I would like to raise two questions with regard to the pinyin conversion.
1. "lüe" and "nüe" vs. "lue" and "nue"
In "Library of Congress Pinyin Conversion Project: Frequently Asked
Questions: What's the difference between Wade-Giles and Pinyin?"
(http://lcweb.loc.gov/catdir/pinyin/difference.html), it says:
"Umlaut - the umlaut is used commonly in WG; but only two syllables in PY
include an umlaut: nü and lü (to differentiate from the syllables that are
romanized as nu and lu)".
Obviously, LC's conversion of syllables beginning with ü was based on this
"only two rule." As a result, "lüeh" and "nüeh" were converted to "lue"
and "nue" (see personal name heading "Huang, Gonglue, 1898-1931" and
series title heading "Zhan lue cong shu").
However, according to Item 3 (4) of Hanyu Pinyin Fang'an (Scheme for the
Chinese Phonetic Alphabet), if the simple or compound vowels ("yunmu" in
Chinese) beginning with ü follow n or l, the umlaut should not be omitted.
In other words, "lüe" and "nüe" can not be written as "lue" and "nue" (see
Xiandai Hanyu Cidian, Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Diminglu, and Encyclopædia
2. Apostrophe (Syllable-dividing mark)
Again, in "Library of Congress Pinyin Conversion Project: Frequently Asked
Questions: What's the difference between Wade-Giles and Pinyin?", it says:
"Ayns, apostrphes [sic]: - WG uses ayns (sometimes incorrectly written as
apostrophes) to indicate aspiration. PY does not use the ayn, but
occasionally uses the apostrophe to indicate 1) where joined syllables
beginning with the letters a, e or o begin [sic], and 2) when one joined
syllable ends in the letter n and the following syllable begins with the
According to "rule" 2), "Wang, Yen-keng" was converted to "Wang,
Yan'geng", "Hu, An-kang" became "Hu, An'gang."
However, this "rule" can not be found in Hanyu Pinyin Fang'an.
It is only pointed out in Item 5 of Hanyu Pinyin Fang'an that the
syllable-dividing mark (apostrophe) should be used in front of syllables
beginning with a, o, e to mark the division of two syllables that are
otherwise easily confused, such as, dang'an (archives), pi'ao (fur coat),
qi'e (penguin), Tian'an Men, Xi'an.
Having this rule laid down, it is not necessary to use apostrophe in two
joined syllables with the former ending with n and the latter beginning
with g. Apostrophe is never used in such conditions in Xiandai Hanyu
Cidian (see entries: dangan [work on one's own/by oneself], mangan [act
rashly/recklessly], shangang [low hill; hillock], etc.) and Zhonghua
Renmin Gongheguo Diminglu (see p. 43, Bangeng Xiang, p. 198, Fangang Zhen,
p. 529, Nangang Qu, etc.).
Is it necessary to deviate from Hanyu Pinyin Fang'an in terms of these two
Shall we stick to only one standard?
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Library