Talk:Tibetan pinyin

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Page move?[edit]

I've been considering whether this page should move to something like Zangwen Pinyin or Tibetan Pinyin, since this seems to be the only name for the official transcription system that we know of being used outside of Wikipedia. I'd be happy to consider a Tibetan-language equivalent of same, if I knew what it was. I mean, the Tibetan seems to be bod yig gi sgra sbyor, but using Wylie spelling for the title of this page just seems wrong. - Nat Krause(Talk!) 03:37, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

"Tibetan Pinyin" is a misleading translation of “藏文拼音”. It is clear from both the concept and its Tibetan name (sgra sbyor) that it's a transcription, not "Pinyin". What are your sources for "Tibetan Pinyin" in Western languages? I couldn't find any. —Babelfisch 05:41, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Although I wasn't very clear, when I said "this" above, I think I was referring to the Chinese name, 藏文拼音, which we would naturally have to transliterate or translate for use in English. However, I did find, by searching google, two instances of the phrase "Tibetan pinyin" used in papers appearing on university websites:[1][2].
"Tibetan Pinyin" is a partial translation, since "pinyin" is untranslated. I don't really see the relevant distinction between "pinyin" and "transcription", at any rate, since the word "pinyin" implies "phonetic transcription".—Nat Krause(Talk!) 07:36, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I've seen those two papers, but I don't think they are very good support for this translation. The first paper is by an undergraduate student and it is about a search algorithm for Chinese corpuses. The second paper mentions the term "Tibetan Pinyin" in a sentence which doesn't make sense at all. Neither paper quotes any sources where the term is used.
In English, the word Pinyin means one specific transcription system, i.e. Hanyu Pinyin, see the definitions in the Marriam Webster, Oxford and American Heritage dictionaries, as well as in the Columbia Encyclopedia.
"藏文拼音" means "Tibetan transcription" or "transcription of Tibetan", and I think the title should use one of these translations, maybe with a clarification about it's official status in china, e.g. "official transcription of Tibetan in China", although that's quite clumsy. —Babelfisch 08:57, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
"Pinyin", unmodified in English, normally refers to Hanyu Pinyin. However, in the case of Tongyong Pinyin, it refers to a different system of phonetic transcription for Chinese. It's worth noting, though, that TYPY is similar in some respects to HYPY, which is also true of Zàngwén Pīnyīn. For that reason, it doesn't seem unreasonable to me that we might call it Tibetan Pinyin. Otherwise, I think moving the article to Zangwen Pinyin might be adviseable, since 藏文拼音 is still the only name I've ever seen used to refer to it outside of Wikipedia. Something to the effect of "official transcription of Tibetan in China" is not bad, either, but it's not the name of this thing; it depends on whether we prefer a name or a description.—Nat Krause(Talk!) 21:07, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm doubtful that 藏文拼音 is the correct Chinese name for the PRC transcription of Tibetan. Literally, 拼音 just means to combine phones (to form syllables). 藏文拼音 refers either to the fact that the Tibetan Script is a segmental writing system (拼音文字), or to the traditional practice of spelling (拼读) Tibetan texts (for example, the word Tibet bod is spelled as something like b o bo d bod). Neither of the two meanings has anything to do with transcription. The famous 《藏文拼音教材》 is nothing but Course in Tibetan Script, as opposed to more advanced 藏文教材 (courses in written Tibetan). Daltac (talk) 06:37, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

THDL system vs. Tournadre system[edit]

The comparison table in this article seems to conflate the "Tournadre system" of transcription with "THDL system", particularly in this edit by Babelfisch. These systems are similar, but not the same, even though Nicolas Tournadre helped design the THDL system and even though the THDL itself sometimes uses the Tournadre system. They are referred to as distinct things right on THDL's page laying out the THDL system: "... THDL employs a relatively precise phonological scheme for transcribing Tibetan for linguistic purposes. This scheme, created by Nicolas Tournadre, is referred to as 'Tournadre Phonetic Transcription' ('Tournadre' for short). However, this scheme is still too technical to be of use for representing Tibetan words in easy-to-pronounce forms within non-Tibetan publications oriented towards a wide readership ... To address the lack of a pronounceable and regular system for rendering Tibetan phonetically, THDL has established a phonological transcription system for use throughout THDL with the aim of making its collections accessible to and user-friendly for the broadest possible audience. We refer to this as the 'THDL Simplified Phonetic Transcription System'". The most notable differences are that THDL uses "e" to represent both the [e] and [ε] sounds, and THDL represents initial stop sounds based on their original spelling, with no clear indication of how they are actual pronounced; thus, Tournadre gives a fuller and more accurate description of the word's pronunciation.—Nat Krause(Talk!) 23:37, 24 November 2006 (UTC)


comparison with wylie?[edit]

I am not really an expert in this field and I did not want to make any changes to the article directly, as tibetan transliteration seems to be a hot topic in WP. But I find the comparison of this scheme with wylie a bit misguided.

The scheme that is presented here, seems to aim at presenting the pronunciation only. Looking at how many tibetan letter combinations are merged into one single lattin letter, it seems that it is not possible to reconstruct the original Tibetan writing from this scheme.

