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Re: new Chinese dinosaur names

Thank you for the helpful references on apostrophes and pinyin

Apparently this is a more recent usage as it never appeared and was, in
fact, frowned upon in the ancient days when I studied this.

In the case of the cited xian and xi'an, we would have written it xian
and xi an with no apostrophe. Of course, this is a problem of
romanization over the actual Chinese character. The native reader of
Chinese would encounter the characters as different hanzi to begin with
and visually the difference would be crystal clear.

Even so, it seems to me that this is an uncommon usage: that is to say,
it is used only in very specialized cases and, perhaps, not universally
(by inadvertant elision).

One wonders, then, if it would ever appear in a "proper name" for a
dinosaur in any form of English romanization or transliteration.


bh480@scn.org wrote:

> > bh480@scn.org wrote:r.
> >
> > >
> > > Nick is quite correct--the apostrophe is used in
> pinyin to
> > > show separate syllables so that xian and xi'an are
> > > pronounced like "shyen" and "shee-ahn."
> >
> > Woud you be kind enough to supply a reference for the
> use of an
> > apostrophe in pinyin?
> >
> > Such usage appears in virtually no source that I have
> come across in
> > more than 35 years. Is this a recent usage? Or are you
> conflating two
> > romanization systems?
> >
> > Thank you.
> >
> > ES
> I can refer you to a number of sources. The nearest at
> hand at the moment are:
> The pinyin Sino Chinese-English Dictionary (Sino
> Publishing Company) pg. xi, under II. Phonetics, 4.,
> states: "An apostrophe (') is used to separate syllables
> in compound-character entries that maybe confused."
> Chicago Manual of Style: Chap. 9, Foreign Languages in
> Type; Transliterated and Romanized Languages, subsection
> 9.113:
> "In an attempt to reproduce sounds more accurately, pinyin
> spellings often differ markedly from the older ones, and
> personal names are usually spelled without apostrophes or
> hyphens; an apostrophe is sometimes used, however, to
> avoid ambiguity when syllables are run together (as in
> Chang'an to distinguish it from Chan'gan)."
> The practice of inserting an apostrophe in such cases
> seems pretty universal in the publications I have seen,
> including English language publications from China (China
> Reconstructs, Beijing Review, etc.). An obvious example is
> the city of Xi'an--See the American Heritage Dictionary
> and Merriam Webster's Geographical Dictionary, which spell
> Xi'an with an apostrophe. Note that in the old Wade-Giles
> system compound-character words and names were separated
> by a hyphen (Hsi-an), so such ambiguity was not an issue.
> The apostrophe is used in a totally different way in the
> Wade-Giles transcription to show aspiration of consonants,
> as has already been pointed out.
> Ben Creisler bh480@scn.org

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