Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Tibetan)

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New naming convention proposal[edit]

Some recent discussion at Talk:Shannan Prefecture and Talk:Qamdo (town) led me to revisit the issue of Tibetan naming conventions. I moved Babelfisch's suggestions to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Tibetan)/2006 proposal, which I think was basically inactive, and put up a new page at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Tibetan). I don't think the current proposal will seem very revolutionary. For the most part, it just goes on at length on "use common names" and comments on some practices that are already being followed. One significant change that is suggested by the new proposal is that we do away with situations where we have both Shigatse and Xigazê Prefecture, or Gyantse and Gyangzê County in favour of one spelling for the same name across different articles.

Please comment on these suggestions and, if you'd like, update them.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 23:22, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

I think the main thing is that we have consistency across articles, so thank you for doing the work in getting this discussion started. I am far from an expert, but it looks good to me, nothing revolutionary or controversial. --Keithonearth (talk) 05:40, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Looks good. If Tibetan script is included, it should always have Wylie transliteration (as well as a common speech transcription where one exists); Unicode or not, many computers (including this one) will render Tibetan script as little square boxes. I approve the emphasis on common names; most anglophones reading about Shigatse will have come from an English reference to it which spells it as Younghusband or Harrer do. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:56, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
The Tibetan Pinyin transliteration would be useful, in addition to Wylie. Skinsmoke (talk) 18:31, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Depends on the name; for the contemporaries of the Fifth Dalai Lama, Pinyin will be far less useful. Also, the point of including Wylie is to have a stand-in for the Tibetan script for those who can't see it, like me. Neither Pinyin nor the transcriptions of spoken Tibetan (like Shigatse) will do that. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:43, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Pmanderson. I think we should probably have Tibetan Pinyin for names of places in the PRC, but for any personal names, in practice the use of Tibetan Pinyin, even in English-language materials published in China, is too irregular for it to be very useful.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 03:08, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree about places in the PRC, in case that was not clear; we should also include Chinese characters for such places. How a place is called on the local maps is encyclopedic information. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:21, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm not informed enough to comment, but I have a question. At Central Tibetan languages, I wrote that the northern branch includes "Dialects of Garzê". Actually, my source said "Gertse", and I only assumed that was Garzê. Can you confirm? kwami (talk) 00:28, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
No, that would be Gêrzê County(sger-rtse) in western Tibet.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 00:32, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. Not terribly "northern", but would make sense if they were listing the northern lects from west to east. — kwami (talk) 05:49, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
And Nat Krause's comment here is a perfect example of how and why we should use Wylie. The language in the draft is measurably stronger, and open to abuse, as Hans Adler points out below; Nat, please think out what you actually mean - and assume that whatever you do say will be enforced without any consideration and common sense. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:40, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

Strong Oppose I don't think it's a non-revolutionary proposal. The law concerning the English of Chinese placename says that every placename should be transcripted from a native name - using Hanyu Pinyin for those of Han sources and conresponding minority language transcription for those placename of minority origin, and as of Tibet, use official phonetic transcription of Tibetan. This inconsiderate proposal adopt the habits of some overseas Tibetans, but did not take habits and fellings of local Tibetans into consideration. What's more, by using non-native origin transcription or words, it's disrespect and misesteem to sovereignty and national feelings of a multi-ethnic country. So I think Nat Krause should rollback to the former proposal and not to apply a new proposal before consensus being reached. And since it's already too "bold" to make so great a change before discuss it, I think I will move the Nat Krause's proposal to a draft page and restore the original one. --虞海 (Yú Hǎi) (talk) 09:45, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Well, okay, except that now anybody who follows the links I put up to the new proposal is going to end up at a redirect to the old proposal instead. For the time being, I will make Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Tibetan) a disambiguation page. I also can't understand why you moved the old proposal to "/current proposal". It's from 2006 and was basically inactive. I'm going to move it back to "/2006 proposal".—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 10:44, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
We are not intended for any of the people discussed in this comment: not Han Chinese, not the Tibetans living in the PRC, not the emigres. We have Chinese and Tibetan Wikipedias for them; this page, and this Wikipedia, are intended for those whose principal language is English. The habits and feelings of any of those three groups are a POV, which we are by core policy (see WP:NPOV) forbidden to adopt. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:29, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Yú Hǎi, to the substance of your objection: I just don't think that a law like that controls what we do here on Wikipedia. As Pmanderson points out, it's not so much a question of the habits and feelings of Tibetans (which I don't think can be established anyway), but the interests of our English-language readership. As for "disrespect and misesteem to sovereignty and national feelings of a multi-ethnic country", I think that is basically a political issue, which we should try not to get mixed up in.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 04:53, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

