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See also: transcription of Chinese (talk | edit history).

See also? Why that? Why that not?[edit]

Anglicisation: Why does this appears on something that involves ADAPTING ALPHABETS? Cyrillization: This one is a good one!!!! But what about the process by which you transliterate or transcript INTO Japanese, Sanskrit, Arabian and such languages??????????????????????????????????? Francization: Why does this appears on something that involves ADAPTING ALPHABETS?

If someone could add those words and maybe articles to wikipedia it would be a good idea to do so!!!!Undead Herle King (talk) 10:31, 29 February 2008 (UTC)


"Non-Roman languages"?? It appears that you mean any language not normally written in the Roman alphabet. Thus Greek, Russian, and Arabic are "non-Roman" languages. Why don't you explain what "non-Roman" means? The term could be misunderstood; people could think that English is a "non-Roman" language since it didn't come from Rome. Michael Hardy 02:56 Jan 27, 2003 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing this out, and thanks to Brion VIBBER for changing it to make it more clear.
-- Wintran 03:20 Jan 27, 2003 (UTC)

Capitalize term or not?[edit]

I have been thinking about whether or not we should use a capital "r" when we type "romanization". First, I was certain that "Romanization" was the correct way to write it, but now I have seen the non-capitalized version being used by encyclopedias and dictionaries as well, and I am not quite as certain anymore.

- Wintran 00:42 May 13, 2003 (UTC)

It's incorrect. You "Romanize" when you turn something into Rome; you "romanize" when you apply a method of transcription. Compare with xeroxing, hoovering, and any number of brands and names that have turned into generic words. I've changed the article. Jpatokal 17:04, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Romanization is a proper name, hence, it is correct to capitalize it. when you "catheterize, you do not turn a penis into a catheter. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Drmmhmd (talkcontribs) 11:04, July 5, 2014

Hmm? No, it's not a proper name, what makes you think it is? Jpatokal (talk) 04:04, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
Romanization, as used in this article to mean transcription into a Latin based alphabet, is not a proper name. Drmmhmd is trying to expand a discussion at Talk:Pinyin#Proper Nouns about the use of the word 'romanization' on that page. Rincewind42 (talk) 06:56, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Becoming a Roman[edit]

How do you call the process of barbarians becoming Romans? -- Error 05:19, 12 Oct 2003 (UTC)

According to OED, also "Romanization". Defintions 1 is "Assimilation to Roman customs or models." One quote is from 1876. The transliteration meaning came the latest ('tho not that much later): first quote in 1894. --Menchi 05:31, 12 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Other languages[edit]

There are several other languages (or groups of languages) that could be covered here:

Why not add norwegian? ø -> oe, å -> aa, æ -> ae.

Norwegian is already written with the Latin alphabet, so simplifying these letters isn't romanization. Michael Z. 17:24, 2005 Jan 2 (UTC)

Icelandic isn't, though. It still uses an entirely un-Roman letter: the thorn (þ).

The Icelandic, and the Old English, are Latin alphabets that have adopted letter(s) from Runic. One might say that the letter thorn is romanized as th or y—as in "ye olde gray mare"—but I don't know if it's technically correct. There's more fun stuff in category:Uncommon Latin letters Michael Z. 00:20, 2005 Jan 3 (UTC)

Really, there are romanization systems for just about any non-roman script you can imagine -- while the term may have arisen originally in the context of Asian languages, I'm not sure it's NPOV to imply that that is the central meaning of the term today...

I think the term romanization is more commonly used for oriental languages, because they are not alphabetic. Transliteration is a more specific term, often used to describe the romanization of Cyrillic, and other languages with alphabets, that can have a letter-for-letter correspondence with the Latin alphabet. Michael Z. 16:42, 2005 Jan 11 (UTC)

Transliterating Cyrillic[edit]

For anyone interested, here's the Russian example "Tchaikovsy" transliterated according to several different systems, from Russian and Ukrainian. See also Romanization of Ukrainian.

