transliterating mandarin

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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, �r, 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 f�rst (level), s�c�nd (rising), th�rd (falling then rising), and f��rth (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 bangrtlenanu rather than bangrtlingana.

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