The proposal is very much commonsense. Avoidance of Wylie in general agrees with use of the most familiar term, which is rarely Wylie. The addition of Wylie on first mention concedes that it is the most expedient for establishing which Tibetan term the name corresponds to. (Some of us may also depend on the Wylie to make the Chinese Pinyin more palatable, where that is used.) The proposal is spelt out simply and clearly. Moonsell (talk) 09:41, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Moving toward making this a policy[edit]

Since the discussion on the new naming conventions proposal above has been predominantly positive, I started thinking about what the next step is. On the main Naming conventions talk page, I have raised the question of what the next step is to move this from proposal to a policy.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 01:24, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Related talk page: Wikipedia talk:Article titles#At what point can we move toward making Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Tibetan) a policy? (seemingly will be archived into Wikipedia talk:Article titles/Archive 30). --虞海 (Yú Hǎi) (talk) 06:57, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Use of Wylie when there is no dedicated article[edit]

I just became aware of this proposal. I have one concernt before I can support it. Since I haven't read this entire talk page I will just put it here instead of boldly editing the page:

WP:Naming conventions (Tibetan)#Avoid strict transliterations: "The Wylie spelling should always be given at the start of the article on a subject or, if it does not have its own, at its first mention in another article." I hope this sentence is not meant to say what it says. On a list of famous people, the current Dalai Lama will appear as "14th Dalai Lama" or "Tenzin Gyatso". He will not appear as anything like "Tenzin Gyatso (Wylie: bstan 'dzin rgya mtsho)". Similarly, a less notable person should not appear in this last, long form just because there is no article for them. However, this sentence seems to say that Tibetan names that don't have an article may not be used in another article without also giving the Wylie transcription. I don't think we have any rule like this for any other language, and it would not be a good idea. I guess that this sentence is aimed at articles that discuss the thing/person named in detail, as happens when a former article forms a section after a merge. The precise scope of this sentence must be made clear, or it should be said that if a Wylie spelling is given it should be at the first use (use, not mention, but that's a minor point). Or maybe it's better to leave this case completely without regulation for the moment. Hans Adler 16:30, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

You're right, it shouldn't say "always". I would like to point out that this is supposed to be a naming convention, not a Manual of Style, so I did not put as much effort into getting the style elements right. Basically, my point in mentioning was to assuage any worries that using a phonetic spelling would mean that the Wylie spelling won't appear in Wikipedia at all.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 15:25, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I have rtried to recast, starting with "Wikipedia should include Wylie" and going onward from there; this seems the clearest way to include that message. If this is not what you mean, feel free to tweak until we achieve consensus. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:46, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

response to Yú Hǎi[edit]

––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) 03:40, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

I wanted to respond to comments made by 虞海 (Yú Hǎi) recently on the Article titles talk page. Yú Hǎi gives his general idea as "In Wikipedia, we should show respect to the natives" with an example being the Japanese word Shina, which has the same etymology as the English word "China", but is considered offensive in Japanese because it is associated with Japanese imperialism. I think that there could be some extreme cases where we refuse to use the most common name for something because it is offensive, but I don't think this is generally an issue. Shina is offensive in Japanese precisely because it is associated with certain discourses at certain times; if it were clearly the most common name for China, then it would be associated with the whole range of references to China.