Transliterating "Tchaikovsky"
GOST/UN Čajkovskij -
Wikipedia (strict) Chaykovsky -
Wikipedia (allowed exceptions) Tchaikovsy -
Ukrainian National/UN - Chaikovs’kyi
ISO 9 Čajkovskij Čajkovs′kij
ALA/LC Chaĭkovskiĭ Chaĭkovskyĭ
BGN/PCGN Chaykovskiy Chaykovskyy
IPA [tʃʲajkɔvskij] [tʃajkovsʲkɪj]
X-SAMPA /tS'ajkOvskij/ /tSajkovs'kIj/

Methods of romanization[edit]

I have taken the liberty of removing the (frankly) nearly incomprehensible paragraphs by the esteemed, which also contained a number of outright mistakes (hatsuon means "pronunciation" in Japanese, not any specific character), and rewritten what I hope was the gist of them. Corrections welcome, and I'd like to hear more about "phonemic conversion" (how does this differ from transcription?). Jpatokal 17:41, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'm mostly guessing, but there are some hints in this paragraph from International Phonetic Alphabet:
When characters from the IPA phonetic alphabet are embedding in another script they are isolated from the rest of the text with either slashes ("/") or square brackets ("[" and "]"). Linguists use brackets when a narrow phonetic transcription is given, for example the English word "huge" would be [çjudʒ]. Slashes denote a phonological transcription:"huge" would be /hjudʒ/.
I think phonemic conversion (or phonological transcription) is a general indication of a word's pronunciation. You might say that in English "huge" is pronounced /hjudʒ/, and it applies equally to the way you would say it whether you were from Alabama or Jaipur.
Phonetic transcription would be more precise, whereby linguists will use all those fancy IPA characters and modifiers to compare the way a Yorkshireman's pronunciation of "huge" differs from an East Midlander's.
Michael Z. 19:17, 2004 Dec 15 (UTC)

Page organization[edit]

Would anyone object if I reorganized this page by writing system, rather than by language(s)? Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian belong together in a section concerning the Cyrillic alphabet, not in the current "arrangement". Michael Z. 16:47, 2005 Jan 11 (UTC)

Sounds good to me --Arcadian 19:26, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

One more vote in favor. Jpatokal 01:57, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Is there any system on how names of Singaporean people and geographical proper nouns are romanised (for those not according to Hanyu Pinyin)? Or is it done arbitarily? Are they mainly romanised according to Hokkien or Teochew dialects of Min Nan language? -- 03:13, January 24, 2005, UTC

Largely arbitrary and quite dependent on the dialect of the person or name in question, although if there are any standards I'd be interested in hearing about it. Most names are Hokkien. Jpatokal 04:42, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Interested to hearing about if there is any standard for Hokkien. -- 15:41, January 24, 2005, UTC

There might be no standard, as what has been suggested earlier. People's names usually are romanized based on the dialect group they belong to, and romanization of Chinese dialects dosent seem to follow a standard of any kind.
This ambiguity is not just confined to Chinese dialects. Even Malay words, which would have been assumed to be less of an issue since the language itself has already been romanised, do sugger from a few instances of inconsistencies. A good example is how "Punggol" ends up being spelt as "Ponggol" too as well...both road names appear in the same locality, and are actually refering to the same word.
I am not too sure about Indian translations thou, because I would think it follows romnisation standards adobted in India itself?--Huaiwei 18:13, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
No. On Wikipedia we use Peh-oe-ji, but it's not very common (as far as I know). The Minnan Wikipedia is written in Peh-oe-ji. There are other systems out there too. There is no standard romanization used for names in Singapore. (other than Pinyin of course, but that's for Mandarin only, which occurs here and there in personal and place names.) -- ran (talk) 08:05, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

So in other words names of places in Singapore which are not transcibed based on Mandarin pronunciation are transcibed with an arbitary manner? Or is there any trace-able pattern? -- 09:59, January 26, 2005, UTC

