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romanised Zhuang and sawndip[edit]

A recent change from "is the official script" to "as the official script", is arguablely grammatically better but a little misleading. The 1957 romanized system for writing Zhuang which was revised in the 1980's remains to this day the only official way to write Zhuang. It is one of the official written languages of China. The sawndip system for writing has been passed on for generations, has never been official but remains in use to this day.Johnkn63 06:16, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Sawndip at last[edit]

Thank-you. It is good to see some "real" sawndip on the page at last. Certainly this page would be none the worse for more examples. Johnkn63 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Johnkn63 (talkcontribs) 07:51, 29 October 2008 (UTC)


The following "Sawndip writings flourished during the Song, Ming and Qing dynasties, with many written works from such periods preserved" has been moved here for discussion. The reference given was Johnkn63 (talk) 10:41, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Even allowing for a very free translation of the Chinese the source quoted does not contain the idea mentioned above. Johnkn63 (talk) 13:45, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

What is the oldest known piece of connected Zhuang text, as distinct from isolated vernacular characters? Kanguole 00:56, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

This depends on what is accepted as sufficient prove for a text, or one's definition of Zhuang. the are lots of 19th century manuscripts. There also is for example an 1831 grave stone with written in Sawndip by a poet before his death. These are written in such a way as to show evidence of being a already longstanding writing system. There are of course texts which have been passed down, that include themes from the Qing, Ming and Song dynaties. However when these where first written down and how closely texts resembles the original remains an unanswered question. Johnkn63 (talk) 04:06, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
It would be great if the article had some definite information on the oldest extant specimens. As you say, it's difficult to determine when an orally-transmitted work was first written; the subject matter only gives an upper bound on its age. Kanguole 10:04, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Whilst ancient Sawndip literature is not my strong point I will see what I can do.Johnkn63 (talk) 01:48, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

Zhuang logogram image[edit]

Can we get that translation of the Declaration of Human Rights in traditional Chinese characters as well? I don't think Zhuang written in simplified is a really fair/accurate representation of the script since simplified characters were constructed with mostly Mandarin in mind. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:19, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Of course anyone who wishes may add a version using traditional Chinese characters. Though it should be noted that most modern Zhuang authors who use Sawndip tend to use simplified characters since they live in mainland China and use simplified characters to write Chinese, as for example is shown here . Most simplified characters themselves come from long estblished written traditions and therefore are found in Sawndip documents from the Qing dynasty. Simplified characters have been a feature of written Chinese for hundreds of years. Simplified characters are a long standing feature of Chinese characters.
There is no standard for Sawndip which is something the article does not make particularly clear. The page includes both simplified and traditional characters however a really representative Sawndip version of the first article would need to show it in many different traditions not just simplified vs traditional. Johnkn63 (talk) 08:45, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
There is a traditional character version of the translation of UDHR article 1 at古壮字&variant=zh , though the character used for gyoengq are slightly different the simplified uses ⿰亻众 the traditional form of which I suppose would be ⿰亻眾 . The version using traditional characters simply use 眾 the simplified form of which is 众. Johnkn63 (talk) 18:00, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Notice: Image uploaded at File:Universal Declaration of Human Rights Zhuang Sawndip Traditional variant.jpg, under {{PD-ineligible}}. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email 04:30, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Images from the Sawndip Sawdenj that can be used[edit]

These are hosted on Commons, and used on the ZH and JA Wikipedias.

Regards, -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email 16:49, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

Whilst four of these show unusual characters from Sawndip Sawdenj, five of these are common CJK Ideographs that are best displayed using standard fonts namely U+5447 呇, U+5C9C 岜, U+4F1D 伝, U+7709 眉, U+76C3 盃.Johnkn63 (talk) 07:36, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
From what I see, the images are used on the Chinese and Japanese Wikipedias to provide examples of categories of ideographs. Although some are unicode CJK ideographs, if we were to follow suit with the other Wikipedias (for some reason), wouldn't it allow for greater visual uniformity? -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email 07:45, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Age of the script[edit]

I have tagged the statement "The vast majority of scholars argue that Zhuang Sawndip started at a similar time or earlier than the neighbouring Vietnamese Chu nom." To justify "vast majority", we'd need a survey article that said that; in contrast the survey by Holm in the Routledge Tai-Kadai volume emphasizes the uncertainty around all aspects of the history of this script. We need an overview of the scholarly debate.

