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Romanization or romanisation, in
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying ...

linguistics
, is the conversion of text from a different
writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, p ...
to the
Roman (Latin) script
Roman (Latin) script
, or a system for doing so. Methods of romanization include
transliteration Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific elements or symbols, or that repertoire * Script (styles of ha ...

transliteration
, for representing written text, and transcription, for representing the spoken word, and combinations of both. Transcription methods can be subdivided into ''
phonemic In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any partic ...
transcription'', which records the
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
s or units of
semantic Semantics (from grc, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") is the study of reference Reference is a relationship between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another o ...
meaning in speech, and more strict ''
phonetic transcription Phonetic transcription (also known as phonetic script or phonetic notation) is the visual representation of speech sounds (or ) by means of . The most common type of phonetic transcription uses a phonetic alphabet, such as the . Versus orthogra ...
'', which records speech sounds with precision.


Methods

There are many consistent or
standardized Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standard A technical standard is an established norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task. It is usually a formal document that establishes un ...
romanization systems. They can be classified by their characteristics. A particular system’s characteristics may make it better-suited for various, sometimes contradictory applications, including document retrieval, linguistic analysis, easy readability, faithful representation of pronunciation. * Source, or donor language – A system may be tailored to romanize text from a particular language, or a series of languages, or for any language in a particular writing system. A language-specific system typically preserves language features like pronunciation, while the general one may be better for cataloguing international texts. * Target, or receiver language – Most systems are intended for an audience that speaks or reads a particular language. (So-called ''international'' romanization systems for Cyrillic text are based on central-European alphabets like the
Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A countr ...
and
Croatian alphabet Croatian may refer to: *Croatia :* french: link=no, République de Croatie :* hu, Horvát Köztársaság :* it, Repubblica di Croazia :* rue, Републіка Хорватія :* sr, Република Хрватска :* sk, Chorvát ...
.) * Simplicity – Since the basic
Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived ...

Latin alphabet
has a smaller number of letters than many other writing systems,
digraphs Digraph may refer to: * Digraph (orthography) A digraph or digram (from the el, δίς ', "double" and ', "to write") is a pair of characters used in the orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a m ...
,
diacritics A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that a ...
, or special characters must be used to represent them all in Latin script. This affects the ease of creation, digital storage and transmission, reproduction, and reading of the romanized text. * Reversibility – Whether or not the original can be restored from the converted text. Some reversible systems allow for an irreversible simplified version.


Transliteration

If the romanization attempts to transliterate the original script, the guiding principle is a one-to-one mapping of characters in the source language into the target script, with less emphasis on how the result sounds when pronounced according to the reader's language. For example, the
Nihon-shiki Nihon-shiki, or Nippon-shiki Rōmaji ( ja, 日本式ローマ字, "Japan-style," romanized as ''Nihon-siki'' or ''Nippon-siki'' in Nippon-shiki itself), is a romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics, is the conversion of writi ...
romanization of
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...

Japanese
allows the informed reader to reconstruct the original Japanese
kana The term may refer to a number of syllabaries In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. ...

kana
syllables with 100% accuracy, but requires additional knowledge for correct pronunciation.


Transcription


Phonemic

Most romanizations are intended to enable the casual reader who is unfamiliar with the original script to pronounce the source language reasonably accurately. Such romanizations follow the principle of
phonemic transcription Phonetic transcription (also known as phonetic script or phonetic notation) is the visual representation of speech sounds (or Phone (phonetics), phones) by means of symbols. The most common type of phonetic transcription uses a phonetic alphabet, ...
and attempt to render the significant sounds (
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
s) of the original as faithfully as possible in the target language. The popular
Hepburn Romanization Hepburn romanization (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...
of Japanese is an example of a transcriptive romanization designed for English speakers.


Phonetic

A
phonetic Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) an ...
conversion goes one step further and attempts to depict all
phones A telephone is a telecommunications device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are too far apart to be heard directly. A telephone converts sound, typically and most efficiently the human voice, into electronic ...
in the source language, sacrificing legibility if necessary by using characters or conventions not found in the target script. In practice such a representation almost never tries to represent ''every'' possible allophone—especially those that occur naturally due to
coarticulationCoarticulation in its general sense refers to a situation in which a conceptually isolated speech sound is influenced by, and becomes more like, a preceding or following speech sound. There are two types of coarticulation: ''anticipatory coarticulati ...
effects—and instead limits itself to the most significant allophonic distinctions. The
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic transcription, phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standa ...
is the most common system of phonetic transcription.


