transliterating mandarin

Since there is not a valid mapping of lojban phonemes to Mandarin phonemes, here are my proposals for transliterating (which is a bit of a misnomer, but that's how people refer to it usually) Mandarin consonants. Lojban(1a) is my earliest approximation of the pronounciation, Lojban(1b) is a version of that with no voiced sounds (because Lojban sounds are all unaspirated, except some people's ', so a lojban p is a mandarin b), Lojban(2) preserves the differences but is as strange as pinyin in some of the choices. Note that while 1b sounds the most like the original, only 2 preserves the original phonemic differences.

Pinyin Lojban(1a) Lojban(1b) Lojban(2)
b p p b
c ts ts ts
ch tc tc kc
d t t d 'better d'
f f f f
h x x ' (I am letting words start with ')
j dj tc dj
k k k k
l l l l
m m m m
n n n n
ng n n nk (I am pronouncing nk not as /Nk/ but as /N/)
p p p p
q tc tc tc
r r r r
s s s s
sh c c c
t t t t
w u u w (I am using this letter, to make the semivowel not be the vowel)
x c c x (This is radically different from its normal value; c was taken and x=/S/ is good enough for Portugal) (actually, we should make this be c and sh be x, because sh is further back than x.)
y i i y (This is radically different from the normal value, but for the same reason as using w)
z dz ts dz - better dz
zh dj tc j (The pronounciation of this varies from j to dj) - better dj how about gj for the retroflex to match the aspirated version?

I hope I haven't forgotten any. Where is c? (ts) - z should be dz 'Done.'

In transliteration 1, the vowels are written how they sound with that tone (so the number 2, èr, is ar, not er, at least as I have heard it pronounced). in 2 I use the same vowels as the pinyin except that ao becomes au, with diacritics specifying fïrst (level), sécónd (rising), thîrd (falling then rising), and fòùrth (falling) tones. Thus Mao Zedong is la mautsetyn. in lojban text or zoijy. maudzedonk jy. for switching into Chinese to say his name. I left off the diacritics in the second because I can't remember which tones he has in his name. — mi'e. kreig.daniyl.

Mao Zedong should be better given as {mau.dzy.dun.} No, nobody hears a u in the dong. Just y, which in WG is often u. Think you're that only "nobody" - it's no {y}! (but a sound somewhere between "o" and "u").

  • Then my history teachers have gotten it wrong the two years we dealt with China (I've always heard the last syllable said as "tounge"); so far they've been my only source on Mandarin pronunciation (meaning that I am not the most qualified in the world to undertake this project, just the only one who felt like doing it). Good to know. So is it closer to o or u?
  • Craig, I should calm down, I know, but why are you constantly repeating the same - pardon! - BS? Seems that you're unable to gather knowledge about this issue. Please accept that Py "dong", WG "tung" really has nothing in common with Lb {y} schwa-sound! It is located somewhere between "u" and "o" - believe me or not (I'm having been studying Chinese - Mandarin - since about thirty years) or ask any of my Chinese friends on the net! But no longer spread nonsense like this! Sorry, don't feel offended by my harsh words :-) Further I'll have to admit that China is a huge country with thousands of local variants of pronunciation, not to speak of those people speaking totally different "dialects" like Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien etc. who also might give a somewhat "flavoured" pronunciation to their Putonghua. -- .aulun.
    • As I say, your comments suggest that I have been SERIOUSLY misinformed about the pronunciation. If you reread the above, I actually 'ask what the best sound to use really is.' This is because I want to stop being full of BS. I have, in editing the above, merely intended to clarify how I have been misinformed. I believe you about it being in between o and u, and am aware that you are MUCH more qualified here than I am (I'm just the only person, qualified or otherwise, who felt this project was worth doing; hopefully my giving bad-but-better-than-nothing ideas will lead to something better developing). I simply wish to know whether, for transliterating it into Lojban based on the knowledge that I am missing, we should use O or U. - Craig
    • I'd really suggest "u" for being less misleading, hence {mau.dzy.dun.}; I also feel that the word "ze" (W-G "tse") is luckily given by Lb {dzy} (yet the sound "zi" - W-G "tzu" - seems to be a real problem for Lb phonology, maybe {dz}). --.aulun. P.S. Let me add one source for all: good old John DeFrancis "Chuji Hanyu Keben" (Beginning Chinese), New Haven and London, Yale University Press, under "6. Group -o/e finals" - "ong like the -ung in German jung " (young) "or, roughly, u as in put, plus ng as in sing ". May I add that the sound's quality often changes according to the tone respective: I feel that e.g. in 3rd tone ung has a certain flavour of o-ung - yet the dong (east) in Mao's personal name is 1st tone!
      • Oh no! A buffer vowel! Now, as I recall from the transliterating 'tlhIngan' page, we decided that lax I is closer to lax e than tense i for Lojban transliterations. We should, for the same reasons, use o for spelling this sound in Lojban.
      • For Heaven's sake! No! There isn't any need for a buffer vowel: just simply take an u which is the same in German and Lojban - and Mandarin! Forget subtleties like those - almost undiscernible - in 3rd tone "dong" (GR: "doong")! I reread the klingon stuff, and must confess that I never had much sense for the buffer vowel issue in Lojban and elsewhere... But at least here it is not necessary at all! -- .aulun.
      • What I meant was, the u in put is a sound that is usually a buffer vowel, and there is no Lojban vowel which is an exact equivalent. In the Klingon stuff, I was originally being foolish in suggesting that the I actually be a buffer vowel, the final not-quite-consensus was that the correct fu'ivla for Klingon was bangrtl'e'nanu rather than bangrtl'i'ngana.

To do list:

  • find something better to do about semiowls
  • figure out a rule for adding a consonant to the end of names that end in vowels
    • I'm tempted to go with j, as in jungo/jon guo/jonk guo, hence Laozi becomes la lautsyj.; Mandarin sillables can't end in any consonant except r, n, or ng/n/nk

Created by admin. Last Modification: Monday 22 of September, 2003 22:14:27 GMT by admin.