Taiwan to adopt Hanyu pinyin

According to this report, hanyu pinyin is to be officially adopted in Taiwan from the beginning of next year.

The main romanization systems currently used in Taiwan are Wades-Giles and Tongyong Pinyin. However, as they are not taught in schools, mistakes and misspelling are very common, and it’s not usual to see the romanized name of a street written in several different ways. The Wade-Giles system was devised by Thomas Francis Wade, a British ambassador to China and Chinese scholar, in the late 19th century, and refined in 1912 by Herbert Allen Giles, a British diplomat in China. The Tongyong Pinyin system was invented in Taiwan and adopted in 2000. Hanyu pinyin was developed in China in the 1950s and was adopted as the international standard for romanizing Chinese in 1979.

It hanyu pinyin is adopted for place names as well as street names, Taipei will become Taibei, Kaohsiung will change to Gaoxiong, Hsinchu will change to Xinzhu and Keelung will change to Jilong, along with many other changes.

You can find details of places names in Taiwan at:

This is a positive development, however it remains to be seen whether local governments in Taiwan will be more consistent in their use hanyu pinyin than they have been with Tongyong pinyin.

This entry was posted in Chinese, Language.

11 Responses to Taiwan to adopt Hanyu pinyin

  1. Ramses says:

    Still, Bompofo is the main system for transcribing Chinese in Taiwan. Are they going to abandon this use as well?

  2. Ryan says:

    Do you think that this will really catch on like the romanized version of Japanese?

  3. Simon says:

    Ramses – bopompfo is used mainly for showing the pronunciation of characters in text books for children and foreigners learning Chinese. On road signs Wade-Giles or Tongyong pinyin are used, and they will be replaced by hanyu pinyin. I’m not sure if they’re planning to replace bopomofo with hanyu pinyin in textbooks as well.

    Ryan – it’s possible that romanized Chinese in pinyin might catch on in forums, online chats, etc.

  4. Very interesting… though as you said, we still have yet to see how the local governments will implement this change. I also wonder how it will affect non-government related entities and their use of pinyin.

  5. Cakra says:

    So, will names of everything from streets to people in Taiwan be changed? Or will they just use it in street sign and government publication?

  6. Weili says:

    About time :)

  7. Stella says:

    I’m glad to learn about it. Hopefully bopomofo will still be used in the textbooks in the future.

  8. Simon says:

    Cakra – I understand that just street names will change. I doubt if many people will change the way they spell their names.

  9. Ken Gonzales says:

    It would be great if all of the Chinese are written in some romanized form … it would not only be economically advantageous for China, it would also bring Chinese into some sort of global prominence, and might perhaps eventually replace English in its status as a de factor international language.

    But most importantly, my burdens in studying the language would be greatly eased … (^_&)

  10. Stella says:

    Too many Chinese characters have the same pronunciation. So if all of the Chinese were written in some romanized form, you would first find the language easy to learn. However, you would find it confusing in the long run.

  11. Eddy1701 says:

    Then how is it that no one has trouble understanding spoken Chinese, which obviously lacks such disambiguating mechanisms as hanzi?