Latinxua Sinwenz

Latinxua Sinwenz

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Latinxua Sin Wenz is a little-used romanization
In linguistics, romanization or latinization is the representation of a written word or spoken speech with the Roman script, or a system for doing so, where the original word or language uses a different writing system . Methods of romanization include transliteration, for representing written...

 system for Mandarin Chinese. It was usually written without tones under the assumption that the proper tones could be understood from context.

Latinxua is historically notable as being the first romanization system used in place of Chinese character
Chinese character
Chinese characters are logograms used in the writing of Chinese and Japanese , less frequently Korean , formerly Vietnamese , or other languages...

s by native Chinese speakers. It was originally developed by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and used by Chinese immigrants there until the majority of them left the country. Later, it was revived for some time in Northern China
North China
thumb|250px|Northern [[People's Republic of China]] region.Northern China or North China is a geographical region of China. The heartland of North China is the North China Plain....

 where it was used in over 300 publications before its usage was ended by the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...


History and development

The work towards constructing the Beifangxua Latinxua Sin Wenz (北方話拉丁化新文字) system began in Moscow as early as 1928 when the Soviet Scientific Research Institute on China sought to create a means through which the large Chinese population living in the far eastern region of the U.S.S.R. could be made literate, facilitating their further education.

This was significantly different from all other romanization schemes in that, from the very outset, it was intended that the Latinxua Sin Wenz system, once established, would supersede the Chinese characters. They decided to use the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

 because they thought that it would serve their purpose better than the Cyrillic alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

. Unlike Gwoyeu Romatzyh
Gwoyeu Romatzyh
Gwoyeu Romatzyh , abbreviated GR, is a system for writing Mandarin Chinese in the Latin alphabet. The system was conceived by Y.R. Chao and developed by a group of linguists including Chao and Lin Yutang from 1925 to 1926. Chao himself later published influential works in linguistics using GR...

, with its complex method of indicating tones, Latinxua Sin Wenz system does not indicate tones at all.

The eminent Moscow-based Chinese scholar Qu Qiubai
Qu Qiubai
Qu Qiubai was born in Changzhou, Jiangsu, China. He was a leader of the Communist Party of China in the late 1920s.-Early life:...

 (1899–1935) and the Russian linguist V.S. Kolokolov (1896–1979) devised a prototype romanization system in 1929.

In 1931 a coordinated effort between the Soviet sinologists V.M. Alekseev
Vasiliy Mikhaylovich Alekseyev
Vasiliy Mikhaylovich Alekseyev was an eminent Soviet sinologist and a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. In 1902 he finished the Saint Petersburg University and became a professor...

, A.A. Dragunov and A.G. Shrprintsin, and the Moscow-based Chinese scholars Qu Qiubai
Qu Qiubai
Qu Qiubai was born in Changzhou, Jiangsu, China. He was a leader of the Communist Party of China in the late 1920s.-Early life:...

, Wu Yuzhang
Wu Yuzhang
Wu Yuzhang was a Chinese politician and educationist, President of Renmin University of China from 1950 to 1966.-Biography:...

, Lin Boqu
Lin Boqu
Lin Boqu ranked 8th in the 8th Politburo of the Communist Party of China. He was born in Hunan and was a follower of Sun Yatsen, but also joined the Communist Party of China in 1921. He participated in the development of Latinxua Sin Wenz....

, Xiao San, Wang Xiangbao, and Xu Teli established the Latinxua Sin Wenz system. The system was supported by a number of Chinese intellectuals such as Guo Moruo
Guo Moruo
Guo Moruo , courtesy name Dingtang , was a Chinese author, poet, historian, archaeologist, and government official from Sichuan, China.-Family history:Guo, originally named Guo Kaizhen, was born on November 10 or 16, in the small town of Shawan...

 and Lu Xun
Lu Xun
Lu Xun or Lu Hsün , was the pen name of Zhou Shuren , one of the major Chinese writers of the 20th century. Considered by many to be the leading figure of modern Chinese literature, he wrote in baihua as well as classical Chinese...

, and trials were conducted amongst 100,000 Chinese immigrant workers for about four years and later, in 1940-1942, in the communist-controlled Shanxi
' is a province in Northern China. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋" , after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period....

' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

Ningxia, formerly transliterated as Ningsia, is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. Located in Northwest China, on the Loess Plateau, the Yellow River flows through this vast area of land. The Great Wall of China runs along its northeastern boundary...

