Romanization of Chinese Characters

There have been many articles about this, but in todays Tapei Times they bring it up again. There are at least several different systems being used to romanize Chinese characters. Hanyu, Tongyong, and Wade-Giles for example, are some of these systems. Most foreigners see this mostly on street signs. The Chinese 中正路 can be written as Chungcheng Road, Jungjeng Road, Zhong Zheng Road, or Jhongjheng Road. And to romanize it into Taiwanese, it is Diong-zing (as it is in Keelung). The universities teach the Hanyu pinyin system, but since that is used in the mainland, it is off limits for most of Taiwan (but used in Taipei city). Try using these as a non Chinese speaker with some Taiwanese, and you are bound to confuse them. Good luck figuring out how to say the street names.

About the Author

I am a cultural geographer by nature, and now a photographer, videographer, musician, and webmaster.

4 Responses to “ Romanization of Chinese Characters ”

  1. Well, that’s easy. Just learn your characters. Which of course defeats the purpose. But without the confusion it just wouldn’t be Taiwan now would it?

  2. Hahah. That’s a great idea. I personally can read about 80 percent of the street signs, but for the beginners a standard for romanization would be cool. Where are you from Kevin? You can respond here or with an email to:
    therealtaiwan (at)

  3. More than a little supercilious of you X. Kevin.

  4. Good thing I saw supercilious on my word of the day calendar recently.

Leave a Reply

You can use these XHTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <strong>