Well, there are obviously patterns, there just isn't any standard. These names were devised in colonial era and they were basically spelled in whichever way sounded about right. I guess you can compare this to Hong Kong place names. -- ran (talk) 13:43, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

Same names in Hong Kong were later changed, for instance, Un Long to Yuen Long, and Shaukiwan to Shau Kei Wan. In other words there was certain moves towards standardisation. Are there any similar pattern for the case of Singapore? -- 10:04, January 27, 2005, UTC

I can only think of one example, "Nee Soon" (probably Minnan) is becoming less popular compared to "Yishun" (Mandarin). That's the only example I can think of though, so I'd say there's no such trend in general. -- ran (talk) 13:34, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)
Hmm....the Yishun/Nee Soon thingy may not be a suitable example in this case, because it is more of switching from one dialect spelling to another. Should all "Ponggol" road names be amended to "Punggol", then we might have a comparative example.
There might be such amendements somewhere down the dusty paths of history...if I can find any examples of this, I will notify here.--Huaiwei 18:13, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Oops, I think I misread what the Anon meant... in terms of standardization (not switching from one language or dialect to another), I honestly can't think of any examples. -- ran (talk) 18:23, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)

Yepp I mean for the same sound of a language, say Hokkien, is it very often transcribed and romanised in the same way? -- 18:27, January 27, 2005, UTC

Voiced/unvoiced, aspirated/unaspirated[edit]

I am interested to know about why the consonants b, g and d of Chinese languages (Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, etc.) as well as Korean are transcribed into p, k and t. Are the pronunciations of b, g and d different from those in European languages? -- 15:45, January 24, 2005, UTC

Aspiration (phonetics). Jpatokal 18:38, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

But the Aspiration (phonetics), Voiced, Voiced consonant and Voiceless consonant articles do not provide a good picture to readers who have little knowledge in linguistics. -- 14:22, January 25, 2005, UTC

They don't, which is why Jyutping is better than IPA for giving Cantonese pronunciation. Same goes for Hanyu Pinyin vs IPA for Mandarin.

If what you've suggested is the case then we should go differentiating the p sound in pend and spend, and mark them as ph and p respectively. -- 20:06, January 26, 2005, UTC

The pronunciation of Jyutping / Pinyin "b d g" are indeed different from European languages, or even Japanese. English is not a good example of this, because the English system is very close to the Chinese system (i.e. unvoiced plosives are aspirated, voiced plosives are less voiced); but listen to another language (French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese...) and the difference is very obvious. To a speaker of these languages, Chinese "b d g" do sound like "p t k". (And with good reason; they're not voiced, so in IPA these are indeed /p t k/.) -- ran (talk) 08:01, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

Would German be closed to English? -- 09:56, January 26, 2005, UTC

I'm not sure. But I believe German unvoiced plosives are aspirated, just like English (and unlike French, Spanish, or Russian). -- ran (talk) 13:43, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

The Aspiration (phonetics) article mentions about Icelandic, Danish, Allemannic German and southern varieties of German. For the case of Danish and southern varieties of German the unaspirated p t and k (without the h) are transcribed as b d and g. -- 20:04, January 26, 2005, UTC

So shall we mark the voiced unaspirated g of English differently from the voiced unaspirated g of French, Spanish or Russian in IPA? -- 20:08, January 26, 2005, UTC

