I agree with your conclusions - with one reservation:
"zhuang" cannot be the indigenous name of the language - it is the
transcribed form of the Chinese name of the language.
Please look into the national Chinese standard on the language identifiers
for minority languages in China, of which we have sent you a copy some time
There you may find the 'indigenous' name (but I am not sure whether it is
listed there - if not, we could ask the Chinese colleagues).
"chwang": one would have to look into the documents, whether it refers to
the language in question.
Some 'authoritative' literature on the topic:
- Centre de linguistique chinoise (ed.) Tables de concordances pour
l'alphabet phonétique chinoise. Paris, 1967
- Kratochvil, Paul. The Chinese language today. London, 1968
In practice, everybody has to 'modify' the 'standard' transcriptions in
Chinese and Japanese because of the insufficiency of rules for writing names
and for the lack of rules for indicating word boundaries, affixes, etc.
Von: Håvard Hjulstad [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Gesendet am: 11 September 2000 10:30
An: [log in to unmask]; [log in to unmask]; Christian Galinski;
'Infoterm, Mag. Marta Alonso'; ISO 639
Cc: Håvard Hjulstad
Betreff: (iso639.181) RE: AW: 1. Zhuang; 2. Transliteration (was: za /
zha : English and French names)
Dear John, Dear Christian,
This is a very interesting exchange concerning
transcription/transliteration. However, I wish to draw the focus back on the
issue that I raised. It was really not about transcription, but rather about
the English and French name of one particular language. We do obviously want
to know the proper indigenous name to assess which English and French names
are most appropriate. But it may be reason to add other name forms that are
frequently found in the literature. Remember: The English and French names
(also) serve as a tool to retrieve the information; we don't standardize
English and French names here.
As far as the indigenous name is concerned, I would think that the official
romanization system should be used. So that issue is settled.
I made a quick search on AltaVista:
"zhuang" returned 13980 English documents and 149 French documents.
"chwang" returned 872 English documents and 4 French documents.
"chuang" returned 31406 English documents and 148 French documents.
However, I have not at all assessed how many of these relate to the language
in question, and how many are "noise".
It would from this seem not unlikely that both "zhuang" and "chuang" could
be candidates for inclusion as English and French names; while the former
will be the only indigenous name.
Håvard Hjulstad mailto:[log in to unmask]
Rådet for teknisk terminologi
(Norwegian Council for Technical Terminology)
Postboks 41 Blindern
NO-0313 Oslo, Norway
(besøksadresse/visiting address: Forskningsveien 3 B)
tel: +47-23198040 faks: +47-23198041
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Clews [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2000 3:52 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: AW: (iso639.177) 1. Zhuang; 2. Transliteration (was: za
> / zha : English and French names)
> In message <[log in to unmask]>
> Christian Galinski wrote:
> > There are some more basic facts about conversion (transliteration,
> > transcription and romanization) to mention:
> > (1) ISO/TC 46/SC 2 decided years ago to deal with level-1 conversion
> > (bidirectional one-to-one conversion for automatic application) first,
> > then take care of level-2 conversion (i.e. more user-friendly, but
> > only unidirectional conversion) in the future.
> That was largely superseded in recent years. The original decision
> led to withdrawal by some P-members from this, notably the United
> States. That original approach had several flaws in it.
> > The aim was to have at least
> > one harmonized system of conversion for each language/script in
> Most of the ISO standards are unharmonised with each other. What
> exactly do you mean by harmonization?
> > Therefore, ISO conversion tables are mostly not very user-friendly -
> > was not their primary aim anyhow (and not meant as a criticism here at
> And that is the reason why so few of them are used, excpet where they
> happen to use pre-existing conventions, which the most used of them
> > (2) Most 'standard' conversion systems in science have a number of
> > (e.g. modified Wade-Giles or Yale or... for Chinese, modified Hepburn or
> > kunreishiki or... for Japanese etc.). Which modified version to chose?
> Actually that's a red herring. This only applies to modified Hepburn
> for Japanese. No other languages have widely used "modified" forms.
> In fact modified Hepburn has become the standard Hepburn in effect.
> The Japanese name - hebonshiki - does not indicate anything modified
> about it. "Modified" is now a historical anacronism as a description.
> > (3) In daily use - e.g. in newspapers - different conversion 'systems'
> > (often not very harmonized, nor systematic) are used in the various
> > communities.
> Quite often you find that they are amazingly often harmonised.
> > (4) For certain applications - e.g. maps and globes - there are other
> > commissions/committees (e.g. UN group of experts for geographical names)
> > harmonizing conversions into Latin under 'user-friendly' aspects.
> Which have proved the most useful in this regard. ISO standards have
> generally nothing to add to the work of UNGEGN.
> > ISO/TC 46/SC 2 still has work in abundance with respect to the
> > standardization/harmonization of all that - whenever it is
> > necessary/suitable to harmonize.
> If there is work in abundance to do, I hope that Austria will get far
> more involved than it has been. ONORM supplied an excellent
> Secretariat, until funding crises obliged them to give it up, when
> ELOT stepped in, but technical input from Austria has been minimal
> Best regards
> John Clews
> John Clews, SESAME Computer Projects, 8 Avenue Rd, Harrogate, HG2 7PG
> tel: +44 1423 888 432; fax: + 44 1423 889061;
> Email: [log in to unmask]
> Committee Chair of ISO/TC46/SC2: Conversion of Written Languages;
> Committee Member of ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC22/WG20: Internationalization;
> Committee Member of the Foundation for Endangered Languages;
> Committee Member of ISO/TC37: Terminology)