Talk:Daoism–Taoism romanization issue/Archive 1

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Capitalization

"Romanization" is capitalized in its own Wiki article, and in common use; it should be captitalized in this article's body and title, no? Sharkford 19:45, 2004 Aug 17 (UTC)

Aspiration & Voicelessness

I am fairly certain that English 'd' is not aspirated. If the Mandarin sound is voiced and unaspirated, then 'd' is a quite close transcription. However, I have heard that the Mandarin sound is in fact voiceless and unaspirated, and that's why there's the confusion about transcription systems. -- AdamRaizen 00:24 9 Jul 2003 (UTC)

No response, so I'm changing it. -- AdamRaizen 20:51, 2003 Jul 31 (UTC)

I'm not a native Mandarin speaker (I speak Cantonese), but to me there is no question "Dao" resembles the Chinese pronunciation more accurately. I don't know what "aspirated" and "voiceless" mean exactly, but I was quite surprised to read that both T and D are "equally close" to the Chinese pronunciation. It'd be great if someone who knows both languages and phonology could explain this. Thanks. -- Alan, Jun 3, 04

Alan is right. The Mandarin sound is much closer to D though it is true that Mandarin initials are unvoiced, there is still a distinction between aspirated and unaspirated and the Wade-Giles t/t' pair is unnecessarily misleading and otiose. The Cantonese pronunciation is like "dough" as uttered by Homer Simpson (but still unaspirated). Chen Hansheng Hong Kong Jan 2005

I am a native Mandarin speaker. I am 100% sure that in standard "pu tong hua" the pronunciation of "dao/tao" should be VOICED and ASPRIATED. Thus the English translation "dao" very closely resemble the correct pronunciation. So that paragraph in the article should be removed. Tianran Chen 03:20, 2004 Dec 21 (UTC)

The native Mandarin speaker above is wrong on both counts (not that I doubt your language skills, just your knowledge of phonology.) I'll use pinyin here. The English "d" represents a voiced, unaspirated stop, /d/ in IPA. The English "t" is unvoiced, but at the beginning of a syllable is always aspirated - /th/. Mandarin (and most of the Chinese languages, save I believe the Wu dialects) has no voiced stops - all stops are unvoiced and the distinction is purely one of aspiration. The Mandarin "d" is actually /t/ in IPA (unvoiced, unaspirated) while "t" is /th/, essentially the same as the English "t". The English "d" sounds close enough to the Mandarin "d" that English speakers probably can't perceive the difference, so pinyin uses it in words like "dao". So the two sounds are /t/ ("d" in pinyin) and /th/ ("t" in pinyin). The source of the confusion is that the Wade-Giles transcription uses "t" and "t'" (that's t-apostrophe if it's not clear), respectively, to represent the sounds. The Chinese word "dao" sounds fairly close to "Dow" (as in the chemical company) in English. - Excalibre 05:36, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I speak both Mandarin and Cantonese and my parents speak Wu dialects. I have also studied French, Spanish and Italian, all of which have unaspirated voiceless and voiced stops and no aspirated stops. Therefore I consider myself having knowledge in both languages and phonology. Wu dialects have voiced stops, such as /t/, /th/ and /d/. However, the distinction between /t/ and /d/ is not used by itself to distinguish sounds of different characters, because characters with voiced and voiceless consonants at the beginning of a character usually have different tones. As far as I am concerned, in Mandarin and Cantonese, whether a stop is voiced or voiceless does not matter as it is not used to distinguish sounds of different characters, whilst whether a stop is aspirred or not is used to distinguish sounds of different characters, thus is more important. Therefore, I agree that "d" in pinyin is a closer transliteration of the mandarin consonant /t/ in "dao". - Guangsheng Wei, Sydney, Australia, 15 Jun 2005

The article currently says, "Thus, both transliterations are equally close (or far) from the Mandarin pronunciation of 道." As several people have noticed above, if this is true it is true only in a very opaque sense. I've never actually met anyone who believes that pinyin "d" is not closer to /d/ than it is to /th/. While it is arguably true that, from a technical standpoint, pinyin "d" is equidistant between the two (a subject which is disputed by the Chinese people, non-experts, that I've talked to), subjectively, pinyin "d" is much closer to the "d" sound in Western languages. - Nat Krause 08:50, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Actually the pinyin "d" is much closer to the "d" of English and German than it is to the "t" of those languages, because the "d" of English and German is not fully voiced in word-initial position after a pause. The only reliable phonetic difference between /d/ and /t/ in English and German is aspiration, not voicing, just as in Mandarin. --Angr/tɔk tə mi 00:20, 25 September 2005 (UTC)


