Mac Diacritics

A quick diacritic reference guide for Mac users who deal with non-English languages.  Let me know if I should add more.  Hope it helps one or two folks.


Filed under Linquistics

5 responses to “Mac Diacritics

  1. CRL

    Do you happen to know how diacritics are treated on American legal names? I know Chinese diacritics are always left off, but I was wondering is this was intended to make them pronounceable to people as hopeless with tones as myself, or is the standard policy with any diacritic.

  2. Diacritics are not used in Chinese. You are thinking of the romanizations (transliterations of Chinese) which use accent marks to signal which tone is used in Chinese. These are signals to English speakers of which tone to use. Chinese does not use these.
    But I don’t know if diacritics are allowed in American legal names — your boyfriend is Asian, correct?

  3. CRL

    Ah. I only asked you because it seemed like something you would know, and this came up in conversation today.

    I was thinking of the tone marks, and as they were included in your diacritic post, and as one of the people whom I was discussing this with, who has taken about three years of Chinese referred to them as such, I assumed this was the correct terminology, though I had previously referred to them as tone marks. (The other member of the conversation was my physics teacher, who was asking him how to pronounce the consonants in a few students last names, mostly Zh’s and X’s, and ranting about how a few of the students pronounced their own names wrong.)

    Oh, facebook, source of all information. But, yes, he’s half Chinese, though he doesn’t speak very much of it.

  4. @ CRL

    I’m sorry if you know all that follows, but perhaps it will help others:

    “Transliteration” is the method of writing the a foreign script with your own script. It is writing another language with your language. And contradictory transliterations abound. I am studying a little Tibetan now and the various transliteration systems make it difficult.

    In Chinese, Mao change the transliteration system to “Pin-yin” (py) when “Wade-Giles”(wg) was used most often prior. Examples:
    hsien tsai (wg) –> xian zai (py)
    hsüeh hsiao (wg) –> xue xiao (py)
    Mao Tse-tung (wg) –> Mao Zedong (py)

    It wasn’t till 2009 that Taiwan switched from the Zhuyin Fuhao system (colloquially called “bopomofo”).
    Here is a comparison to show why some names are so different. It is only recently that people take PinYin for granted.

    Here is another chart to help show you the complexity. So I don’t blame folks that can’t figure out how to pronounce Chinese. It is getting better as Chinese power grows. Tibetan will always remain a problem, I’m afraid.

  5. CRL

    I once had a history teacher who kept switching back and forth between pin-yin and Wade-Giles romanization. There were students who thought Mao Tse-tung and Mao Zedong were two different people, as a result of the massive differences between her pronunciations.

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