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Yale Romanization

From Academic Kids

Chinese language romanization

Mandarin

For Standard Mandarin

Cantonese

For Standard Cantonese

Min Nan

For Hainanese

For Teochew

For Taiwanese

Hakka

For Meixian dialect

Template:Korean romanization

The Yale Romanizations are four systems created during World War II by the United States for its soldiers. They romanize the four East Asian languages of Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, and Korean. The four romanizations, however, are unrelated in the sense that the same letter from one Romanization may not represent the same sound in another.

They were once used in the US for teaching these Asian languages to civilian students, but are now mostly obscure and only sometimes used by academic linguists. Teaching Mandarin, for example, virtually always employs Hanyu Pinyin. McCune-Reischauer has dominated the Korean romanization field for several decades.

Contents

Mandarin

Mandarin Yale was developed to prepare American soldiers to communicate with their Chinese allies on the battlefield. Rather than try to teach recruits to interpret the linguistically accurate but somewhat counter-intuitive standard romanization of the time, the Wade-Giles system, a new system was invented that utilized the decoding skills that recruits would already know from having learned to read English. It avoided the main problems that the Wade-Giles system presented to the uninitiated student or news announcer trying to get somebody's name right in a public forum, because it did not use the "rough breathing mark" (which looks like an apostrophe) to distinguish between sounds like gee and chee(se). In Wade-Giles the first of those would be written chi and the second would be written ch'i. In the Yale romanization they would be written ji and chi. The Yale system also avoids the difficulties faced by the beginner trying to read pinyin romanization because it uses certain roman letters and combinations of letters in such a way that they no longer carry their expected values. For instance, q in pinyin is pronounced something like the ch in chicken and is written as ch in Yale romanization. xi in pinyin is pronounced something like the sh in sheep, but in Yale it is written as syi. zh in pinyin sounds something like the ger in gerbil, and is written as jr in Yale romanization. In Wade-Giles, "knowledge" (知识) is chih-shih, in pinyin it is written zhishi, but in Yale romanization it is written jr-shr, and only the latter will get the unprepared reader anywhere near to pronouncing the Chinese word correctly.

If an American soldier, speaking in Wade-Giles, asked, "Where is the Japanese man's machine gun?" he would perhaps utter something like "Jippen jenty cheekwan chong tsai nay pien?" A Chinese soldier with a little English might strain something like this out of the question: "Jipping Jenny! Habitually chooses which cheat?!?" Reciting something from a sheet of emergency sentences written in Yale romanization he would say, "R ben ren de jigwan chyang dzai nei byan?" Even if it were not read perfectly, given the social context a speaker of Mandarin probably would get the idea pretty quickly. The pinyin version, "Ribenren de jiguanqiang zai nei bian?" wouldn't be too bad if the soldier could pronounce qiang.

Cantonese

Template:IPA notice Unlike the Mandarin Yale romanization, Cantonese Yale is still widely used in books and dictionaries for Standard Cantonese. Developed by Parker Po-fei Huang and Gerald P. Kok, it shares some similarities with Hanyu Pinyin in that unvoiced, unaspirated consonants are represented by letters traditionally used in English and other European languages to represent voiced sounds. For example, is represented as b in Yale, whereas its aspirated counterpart, is represented as p. Because of this and other factors, Yale romanization is usually held to be easy for American English speakers to pronounce without much training.

Initials

b
p
m
f
d
t
n
l
g
k
ng
h
j
ch
s
 
gw
kw
y
w

Finals

a
aai
aau
aam
aan
aang
aap
aat
aak
  ai
au
am
an
ang
ap
at
ak
e
ei
      eng
    ek
i
  iu
im
in
ing
ip
it
ik
o
oi
ou
  on
ong
  ot
ok
u
ui
    un
ung
  ut
uk
eu
  eui
  eun
eung
  eut
euk
yu
      yun
    yut
 
      m
  ng
     
  • The finals m and ng can only be used as standalone nasal syllables.

Tones

Cantonese Yale represents tones using tone marks and the letter h, as shown in the following table:

No. Description Yale representation
1 high-flat sīn sīk
1 high-falling s sn
2 mid-rising s sn
3 mid-flat si sin sik
4 low-falling sh shn
5 low-rising sh shn
6 low-flat sih sihn sihk
  • Tones can also be written using the tone number instead of the tone mark and h.
  • In modern Standard Cantonese, the high-flat and high-falling tones are indistinguishable and, therefore, are represented with the same tone number.

Examples

Traditional Simplified Romanization using Tone Marks Romanization using Numbers
廣州話 广州话 gwng jāu w gwong2 jau1 wa2
粵語 粤语 yuht yh yut6 yu5
你好 你好 nih hu nei5 hou2

Korean

Korean Yale was developed by Samuel E. Martin and his colleagues at Yale University, and is still used today, although mainly by linguists. Unlike the other two widely used systems for romanizing Korean—Revised Romanization of Korean and McCune-Reischauer—the Yale system places primary emphasis on a word's spelling, rather than its pronunciation. Thus, a letter in Hangul (the Korean alphabet) is always represented by the same roman letter, regardless of the Hangul letter's pronunciation in context.

Japanese

Template:Sect-stub

References

External link

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