The meta discussion is at m:Use pinyin not Wade-Giles -- AdamRaizen


On the issue of "phonology" and "phonetic representations": the two concepts are confused. "Phonetics" and "Phonology" are two different approaches to sound: "Phonetics" is more concerned with precise pronunciation in isolation, while "Phonology" is concerned with pronunciation in the context of the sound system as a whole. For example, in English, the "p" sounds in "pot", "spot" and "top" are all pronounced slightly differently--that is, they are "phonetically" different. However, within the English sound system, they all are "p", that is, "phonologically" the same. Therefore, we can view the the use of "t" and "t'", etc., in the Wade-Giles system as a rather Western-centric approach: because the sounds were (supposedly) different from their Western counterparts, "t" and "t'", were used instead of "t" and "d". (Just imagine if we used different spellings for every sound that phonetically varied slightly from English--there would be lots and lots of different spellings!) However, those sounds function phonologically in the same way they do in Western languages, so a better "phonological" approach is to do what pinyin does--use "t" and "d", etc.


Re-title

If we must have an entire article about the spelling of [DT]aoism (see history of discussion at Talk:Taoism), is there any objection to renaming it (maybe to Spelling of Daoism?) so that Daoism can be a redirect to Taoism, which actually describes the subject?

It's kind of odd to follow a link expecting to see an article about a philosophy and instead get a diatribe about transcription systems. --Brion 20:31 Sep 3, 2002 (PDT)

Yeah, but the romanisation issue is a confusing one for people. Wade-Giles is a system for specialists and quite complicated, but the communist pinyin system has some serious clumsiness as well, and political freight that Wade-Giles doesn't have. There are some (myself included) who tend to use W-G for Classical Chinese and pinyin for colloquial or post 1949 pronunciations...
Fire Star 05:17, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Yes, as an article this topic has very little interest outside of a specific intellectual caste and the DDJ "translation" industry. Two thumbs up for sheer wonkery! ^.^ WuShufei 22:51, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
This article title ("Taoism versus Daoism") was definitely way too misleading. I've changed it to include it's about "Romanization". --Menchi 06:32, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

That does help, cheers. Fire Star 15:38, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Accuracy dispute

The initial sound of 道 clearly sounds much more like "d" than "t"; the only reason I'm not changing this myself is because I'm not an expert on phonology and don't want to alter the stuff about phonology myself.

Second, the statement that "This encyclopedia uses English spellings, such as Taoism and Tao Te Ching, in all articles, for consistency" is only accurate insofar as editors continue to follow this practice, and I'm not even sure they have been consistently applying this rule. Shouldn't this belong on Wikipedia:Manual of Style for China-related articles rather than here?

Lowellian (talk)[[]] 07:47, Dec 7, 2004 (UTC)

And it's a cop-out. Using Pinyin would be just as "consistent" if consistently used. The consistency is an empty one if the romanization is dying and Pinyin is the officially correct, ascendent one--both of which are true.
And by the way, Beijing is not Bei-zhing despite "Network News-speak" -- Jing is that very difficult syllable we find in Jingle bells, jingle bells . . . .
User:147.8.20.48
I would have thought that the preference for "Tao" stems from Wikipedia:Use common names, since judging from Google "tao" is almost 7 times as common as "dao." -- Visviva 00:24, 26 August 2005 (UTC)
Right. English has a long, complicated history with the Chinese language (as well as Norse, French, Latin, Greek, Dutch, Italian, etc.). W-G isn't dead, the Taiwanese and many in Academia still use it, and pinyin is far from perfect. Neither is Wikipedia an organ of the Chinese government. Fire Star 05:38, 26 August 2005 (UTC)
And wikipedia is not openly sympathetic to the Taiwanese cause either. Politics aside, the article itself admits that the Pinyin romanisation system is gradually eroding that of W-G, and the renaming of the Tao Te Ching is one important evidence yet. Debate continues to ensue over which romanisation standard to use, such as in Talk:Laozi, so I do not think the bolded declaration at the bottom of this article is appriopriate either.--Huaiwei 20:23, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Dead Link

Link at bottom of the page is dead but by the description it looks a useful resource, anyone know where it was relocated?

Sound file?

Neither this article—nor the Daoism article, nor the Dao article—have any native speaker sound samples. Wouldn't that be rather helpful? Can't anyone procure one? RobertM525 10:02, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

That might be a good idea. Here are examples for Taoism (commercial site) and dào, but you might be able to find better ones. Best wishes. Keahapana 20:32, 7 November 2007 (UTC)