Now, I don't say that a transcription scheme for Tibetan must be a bad thing (except that there is no consensus whatsoever about which of the many conflicting schemes to use). But a transcription scheme is not the same as exact transliteration. "Tibetan Pinyin" or however one would call it seems to have a warrented but completely different purpose than wylie.

Therefore I cannot imagine that "It is used inside of China as an alternative to the Wylie transliteration for writing Tibetan in the Latin alphabet." is correct information. How can a phonetic transcription system replace a transliteration system? Transcription and transliteration have completely different purposes, don't they?

I would suggest that the sentence "It is used inside of China as an alternative to the Wylie transliteration for writing Tibetan in the Latin alphabet." be corrected and the actual use of Tibetan Pinyin be adequately characterized by somebody who knows how this scheme is actually used in China.

ok, these are my 2cents. I hope nobody takes offense. Faximile 14:35, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Faximile, thanks for your comments. I certainly don't take any offense at them, although I don't completely agree with them, either. You are correct that Tibetan Pinyin (or Zangwen Pinyin or whatever you wish to call it) presents the pronunciation of Tibetan words (to be precise, it shows the pronunciation in a fairly posh version of the Lhasa dialect). One cannot reconstruct the Tibetan spelling of a word based on its Tibetan Pinyin romanization. Thus, Tibetan Pinyin is precisely a transcription, while Wylie is a transliteration, just as you note. Still, I think it is not quite correct to say that transcription has a completely different purpose from transliteration. In fact, there is a lot of overlap. For example, consider the monastery འབྲས་སྤུངས་ (which is conventionally written "Drepung" in English). If I want to tell you how it is pronounced in Lhasa, I could write "Zhaibung" (Tibetan Pinyin) or [ɖεpuŋ] (IPA), depending on which system you're familiar with. If I want to tell you how it is written in Tibetan, I could write ‘bras-spungs. However, what if I just want to refer to it by name, in a way that can be written using the world's most widely-used alphabet? In that case, either "Zhaibung" or ‘bras-spungs—either transcription or transliteration—will accomplish the goal. I think that it is for this type of situation that the author of this article meant Tibetan Pinyin was "an alternative to the Wylie transliteration for writing Tibetan in the Latin alphabet."—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 20:19, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Nat, there is a flaw in your argument about pronunciation. You write "For example, consider the monastery འབྲས་སྤུངས་ (which is conventionally written "Drepung" in English). If I want to tell you how it is pronounced in Lhasa, I could write "Zhaibung" (Tibetan Pinyin) or [ɖεpuŋ] (IPA), depending on which system you're familiar with." The problem with this argument is that it is *not* pronounced "Zhaibung" in Lhasa, but rather a close approximation of "Dre-pung". The only individuals in Lhasa who pronounce it "Zhaibung" are ethnic *Chinese*. Hence, my correction of the main entry paragraph to the effect that "Tibetan Pinyin" often deviates substantially from normative Tibetan. I have taken your other suggestion (thread below), and made changes accordingly. Scy77 (talk) 14:32, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
"Zhaibung" is not a pronunciation; it is a spelling. In the Tibetan Pinyin, this spelling is used to represent a particular Tibetan pronunciation. The spelling "Drepung" is a different (non-systematic) representation of the same pronunciation. That being the case, I don't know what you mean when you write "The problem with this argument is that it is *not* pronounced 'Zhaibung' in Lhasa, but rather a close approximation of 'Dre-pung'". Can you indicate using IPA or X-SAMPA what the distinction in pronuciation you are referring to is?—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 03:20, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Scy77's edits[edit]

I reverted some edits by User:Scy77 which introduce the claim that Tibetan Pinyin "reflects the Chinese pronunciation of Tibetan which often diverges substantially from normative Tibetan." This is not accurate as far as I'm aware—the phonemes which are encoded in Tibetan Pinyin match Tournadre and Sangda Dorje's description pretty closely. The same edits also state that Tibetan Pinyin produces the spelling "Lasa" for ལྷ་ས་, which is definitely incorrect; "Lhasa" is the about the only thing that all systems of Tibetan transcription, including Tibetan Pinyin, agree on. Lhasa does become "Lasa" in Hanyu Pinyin, because that is a system for transcribing Chinese.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 00:42, 28 March 2008 (UTC)


IPA for retroflex[edit]

Why are all the retroflex sounds affricates in the IPA, including inaspirate ones? This looks like an error. Surely the inaspirate ones should be simple retroflex stops. This is almost certainly true of aspirate ones too, which means all the retroflex affricates should be simple stops. What I mean is, wherever the IPA has a "t" or "d" with a curly tail, there should be a little "h" in place of the following "s" with a curly tail or the following "s" with a curly tail should just be omitted. Or is this genuine evidence of a Chinese dialect of Tibetan?