Trade-offs

For most language pairs, building a usable romanization involves trade-offs between the two extremes. Pure transcriptions are generally not possible, as the source language usually contains sounds and distinctions not found in the target language, but which must be shown for the romanized form to be comprehensible. Furthermore, due to
diachronic Synchrony and diachrony are two complementary viewpoints in linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. ...
and
synchronic Synchronic may refer to: * ''Synchronic'' (film), a 2019 American science fiction film starring Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie * Synchronic analysis, the analysis of a language at a specific point of time * Synchronicity, the experience of two or ...
variance no
written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most la ...
represents any
spoken language A spoken language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self an ...
with perfect accuracy and the vocal interpretation of a
script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific elements or symbols, or that repertoire * Script (styles of handwriting) * Script (Unicode), historical and modern scripts as organise ...
may vary by a great degree among languages. In modern times the chain of transcription is usually spoken foreign language, written foreign language, written native language, spoken (read) native language. Reducing the number of those processes, i.e. removing one or both steps of writing, usually leads to more accurate oral articulations. In general, outside a limited audience of scholars, romanizations tend to lean more towards transcription. As an example, consider the Japanese martial art 柔術: the Nihon-shiki romanization ''zyûzyutu'' may allow someone who knows Japanese to reconstruct the kana syllables , but most native English speakers, or rather readers, would find it easier to guess the pronunciation from the Hepburn version, ''
jūjutsu
jūjutsu
''.


Romanization of specific writing systems


Arabic

The
Arabic alphabet The Arabic alphabet ( ar, الْأَبْجَدِيَّة الْعَرَبِيَّة, ' or , ', ), or Arabic abjad, is the as it is codified for writing . It is written from right to left in a style and includes 28 letters. Most letters hav ...

Arabic alphabet
is used to write
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
,
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
,
Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonpr ...

Urdu
and
Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in ...
as well as numerous other languages in the Muslim world, particularly
African African(s) may refer to: * Anything from or pertaining to the continent of Africa: ** People who are native to Africa, descendants of natives of Africa, or individuals who trace their ancestry to indigenous inhabitants of Africa *** Ethnic groups ...
and
Asian Asian may refer to: * Items from or related to the continent of Asia: ** Asian people, people in or descending from Asia ** Asian culture, the culture of the people from Asia ** Asian cuisine, food based on the style of food of the people from Asi ...
languages without alphabets of their own. Romanization standards include the following: * Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft (1936): Adopted by the International Convention of Orientalist Scholars in Rome. It is the basis for the very influential Hans Wehr dictionary (). * BS 4280 (1968): Developed by the
British Standards Institution The British Standards Institution (BSI) is the Standards organization, national standards body of the United Kingdom. BSI produces technical standards on a wide range of products and services and also supplies certification and standards-related ...
* SATTS (1970s): A one-for-one substitution system, a legacy from the
Morse code Morse code is a method used in telecommunication to Character encoding, encode Written language, text characters as standardized sequences of two different signal durations, called ''dots'' and ''dashes'', or ''dits'' and ''dahs''. Morse code ...
era *
UNGEGN The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) is one of the nine expert groups of the United Nations Economic and Social Council The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC; french: Conseil économique et social ...
(1972) *
DIN 31635 DIN 31635 is a Deutsches Institut für Normung ' (DIN; in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieva ...
(1982): Developed by the
Deutsches Institut für Normung ' (DIN; in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the Wor ...
(German Institute for Standardization) *
ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task which is applied to a common and repeated use of rules, conditions ...
(1984). Transliteration. *
Qalam A qalam ( ar, قلم) is a type of pen made from a cut, dried Phragmites, reed, used for Islamic calligraphy. The pen is seen as an important symbol of wisdom in Islam, and references the emphasis on knowledge and education within the Islamic tr ...
(1985): A system that focuses upon preserving the spelling, rather than the pronunciation, and uses mixed case *
ISO 233-2 The international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental organizations), such as Codex Alimentarius in food, the World Health Organization Guidelines in health, or International Telecommunicatio ...
(1993): Simplified transliteration. *
Buckwalter transliteration The Buckwalter Arabic transliteration Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey K ...
(1990s): Developed at
Xerox Xerox Holdings Corporation (; also known simply as Xerox) is an American corporation that sells print and digital document An electronic document is any electronic media content (other than computer program A computer program is a collection ...
by Tim Buckwalter; doesn't require unusual
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
s *
ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to represent bibliographic information ...
(1997) *
Arabic chat alphabetThe Arabic chat alphabet, ''Arabizi'' (, ), Franco-Arabic (, , or ), Arabish, Araby ( ar, عربي, ), and Mu'arrab (), refer to the Romanized alphabets for informal Arabic dialects in which Arabic script is transcribed or encoded into a combina ...