Well, tradition is another factor. If Danish were a language spoken by a lost tribe somewhere and discovered only yesterday, its /b d g/ would probably be transcribed into IPA (rightly) as /p t k/. But Danish has connections with other European languages, and those languages pronounce these as [b d g], so by pure tradition, Danish also uses /b d g/. Another good example is English /æ/, as in bank. Most American accents don't pronounce this strictly as [æ], but the phoneme is written with that symbol nonetheless, due to tradition.
Chinese, on the other hand, is the precise opposite case. Chinese plosives are famously distinguished by aspiration; it has been this way historically and it is still this way today. This is why Postal System Pinyin and Wade Giles (as well as the romanizations of Hong Kong and Singapore) use "p t k" and left "b d g" unused. Gwoyeu Romatzyh and Hanyu Pinyin decided to use "b d g" in addition to "p t k" simply because they wanted to maximize the usage of all the letters of the Roman alphabet. (Hanyu Pinyin also uses "j q x" in rather weird ways, for example.) But that doesn't change the fact that these sounds continue to be recognized as [p t k] and [ph th kh] and therefore written (accurately) as the phonemes /p t k/ and /ph th kh/ in IPA by most linguistic literature. (Of course there are also books that try to argue that these are actually underlying /b d g/ and /p t k/, but these are the minority and we probably shouldn't be going into such deep level and controversial phonemic analysis at this stage.)
As for English: I don't understand your question, really. You described the g of English and the g of French in exactly the same way. In this case, of course they should be marked in the same way. -- ran (talk) 20:24, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

So should the Danish b be marked /p/ in IPA, and p be marked /ph/?

You mentioned the English g and French g are not the same. Should they be marked differently in IPA, to reflect the fact that their degrees of voiced are not the same? -- 21:06, January 26, 2005, UTC

Sure, but it's not really necessary. There's no more voiced /g/ or less voiced /g/ to distinguish in English.
As for Danish: I've explained alreadly. -- ran (talk) 21:09, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

So there are traditionally not differentiated in IPA is that right?

For Danish, you've answered on transcription, but not on marking by IPA. -- 21:54, January 26, 2005, UTC

What's the difference? I answered for the transcription of Danish into IPA.
As for English: no, in English these are not traditionally differentiated. -- ran (talk) 21:57, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

Ah I got it. So in Danish it's tradition which made the different.... i.e. the same unvoiced unaspirated b is marked as /b/ for Danish and /p/ for Cantonese. I got it.

I mean the difference between the more voiced French/Spanish/Russian /g/ and the less voiced English/German /g/. -- 22:15, January 26, 2005, UTC

One more question: should the English p sound in pend and spend be marked as ph and p respectively? -- 22:17, January 26, 2005, UTC

Only in a phonetic transcription. In English, aspirated and unaspirated /p/ are the same phoneme, so they don't show up in a phonemic transcription, only a phonetic transcription. In Chinese, however, they are different phonemes, so they show up in phonemic transcriptions.
By the way, how about getting a user name? It's hard to make proposals and give opinions if you're an Anon, since people can't even keep track of you. -- ran (talk) 22:20, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

What about the French/Spanish/Russian /g/ versus the English/German /g/? -- 10:02, January 27, 2005, UTC

What about them? They wouldn't be marked in a phonemic transcription because none of these languages distinguish more than one type of /g/. -- ran (talk) 13:34, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)


I would also like to know how proper nouns in Macao are transcribed and romanised. Is it based on Portuguese? For instance, San Kio (新橋, Jyutping: san1 kiu4, IPA: sɐn1 kɪʊ4), and Hac Sa (黑沙, Jyutping: haak1 saa1, IPA: hɑk1 sɑ1). Nam Van (南灣, Jyutping: naam4 waan1, IPA: nɑm4 wɑn1) is romanised with a 'v' instead of 'w'. The case of Ka Ho (九澳, Jyutping: gau2 ou3 IPA: gɐʊ2 əʊ3) is more confusing. -- 17:08, January 25, 2005, UTC

The other way round of romanisation[edit]

Is there any proper terms for the inversion of romanisation, that is, transcription of words in roman alphabets into Cyrillic, Katakana or Han characters? -- 14:22, January 25, 2005, UTC

Cyrillization, for one. Michael Z. 2005-01-22 16:54 Z

Jiang's removals[edit]

Jiang removed the following romanisation systems with the remark "rm fantasy/fringe systems".