Yú Hǎi's point #1 introduces a couple ideas that I don't really understand. He says, "we should always use the Tibetan name when the Chinese name is of Tibetan origin", but it's not clear to me why that should make a difference, or what that means exactly. The example he gives is that we should use Lhoka instead of Shannan. But Shannan is clearly not a approximation of the sound of Lhoka. It's true that Shannan means "south of the mountain(s)" and lho means "south", but it doesn't appear that Shannan is even quite a translation of Lhoka. I have always assumed that those two names were chosen independently. Yú Hǎi also appears to introduce a contrast between the "overseas Tibetans" and the "natives" who were born in and live in Tibet. I don't think we have any information at all, though, on different naming preferences between those two groups. Yú Hǎi may have misunderstood me as saying that Tournadre reports that the names Shannan and Kangding are more common among exile Tibetans than are the equivalent Tibetan names. However, I believe Tournadre was talking about the usage of Tibetans in Tibet.

It's correct that the Wylie romanisation system is a transliteration of written Tibetan while Tibetan Pinyin is a phonetic transcription of a dialect. I think it's an oversimplification and not really correct to say that THDL is also a transliteration. THDL is basically a simplified form of the Tournadre system, which is itself a phonetic transcription: it contains almost all the same information about pronunciation that Tibetan Pinyin does. Tournadre is also designed to give some information about the written form whenever that doesn't conflict with the transcription, and generally resembles Wylie as much as possible. Since THDL is simplified, it doesn't give as much info about how to pronounce the word. You can tell that Tournadre and THDL are not transliterations because they exclude all those silent letters that are so common in Tibetan spelling.

I don't see how using official transcriptions guarantees the rights of minorities, which Yú Hǎi says is the goal. Furthermore, as I've written above, I don't think that's really what we're concerned with here. The principal of using common names on Wikipedia is well accepted and it avoids a lot of problems such as trying to figure out which spelling a group of people in a foreign country would prefer us to use.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 02:57, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for your response, and your opinions will be taken into consideration. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) 06:05, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
Reply 1: And here what I want to say first is: you oversimplified the classifiction. There're at least 4 kinds of Romanizations - transliteration (e.g. Wylie, ISO9, etc.), transcription (e.g. THDL), phonetic transliteration (e.g. IPA), and phonetic transcription (e.g. ZWPY). The former two are Romanizations of scripts, even though the second one is less strict than the first one. The latter 2 are Romanizations of languages. The first may determine the second, and the third may determine the fourth, but neither can the first determine the third or fourth, nor can the third determine the first or second. For example, “flower” and “flour”, and “resume” and “resume”. Now a question is raised: will we Romanize the language, or the script? ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) 06:19, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
Yú Hǎi, I don't think your description of those categories is correct. Per Wiktionary, transliteration is "The act or product of transliterating, or of representing letters or words in the characters of another alphabet or script" and transcription is "A representation of speech sounds as phonetic symbols." Now, there are certainly different types of each — a transcription may be perfectly lossless (given a particular model of the phonemes in a language) or it may contain ambiguities, it may use strictly one character per phoneme or it may employ digraphs — but all transliterations reflect the written form of a language and all transcriptions are phonetic and/or phonemic. IPA is definitely a transcription (note that the page on IPA says that it is "used for phonetic and phonemic transcription of any language"). Note that Hanyu Pinyin contains exactly the same phonemic information that an IPA transcription would (relative to the concept of Standard Mandarin phonology). For Tibetan, THDL is not really a transcription or a transliteration, but it is a compromise between them.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 03:39, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Reply 2: Concerning the Lhoka-Darzêdo issue, “Shannan” is a newly-created title and directly origined from “Lhoka”, while the title “Kangding” has been created as late as Qing dynasty. So in Kangding, all - Tibetans, Han Chinese, Qiang, Manchus are considered to be natives (you cannot determin which “native” name should be followed); while in Lhoka, only Tibetans and Moinba are natives, so you have no cause to use the Chinese name Shannan. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) 03:48, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
Reply 3 and others yet to be written. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) 06:21, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

the bottom line[edit]

the bottom line here is that wikipedia is an encyclopedia, we are not aiming to achieve perfection or instruction in Tibetan language, what we do on wikipedia is create articles about certain topics, the titles of those articles should be indicative of what most users will be familiar with. If Wylie or another system is more commonly used in academic journals, the press, etc, then that system should be chosen as a standard.Дунгане (talk) 23:43, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

