taiwanchurch.org -- Typing Taiwanese with No Specialized Fonts

Typing Rules

For typing emails without a speciallized font, use the PCT romanization. Type the vowels and consonants first. Then add any vowel markings... Add a period immediatly after the o vowel "o." to show a glottal "o"
Add an asterisk "*" after the syllable to indicate nasalized vowels.
Then you finally indicate tone markings listed after their tone number below. I think putting the actual tone markings instead of the tone number makes it easier to read on emails. Connect words with a tilda "~"
1 (no marking)
2 /
3 \
4 ending in h,k,t,p
5 ^
7 -
8 ending in h', k', t', p'
Now you can email your friends using Taiwanese.

Here is an example from the Taiwanese Bible. Can you read it?

So./ sim/~phoa*\ e^, chiu-~si- kng jip' se\~kan,
iah' lang^ ai\ am\ khah ke\~thau^ ti- kng,
in~ui- i so./ kia*^ siu- chek~pi-.
Tok'~tok' kia*^ chin~li/ e^ lang^ chiu-~kun- kng,
lai^ hian/~beng^ i e^ so./ kia*^ si- ti- Siong-~te\ lai^ kia*^.

Iok~han- 3:19-21

When you are short on symbols, e.g. typing text messages or filling in passwords or login names on computers that do not allow symbols, you can use numbers or letters for the tone markings -- see below:

o. = oo
nasalized = nn

Use a tone marking with letters:

1 (no marking)
2 v
3 w
4 ending in -h,k,p,t
5 x
7 z
8 ending in -hh,kk,pp,tt

It would look like:

Soo2 sim2-phoann3 e5, chiu7-si7 kng jip8 se2-kan iah8 lang5 ai3 am3 khah ke3-thau5 ti7 kng, in-ui7 i so.2 kiann5 siu7 chek-pi7. Tok8-tok8 kiann5 chin-li2 e5 lang5 chiu7-kun7-kng, lai5 hian2-beng5 i e5 soo2 kiann5 si7 ti7 Siong7-te3 lai3 kiann3.

Soov sivm-phoawnn ex, chiuz-siz kng jipp sev-kan iahh laxng aiw awm khah kew-thaux tiz kng, in-uiz i soov kiaxnn siuz chek-piz. Tokk-tokk kiaxnn chin-liv ex laxng chiuz-kuzn-kng, laix hiavn-bexng i ex soov kiaxnn siz tiz Siozng-tew laix kiaxnn.

If you compare the two, I still think typing without using numbers is more intuitive. We can easily in our minds switch v, w, x, and z into tones 2, 3, 5 and 7, and using these last letters also shows relation... v descending, w, also descending but lower; x down-up middle and ; z flat accross. Still, the original symbol/letter combo seems the best of the modifications. And of course, the diacritical vowels of the original romanization seems easiest. But perhaps it is all down to what you are used to.

More information on Taiwanese:
  • More examples, short quotes with glossary of Taiwanese words: q1
  • Another new Taiwanese script has been invented at www.taioanji.com. It is extremely fascinating, has great theoretical foundations, and would be a great cipher for you to use for code. However because of the similarity of the different letters, I think it would not be very writable or very readable. You'll just have to try it out and see if it works.
  • Romanization

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last updated 2/7/2008