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Re: new Chinese dinosaur names
> firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:r.
> > Nick is quite correct--the apostrophe is used in
> > show separate syllables so that xian and xi'an are
> > pronounced like "shyen" and "shee-ahn."
> Woud you be kind enough to supply a reference for the
use of an
> apostrophe in pinyin?
> Such usage appears in virtually no source that I have
come across in
> more than 35 years. Is this a recent usage? Or are you
> romanization systems?
> Thank you.
I can refer you to a number of sources. The nearest at
hand at the moment are:
The pinyin Sino Chinese-English Dictionary (Sino
Publishing Company) pg. xi, under II. Phonetics, 4.,
states: "An apostrophe (') is used to separate syllables
in compound-character entries that maybe confused."
Chicago Manual of Style: Chap. 9, Foreign Languages in
Type; Transliterated and Romanized Languages, subsection
"In an attempt to reproduce sounds more accurately, pinyin
spellings often differ markedly from the older ones, and
personal names are usually spelled without apostrophes or
hyphens; an apostrophe is sometimes used, however, to
avoid ambiguity when syllables are run together (as in
Chang'an to distinguish it from Chan'gan)."
The practice of inserting an apostrophe in such cases
seems pretty universal in the publications I have seen,
including English language publications from China (China
Reconstructs, Beijing Review, etc.). An obvious example is
the city of Xi'an--See the American Heritage Dictionary
and Merriam Webster's Geographical Dictionary, which spell
Xi'an with an apostrophe. Note that in the old Wade-Giles
system compound-character words and names were separated
by a hyphen (Hsi-an), so such ambiguity was not an issue.
The apostrophe is used in a totally different way in the
Wade-Giles transcription to show aspiration of consonants,
as has already been pointed out.
Ben Creisler email@example.com