Taiwan's romanization situation

An earlier version of this site. It has some things not found here.

Chih-hao Tsai
His research page covers romanization, psycholinguistics, the psychology of reading, and cognitive science, while his technology page covers his computing and programming work, which is primarily related to the processing of Chinese. An excellent resource.

Dan "jidanni" Jacobson's latest pinyin battle.

An introduction to the Taiwanese language.

De-Sinification: Language and Nationalism in Asia
A pro-romanization site that includes many interesting and relevant research papers on languages, including Taiwanese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Korean. The papers are in a variety of languages: English, Taiwanese, and Mandarin.

Taiwan's National Languages Committee (formerly the Mandarin Promotion Council)
In the bad old days of martial law, this unit of Taiwan's Ministry of Education used to be responsible for hastening Hokien ("Taiwanese"), Hakka, and the languages of Taiwan's indigenous tribes down the road toward oblivion. Fortunately, that has changed, especially under the administration of President Chen Shui-bian. Unfortunately, however, this is also the group that allowed Tongyong Pinyin to be adopted for Mandarin and Hakka -- what a mistake!

Bilingual Environment Service System
The Taiwan government's Web site devoted to promoting a "bilingual" (i.e. English and Modern Standard Mandarin Chinese) environment. Unfortunately, there is a tendency here to fail to distinguish between English and using romanization for Mandarin, which are entirely different things. I will give the Research, Development, and Evaluation Commission credit, however, for holding some interesting though limited seminars on the topic of romanization.

site at Academia Sinica on Tongyong Pinyin
There's little left now of the English portion of this site, which was never much more than a collection of things previously published in the Taiwan News, including that newspaper's hilariously inept editorials in favor of Tongyong. ("Mankind, due to his diversity in appearances, cultures, thoughts, and language, supersedes, if we may say so, other species on this planet....") There's more material in the Mandarin Chinese section.

Taiwan news reports mentioning pinyin
Searches the Web site for news stories (in Mandarin Chinese, with traditional characters) mentioning 拼音 (pinyin).

China news reports mentioning pinyin
Searches the Web site for news stories (in Mandarin Chinese, with simplified characters) mentioning 拼音 (pinyin). Here are the same search results in English (as run through a not great but free machine translator).

Pinyin-related software

Software for learning Chinese. The program incorporates the excellent ABC Comprehensive Chinese-English Dictionary.

Asia Communications Québec Inc.
Makers of KEY and other software products useful for the study of Mandarin Chinese.

Educational software for learning Mandarin Chinese. GoChinese is founded on word-based Hanyu Pinyin, which has proven highly effective for supporting the learning of Mandarin.

Gowell Software
Gowell products range from Mandarin educational software to Chinese word processors.

Pinyin Joe's Chinese Computing Resources
Primarily user-friendly advice on how to set up a Western-language version of Microsoft Windows to read and write Chinese characters, including using Pinyin and Zhuyin.

Google Pinyin Input
There's also an English translation for the directions.

Language-related sites

Adso Free Chinese-English Annotation and Gist Translation
This site can convert Chinese Web pages or text into Pinyin (with tone marks) as well as annotate Chinese Web pages. A wonderful resource., an early site that unfortunately disappeared from the Net, taking with it plenty of useful material. Now it's back in a different location -- as a mirror of the much of the original.

Mandarin Tools

cjvlang: the Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese writing systems
This popular site has lots of useful information. Unfortunately, however, many people tend to take the character etymologies there at face value. Most of the etymologies so prominently available at this site are little more than fairy tales. Use with caution.

the basic properties of Chinese characters
"If English was written like Chinese," an article by Mark Rosenfelder.

Pronunciation of Mandarin Chinese
Useful information on the proper pronunciation of Mandarin, with the examples given in Hanyu Pinyin.

Marjorie Chan's China Links
Annotated list of more than 600 websites related to the Chinese languages and linguistics.

Chinese Language and Culture Forum
Forums for studying Chinese include Reading and Writing, Speaking and Listening, Grammar and Vocabulary, Textbooks and Resources, Universities and Schools, Non-Mandarin Chinese, and Chinese Computing and Technology.

The Pear Stories
Narratives across seven Chinese "dialects."

Sino-Platonic Papers
Sino-Platonic Papers is an occasional series edited by Victor H. Mair of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Although the chief focus of Sino-Platonic Papers is on the intercultural relations of China with other peoples, it also features challenging and creative studies on a wide variety of philological subjects. All new issues are free, with the back catalog also being released gradually in free PDF editions.

English, French, German, and Chinese Romanisations of Chinese
Interesting disucssion of some romanization methods and issues.

Helmer Aslaksen
Aslaksen's wide-ranging site offers much of interest, especially his pages on the Chinese calender and using pinyin on the Internet.

