Spaceless pinyin

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From the importer's label, carefully placed to obscure the safety instructions (the "do"s and "do not"s) of an electronic gas igniter:

I have a feeling that my friend, Mark Swofford, the doyen of rules governing pinyin, will not go for this.

Selected readings

[Thanks to Philip Taylor]


  1. Laura Morland said,

    February 22, 2023 @ 8:55 pm

    Just curious: If I were to sent a letter to the the manufacturer at Longgangqupinghujiedaohuanandadaolhaohuananguoji.
    would the postmaster in Shenzhen deliver it?

  2. John Swindle said,

    February 22, 2023 @ 10:10 pm

    I imagine

    Longgang Qu Pinghu Jie Dao Huanan Da Dao 1 Hao Huanan Guoji, Yinshua Zhipin Baozhuang Wu Liu Qu (yiqi) P18 Dong 120 Hao

    and see words in it, too many words, but can't make sense of it. Maybe the Nameofthecompany and the postal code would clarify it for the postal carrier.

  3. Dave J. said,

    February 22, 2023 @ 10:56 pm

    Such geniuses!

  4. Mark S. said,

    February 22, 2023 @ 11:47 pm


    But at least it's a change from the ubiquitous and equally wrong style of writing Pinyin by brea king mul ti syl la ble words in to sing le syl la ble u nits.

    I suppose it's probably supposed to be something more like
    Shenzhen Shi Huayu Jixie Youxian Gongsi
    Longgang Qu, Pinghu Jiedao, Huanan Dadao 1 hao, Huanan Guoiji Yinshua Zhi Pin Baozhuang, 56 qu (1 qi) P18 dong, 120 hao, Shenzhen, Guangdong, 518111, CN

    The presence of "Pinghu Jiedao" kinda puzzles me. But I'm sure the whole thing would make a lot more sense to me if I were familiar with present-day Shenzhen. But the last time I was in that city was the early 1990s, and then only very briefly. It's a rather different place these days.

    I'm curious how "Guangdong" ended up being correctly capitalized but "shenzhen" did not.
    Shenzhen Shi, Huayu Jixie Youxian Gongsi

  5. Taylor, Philip said,

    February 23, 2023 @ 3:33 am

    Given Laura's transliteration with the initial "L" lower-cased and the "daol" amended to read "dao1", Google Translate believes that it reads

    龍崗區平湖街道華南達到1號華南國際. 印刷紙品包裝物流區(一起)P18東120好,

    which it renders into English as

    Pinghu Street, Longgang District, South China reaches South China International. Printing paper packaging logistics area (together) P18 East 120 is good,

    Adding in the final elements, lower-cased to read —

    longgangqupinghujiedaohuanandadao1haohuananguoji. yinshuazhipinbaozhuangwuliuqu(yiqi)P18dong120hao, shenzhen, guangdong, 518111, CN

    Google Translate comed up with a quite passable version —

    龍崗區平湖街道華南達到1號華南國際. 印刷紙品包裝物流區(一起)P18東120好, 深圳, 廣東, 518111, CN

    which it renders in English as

    South China, Pinghu Street, Longgang District, reaches South China International. Printing paper packaging logistics area (together) P18 East 120 Good, Shenzhen, Guangdong, 518111, CN

    Its only real error, as far as I can see, is confusing 号 (hào, "number indicator", possibly analogous with American "#") with 好 (hǎo, "good").

  6. unekdoud said,

    February 23, 2023 @ 10:43 am

    It's roughly at 22.6731, 114.127.

    I had to stare at Google Maps to reach the correct street and then Baidu Maps to get the correct block, but I'm sure a sufficiently determined/familiar postal worker with any suitable Chinese map would have no trouble finding this (after getting past the Pinyin barrier).

    On the other hand, the postcode by itself is basically useless, as the entire of Pinghu Residential District (8km across) has that number.

    With the keywords manually translated:
    Longgang District, Pinghu Neighborhood, Hua'nan Boulevard No. 1,
    Hua'nan International Printed Paper Packaging Logistics Area
    (Phase 1) Block P18, #120, Shenzhen, Guangdong, 518111, CN

    I've translated the middle portion based on Google's suggestion of

  7. Mark S. said,

    February 23, 2023 @ 8:26 pm

    A brief point: in Pinyin, an apostrophe should never precede a consonant. Thus, "Huanan", not "Hua'nan".

  8. unekdoud said,

    February 24, 2023 @ 9:37 am

    @Taylor Philip: Google's IME in Simplified Chinese correctly gives 华南大道 (at least, it did for me). When set to Traditional Chinese, it won't even expand "lgqphjd" correctly, but I guess that's reasonable.

    @Mark S.: Thank you for the correction. I had my own doubts on the apostrophe but Google Maps used it.

  9. Kakurady said,

    March 1, 2023 @ 6:19 am

    “yinshua zhipin” may be “印刷制品”, i.e. printed products.

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