INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY OF CEAL RECOMMENDATIONS
In March 2001, prior to the meetings of the Council on East Asian Libraries (CEAL) in Chicago, the Library of Congress officially requested that CEAL review two proposed changes to their "New Chinese Romanization Guidelines". The text of LC's proposal is appended to this report. CEAL supports the two proposed changes outlined in that proposal. Furthermore, CEAL requests that LC implement the proposed changes as soon as possible, preferably before most pinyin conversion takes place in RLIN and OCLC member libraries. Timely implementation will help facilitate changes in the RLIN and OCLC databases. LC's leadership in taking immediate actions for implementing these changes will be greatly appreciated by CEAL members as well as the library community at large.
CEAL STATEMENT IN FULL
CEAL recommends the third option articulated in the proposed change, i.e. use an umlaut over the letter u in the syllables lue and nue in the future. Locate these unattached syllables on authority and bibliographic records and add the umlaut to them. Add the umlaut to joined syllables on an “as encountered” basis. CEAL requests that LC work with RLIN and OCLC to correct all authority and bibliographic records that will be affected by this change before major pinyin conversion takes place in many libraries.
The first rule adapted from the Fang'an, states that "precede joined syllables beginning with the letter a, o, or e, with an apostrophe." Among the three examples given in the Guidelines, only Zhang Zhan'gang demonstrates the second rule. An apostrophe is used here to differentiate Zhang Zhan-gang from Zhang Zhang-ang. However, if the first rule is properly applied, Zhang Zhang-ang will be romanized as Zhang Zhang'ang and thus Zhang Zhangang (without apostrophe) could only be read as Zhang Zhan-gang. Another example is fang'an (guide, scheme) that should not be confused with fangan (dislike, disgust with). The first rule has already avoided the ambiguity and is sufficient. To retain the second rule would only defeat the purpose of the first rule and cause confusion.
CEAL recommends a THIRD OPTION that was not included in the original proposal. CEAL recommends to cease the current practice AND requests that LC work with RLIN and OCLC to locate and remove the redundant apostrophe in all authority and bibliographic records before major pinyin conversion takes place in many libraries.
In October 2000, a colleague from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Library raised two questions on eastlib regarding the LC practice in the "New Chinese Romanization Guidelines." The first concerned guidelines to omit the umlaut over compound vowels in "lüe" and "nüe." The second question concerned guidelines to use the apostrophe on a joined syllable ending in the letter "n" with the following syllable beginning with the letter "g." Both guidelines were departures from the Hanyu Pinyin Fang'an. Responses on the eastlib discussion list supported the argument, stating that any deviation from the Hanyu Pinyin Fang'an would cause confusion.
In March 2001, prior to the CEAL meetings in Chicago, LC officially requested that CEAL review two proposed changes to the "New Chinese Romanization Guidelines" in response to the questions raised. The first proposal was to add an umlaut over the letter “u” in the syllables “lue” and “nue” to conform to the Hanyu Pinyin Fang'an. The second proposal was to add an apostrophe only before syllables beginning with joined letters a, e, or o and to drop the apostrophe between connected syllables that end with the letter “n” and begin with the letter “g.”
Discussion of the two proposed changes took place at the CEAL Committee on Technical Processing meeting on March 22, 2001. Peter Zhou of the University of California at Berkeley presented the proposals and led the discussion. Based on the LC document, Peter summarized the pros and cons as well as options for each. A straw vote was taken at the end of the meeting with a clear majority for adding the umlaut to the first proposed change. The vote for the second change was close, with slightly more votes in favor of dropping the apostrophe between “n” and “g.” However, many abstained from voting because the issue was too complicated for them to decide on the spot without enough time to evaluate the pros and cons. The conclusion was to have individuals send LC their opinions before the deadline of May 1, 2001.
As the May 1 deadline approached, members of the CEAL Executive Committee, on the other hand, favored an official CEAL response to the LC proposals. More discussion ensued among the Executive Committee members, and LC agreed to extend the deadline to May 28. A task force of three Executive members was appointed by the CEAL President, Bill McCloy, to prepare an official statement from CEAL to LC. What follows is the discussion of the proposed changes that led to the official response from the CEAL Executive Committee to the Library of Congress which appeared as CEAL STATEMENT at the beginning of this document. “Proposed Changes in Chinese Romanization Guidelines,” issued by the Library of Congress, is appended at the end.
DISCUSSION IN CHICAGO*
Adding an umlaut over the letter "u" in the syllables "lue" and "nue,"
e.g. lue to lüe, and nue to nüe.
Arguments for the change:
Arguments against the change:
Remove the apostrophe in joined syllables when the first ends with the letter "n" andthe second begins with the letter "g,"
e.g. Zhang Zhan'gang (current practice) to Zhang Zhangang
Arguments for the change:
Arguments against the change:
Concerns and comments raised during the discussion:
Pinyin Input Task Force
CEAL Executive Committee
Vickie Fu Doll (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Karen Wei (email@example.com)
Yuan Zhou (firstname.lastname@example.org)
May 25, 2001
*Used with permission by CEAL Committee on Technical Processing of its 2001 Chicago meeting minutes.
Appendix: The Library of Congress' Request for Comments
PROPOSED CHANGES IN CHINESE ROMANIZATION GUIDELINES