*[[Gwohngdongwaa pengyam]]
*[[Tongwa Lomaji|Tòngwâ Lòmáji]] ([ source])

-- 15:05, January 25, 2005, UTC

Exactly. Please stop reinserting articles that have been deleted by consensus. Tongwa Lomaji receives only a few online hits and is therefore a fringe system. Please do not link to articles that should not exist. --Jiang 05:37, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Where was the deletion discussed to achieve consensus? Are they fantasy or fringe—there's a big difference. If they're real romanization systems, then why not include them and mention that they are little-used, or when and where they are/were used? Michael Z. 2005-01-22 16:54 Z
This guy is simply asserting his own sets of values and his point of view everywhere. I am considering to file a complaint. Btw, how to check if he's an administrator? -- 20:11, January 26, 2005, UTC
You can check at Wikipedia:List of administrators, although if you feel it's justified, his status shouldn't affect your decision to complain. Just follow the full procedure, starting with trying to find a compromise. Michael Z. 2005-01-22 16:54 Z
In the meantime you might want to look at Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not and Wikipedia:Google test. Not everything is notable enough to be mentioned on Wikipedia. -- ran (talk) 20:53, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)
You're beating around the bush, Ran. Will someone please explain the objection to including these romanization systems? Are you saying they're fake, or merely insignificant? Anonymous, can you describe where and when they are/were used?
There's evidently a dispute here, but neither side is presenting any facts to support their case. Michael Z. 2005-01-22 16:54 Z
Try looking on Google for these three systems. I can perhaps see a case for Penkyamp, but the other two simply aren't notable enough for Wikipedia. -- ran (talk) 21:29, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

FYI, these are the VfD discussions. I was involved in them:

I cannot find the discussion for "Tongwa Lomaji". How was it deleted? -- Felix Wan 02:49, 2005 Jan 27 (UTC)

Sorry, I think the article "Tongwa Lomaji" was never created. Jiang just deleted the link. -- Felix Wan 02:54, 2005 Jan 27 (UTC)
Thanks for the references. I didn't realize these were previously deleted articles. Michael Z. 2005-01-22 16:54 Z

Are the standards for removing the article and removing the listing the same? -- 10:01, January 27, 2005, UTC

Removing an article that is not obvious vandalism can only be done by an administrator, and it requires consensus in the Wikipedia:Votes for deletion process. Removing the listing can be done by anyone, but still editors should discuss and collaborate at the talk page of each article. They are separate processes, but it usually makes sense to remove links pointing to deleted articles. -- Felix Wan 18:58, 2005 Jan 27 (UTC)

Cyrillic in Wikipedia[edit]

Please see the new page at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Cyrillic), aimed at

  1. Documenting the use of Cyrillic and its transliteration in Wikipedia
  2. Discussing potential revision of current practices

Michael Z. 2005-12-9 20:38 Z

New article: Scientific transliteration. Michael Z. 2006-02-07 06:00 Z


I reverted to what amounted to a circular redirect via Chinese romanization. m.e. 10:15, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Latinisation vs. Romanization[edit]

We have a bit of confusion between whether Romanization and Latinisation are the same thing. Each has separate articles on Wikipedia, but this article (Romanization) claims that the two terms mean the same thing. What's the difference here, if any, and how can we clarify? If there is no difference, how should we merge the articles? The Latinisation article has some good content that isn't addressed here. MaxVeers 07:59, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

I've never seen the term latinization used to mean romanization. Indeed, I'd never heard of the former. As soon as I saw the former article, my hand smacked my forehead in recognition. Yes of course! But it has nothing to do with romanization as the latter term is commonly used. Yes, this article says that what it deals with is also called latinisation. Perhaps this is right (I don't have the OED or similar on me). However, the two processes are very different and are better served by separate articles.
See Latinisation for Latinization of names in literature.
is perhaps better reworded as something like
See Latinisation for the adaptation of names into the Latin language.
See Romanization for the representation of different writing systems in the Roman (Latin) alphabet.
seems OK, though in order to avoid confusion I'd skip the one word "(Latin)". -- Hoary 08:10, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, since nobody else seems to have an opinion, I guess I'll chime in and say that makes sense to me. MaxVeers 22:50, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

It was I who first split off the separate article on latinisation of names. I think it's sensible to separate the literary practice of naming oneself in a Latin style from the process of transliteration, as they are quite separate concepts (as discussed above). I agree with the suggestions above for the changes to the "see also" text at the top of these two articles.