 Border Region of China. In November 1949, the railways in China's north-east adopted the Latinxua Sin Wenz system for all their telecommunications.

For a time, the system was very important in spreading literacy in Northern China; and more than 300 publications totalling half a million issues appeared in Latinxua Sin Wenz. However:

In 1944 the latinization movement was officially curtailed in the communist-controlled areas [of China] on the pretext that there were insufficient trained cadres capable of teaching the system. It is more likely that, as the communists prepared to take power in a much wider territory, they had second thoughts about the rhetoric that surrounded the latinization movement; in order to obtain the maximum popular support, they withdrew support from a movement that deeply offended many supporters of the traditional writing system.


Sin Wenz was designed so that every dialect had its own form of the alphabet. The letters below represent only one of the thirteen possible schemes present, the below form being that for Northern Mandarin.

Much of Sin Wenz is similar to Pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

 in its orthography. However, palatal affricates are written with the same letters as velar stops, so Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 is written as "Beiging" in Sin Wenz. Other differences include the usage of "x" for both the sounds [x] and [ɕ], so the characters 畫 (pinyin: huà) and 下 (pinyin: xià) are written as "xua" and "xia".


Bilabial consonant
In phonetics, a bilabial consonant is a consonant articulated with both lips. The bilabial consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...

Labiodental consonant
In phonetics, labiodentals are consonants articulated with the lower lip and the upper teeth.-Labiodental consonant in IPA:The labiodental consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...

Alveolar consonant
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

Retroflex consonant
A retroflex consonant is a coronal consonant where the tongue has a flat, concave, or even curled shape, and is articulated between the alveolar ridge and the hard palate. They are sometimes referred to as cerebral consonants, especially in Indology...

Alveolo-palatal consonant
In phonetics, alveolo-palatal consonants are palatalized postalveolar sounds, usually fricatives and affricates, articulated with the blade of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge, and the body of the tongue raised toward the palate...

Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

Plosive b
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

Lateral approximant l
Affricate consonant
Affricates are consonants that begin as stops but release as a fricative rather than directly into the following vowel.- Samples :...

g (j)
k (q)
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

rh (r)
[ʐ ~ ɻ]
x (h)

Sin Wenz differs from Pinyin

Sin Wenz exhibits some interchangeability between alveolo-palatal g, k, x (j, q, x in pinyin) with z, c, s. For example, 新 (pinyin: xīn; "new") can be written as xin or sin in Sin Wenz.


Nucleus Coda Medial
Ø i u y
a Ø a
i ai
u ao
n an
ŋ ang
ə Ø e/o1
i ei
u ou
n en
ŋ eng
ɻ r
Ø -4

Sin Wenz differs from Pinyin

1"e" and "ye" is written as "o" and "yo" after initials g, k and x. Examples: gogo (哥哥; pinyin: gēge; elder brother), xyosheng (学生; pinyin: xuésheng; student)

2The word 有 (pinyin: yǒu) is written as "iou". Other words with the same sound is written as "iu". This is because the word 有 occurs frequently in Chinese.

3Standalone "ung" is written as "weng".

4What is written as "i" (IPA [ɨ]) after zh, ch , sh, r, z, c and s in pinyin is not written in Sin Wenz.

As in pinyin, spacing in Sin Wenz is based on whole words, not single syllables. Except for "u", others syllables starting with u is always written with a "w" replacing the u. The syllable "u" is only preceded by a "w" when it occurs in the middle of a word. The same applies to syllables starting with i, where it is replaced, or in case of the syllable "i", preceded by a "j". Syllables starting with "y" is preceded by a "j" only in the middle of a word and when the preceding syllable ends with an "n" or "g". These are unlike pinyin, which always uses "w" and "y" regardless of the positions of the syllables. As in pinyin, the apostrophe
The apostrophe is a punctuation mark, and sometimes a diacritic mark, in languages that use the Latin alphabet or certain other alphabets...

 (') is used before a, o, and e to separate syllables in a word where ambiguity could arise.

Because Sin Wenz is written without indicating tones, ambiguity could arise with certain words with the same sound but different tones. In order to circumvent this problem, Sin Wenz defined a list of exceptions. For example, 买 (pinyin: mǎi; "buy") and 卖 (pinyin: mài; "sell") is of the same sound but different tones. The former is written as maai and the latter is written as mai in Sin Wenz. In addition, Sin Wenz also calls for the use of the Chinese Postal Map Romanization when writing place names in China.

External links