LINGUIST List 8.1836

Thu Dec 25 1997

FYI: Transliteration, Chinese & Japanese

Editor for this issue: Helen Dry <>


  1. Donna Christian, International transliteration standards
  2. writchie, Chinese and Japanese

Message 1: International transliteration standards

Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 13:46:24 -0500
From: Donna Christian <>
Subject: International transliteration standards

Posting for: John Clews and Evangelos Melagrakis

International transliteration standards

I am the chair of the International Organization for Standardization
subcommittee responsible for transliteration (ISO/TC46/SC2:
Conversion of Written Languages). This met from 12-14 May 1997
at the British Standards Institution in Chiswick, London, to review
international standards in this area - both already published and
under development.

I am interested in any participation that you or any of your
colleagues may be able to undertake, either in meetings or
electronically, given your own necessary involvment in the
multilingual use of computers.

Despite computing standards like ISO/IEC 10646 and Unicode,
there will always be a need for transliteration as long as people do
not have the same level of competence in all scripts besides the
script used in their mother-tongue, and may have a need to deal
with these languages, or when they have to deal with mechanical
or computerised equipment which does not provide all the scripts
of characters that they need.

The secretary (Evangelos Melagrakis from Greece) and I intend to
make transliteration and ISO/TC46/SC2 far more visible and far
more relevant to end users than it has been in the past. To enable
this, an electronic mailing list for ISO/TC46/SC2 (
and an associated Web site (located at has
now been set up by ELOT (the Greek national standards body).
We hope this list will attract researchers and scientists who can
add useful information which might assist in developing
standards on the Conversion of Written Languages.

Scope of transliteration work in ISO/TC46/SC2's working groups.

[WG1:] Transliteration of Cyrillic (work now combined with that of
[WG2:] Transliteration of Arabic (work now combined with that of
 WG3: Transliteration of Hebrew
 WG4: Transliteration of Korean
 WG5: Transliteration of Greek, Armenian, Georgian and Cyrillic
 WG6: Transliteration of Chinese
 WG7: Transliteration of Japaneiteration and computers
 WG9: Transliteration of Thai
 WG10: Transliteration of Mongolian
 WG11: Transliteration of Perso-Arabic script
 WG12: Transliteration of Indic scripts


NB: if necessary, to avoid distortion, resize your viewer/printer if
the word "origins" in the above line is not at the end of a line, and
view or print with a fixed pitch font (Courier at 12 point or smaller
is suggested).

 Latin Cyrillic Devanagari - - - Tibetan
 \ / / Gujarati
 \ / - Armenian / Bengali _ Mongolian
 \ / / Gurumukhi /
 Greek - Georgian / Oriya SOGDIAN Chinese
 | / SCRIPT /
 | / Telugu /
 / | \ \ Tamil \
Hebrew | Arabic \ Korean
 | \ \ - - Sinhala
 | \
 | \ \ _ Burmese
 | \ Khmer
 | \ \
 Ethiopic Divehi \ _ Thai
 (Ethiopia, (Maldives) Lao

longer inuse as such, but all other scripts listed above (used in
99% of theworld's languages) can trace their ancestry back to
these. The East Asian scripts listed above have a slightly more
complex link:
 Chinese characters (hanzi in Chinese) still use similar shapes to
the Sinitic characters used around 1200 BC.

 The Japanese and Korean scripts use Chinese characters (kanji
in Japanese, hanja in Korean) together with their own phonetic
script(kana in Japanese, hangul in Korean). Korean now often
uses only hangul without using hanja.

 Scripts not used at state level, and other historical scripts, are
not shown above, except for the four scripts listed in capitals
above, from which most other scripts are derived.

The list on transliteration

There are quite a rest in transliteration in library catalogues on the
list, but there are other potential users of transliteration too.

One major advantage of email is the ability to involve far more
people in the development of a common purpose than were
involved before, to get user feedback, and expert opinion from
various sources. There are now over 270 subscribers to, from 43 countries and territories, providing a
global interest group in this area, covering all the scripts shown

Subscribing to the mailing list for ISO/TC46/SC2

In order to join the list, send an email to

with this message in the body of the text:

 subscribe tc46sc2 youremail.address

(but with your real email address replacing the string

To find out further commands you can use, send the command
"help" as the text of an email either to or
to: To unsubscribe, send the command
"unsubscribe" instead, omitting the "quotes" marks in both cases.
This will tell you how to obtain copies of past messages etc., and
other useful features.

Once you are subscribed, you can send messages to and receive messages from other members of the
list. Please reply where possible to the list as a whole, so that all
can benefit: using the Group Reply function (pressing G on some
email software)is the simplest way to achieve this.

Other members will also be interested to see who else is joining
the list, so it is useful to send a brief introduction (say, one or two
short paragraphs) to at the outset, saying what
languages, scripts and other things you are involved in. That is
the most likely way to stimulate others to write on the subjects
you are interested in!

I look forward to seeing new participants on this list. Please feel
free to forward this to anyone else who may be interested in
transliteration standardisation issues, and to send any queries
about the list to me.

 Yours sincerely,
 John Clews and Evangelos Melagrakis
(Chair & Secretary of ISO/TC46/SC2: Conversion of Written

J. Clews, SESAME, 8 Avenue Road, Harrogate, HG2 7PG, England
Email:; tel: +44 (0) 1423 888 432

E. Melagrakis, ELOT, 313 Acharnon Str., GR-111 45 Athens,
Email: tel: +30 1 201 9890
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Message 2: Chinese and Japanese

Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 11:57:36 +0500
From: writchie <>
Subject: Chinese and Japanese

Chinese and Japanese Teaching Assistantships are available at Syracuse
University --
 Teaching Assistantships in +Chinese+ and +Japanese+ are available
for the support of students beginning study in Fall 1998 in the Master of
Arts Program in +Linguistic Studies+ at Syracuse University. Teaching
Assistants must have native or native-like command of the languages they
teach; in the case of Chinese, they must have such command of +Mandarin+
Chinese. Deadline to be assured of consideration for Teaching
Assistantships or other financial aid is +Feb. 1, 1998+. Contact:
<> or <> for further
information and application forms.

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