Moonsell (talk) 03:38, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Funny, I was thinking about that recently. As far as I'm aware, the more common and standard realisation of these sounds is as retroflex stops. Nevertheless, there evidently is a Tibetan accent which makes them affricates: R. A. Miller[3] writes "Perhaps the most striking phonological isogloss separating the Central Tibetan koiné from genuine Lhasa Tibetan is the correspondence of retroflex stops [ṭ, ṭ', ḍ] in the former with retroflex affricates in the altter. Reported fro Lhasa in Chinese trasnscriptions from early on ... then in modern times canonically described in Y. R. Chao's well-known monograph Love Songs of the Sixth Dalai Lama ... and later verified by numerous in situ investigators, including Chin P'eng, Schubert, and Ricther, Hu Tan, and Huang Pufan, these characteristic affricate phonemes [tʂ, tʂ'] were well documented for speakers of a specific sociolinguistic level, notably lay officials, in the city of Lhasa itself." I assume that Miller's [ṭ, ṭ', ḍ] means [ ʈ ], [ ʈʰ ], and [ ɖ ] in IPA. So, we might do better to show these sounds as stops in this article's table, but I don't think that the affricate version can be chalked up to Chinese influence. Also, neither this short excerpt of Miller nor Tournardre and Sangda Dorje mention that the unaspirated retroflex is less affricated than the aspirated one ... that doesn't mean it isn't so, of course.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 04:59, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, Nat. I'll look out for this. However, it still seems odd. The sibillant part of the affricate must be very weak or I feel I would have come across it.

I didn't mean to imply that I thought the aspirate ones were more likely to be affricates than inaspirate. Rather, I was wondering if the aspiration itself may have been mistaken for sibillance and the mistake been generalised to the transcription of inaspirate.

Moonsell (talk) 07:16, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Floating nasal[edit]

It just occurred to me that the table in this article prominently shows the "floating nasal" (the added [m], [n], etc. sound that can sometimes appear between two syllables) in the IPA pronunciation, but this is not reflected at all in the Tibetan Pinyin romanisation listed. Is this an error? The implication here is that, for instance, the correct Tibetan Pinyin for Ganden would be "Gadain". But, I don't think this is accurate. I think that perhaps the issue of the floating nasal is too complicated to be handled this way—for instance, the tables would have us believe that a-mdo is "Ando", but actually it is Amdo; also, the table doesn't tell us that rgyal-rdze would have a nasal sound at all. It might be simpler just to leave that out of the description, or put it in a footnote. Someday, hopefully, Wikipedia will have a detailed article on the floating nasal, but that day is a ways off.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 19:31, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Article title[edit]

What is the proper title for this article? It seems to be very rarely referred to be name in English. I don't see any of the sources we cited that use a name for it at all. The Chinese Wikipaedia article is at 藏语汉语拼音字母音译转写法 (Zàngyǔ Hànyǔ pīnyīn zìmǔ yīnyì zhuǎn xiěfǎ), which means "Tibetan language Chinese language phonetic spelling [i.e. Hanyu pinyin] letter transcription writing system". A bit of a mouthful in English. The most descriptive title might be SASM/GNC/SRC romanization of Tibetan. How about we move this article to that title?—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 23:43, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

I support your proposal, but I would prefer if the new title could include the word "standard" or "central" before the word "Tibetan", so that there would be no confusion with other Tibetan languages not using the SASM/GNC/SRC romanization, e.g. SASM/GNC/SRC romanization of Central Tibetan or SASM/GNC/SRC romanization of Standard Tibetan.
On a side note, it might be good to change the current redirect of Tibetan language from Standard Tibetan to Tibetan languages. With such new redirect, the concept of Tibetan language would include other Tibetan speaking areas in East Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, India and Pakistan. --Pseudois (talk) 03:20, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I wonder if the expressions "SASM", "GNC", "SRC", etc. in this context occur outside of Wikipedia. I can't find references on google. This subject is very little-discussed in English outside of Wikipedia.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 05:45, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Maybe we better keep the current title. "Tibetan pinyin" might sound too informal, but it is self-explaining for whoever knows what Pinyin is (and this is for sure a large number than readers knowing about the SASM/GNC/SRC acronyms). I mentioned at User talk:虞海 that "Official Romanization of Standard Central Tibetan language in the People Republic of China" would be a more formal title (besides the advantages to be very factual, neutral and self-explaining), but this also sounds very long for a title... I am not sure what we shall prefer for a WP article, but the status quo might possibly be the best option.--Pseudois (talk) 07:54, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm leaning in the same direction. All else equal, I'd favor the pithier title. The Chinese Wikipedia article does give the full name listed aboved, but then it says parenthetically(俗称藏语拼音)which means, also known as Zàngyǔ pīnyīn. Zàngyǔ means "Tibetan (spoken) language" and pinyin could plausibly be translated as transcription or "phonemic spelling", etc., but if we don't translate pinyin in the case of Hanyu pinyin, we could as well leave it untranslated for Zàngyǔ pīnyīn. The implicit link to Hanyu pinyin is hardly misleading and I don't think it's prejudicial, either: Tibetan pinyin is similar to Hanyu pinyin, and it's pretty clear that this system was designed first for Chinese and then applied to other languages in a slightly modified form.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 08:06, 26 January 2012 (UTC)