really want to go "historical", I half-seriously suggest using reconstructions of Old and Middle Chinese (there are also loads to pick from there as well). The results would look something like ending up with a "Dang Empire" with its capital at "Drjang-'an" (I used the system in Kroll's Student's Dictionary for that). Well, not quite Phoenicia or Egypt, but still... I think even Gwoyeu Romatzyh would be less terrifying.

    And last but not least, Oracle Bone Script and Seal Script characters would "compliment the historical flavour of the mod" even more... but it's totally unfeasible.
     
  12. Shadow Warlord

    Shadow Warlord Chieftain

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    I had a class on religion in China during College. Our professor made a point to call it Daoism.
     
  13. 2015

    2015 Chieftain

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    Yeah in fact the only place I've ever heard the religion called Taoism is in Civ 4. Everywhere else it's Daoism.
     
  14. Tomorrow's Dawn

    Tomorrow's Dawn Heroes Never Die

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    More as a cultural statement rather than a political, sorry if that wasn't clear, though the two often intersect.
    The Edward Said angle really does work in terms of cultural representation though.
    I find a lot of Western works (in terms of fiction, games, etc.) that use/reference Wade-Giles or its spellings are pretty backwards in terms of how they depict Chinese people,
    from Limehouse Nights and Fu Manchu all the way to some truly awful Rifts: China books
    (although Imp might be interested in the depictions of the super-advanced, one of the last hopes of humanity, Communist underground city in the books).

    Anyways, it's also mostly in defense of the principle that like stated above, the Romanization should reflect local preference. You know, since it's a two-way street.
    As for Chinese users of Wade-Giles, I don't see it as a political thing, but more as a period thing, complete with brown suits, old fashioned round glasses and all.
    Though you could argue the case for it for Taiwan pre-Pinyin change.

    About Zhou Youguang, that sucks imo.
    I don't really agree with most of his opinions and expectations but I respect at least one of them
    (that China is culturally lagging, though my interpretation of that is probably a lot different than his)
    and feel that China's had more than enough important figures that were supremely talented in life, hampered by politics,
    and then rehabilitated in terms of reputation in another generation.
    I can see some parallels with Noam Chomsky too.
     
  15. MISER SVM

    MISER SVM Grand Procrastinator

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    Ah right, I see what you mean. I think I wasn't clear enough before- I was underselling Pinyin a bit. Maybe I was thinking about the ways Mandarin pronounciation keeps getting butchered by people just reading the Pinyin in their native languages. Actually some of the older romanisation systems (such as Richard Wilhelm's) tailored to the respective European languages weren't half bad, but in these days having some international standard- and that does mean Hanyu Pinyin is just better. I mean, there are a couple of stumbling blocks like X, Q, Zh- Having said that, Pinyin looks a bit more "elegant", and once you've got the ropes (and good teachers plus time in a Chinese-speaking environment), more or less correct pronounciation (and tones!) shouldn't be a problem.

    W-G is by no means any better than Pinyin; it can be even more counterintuitive (case in point: the really confusing p p', t t' and worst of all ch ch'). Although some bits of it might be easier for native speakers of English. In-game it would look just awful. I mean, Ch'ang-an? Pei-ching? Ch'eng-tu? Ch'ung-ch'ing? Nah...


    Although my half-jokingly made reconstructed Chinese thing would be, from a purely aesthetical far worse: anyway, if you're interested in Old Chinese phonology, here's Baxter's and Sagart's reconstruction: http://ocbaxtersagart.lsait.lsa.umich.edu/ . Only skimmed it, but there sure are some shockers in there! Then again to expect that a language or rather a whole language family stays the same for a few millennia is kinda naive.

    I take all your "anti-colonialist" points. I thought of W-G as being more "innocent", but yes, there really is little reason to use it now, and I know how it can rub off the wrong way. That Rifts book sounds really bad, well not Jack London bad... but it's always morbidly fun to see how some entertainment biz people getting the "inscrutable oriental"/"yellow peril" so wrong.

    Talking about the political/social situation in China in general... well that's often frustrating and depressing, isn't it? I mean I shudder to think about what would have happened to Lu Xun had he lived past 1949 or 1966... But still, I try to look at things in a more nuanced, dispassioned way. It's certainly not something to be approached in a moralistic, pure black and white terms (although so many disturbing things happen- then again China isn't the only place with massive issues). But that discussion would call for its own thread.
     
  16. AtlantaMarty

    AtlantaMarty No longer active

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    I would pronounce the Wade-Giles version high-LUNG-chee-ang, and the Pinyin version high-LONG-jee-ang

    And Wade-Giles is often much more phonetic, compare Ch'ing dynasty to Qing dynasty.

    And the good old days of Kipling were truly a wonderful time. It really amazes me how some people from places that were once colonized have a chip on their shoulder. (I, myself, come from a country that was colonized, and I am grateful to the British for a lot of what they did)

    There is also no need to use the official standard of Romanization. 21 years later, the western Indian city is still "Bombay" to most Westerners except in official government and diplomatic documents.

    Edward Said is just as irrelevant to this discussion as Michael Bolton.
     
  17. AtlantaMarty

    AtlantaMarty No longer active

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    Tokyo is both the official and common romanization, I have no idea where Toukyou comes from. I would like to see this fixed.

    Let's also fix the Russian romanizations while we're at it (Carycin? Tsaritsyn is the more common romanization)

    Also, you should all read this indispensable essay by the wonderful John Derbyshire (http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/the-onomastic-cringe/)
     
  18. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    It's called wapuro romaji, the common way to transliterate Japanese into the Latin alphabet for digital text processing. I would prefer the widespread Hepburn transliteration which denotes elongated vowels with diacritics (e.g. Tōkyō), but the in game font is limited to the ASCII character set which does not support these characters.

    Wapuro romaji is the preferred way of transcribing Japanese when the required diacritics are not available. They also have the nice property of reflecting how Japanese words are spelled as kana.

    That on the other hand is actully bad and even worse, internally inconsistent.

    I disagree with basically everything in this terrible article.
     
  19. BenZL43

    BenZL43 Physician - still can't spell this correctly.

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    Tokyo is the official name in English - but in Japanese it's 東京.
    東 read as #tou# (east) and 京 read as #kyou# (capital); hence Toukyou.
    In order to make it looks more convenient, ō / 'long o' is used in lieu of ou.

    EDIT: Ninja'd lol
     
  20. AtlantaMarty

    AtlantaMarty No longer active

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    Just out of curiosity, what do you call Great Britain when you are speaking in German to other Germans?
     
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