Tongyong Pinyin

Chinese romanization
for Standard Mandarin
    Hanyu Pinyin (ISO standard)
    Gwoyeu Romatzyh
        Spelling conventions
    Latinxua Sin Wenz
    Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II
    Chinese Postal Map Romanization
    Tongyong Pinyin
    Legge romanization
    Simplified Wade
    Comparison chart
for Sichuanese Mandarin
    Sichuanese Pinyin
    Scuanxua Ladinxua Xin Wenz
for Standard Cantonese
    Guangdong Romanization
    Hong Kong Government
    Sidney Lau
    S. L. Wong (phonetic symbols)
    S. L. Wong (romanisation)
    Standard Cantonese Pinyin
    Standard Romanization
for Shanghai and Suzhou dialects
Min Nan
for Taiwanese, Amoy, and related
    Daighi tongiong pingim
    Modern Literal Taiwanese
    Phofsit Daibuun
for Hainanese
    Hainanhua Pinyin Fang'an
for Teochew
Min Dong
for Fuzhou dialect
    Foochow Romanized
for Moiyan dialect
    Kejiahua Pinyin Fang'an
For Siyen dialect
for Nanchang dialect
See also:
   General Chinese
   Taiwanese kana
   Romanisation in Singapore
   Romanisation in the ROC
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Tongyong pinyin () was the official romanization of Mandarin Chinese in the Republic of China (ROC) (Taiwan) between 2002 and 2008. The system was unofficially used between 2000 and 2002, when a new romanization system for the Republic of China was being evaluated for adoption. The ROC's Ministry of Education approved the system in 2002[1][2] but its use was not mandatory. Since January 1, 2009, Tongyong pinyin is no longer official, due to the Ministry of Education's approval of Hanyu pinyin on September 16, 2008.[3][4]


The impetus behind the invention of Tongyong Pinyin came from the need for a standardized romanization system in Taiwan. For decades the island had employed various systems, usually simplifications or adaptations of Wade-Giles. (Zhuyin fuhao, a standard phonetic system for language education in Taiwan's schools, does not employ the Latin alphabet.)

Tongyong Pinyin was introduced in 1998 by Yu Bor-chuan (余伯泉). The goal was to preserve the strengths of Hanyu Pinyin while eliminating some of the pronunciation difficulties Hanyu presents to international readers, such as the letters q and x. Yu's system has undergone some subsequent revision.

Discussion and adoption of Tongyong Pinyin, like many other initiatives in Taiwan, quickly acquired a partisan cast turning on issues of national identity.[5] Officials who identified most strongly with the nation itself, such as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and allied parties, saw no reason to adopt Hanyu Pinyin just because mainland China and the UN had. If Tongyong Pinyin more adequately met the nation's needs, the ROC had reason enough to adopt it.[6] Officials who identified more strongly with Chinese culture, such as the Kuomintang (KMT), saw no reason to introduce a new system unique to Taiwan if Hanyu Pinyin had already gained international acceptance. Each side accused the other of basing its preference on anti-China or pro-China sentiment rather than an objective discussion of community goals.[7]

In early October 2000 the Mandarin Commission of the Ministry of Education proposed to use Tongyong Pinyin as the national standard. Education Minister Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗) submitted a draft of the Taiwanese Romanization in late October to the Executive Yuan but the proposal was rejected. In November 2000 Minister Tzeng suggested the government adopt Hanyu Pinyin with some modifications for local dialects, but the proposal was rejected. On 10 July 2002 the ROC's Ministry of Education held a meeting for 27 members. Only 13 attended. Two left early, plus the chairman could not vote, so the bill for using Tongyong Pinyin was passed by ten votes.[1] In August 2002 the government adopted Tongyong Pinyin through an administrative order which local governments have the authority to override within their jurisdiction. In October 2007, with the DPP administration still in power, it was announced that the ROC would standardize the English transliterations of its Chinese Mandarin place names by the end of that year, after years of confusion stemming from multiple spellings, using the locally developed Tongyong Pinyin.[8]

During 2008, the Kuomintang won both the legislative and presidential elections. In September 2008, it was announced that Tongyong Pinyin would be replaced by Hanyu Pinyin as the ROC government standard at the end of the year. Since January 1, 2009, Hanyu Pinyin is the only official romanization system in the Republic of China.[3][4]

Adoption and use

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Tongyong Pinyin was the official romanization system in Taiwan but its use was voluntary.[9] The romanization system one encounters in Taiwan varies according to which government authority administers the facility. Street signs in most areas employ Tongyong Pinyin, including the cities of Kaohsiung, Tainan, and surrounding counties. This contrast could be seen in the two entities that now make up the municipality of TaichungTaichung County used Tongyong, while Taichung City has used Hanyu pinyin since at least 2004. Taipei uses Hanyu Pinyin exclusively.[10] Taipei County (now New Taipei City) used Tongyong Pinyin, but in Taipei Metro stations, Tongyong Pinyin was given in parentheses after Hanyu Pinyin. Modified Wade-Giles spellings are still popularly used for many proper names, especially personal names and businesses.

The political impasse stalled Ministry of Education goals of replacing Zhuyin with pinyin to teach pronunciation in elementary school. Zhuyin is still widely used to teach Mandarin pronunciation to schoolchildren. Children's books published in Taiwan typically display Zhuyin characters next to Chinese characters in the text.

On September 17, 2008, the Ministry of Education announced that the government standard for romanization will be switched to Hanyu Pinyin nationwide, effective January 1, 2009.[3][4] Individuals will retain the choice of what spellings to use for their names. This effectively scraps Tongyong Pinyin as the ROC's standard.

Taiwanese language variant

The Tongyong Pinyin system also exists in a Taiwanese phonetic symbol version (), Daighi tongiong pingim, which lacks the letter f but adds the letter bh (for bhān-万). However, in 2006, the Ministry of Education rejected the use of Daighi tongiong pingim () for the Taiwanese dialect in favor of Pe̍h-ōe-jī ().[11]