A Taipei City Government official said yesterday an agreement by the Ministry of Education about standardizing Mandarin Romanization was politically motivated and a deliberate attempt to challenge the system used in China and other Mandarin-speaking countries.
"The conclusion to adopt the Tongyong Pinyin system (通用拼音) was made for political reasons and demonstrates the new government's anxiety over unification with China.
"The fear is shown in purposely disregarding the system employed in China -- the Hanyu Pinyin system (漢語拼音)," said Lin Cheng-hsiou (林正修), director of the city government's Bureau of Civil Affairs. "Also, the decision flies in the face of the consensus reached last year to make use of the Hanyu system in Taiwan ? The new government owes the public a reasonable explanation. How come a formally agreed upon policy could be so drastically changed within a year?"
Lin's remarks were made at the end of a meeting by the Mandarin Promotion Council (MPC), under the Ministry of Education, that decided the Tongyong system would be the standardized Mandarin Romanization system in Taiwan.
In addition to officials from the civil affairs bureau, other attendees at the meeting included representatives from the the railways and highways department of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission, and various linguistics scholars.
Director of the Mandarin Promotion Council, Tsao Feng-fu (
Tsao said even if the Tongyong system was made official it would not affect children who are learning with the current phonetic system. But, from next year, elementary school students will have to learn two systems simultaneously.
He said that in the past, people in Taiwan did not use any Romanization system -- implying the Hanyu system did not have an advantage in Taiwan. "It is time for us to choose a favorable Romanization system and make it standard in our country," he said.
Chiang Wen-yu (
Tsao said now that a choice had been made, attention should switch to how the system would be introduced. He said he would be looking for help from the administration and hoped the Romanized spelling of street signs would be standardized.
Inconsistencies in the Romanization system used in Taiwan has long been a contentious issue. Foreign visitors have often complained that discrepancies in street signs have made it hard to get around in the country.
Hanyu Pinyin was invented in China and accepted by the UN in 1986 as a standardized Mandarin Romanization system, whereas the Tongyong Pinyin system was designed by Yu Po-chuan (
The main difference between the two systems is that the Tongyong system uses a lot of local words and dialects.
This, say some experts, will cause confusion for foreigners.
Citing Wanhua (
Talung street in Taipei City is, under the new system, Paronpon street, a name acquired during the Dutch colonization period in the 17th century.
"How can you expect a foreigner to know that Wanhua was previously called Menjia, and Talung street is Paronpon?" said Lin Cheng-hsiou.
LAND ALERT UNCERTAIN: The CWB was waiting to observe how In-Fa shifts as it moves north to determine when to issue a land alert, a forecaster at the bureau said Residents of northern Taiwan should brace for heavy rain today and tomorrow as Typhoon In-Fa approaches the northeast, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday. A land alert for the typhoon would be issued depending on the angle at which it moves north today, the bureau said. The bureau on Wednesday issued a sea alert for the typhoon, which applies to ships operating off the nation’s northern, northeastern and southeastern coasts. As of 8:30pm yesterday, In-Fa’s center was 470km southeast of Taipei, moving northwest at 6kph. It was carrying maximum sustained winds of 180kph, and had a radius of 200km. The typhoon was moving
TARGET RAISED: The CECC said vaccination coverage has reached 24.35%, while Premier Su Tseng-chang said the government hopes for 30% by the end of July The government has signed a contract to buy an additional 36 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, 1 million of which are to be delivered in the fourth quarter, the Executive Yuan announced yesterday, as it updated its vaccination target to 30 percent coverage by the end of the month. The two-year deal with the US company covers “prime series” vaccines and future booster shots to protect against SARS-CoV-2 variants, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) quoted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as saying during an Executive Yuan meeting in Taipei. In the two weeks since vaccine registration opened, more than 9.8
NEXT ROUND: About 1.44 million people who have registered online to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine are to get text messages today to book a vaccine appointment Strict border control measures, including a ban on foreign nationals entering or transiting through Taiwan, are to continue, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 10 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and no deaths. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said five of the cases tested positive during isolation or upon ending it. The sources of infection of eight cases have been identified, one remains unclear and one is under investigation, he said, adding that 87.8 percent of the people infected with COVID-19 since May 11 have been released from isolation. Chen said an
STAY VIGILANT: Although a level 2 alert would raise the limit on indoor gatherings to 50, people should still wear masks and practice social distancing, the center said A nationwide COVID-19 alert is to be lowered from level 3 to 2 on Tuesday, but strict border controls would remain, the government said yesterday. The level 3 alert in place since May 19 is to end on Monday, with a level 2 alert in place from Tuesday until Aug. 9, the Executive Yuan said. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), told a news conference in Taipei that over the next two weeks, people should still wear masks at all times outdoors, except while eating or drinking, and practice social distancing. The maximum