You're self-contradictory, Дунгане. You told us that the title should be what most users will be familiar with, but on the contrary you told us to use those name commonly used in academic journals. Clearly most users will not be familiar to academic journals. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) 06:02, 18 November 2010 (UTC)


Are there any current objections, now that matter has been dealt with, to making this a {{guideline}}? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:21, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

I've gotten slightly sidetracked while in the process of trying to drum up interest in discussing this proposal. Please give it some more time while I encourage participation. I'm not sure we can make this a guideline without a greater absolute amount of support, anyway.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 05:30, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
  1. No good reason is given why the preference of the subject of an article should override the conventional spelling, as is stated in the "preference of the subject" section.
  2. Romanization for placenames: saying 'use government publications or UN maps' unnecessarily enables conflict. If I am reading it correctly, should that say 'government of China publications'? And from how long ago? Not everyone will use the same sources when creating the article, and some sources may conflict with each other. Why not set Tibetan Pinyin as the standard, excepting cases where some non-pinyin form is overwhelmingly used such that the government itself uses it, such as Lhasa? Quigley (talk) 04:16, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
Quigley, regarding the preference of the subject, I am not at all wedded to this point. As I noted in the proposed convention, it doesn't seem likely that there would be many conflicts between "subject preference" and "most common". I like having "subject preference" as a criterion just because it is sometimes easier to check.
Regarding placenames, I would note that the proposal currently does not say to use government publications/UN maps — it makes an empirical claim that, for obscure locations, those are likely to be the only sources we have available to us. We should probably be using the most up-to-date maps we have available. If sources conflict, and both are considered reliable, then it doesn't really matter that much which one we pick, so we might as well just keep it the same as the initial version of the article.
The reason I don't prefer to have Tibetan Pinyin as the standard is that it has dramatic common names drawbacks. In other words, it tends to be at odds the common names. It also is terrible at implying correct pronunciations to English-speakers. FYI, "Lhasa" is not an exception to Tibetan Pinyin — that is also the correct spelling of lha-sa in Tibetan Pinyin (unless they want it to be Lhaisa to reflect the pronunciation of some Lhasa locals).—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 05:30, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
Lhasa may be written either Lhasa, Lhäsa or Lhaisa in “Tibetan Pinyin”, and the former two are acceptable. What's more, consider Tibet, you didn't move it to Bod, even though the former proposal prefer Wylie. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) 03:52, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
  • I find the proposal page to be reasonable and useful - both for editors and more importantly for producing articles that would be consistent, accessible and understandable to an English as a first language audience. This is my first and last contribution and I strongly agree with the proposal. --Dakinijones (talk) 11:25, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
  • I think this is a well thought out proposal and I agree that Wylie transliterations are misleading to English speakers (and generally unreadable to boot). I agree with Quigley that the "government source" clause needs to be clarified; PRC sources should be used over Government in Exile sources for names of places and people inside China and the reverse for people and places associated with the diaspora. (And of course, places outside of China not associated with the diaspora, like Tibetan areas in Nepal, should use local government sources.) But otherwise I approve. Danger (talk) 21:12, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
  • I think the government thing needs to be clarified as well. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 08:42, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not really sure what to clarify it to. It currently says, "With regard to the names of places in Tibet, for many more obscure locations, our main sources will usually be government publications or UN maps, which tend to use Tibetan Pinyin spellings." This is part of a section titled When no primary romanisation can be determined. It isn't really talking about what we should do, it's making an observation about what sources we are likely to have. I guess my motivation for including it was to say, "Look, don't avoid using Tibetan Pinyin titles if that is used in the only sources we have", since I don't think these Naming Conventions would result in the use of Tibetan Pinyin in most cases. I don't think we need a rule that says "use Chinese government maps in preference to Tibetan exile publications", because we are always going to need to look at the sources we have available and decide which are the more reliable on a case-by-case basis. I don't think Tibetan exiles publish very many maps that compete with Chinese government maps, anyway.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 15:42, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
