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WikiProject Languages (Rated Template-class)
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Hyphenation and Capitalization

Before anyone wonders about the difference between "Danzhou" and "Min-dong" and "Pu-Xian", let me try to explain the reason behind my choice:

yo mum -- ran 13:35, May 22, 2004 (UTC)

Pinyin does not use hyphens to separate syllables (joint or otherwise). --Taoster 19:49, 22 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Which is true. What would you suggest then? -- ran 13:49, May 23, 2004 (UTC)
Separate the phonemes with a non-breaking space. The hyphen adds ambiguity as to whether the name is purely Pinyin, a combination of English and Pinyin, or Wade-Giles. --Taoster 04:20, 26 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Historical Spoken Chinese

I changed "Historical spoken Chinese" to "Historical Chinese." Speaking of Middle Chinese, we usually make study on its phonology. But the Middle Chinese sounds are, more or less, artificially constructed ones to "read" rather than to "speak." --Nanshu 04:06, 23 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Then how would you separate the concept of, say, "wenyan" and "Ancient Chinese"? -- ran 13:49, May 23, 2004 (UTC)
With respect to Historical Chinese, the nomenclature on these various phases is somewhat confused, depending on where you look. For instance, Middle Chinese was called Ancient Chinese (c.f. Karlgren). I started a page a while ago on Old Chinese, and this ought to replace "Ancient Chinese", otherwise things could get confusing. In that page, is another stub page on Historical Chinese Phonology. Perhaps that should replace Historical Spoken Chinese, since it isn't a term found in much of the literature I've read.

Dylanwhs 18:42, 23 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Done. -- ran 00:06, May 24, 2004 (UTC)

I'm talking about the header. It should cover all items in the cell, otherwise we need to rearrange them. Now, will Proto-Min and Proto-Mandarin be specific to phonology? I don't think so. --Nanshu 02:39, 26 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is possible, because of the precedence in this chart concerning the Subdivisions of Min that other 'subdivisions' of other languages such as Mandarin, Yue, Hakka, etc will be listed, as places. It seems much more sensible to me that pages listing these sub-dialects of various languages should do this task instead. For example, Wu dialects (now Wu (linguistics) list different dialects on that page. Dylanwhs 20:24, 26 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Why list Subdivisions of Min here but not subdivisions of the other divisions? Why not break off all the subdivisions so this stays a manageable size? --Jiang 21:36, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Because the subdivisions of Min really are that different. Ethnologue, for example, lists all the subdivisions of Min as "separate languages". -- ran 03:14, Jun 24, 2004 (UTC)

Taiwanese and Shanghainese

About my last revert:

First thing: Taiwanese is a part of Min Nan.

Second thing: Please do not put any second-level divisions in there except for the divisions of Min. If we start dividing Mandarin, Wu, etc. and putting all of those in that box, then the box will quickly grow to infinite size. The only reason I split Min up (and not the others) is because Min Bei, Min Nan etc. are commonly listed as separately languages, such as by Ethnologue.

-- ran 15:05, Jul 30, 2004 (UTC)


Regarding this edit, is the Dungan language written in Cyrillic script an official writing standard.., and is it one of the spoken varieties? — Instantnood 10:35, Jun 26, 2005 (UTC)



  1. The subcategories of Min are set out separately because Ethnologue treats them as separate languages.
  2. I've set out Hui, Jin, and Pinghua differently from Danzhouhua, etc., because while Hui, Jin, and Pinghua are generally recognized categories, Danzhouhua, etc. are more like individual dialects that haven't been studied sufficiently to be categorized.
  3. I've put "Standard Mandarin" before "Standard Cantonese" because Standard Mandarin is by far official in many more places and many more contexts than Standard Cantonese.
  4. I've put "Yue" instead of "Cantonese" because I feel that "Yue" is clearer. See also the discussion going on at Talk:Cantonese (linguistics).

-- ran (talk) June 28, 2005 20:09 (UTC)


I propose a move to Languages in the Chinese language family, & to change the instances of dialect to language. This is because the dialects are not dialects but langauges,, its as simple as that.

100110100 08:22, 29 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Shouldn't Taishanese be included (since, for example, we have several divisions of Min)? And do people know what "first-level" means? Wouldn't "major" or "primary" be more clear? Badagnani 01:38, 18 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Second Cantonese link

I've just removed this again, for the same reasons as before, but clearly the edit summary didn't adequately summarise the reasons so here they are. First the link is a duplicate of the link in the Yue section, so is not needed, though on its own that's a poor reason.

More importantly the reason why there's two links to one article is two articles were merged: after a long discussion archived here the article Standard Cantonese was merged into Canton dialect, before that was renamed Cantonese. The consensus was Cantonese is not a standard language in the formal sense, so a separate article was not needed. By the same reasoning is is not an Ausbausprache, so it made sense to remove the link from that section.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 15:07, 19 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for enumerating your reasons here; it indeed wasn't clear from the summary of your original change that removed the link. While it's true that Cantonese isn't a standard language in the formal sense, it does occupy a status different from that of many other Chinese varieties. The archived discussion you linked to revolved around where to draw the line in the content of the merged article on the prestige/semi-standardized Cantonese dialect. However, nowhere in that discussion did anyone object to the description of this dialect as an Ausbausprache. A language does not have to be a formal standardized language to be an Ausbausprache, which is a term that's used to describe a language based on its social usage. In Hong Kong, Cantonese does serve as a de facto language of administration in government; it is the primary language of instruction; in addition, it enjoys a widely used and understood (despite the lack of formal standardization) written form — all elements that define an Ausbausprache. While its true that it may be redundant to list Cantonese again under the Ausbausprache section, you admit yourself that this alone is a poor reason to omit it. —Umofomia (talk) 18:03, 19 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
IMO it's a bit ambiguous whether Cantonese is a standard language or not. It's a borderline case. I don't have a problem with it being added to Mandarin, but I wonder about other lects. There's a movement to push Taiwanese as a standard/prestige lect, and then of course there's Dungan. If Cantonese, why not those as well? It's not like we'd be overwhelming the reader. kwami (talk) 19:28, 19 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
well it's clear there's no consensus here, and as I'm not too concerned about it, and am not a linguist so am not qualified to say what's ausbau or not, I'm happy for someone else to make the call on this.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 20:30, 19 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's a hard call to make, and it's not a matter of linguistics. It's politics and sociology. kwami (talk) 21:14, 19 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Who should make the call then? I'd prefer to list Cantonese (as it was before). BTW, to address your comment above, the case for listing other dialects as Ausbausprachen is much less clear. While Taiwanese may be a prestige dialect of Minnan, socially speaking it does not have the wide institutional recognition that Cantonese has; Dungan even less so. —Umofomia (talk) 08:12, 21 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Cantonese isn't official either. Even in HK, it's only a de facto co-standard. And there's a strong push for Taiwanese to be made official. So it seems rather unfair to include Cantonese but not Taiwanese, and I've added both. kwami (talk) 07:23, 24 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not saying Cantonese is official; it doesn't have to be official to be an Ausbausprache. I'm saying that it has the social and institutional recognition (and yes, I've already mentioned it's de facto) that make the case for it to be an Ausbausprache. The case for Taiwanese is not as strong, but I have no strong opposition to listing it either. —Umofomia (talk) 23:47, 25 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Moved back to official. The bopomofo article is incorrect, and zhuyin fuhao is still officially used to teach Mandarin in Taiwan.


Roadrunner (talk) 06:04, 14 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]