Latin

Romanization as a phonetic transcription is not required for this script. Latin alphabets when transcribed are only written once without romanization.


Persian


Armenian


Georgian


Greek

There are romanization systems for both
Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recov ...
and
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
. *
ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to represent bibliographic information ...
* Beta Code * Greeklish *
ISO 843 ISO 843 is a system for the and/or of into .
International Organization for Standardization It was rele ...
(1997)


Hebrew

The
Hebrew alphabet The Hebrew alphabet ( he, wikt:אלפבית, אָלֶף־בֵּית עִבְרִי, ), known variously by scholars as the Ktav Ashuri, Jewish script, square script and block script, is an abjad script used in the writing of the Hebrew language ...

Hebrew alphabet
is romanized using several standards: *
ANSI The American National Standards Institute (ANSI ) is a private non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organiz ...
Z39.25 (1975) *
UNGEGN The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) is one of the nine expert groups of the United Nations Economic and Social Council The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC; french: Conseil économique et social ...
(1977) *
ISO 259 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical ta ...
(1984): Transliteration. *
ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical ta ...
(1994): Simplified transliteration. * ISO/DIS 259-3: Phonemic transcription. *
ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to represent bibliographic information ...


Indic (Brahmic) scripts

The
Brahmic family The Brahmic scripts, also known as Indic scripts, are a family of abugida writing systems. They are used throughout the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia, including Japan in the form of Siddhaṃ script, Siddhaṃ. T ...
of
abugida An abugida (, from Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ), sometimes known as alphasyllabary, neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental Writing systems#Segmental writing system, writing system in which consonant-vowel sequences are writt ...
s is used for languages of the Indian subcontinent and south-east Asia. There is a long tradition in the west to study
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
and other Indic texts in Latin transliteration. Various transliteration conventions have been used for Indic scripts since the time of Sir William Jones. *
ISO 15919 ISO 15919 "Transliteration of Devanagari and related Indic scripts into Latin characters" is one of a List of ISO romanizations, series of international standards for romanization by the International Organization for Standardization. It was publ ...
(2001): A standard
transliteration Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific elements or symbols, or that repertoire * Script (styles of ha ...

transliteration
convention was codified in the ISO 15919 standard. It uses
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
s to map the much larger set of Brahmic
consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans produce speech. Articulatory phoneticians explain how humans produce speech sounds via the interaction of d ...
s and
vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...

vowel
s to the Latin script. The Devanagari-specific portion is very similar to the academic standard,
IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It ...
: "International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration", and to the United States Library of Congress standard,
ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to represent bibliographic information ...
, although there are a few differences * The
National Library at Kolkata romanization The National Library at Kolkata romanisationSee p 24-26 for table comparing Indic languages, and p 33-34 for Devanagari alphabet listing. is a widely used transliteration Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script t ...
, intended for the romanization of all
Indic scripts The Brahmic scripts, also known as Indic scripts, are a family of abugida . ''May Śiva protect those who take delight in the language of the gods.'' ( Kalidasa) An abugida (, from Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ), sometimes known ...
, is an extension of
IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It ...
*
Harvard-Kyoto The Harvard-Kyoto Convention is a system for transliterating Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the In ...
: Uses upper and lower case and doubling of letters, to avoid the use of diacritics, and to restrict the range to 7-bit ASCII. *
ITRANS The "Indian languages TRANSliteration" (ITRANS) is an ASCII ASCII ( ), abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange, is a character encoding In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefi ...
: a transliteration scheme into 7-bit ASCII created by Avinash Chopde that used to be prevalent on
Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up Dial-up Internet access is a form of Internet access Internet access is the ability of ...
. *
ISCII Indian Script Code for Information Interchange (ISCII) is a coding scheme for representing various writing systems of India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and depe ...
(1988)


Devanagari–nastaʿlīq (Hindustani)