  • I support this proposal. I do not share the concerns voiced above regarding differing authoritative spellings or even totally differing names. That's what redirects are for (e.g. Danzig). Also, I think it's important to avoid considering whether a spelling is "terrible at implying correct pronunciations to English-speakers" because 1) the most common spelling of a well-known or obscure name will be the most helpful as far as article naming, and 2) the pronunciation is easily indicated on the first line (e.g. Lech Walesa). After all, I suspect most native English speakers' pronunciations are in fact spelling pronunciations, as most don't speak Tibetan. One concern do I have, however, pertains to the very last section regarding a consensus on romanization. First, I'm not sure it's entirely feasible or even useful to have a romanization scheme for ordinary words across Tibetan lang-lects that's any different from the methods described for proper personal and place names. Second, I'm apprehensive it may lead either to an OR slippery slope, or to an endless debate on which authority's or scholar's system is best. Third, the section is precatory as it is and does not give any guidance. Perhaps this proposal could be improved overall by deleting that section and stating within the general text a preference for analogous methods of naming articles on these ordinary words: the article should be named as the term is most commonly spelled in English language scholarly texts, avoiding Wylie style article names whenever possible. Plus, this seems to be the existing policy practice, and so would not present [m]any changes (e.g. terma, semde). JFHJr () 17:43, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
...I went ahead and deleted that section. I also reordered the text thematically but did not edit it. My apologies if this throws anyone off. JFHJr () 19:06, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
  • I am not familiar with the topic all that much, but have been invited to comment. I generally support the proposal, based on our core "common name" principle. However, since, as I understand, Tibetan Pinyin is the official transcription system in China, I feel it is appropriate to provide Tibetan Pinyin transcription, when available, in all articles dealing with people, places, and objects within TAR and elsewhere in PRC. Also, since many places and people are known to the outside world primarily via Chinese-language media, it may often be useful to have the Chinese name for the object in the article as well. (On the same pragmatic principle that a Russian, Spanish, or French name is useful in an article about an object in, say, Chuvashia, the Basque Country, or some First Nation autonomous region in Quebec). -- Vmenkov (talk) 18:51, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm not very familiar with Tibetan naming conventions and have little to no Tibetan or Chinese language ability, but have been invited to comment. In general, I think there should be 2 core guidelines:
1) The name most commonly used in English publications outside Wikipedia should also be used in Wikipedia. This is covered in Use the conventional spelling.
2) As many name variants as can be found should be mentioned in the article and should have redirects to the article. This ensures that people who use a different name can find the article and that everyone is clear on what the article is talking about. At a minimum this should include the Wylie and Pinyin transliterations and the spellings used in the cited sources, but will probably include many more variants as well. (This is similar to Vmenkov's suggestion above.) I'd like to see some version of this added to the naming conventions.--Wikimedes (talk) 01:17, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Hear, hear. JFHJr () 02:46, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I've added a statement to this effect, with appropriate links, in the intro. I think the rest represents a reasonable policy proposal. JFHJr () 04:05, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Support:JFHJr's "Alternative names" sentence in the intro and Nat Krause's comments below address #2.--Wikimedes (talk) 17:06, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
  • In principle, I Strongly support Nat Krause's proposed naming conventions. I am certainly not qualified to support one system of naming over another - but I strongly support any attempt to bring some consistency (and, dare I say it, more simplicity) to the confusing mishmash of systems now in use in the Wikipedia.
Tibetan names do indeed present a very complex and contentious issue but this is all the more reason to develop clear guidelines to ensure consistent names which will prevent confusion (and, hopefully, arguments) between readers and editors.
I believe the proposed convention would help clear up the present confusing picture. I should only add that it is important to retain the original spelling forms used in direct quotes in articles. These should be followed by the names in brackets giving the spelling according to the new conventions. Sincerely, John Hill (talk) 12:24, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Support for Nat Krause's proposed naming conventions: seems reasonable. --Klimov (talk) 13:46, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: the part regarding place names is the most sensible, and I particularly voice the same views as Vmenkov does. —HXL's Roundtable and Record 18:28, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: reasonable and well thought out. Esowteric+Talk 19:32, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. I have some extensive experience of these problems, as one can see from a glance at my page. I strongly support any move which brings consistency over articles and respect for WP:NPOV as that is related to verifiable usage patterns in English language publications, since this is an English encyclopedia, where English usage, while certainly permeable to changes in regional toponymic practices, must be the governing criterion. The proposals are clear, and yet flexible. Well-done.Nishidani (talk) 20:57, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: I think almost everyone can agree on this. HenryFlower 16:08, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Support as per the reasons given above.Sylvain1972 (talk) 16:03, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
  • (weak) Support: I think this is all uncontroversial, but I would like to see traditional spellings used instead of Chinese ones whenever they exist, even if they are not particularly common. Rigaze/Xigaze looks offensive and colonial to me. I also think it is important to use Tibetan names in Tibet related articles, i.e. Rebgong instead of Xiahe, etc. Tibetologist (talk)

