(A)tayal, Chinese, and English trilingual signs in Taiwan

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Photographs by Mark Swofford from Fuxing District of Taoyuan City:

I have provided a generous sampling so that you can get an idea of the interesting configuration of vowels and consonants in the Austronesian Atayal (Tayal) alphabetical spelling system.

Desultory notes

liánzhèng 廉政 ("clean and honest government") is charmingly rendered as "anti-corruption"

The word "tayal" often appears on these signs.  That's the endonym for the Atayal people.  It means "human" or "man".

Above the bronze plaque in the third photograph is an old address plate with ”Jungjeng” for what would be ”Zhongzheng” in Hanyu Pinyin. This is MPS2, which is a neglected and little-recognized system from the 1980s. But one can still spot signs in this, especially in the boondocks.  The embedded link on "MPS2" (2nd sentence above) gives a good explanation of what that means. For a still more detailed explanation of MPS2, see "Taiwan’s MPS2 romanization system is not the same as Yale" (11/14/06)

If you would like to see a street view of the area where this signage is to be found, here's one from Google maps.  Very nice 360º and zoomable!

Selected readings

1 Comment

  1. Daniel Tse said,

    July 29, 2022 @ 12:57 am

    It seems amazing that the same language family also contains some of the simplest phonotactics in existence.

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