Whilst the question of the when Sawndip started is one that there is certainly no agreement on and Holm correctly points this out. At the same time it is also true that the maturity of published scholars who hazzard a guess give dates of one thousand years or more. On second thoughts best not to use the word "vaste". Just looking a four sources I have to closest to hand gives an interesting poll. The only published dictionary, Sawndip Sawdenj, in the introduction suggests Sawndip where used in 7th century based on a steele, and quotes 12th century Chinese authors giving examples of special characters used. 正贻青 in “靖西方块壮字试析” says that they have been used for over a thousand years. 黄革 in 方块壮字的生产及其作用 says from the Tang Dynasty based on a Tang steele in Shanglin. 覃国生 in 关于方块壮字 simply says that they have been used for a long time. This quick straw poll gives 75% as one thousand years or more. Johnkn63 (talk) 14:06, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

In addition the dating of Nom is also uncertain (though less so than Sawndip). I'm not aware of any work on the relationship between Sawndip and Nom, so presumably this is based on comparing some specialist's dating of Sawndip with someone else's dating of Nom, both of which are controversial. Does the "vast majority" include Nom specialists? Instead of compounding the uncertainty, it would be better to focus on scholarship regarding the absolute dating of Sawndip. Kanguole 11:46, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

The majority above does not include Nom specialist, and as you say the dataing for Nom is also subject to debate. 李乐毅 in 方块壮字与喃字比较研究 (1987) has as his first point that Sawndip and Nom started at about the same time. For Sawndip he says that they started no later then the 12th century and for Nom no later than the 13th century. It would be fair to say that in both cases he is giving a conservative estimate, and also his point is that they started at about the same time, not that one came after the other. So point taken. Johnkn63 (talk) 14:46, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
Checking further 张元生 in “壮族人民的文化遗产—方块壮字” in the second sentance says “具有一千多年的历史的方块壮字是壮族宝贵的文化遗产之一”。 Johnkn63 (talk) 15:42, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

Excessive reliance upon single author[edit]

Whilst the use of citations is to be commended, currrently the article makes frequent use of citiations by Holm without putting his commnents in the context of the wider academic community. Whilst Holm is the most prolific writer on Sawndip in English, the views Chinese scholars at present at not well represented within the article. A good wilipedia article is a balanced article.Johnkn63 (talk) 00:49, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Well, the solution to that is to add more views. For example, what were Zhang's conclusions? Kanguole 08:51, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes. But presently Holm is used in 8 out of 21 quotes in the article not just on the question of regional differences, at least one of which where he is largely quoting an earlier source, see the Tang steele and Song characters. As you say the solution is to add more views, however one challenge is that many of the other scholars are not writing in English. Good point about making Zhangs conclusion clear. On regional differences Zhang says 又由于方言的差别,各个地方的方块字也不尽相同,即使是同一个地区使用的方块壮字,往往也因人而异有不少异体字. on page 465 (Zhangs 67 page article is part of a collection of articles). Your edits and suggestions are very helpful. It is good to see this article moving forward.Johnkn63 (talk) 11:44, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
Please, allow me to think out loud here. Another question regarding the use of English sources at ime is how much is being quoted in a form close to the source (please read on), where for a good article what one really needs is a summary an idea not a near word for word rendering. In a book an idea may be expressed in several sentances, but in a wikipedia artical that needs to be condensed into a sentance, or phrase. This condensing we have already being done to a degree and should keep doing.Johnkn63 (talk) 01:13, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
If you're worried about the balance of citations, the solution is to add more, not delete the ones that are there. Kanguole 11:51, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
I would never removed a quote simply because I though there were to many. This was based on the nature of the quotes the first quote was for page 45, the next sentance for pages 45 and 46. I joined the two sentnces so rather than having two quotes one for page45 and one for pages 45 and 46 and so they where merged into a single quote. The second source 7 years simply repeated the same information as the page 45 quote. Johnkn63 (talk) 12:25, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
The two sentences make different points, so it makes sense to keep them separate. The second Holm citation for the first point provides additional detail. Having fine-grained citations is a good thing, because it makes it easier to keep the citations with the text when it's rearranged or new material is added, and it makes it easier for other editors to see where each of the statements made comes from. Kanguole 13:52, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Ming section[edit]