Inclusion of other names[edit]

Re: Vmenkov, et al. I agree that place names of locations in the PRC should include the name in Tibetan script, Wylie, Chinese characters, Hanyu Pinyin, Tibetan Pinyin, and the pronunciation in IPA for Standard Tibetan. There is a concern that the intro to the article will be overstuffed with different spellings, but that's a stylistic question that we can figure out. I'm not sure that Tibetan areas outside of Ü-Tsang need Tibetan Pinyin or IPA, since those are based on a particular dialect that isn't spoken everywhere in the Tibetophone world. I'm also not sure how the same rules should apply to persons, i.e. which spellings for which persons. This proposal is a naming convention rather than a Manual of Style, so, technically, I don't think this topic would be included. However, since there is no Manual of Style for Tibetan currently, I don't have a problem with mentioning this proviso in the naming convention.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 03:37, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Good point that the intro could become overstuffed with alternative names. If too many alternative spellings make the intro unwieldy, less common names could be moved to a short "alternative spellings and names" section in the body, or even to a footnote.--Wikimedes (talk) 17:06, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Our infoboxes also have several spaces for extra versions. --Danger (talk) 17:35, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Here's a variation on the issue of determining primary romanisations. The policy sets forth two examples on alternate spellings: Kagyu (a term) and Thinley (a personal name). The examples appear right after defining primary romanisation and stating a preference for consistently romanised terms. Minor variations, this proposal states, do not indicate there is no primary romanisation.

So how would this policy be implemented to find a primary romanisation in respect to these examples? I do think it would be relatively easy to change 16 instances of Kargyu to Kagyu on the basis that Kagyu seems to be the primary romanisation. However Thinley and Trinley seem equally likely to be primary romanisations. For a person named Thinley whose personal spelling preference cannot be readily discerned, what would be an appropriate default primary romanisation under this policy? If the answer is "case by case," as I suspect it might need be, this might mean no particular consistency or primary romanisation can be expected in a great many personal names. In short, I can't tell how the current proposal would handle the very example that it cites. Advice anyone? JFHJr () 19:24, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

I think we would need to be clear on what kind of consistency we want. In the case of Kagyü, we are talking about a specific entity (albeit a fairly inchoate one, but it refers to a single school of Tibetan Buddhism), so we would want to be consistent on how we refer to that on Wikipedia. That said, if I decided to start a local Kagyü enthusiasts club and I called it bKargyüd Enthusiasts Local 151, then Wikipedia would still have to use the spelling bKargyüd for that article (just as we have an article on Peking Duck which mentions that it's from Beijing). On the other hand, "Trinley"/"Thinley" is a word used in personal names, so it appears as part of the names of many different people. I think our standard should be that each individual has a name which is spelled consistently across Wikipedia, but different people whose names each include phrin-las don't have to all have it spelled the same way. Maybe this section is not necessary: my original intention was to avoid having page move on the basis of logic like: "Well, we can't say that either 'Trinley' or 'Thinley' is primary, so let's fall back on a systematic spelling like Chinlai or Phrin-las." In that case, it should definitely be either Trinley or Thinley (or possibly Trinlay); picking among those options might be tricky, but this is section is simply advising us to make sure that we pick one of them.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 04:08, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Again, I am mostly speaking from ignorance, but is there some "standard reference" book on Tibetan culture and history whose spellings we can use to resolve ties when there are several competing spellings? Obviously it has to be something in English, large (multivolume, probably), and reasonably modern. For example, for the Iranic civilization Encyclopedia Iranica could perhaps be considered such a standard; is there an equivalent for the Tibetan region? -- Vmenkov (talk) 22:00, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think there is something like that for Tibetan culture. I have seen enormous variability among the best English-language scholars on how to spell Tibetan names.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 04:09, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I think this policy is an attempt to compensate for a lack of the kind of an English-user-friendly standard Vmenkov describes. Many, if not all, personal name spellings will be (and ought to be) lifted fairly intact from sources when starting and naming an article. The differences in reliable sources' romanisations range from arbitrary (minor variations) to dialectical and on to outright transliteration, as this policy reflects and does a pretty good job treating. However, if this policy states that a primary romanisation for Thinley exists (subject to personal preferences), an answer as to what it is should be both discernible and useful for editors. I don't find a primary romanisation for Thinley is either discernible or awfully useful. I think either the statement on "primary romanisation" or the one on "minor variations" with examples should be reworked. But I do agree with Nat that other reader-unfriendly fall-backs are unsuitable. Perhaps some more separate guidance belongs in the section on personal names; perhaps also a statement favoring using sources' romanisations as opposed to their transliterations. I don't mind doing this myself, but what say ye? JFHJr () 04:34, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and reworked what I had in mind. If it's not what we need, just revert. JFHJr () 07:02, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Move to close[edit]

