Taiwanese romanization and subtitles

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Song by a Taiwanese band with sinographic and romanized transcriptions of the lyrics in the center and Mandarin translation at the bottom as subtitles, via Bilibili:

I told Kirinputra that I liked the way the font was big and clear, and asked him if he thought it is a good romanization.  He replied:

They used the Chinese Taipei romanization, and they used it as a transcription method rather than as full-blown writing. (These two things go hand in hand, but they're not the same thing.) Why not use mainline romanization, and use it as writing? … Mostly I try not to comment on this kind of thing. On a technical level, this is pretty good romanization. Much better than what you'll see in, say, old-school Hokkien-Taioanese KTV videos made in Malaysia.

Good point about the font size. Taioanese romanization often appears in minuscule fonts, for several reasons, mostly non-technical.

There's a long row to hoe, friends.

Selected readings

[h.t. Xinyi Ye]


  1. Jonathan Smith said,

    June 4, 2024 @ 8:37 am

    Youtube link by clickage of which the artists presumably make money here.

    I note in passing the use of "闽南语" and "正字" in the title on this upload… but re: the material more generally, it is probably counterproductive not to if not embrace at least grudgingly shake hands with this kind of written Taiwanese… people esp. young heritage speakers are doing their best with available tools IMO.

    And to be a hardcore pedant, "Lán nn̄g-lâng tsuè-tīn tńg-lâi hit tsi̍t kang" means 'The two of us come/came back together to that day' whereas I suppose they meant "Lán nn̄g-lâng tsuè-tīn tńg–lâi hit tsi̍t kang" = 'That day when the two of us came back together' :P. Or maybe "hit tsi̍t kang" is Mandarin-influenced to begin with… KIRINPUTRA?

  2. Jonathan Smith said,

    June 4, 2024 @ 8:40 am

    Oops, 2nd version should have "- -" double-hyphen but is displaying as n-dash, making the minor typographic difference encoding the rather large syntactic difference all the minorer…

  3. KIRINPUTRA said,

    June 4, 2024 @ 1:11 pm

    re: the material more generally … people esp. young heritage speakers are doing their best with available tools IMO

    This (and “hit chi̍t kang”) relates to (several levels of) interlanguage — Mandarin-Taioanese, in this case. Many observers — dual native speakers as well as those who started via Mandarin 101 as adults — are emotionally invested on both ends and so badly want the big dog & the little dog(s) to be nice to each other. Heed the grossly asymmetric nature of the contact, though. An Indian (or even Sri Lankan) setup is literally not envisioned. Where might things head, and how?

    (The Bilibili video is not intended for a Taioanese-speaking audience, BTW.)

  4. yo said,

    June 17, 2024 @ 3:40 am

    Regarding the youtube link Jonathan Smith pasted, actually because the artist have a dispute(a legal case) over copyright they probably will not get the profit from this video.
    They are actually re-recording their discography for this and this album will be out later.

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