The Morrison Collection
Information relating to the [Robert] Morrison Collection of Chinese books at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Robert Morrison was the compiler of the first Chinese-English dictionary.

Language Log
Victor H. Mair is a frequent contributor on Sinitic languages.

Home to Beijing Sounds (audio & discussion on Beijing dialect and culture), Yǔwén (Mandarin acquisition by native speakers), Nothing Undone (literary Chinese study and discussion), Echoes of Manchu (information & discussion on the Manchu language), the Naxi Script Resource Center (information on Naxi writing and language), Annals of Wu (audio & discussion on Wu/Shanghainese), and xiǎo ér jīng (life & language among China's Muslims).

A great blog about keyboarding in diverse scripts, literacy and digital literacy, and random quotes selected from the history of writing system theory. Inactive since April 2006.

Hanzi Smatter
Dedicated to the misuse of Chinese characters (Hanzi or Kanji) in Western culture. Much of the time, the focus here is on tattoos.

J. Marshall Unger
Unger is the chair of the department of East Asian languages and literatures at the Ohio State University and the author of several important romanization-related books.

Google Translate

Taiwan-related sites

Taiwanease: Taiwan-related forums, event listings, and directories of restaurants, shopping locations, etc. a Taiwan-oriented BBS.

The Taipei Times
Taiwan's best English-language newspaper ... most of the time.

Taiwan Headlines
A good compendium of material from the English-language papers, along with several translations from the local Chinese-language newspapers. New material every weekday. The searchable archives are an excellent resource.

Government Information Office
Taiwan's official information agency -- and my former employer. The site has an enormous amount of information about Taiwan.

David on Formosa
Commentary on all things Taiwanese.

The View from Taiwan
An amazing amount of commentary, plus links to the many, many Taiwan-related sites I haven't mentioned.

Computer and Internet-related links:

My Web hosting company. I've been happy with their prices and service -- and I get a minor kickback I can use toward maintaining if you sign up with them by clicking on the link here (so please do). But I wouldn't put this link here if I didn't think Dreamhost is good.

Checks, cleans, and organizes your HTML. No one with a website should be without it. There's also a somewhat old Windows version for those who don't like working with DOS prompts. Note: If your pages have Chinese characters that aren't encoded as NCRs, be sure to set the character encoding to "raw" before using Tidy. Freeware.

NoteTab text editor
A great text editor. Much of this site was written the old-fashioned geek way, by hand, using NoteTab Light, which is freeware. I've since upgraded to NoteTab Pro.

EmEditor text editor
Another great text editor. Especially useful for its Unicode support.

World Wide Web Consortium
The group that issues the standards for the Web. Much of this site is written in tech-speak, but it's still worthwhile.

Eric Meyer's Website
Lots of useful information about CSS from the author of the best books on the subject. If you have a website but don't know what CSS is, it's time you learned.

A List Apart
An influential on-line magazine on the care and feeding of Web sites. It's an important voice in the fight to uphold Web standards.

Opera Web browser
A lean, fast, customizable, standards-compliant Web browser. It is an excellent choice, whatever your operating system. Available in a variety of languages.

Firefox Web browser
Another fast, customizable, standards-compliant Web browser. It is completely free. And while you're at the site, download Thunderbird, too, which can handle your e-mail more safely than Outlook Express or any other Microsoft virus-magnet.

Unicode is the keeper of the standards that make displaying multilingual pages such as found on this site easier and better for everyone. Unfortunately, the site helps spread the ideographic myth by labeling Chinese characters "ideographs," which they most certainly are not.

CSS Zen Garden: the beauty of CSS design
A demonstration of what can be accomplished visually through CSS-based design. All of the radically different looking sites here have exactly the same valid HTML. The differences in look are achieved -- as they should be -- through CSS.

Hivelogic Enkoder
Want to be able to put your e-mail address on a Web site without having it harvested by "spam-bots," the programs that trawl the Internet for valid addresses to deluge with spam from Nigerian conmen, etc.? Encode your address first using this quick and free service.


Angry Young Grad Student Music
The Village Voice was correct to call Thomas Anderson "clearly the greatest unknown songwriter on the planet." Check out the site to start finding out why that's true.

Beijing Boyce

Grape Wall of China

Book-related links:

Camphor Press
A Taiwan-based publisher of e-books focused on Taiwan and China.

Bookish.Asia: Reviews of books about or set in East Asia.

Excellent tool for searching among sites for new and used books.

Another search-bot for books. Unlike BookFinder, its search function for used books is separate from the search for new books.

Academia Sinica library system catalog

Taiwan's National Central Library catalog

National Taiwan University Library catalog

National Taiwan Normal University (Shi-Da) Library catalog

U.S. Library of Congress catalog