The Ming section is quite puzzling. It starts by baldly asserting that the Ming was the most abundant period, but then presents a survey of opinions on one song. If there so many lengthy manuscripts dating from the Ming, why is the dating of this song so significant? Or is the evidence of the abundance not so solid? What is the nature of the evidence that the scholars cite? Is it subject matter that suggests the song was composed at that time, or is there evidence that it was written down then? (In many other parts of the world quite long epics have been sung for centuries before being written.) Kanguole 23:09, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Yes, the current form of the Ming section is strange, this is becuase both of the current sentances are basically quotes. More exmples will be added of Ming songs this is just the first of a number. This example was chosen because the source not only name the song but also states clearly that the date it was written has been considered by a number of scholars and even names several of them, so it is illustrative of the methodology for dating, the author himself is making the point that here is a Pingguo song written in the Ming dynasty, a song written elsewhere during that era. Dating of Ming era songs is multidisplinary, based among other things on the content, names used for places, and characters used for given words. "Fwen Ciengzyeingz" would be a example of a song which it is thought parts where past on orally, or written, for centuries before being the song itself was written down in the Ming dynasty. 'Fwen Nganx' is an example of a song which is said to be of Ming origin because of the combination of both content, style and written form points to Ming dynasty the arguement for Ming is strong for the body of literature as a whole. Other Zhuang songs that may well be suitable be included under Ming era are "莫一大王“,”文龙与肖尼", "李旦与风姣“,and ”马骨胡之歌“. Johnkn63 (talk) 09:22, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Song of the Yue boatman[edit]

The record of this song in the Garden of Stories isn't particularly relevant to Sawndip. Several authors believe it to be in a Tai language, but it's a transcription by a Chinese author using standard Chinese characters used for their sound values. Kanguole 17:57, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

This item is included because a number of publications note possible connections that there are of language, script, geographical location and poetic form. The different studies of this song are more than enough to make a whole article of it's own, and sufficient to warrant a sentence, or two within the context of this article. Regardless of nationality of the author, if the connection to Thai/Zhuang is correct then it someone writing down the Thai/Zhuang language using the Chinese script who understood the meaning of at least some of the words, either because of some knowledge of the language or because of the aid of some interpreter. Johnkn63 (talk) 03:15, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
The issue here is the script, rather than those other things. There's no evidence that the script is linked. This is a Chinese speaker using characters purely phonetically to record the sound of a song, while Sawndip is Zhuang speakers using characters in a variety of ways to write their own language. Stylistic similarity and the work of Wei and Zhengzhang suggest that the language of the song may have been close to proto-Tai, but that does not make any connection at all between the way it was transcribed then and Sawndip. Kanguole 23:14, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
If the wording I have used is misleading then my apologies, I said "see some connections" which is vague, please feel free to edit the wording and elaborate on the connections seen. The Song of the Yue boatman is mentioned in recent decades by several prominent Sawndip scholars. For example 覃晓航 in 方块壮字研究 page 7 talks about 韦庆稳 saying he thought among other things "汉人汉籍在汉代就已开始用汉字来记录壮语,如杨雄的《方言》以及相传的《越人歌》等,但其中标记壮语词的都是汉字独体字,仅仅是唐代方块壮字的前身,尚未成为通行文字". Wikipedia is about representing different published views of reputable scholars even if one may disagree with them. Johnkn63 (talk) 00:58, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Sawndip example...??[edit]

The current sample ( looks like very normal Chinese for me. Are you sure this is in Sawndip? Ahyangyi (talk) 04:30, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

Much of the text is certainly in Chinese, since though Chinese characters are used in Sawndip texts the meaning often changes. The first two characters circled ⿱雨胞 ⿱雨胎 are certainly not standard Chinese, it could be that the first 13 circled characters are Zhuang Sawndip with the rest of the page in Chinese - the 14th and 15th circled characters are simply ditto marks. Therefore at best the caption is misleading to anyone not fluent in Chinese. Johnkn63 (talk) 04:04, 27 January 2015 (UTC)