It seems that a consensus has been reached to keep the two articles separate, so I'm removing the "merge" tags. Please revert and discuss if this is premature. --Slashme 10:19, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Gwoyeu Romatzyh (information)[edit]

For your information, the Chinese romanization system Gwoyeu Romatzyh has been a FAC since 26 March. --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 12:58, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Any comments on the color-coding issue being discussed on the FAC page would be welcome. --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 09:21, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Φ is PH[edit]

The greek letter Phi (Φ) was the digraph ph, although is F too, graph, photo, phono were came from that letter. --Michael Peter Fustumum 10:05, 31 August 2007 (UTC)


As a (non-eurocentric) multilinguist and language-lover, I came to the opinion, that nowadays too many things are romanised or latinised. You can buy whole books that 'teach you Chinese' without a single Chinese character, which is absolutly idiotic. I often see inproper use and "lingual discrimination" when using romanisations. An example is a poster in an international school that apprently shows "Welcome" in many languages, showing Chinese e.ex. as "Huan ying" instead of "欢迎" and so with Arabic, Hebrew, Russian and Japanese.

It's a global trend that I would describe as the Roman/Latin writing culture oppressing other forms of scripts. Something that should be called "Latin-centrism", "Roman-centrism" or "Roman Scriptism" has in fact no term to my knowledge. Any ideas on that? I'd like to mention this in the article later on as well. 亮HH (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 14:59, 20 October 2008 (UTC).

Bengali romanization[edit]

A discussion involving Bengali romanization issues has been instigated at Talk:Bengali script. Please weigh in if you care. — AjaxSmack 02:05, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

Merge Latinisation (literature)[edit]

The article is miscategorized as a literature topic rather than an orthographic one, and the concept is a subset of Romanization in general, from which it is not, to my knowledge, commonly distinguished. ᛭ LokiClock (talk) 09:12, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

It doesn't seem to be a subset of Romanisation if I'm understanding the article correctly. Romanization deals with transliterating to Latin script from a different writing system or from speech, whereas Latinisation (literature) is about translating to the Latin language (or an imitation of the style thereof). These seem pretty distinct to me. –CapitalLetterBeginning (talk) 11:38, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
I noticed exactly that myself. Romanization is for the script; you are changing other scripts into the Roman script. Latinization changes the morphology. I'd leave them distinct but they need clean-up.Dave (talk) 03:48, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Representing varieties of CYrillic[edit]

Should there be some mention of the problems in giving a single uniform romanization of all of the varieties of Cyrillic? I do not trust my knowledge enough to assert (although it seems probable to me) that there is no uniform method of representing Cyrillic across all of its varieties for different languages. One example of a difficulty that strikes me is how to handle Russian Г (representing the sound /g/), Ukrainian Г (representing the sound /h/), and Ukrainian Ґ (for /g/). TomS TDotO (talk) 15:41, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

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As German is already written in the Roman alphabet with some special characters, it doesn't seem to make sense to include a section on the "romanisation of German", especially as the "discussion" cited is just a single forum thread. Any objections to removing it? (It seems the "re-romanisation of English" section was removed a week ago, presumably for similar reasons.) aoxiang翱翔(user)(talk) 17:51, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

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Countries currently changing to latin script?[edit]

This article does not deal with countries with other writing systems changing to latin script. Was Somalia the last country that changed way back in 1974, or has there been other countries since? Just curious.
Stein S., Oslo, Norway