Transliteration of CJV
This is a brief explanation of the way CJV languages have been transliterated
in the cjvlang site. For information on the Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese
writing systems, see CJV Writing Systems (this
site). For information on the pronunciation of Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese,
try the following links:
Chinese: Chinese pronunciation
guide / Japanese: Language Lab (hiragana
/ Vietnamese: Guide
1. Transliteration of Chinese and Japanese Words
The pronunciation of Chinese (Mandarin) or Japanese is given in brownish
lettering so as to set them apart from the English text. This will, I hope,
help readers pick their way through (or past!) the large number of Chinese
characters in the site.
The pronunciation of Chinese words is shown in pin'yin, the
standard Mainland romanisation for Mandarin.
- For a comparison between pin'yin and Wade-Giles, see this
page or this
chart lists some old versions of Chinese place, personal and dynasty names
along with the pin'yin versions, e.g., Peking vs Beijing.
In pin'yin, the four tones are normally shown by diacritics (macron,
acute accent, upside-down circumflex, and grave accent). Since two of these
cannot be easily shown on browsers, except with Unicode, tones have been indicated by raised numbers instead.
First tone (high and flat) is shown as superscript1. E.g., mā is written as ma1.
Second tone (rising) is shown as superscript2. E.g., má is written as ma2.
Third tone (low falling then rising) is shown as superscript3. E.g., mǎ is written as ma3.
Fourth tone (falling) is shown as superscript4. E.g., mà is written as ma4.
The capital of China is shown as Bei3
jing1 under this
system. Much against my better judgement, I've separated the syllables. This
gives the erroneous impression that each syllable is an independent word,
but I've been forced to do so for visual convenience. On some pages I've linked
syllables using hyphens, e.g. Bei3-jing1. Ideally, this should be written as one word: Běijīng.
Note: Where Chinese words appear as normal words in an English text,
tone marks are omitted and syllables are usually run together. In this case,
the capital of China is shown as 'Beijing'. For place names in Hongkong or
Taiwan, the local romanisation is followed (e.g., 'Taipei', not 'Taibei').
See this page for a discussion of Romanisation, in particular a pet
peeve about tone marks.
The pronunciation of Japanese words is shown in the Hepburn romanisation.
This is the easiest system for foreign readers to understand, being relatively
close to English spelling. Kunrei-siki, an alternative system that follows
hiragana and katakana more closely, is a more elegant romanisation,
but for most non-speakers of Japanese it's not an intuitive guide to pronunciation.
(See also this interesting article on Japan's
I would prefer to use macrons for long vowels, but this is not possible
on web browsers. Therefore, Japanese long vowels are indicated by doubling.
- oo is a long 'o' sound，better written ō, close to the British
pronunciation of 'awe', not as in the exclamation 'ooh!'
- ee is a long 'e' sound, better written ē, pronounced like 'air'
in English but without the 'r' at the end. It is not pronounced like
the name of the letter 'e'.
(Note: the current trend is to represent long 'o' as 'ou'. I do not use this
method as it wipes out the useful distinction between long 'o' and the real
Wo (the object marker) is shown as o.
The capital of Japan, Tōkyō, is Tookyoo
under this system. For British English speakers, this sounds like the words
'Talk your', not 'Too cue'.
Note: For the representation of Japanese names and other words in normal
English text, vowel length is not indicated. The capital of Japan becomes
'Tokyo' under this system.
Vietnamese is shown in the standard quoc ngu orthography,
a romanised script with diacritics. The capital of Vietnam becomes
under this system. Note that syllables are separated in standard Vietnamese
For ordinary mention of personal and place names and other Vietnamese
words (such as 'quoc ngu' or 'chu nom') in the English text, diacritics have
been omitted. Syllables are run together where it seems appropriate (the capital
of Vietnam becomes 'Hanoi', not 'Ha Noi'), but in most cases I've followed
the common practice of splitting Vietnamese words into two syllables in English
(e.g., 'nuoc mam', not 'nuocmam').