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, and
then take care of level-2 conversion (i.e. more user-friendly, but usually
only unidirectional conversion) in the future. The aim was to have at least
one harmonized system of conversion for each language/script in question.
Therefore, ISO conversion tables are mostly not very user-friendly - which
was not their primary aim anyhow (and not meant as a criticism here at all).
(2) Most 'standard' conversion systems in science have a number of variants
(e.g. modified Wade-Giles or Yale or... for Chinese, modified Hepburn or
kunreishiki or... for Japanese etc.). Which modified version to chose?
(3) In daily use - e.g. in newspapers - different conversion 'systems'
(often not very harmonized, nor systematic) are used in the various language
(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.
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.
Von: John Clews [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Gesendet am: 07 September 2000 21:10
An: [log in to unmask]; [log in to unmask]
Betreff: (iso639.177) 1. Zhuang; 2. Transliteration (was: za / zha :
English and French names)
Zhuang: I agree with the proposed single name.
See also the further detailed comments about taking transliteration
practices into account in arriving at language names, as you have
raised the issue.
In message <[log in to unmask]>
[log in to unmask] writes:
> English names in ISO/DIS 639-1: Zhuang; Chwang; Chuang
> English name in ISO 639-2: Zhuang
> French names in ISO 639-1: zhuang; jouang
> French name in ISO 639-2: zhuang
> My proposal was to include the following English names: Zhuang; Chwang;
> Chuang and the following French names: zhuang; jouang
> A comment identifies Zhuang as the only correct "officially Romanized >
> (acc. to the Pinyin system)", and suggests that also Chuang could be
> accepted "(Wade-Giles transcription)". As to non-official > transcriptions
> into French, the commenter (Christian Galinski) is not certain.
> This raises an issue which is extremely important when it comes to
> indigenous names (for 639-1). For indigenous names we need to stick to
> standardized and official transcriptions/transliterations, whenever
> available. For the English and French names, however, traditional usage >
> scientific literature is also important.
There is actually considerable variance. LC transliteration is quite
widely used in libraries, but less consistently outside. For some
languages, ISO transliterations are widely used, some others of the
ISO standards are rarely used, and it could be argued that there
should be some concergence between ISO and LC transliteration schemes
for some (but not all) language, with more "give" on the ISO side.
An exemplary scheme which does that is the new draft standard ISO
15919: Transliteration of Devanagari and related Indic scripts, which
also incorporated some of the conventions unique to LC.
What is used among far more countries are the UNGEGN
transliterations, agreed by the United Nations Group of Experts on
Geographical Names, and confirmed at the United Nations Conference on
the Standardization of Geographical Names which meets every five
years, last meeting in New York, 12-23 January 1998.
That is actually fairly close to the LC transliterations, and LC and
NIMA (and other US government departments involved with the United
Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names) have liaison
arrangements - I have spoken to the relevant NIMA and LC staff
involved at various times.
I therefore suggest that in any part of ISO 639, any transliterations
involved in names of languages use the UNGEGN transliterations as a
starting point, which are also very similar to the widely used
transliterations used by the USA's Board of Geographic Names, and the
UK's Permanent Committee on Geographic Names, both official bodies.
Most other countries follow UNGEGN rules, particularly in cartography
and gazetteers. Developers of the various parts of ISO 639 should do
so too, in my opinion.
> To finalize this particular item i propose: Zhuang and zhuang only for
> English and French.
Yes, agreed: a single language name only.
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)