I think we've got a consensus. So far, positive criticism has shaped this policy into something reasonable and workable. There have been almost no new or renewed suggestions in almost a week. JFHJr () 04:06, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I think that would be appropriate. – Quadell (talk) 22:59, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
Closed JFHJr () 22:31, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I have changed it from a policy to a guideline: [1] It was nominated for a guideline here and subject specific naming conventions are guidelines so I guess the policy designation was a misunderstanding. PrimeHunter (talk) 02:38, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Many thanks! JFHJr () 03:31, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm rather late, Nat, so I'll just cheer in the background as I do indeed (belatedly) support the guidelines. They are sensible, though I would ask we include Wylie in parenthesis. Longchenpa (talk) 07:07, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Minor variations - Shishapangma, Shisha Pangma, Xixabangma, and Xixiabangma[edit]

Hello, there's a name change discussion going on at talk:Xixabangma and what constitutes minor spelling variations appears to be relevant to the discussion. Are all four terms minor spelling variations of each other, or are Shishapangma and Shisha Pangma minor spelling variations of each other with Xixabangma and Xixiabangma constituting minor variations of a separate spelling? Or maybe there's a better grouping? Input on talk:Xixabangma would be appreciated.--Wikimedes (talk) 21:04, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

How to include Tibetan names when the common English name derivates from a non-Tibetan language?[edit]

Note: this section does not attempt to discuss variations in the spelling of Tibetan names or article titles. Please refer to already existing conventions and guidelines for spelling and title issues.

This section attempt to discuss how Tibetan names should be included in the English WP when the common English name does derivate from a non-Tibetan language.

As examples, we can mention Gauri Sankar (aka Jomo Tseringma), Mount Kailash (aka Gang Rinpoche), Lake Manasarovar (aka Mapham Yutso), Mount Everest (aka Chomolungma) Shiquane/Ali (aka Senge Tsangpo).

There is currently no systematic way to include the Tibetan name in these five articles. Currently, two articles (Manasarovar and Ali) are mentioning the Tibetan name in the lead outside parenthesis, while the other three (Gauri Sankar, Kailash, Everest) only mention the Tibetan name in parenthesis under local languages. This makes an important difference, as in the latest three cases the Tibetan name is not considered as a possible English term, while it is in the former two. In the example I gave, notability of the Tibetan name in English does not seem to play a role, as Mapham Yutso for example is only marginally known in English, while Chomolungma has gained a certain recognition in English since at least 5-6 decades.

To try to sort things out, I have consulted the following guidelines and policies:


Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Tibetan)


Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English)


The following extracts seems to be relevant:

[…] other names, especially those used significantly often (say, 10% of the time or more) in the available English literature on a place, past or present, should be mentioned in the article, as encyclopedic information. Two or three alternate names can be mentioned in the first line of the article […]. If there are more names than this, or the first line is cluttered, a separate paragraph on the names of the place is often a good idea. Local official names are often listed first, but in other cases it serves neutrality to list the names in alphabetical order by language

The lead: […]Relevant foreign language names (one used by at least 10% of sources in the English language or is used by a group of people which used to inhabit this geographical place) are permitted.

