taiwanchurch.org -- Church Romanization for Taiwanese (Hokkien/Minnan)
My philosophy on Romanizations: They are good for rendering names into English but I think it can be awkward as far as regular usage, since the letters represent sounds that do not always match the English spelling. This difference slows the whole process down. As you peruse the Taiwanese Romanization table below, I think you will see what I mean. Things are not always as they seem. I have developed a completely new phonetic script for Taiwanese based on Oxford Professor J.R.R. Tolkien's script (twscript.html). However, since the PCT Church Romanization is the most commonly used in Taiwan, and has a lot of Taiwanese articles, hymns and even the whole Bible written using it, it must be learned for those who wish to use Taiwanese.
- Joel Linton, Feb. 2005
PCT Romanization Tables... for TAIWANESE
Romanization: "h" added to the consonant means aspiration.
Sound: When two consonants together, the capitalized one is stronger sound.
In addition to the consonant/vowels below, above the vowel is words is written one of eight tones. See the next table for that.
|s||"s" or "sh"|
|ch + (a/e/o/u)||"dz"|
|chh + (a/e/o/u)||"ts"|
|i||long e = "ee"|
|o||"soft o" almost a shwa|
|o + .||"guttural o"|
|u||"u" = "oo"|
|^n or ^*||"nasalize vowel"|
|and so on|
TONES There are a total of eight tones in Taiwanese.. if you count the neutral tone. Tone number 2 and number 6 are so similar that usually Tone Number 6 is left out. So the standard numbering is like this:
|Tone Number||Description||PCT Romanization Symbol||Tone Contour|
|1||high level pitch||no symbol (default)||44|
|2||high to middle falling||/||51|
|3||mid to low falling||\||31|
|4||glottal stop - descending||no symbol, words ending in (h/k/p/t)||32|
|5||mid fall then up||^||324|
|7||mid level pitch||-||33|
|8||glottal stop - ascending||' + h/k/p/t ending||34|
|zero tone||extremely short sound||^o|
One more rule about Tones:
When words are combined in a sentence, the last word of a phrase (or wherever you pause) is pronounced with the original tone. The tones of the words before are changed in a consistent manner.
1 changes to 7
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"
Here is an example from the Taiwanese Bible. Can you read it?
More information on Taiwanese:
back to taiwanchurch.org