In the five examples, certainly less than 10% of English speakers will use the Tibetan name, but according to the last sentence above, it should be OK to systematically include the Tibetan name. If we can agree on this point, it would also be good to have certain guidelines regarding the way how to present it:

  • either in parenthesis following the Tibetan script as the/a romanised form: In such case, the Tibetan form is not given any preponderance towards other languages.
  • or in parenthesis as an alternative in English. Example for Manasarovar: "Lake Manasarovar (also Mapham Yutso) followed by all different names in Tibetan, Chinese, Sanskrit, etc."
  • or as an alternative English form. Example for Manasarovar: "Lake Manasarovar or Mapham Yutso (followed by all different names in Tibetan, Chinese, Sanskrit, etc.)

I have noticed many recent edits by different editors, each using different ways of doing. A rather unified style would be appreciated.--Pseudois (talk) 12:13, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

- Of course in this case "Manasarovar" is a rendering of the Hindi or Sanskrit - not Tibetan - name. CFynn (talk) 17:23, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

THL’s Online Tibetan Phonetics Converter[edit]

There is a very useful on-line tool that will automatically convert Unicode Tibetan or Wylie to a simple phonemic rendering which can be easily read by English speakers: [2]. A description of the system by Dr. Nicolas Tournadre and Dr. David Germano may be found here: [3]. The converter is Free Software (written in Perl), and the source code is available for download from the THL site. I suggest we just encourage editors to use this tool when transcribing Tibetan names as it will produce standard, academically acceptable, yet easy to read results.

CFynn (talk) 16:45, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps this useful facility should be mentioned on the main page. Use of it makes things easy - and if widely adopted would ensure consistency. Chris Fynn (talk) 16:49, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

Sort order?[edit]

Should this proposal address the matter of alphabetical sort order for Tibetan names? If so, what should that guideline be, and what mechanism should be used to accomplish it?

My understanding is that Tibetans generally do not use family surnames, and thus the common Western convention of reversing the name for alpha sorting (e.g., Albert Einstein sorts as "Einstein, Albert") seems inappropriate. Also, it appears that people commonly misconstrue such terminal titles/honorifics as Rinpoche and Lingpa as surnames, incorrectly sorting boatloads of high lamas under R in every category. That said, I have no idea if there is a standard convention on this among academics, so I'm not positive what to do about it, which is what I came to this page seeking. Meanwhile, I'll go boldly apply some default sorting.

--KGF0 ( T | C ) 03:45, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

I would think default order would be the way to go most of the time. I'll try to make some time to take a stab at this.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 20:25, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Names in Tibetan script should be collated in Tibetan order. While Tibetan collation (sorting) is complex there are freely available software routines and tailored collation tables to accomplish this. In English Wikipedia Tibetan names written in Latin script similar to how they pronounced should be collated the same as English. Wylie transliteration should probably be collated like Tibetan - but this may be a fairly complex thing to accomplish.
In Central Tibet only people from important families commonly used family surnames - while in eastern Tibet most people used family names - so we can't generalize for all Tibetans.
Rinpoche, Kyabje, Geshe, etc. are titles.
Chris Fynn (talk) 16:38, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

Wylie and Tibetan script[edit]

I feel there is no need to include both Wylie and Tibetan script in articles - Wylie was useful before the Unicode and Tibetan font support was common - but it is now almost universal in computer operating systems (except Android which includes no Tibetan font). Anyway I think anyone who can understand Wylie can also read Tibetan script - so including both is redundant and makes pages look messy. Using the Wylie or Tibetan script for a name or term more than once in an article - unless they form part of a quotation - should also be avoided.

For the average reader who cannot understand Wylie and Tibetan script, the primary phonetic transcription should be mostly used.

Alternative Chinese or Pinyin names are useful for place names, but IMO Tibetan in Pinyin is not useful for anything else on English Wikipedia - anyway "Tibetan Pinyin" is often not very consistent.

Chris Fynn (talk) 14:55, 13 December 2014 (UTC)