Hindustani Hindustani may refer to: * something of, from, or related to Hindustan (another name of India) * Hindustani language, an Indo-Aryan language, whose two official norms are Hindi and Urdu * Fiji Hindi, a variety of Eastern Hindi spoken in Fiji, and i ...
is an
Indo-Aryan language The Indo-Aryan or Indic languages form a major language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages h ...
with extreme
digraphia A digraphic street sign in Gaboš, Croatia In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural Norm (sociology), norms, expectations, and context, on the way languag ...
and
diglossia In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
resulting from the Hindi–Urdu controversy starting in the 1800s. Technically, Hindustani itself is recognized by neither the language community nor any governments. Two
standardized Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standard A technical standard is an established norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task. It is usually a formal document that establishes un ...
registers,
Standard Hindi Hindi (Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida, based on the ancient Brah ...
and
Standard Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC ALA-LC ( American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal ...
, are recognized as
official language An official language is a language given a special status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically the term "official language" does not refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government (e.g. judiciar ...

official language
s in India and Pakistan. However, in practice the situation is, * In Pakistan: Standard (Saaf or Khaalis) Urdu is the "high" variety, whereas Hindustani is the "low" variety used by the masses (called Urdu, written in
nastaʿlīq script Nastaʼlīq (; fa, , ) is one of the main calligraphic hands used in writing the Persian alphabet and the Urdu alphabet, and traditionally the predominant style in Persian calligraphy. It was developed in Iran Iran ( fa, ایر ...
). * In India, both Standard (Shuddh) Hindi and Standard (Saaf or Khaalis) Urdu are the "H" varieties (written in
devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida, based on the ancient Brahmi script, ''Brāhmī'' sc ...

devanagari
and nastaʿlīq respectively), whereas Hindustani is the "L" variety used by the masses and written in either devanagari or nastaʿlīq (and called 'Hindi' or 'Urdu' respectively). The digraphia renders any work in either script largely inaccessible to users of the other script, though otherwise Hindustani is a perfectly mutually intelligible language, essentially meaning that any kind of text-based
open source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product. The open-source model is a decentralized softwa ...
collaboration is impossible among devanagari and nastaʿlīq readers. Initiated in 2011, the Hamari Boli Initiative is a full-scale open-source
language planning In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, meas ...
initiative aimed at Hindustani script, style, status & lexical reform and modernization. One of primary stated objectives of Hamari Boli is to relieve Hindustani of the crippling devanagari–nastaʿlīq digraphia by way of romanization.


Chinese

Romanization of the
Sinitic languages The Sinitic languages, often synonymous with "Chinese languages", constitute the major branch of the Sino-Tibetan languages, Sino-Tibetan language family. It is frequently proposed that there is a primary split between the Sinitic languages an ...
, particularly
Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration o ...
, has proved a very difficult problem, although the issue is further complicated by political considerations. Because of this, many romanization tables contain Chinese characters plus one or more romanizations or
Zhuyin Zhuyin () or Mandarin Phonetic Symbols, also nicknamed Bopomofo, is a major Chinese transliteration system for Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic languages, Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of no ...
.


Mandarin

*
ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to represent bibliographic information ...
: Used to be similar to Wade–Giles, but converted to
Hanyu Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objecti ...
in 2000 *
EFEO The French School of the Far East (french: École française d'Extrême-Orient, ), abbreviated EFEO, is an associated college of PSL University dedicated to the study of Asian societies. It was founded in 1900 with headquarters in Hanoi in wha ...
. Developed by
École française d'Extrême-Orient The French School of the Far East (french: École française d'Extrême-Orient, ), abbreviated EFEO, is an associated college of PSL University dedicated to the study of Asian societies. It was founded in 1900 with headquarters in Hanoi , ...

École française d'Extrême-Orient
in the 19th century, used mainly in France. *
Latinxua Sin Wenz Latinxua Sin Wenz (; also known as Sin Wenz "New Script", Zhungguo Latinxua Sin Wenz "China Latinized New Script", Latinxua "Latinization") is a historical set of romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics, is the conversion of ...
(1926): Omitted tone sounds. Used mainly in the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
and
Xinjiang Xinjiang (),, SASM/GNC: ''Xinjang''; zh, c=, p=Xīnjiāng; alternately romanized as Sinkiang officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and formerly romanized as Sinkiang, is a landlocked autonomous region An autonomous ...

Xinjiang
in the 1930s. Predecessor of
Hanyu Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objecti ...
. *
Lessing-Othmer Lessing-Othmer is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization of Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin Chinese language, Chinese that was once utilized by Germans written by F. Lessing and Dr. W. Othmer, who in 1912 printed their book „Lehrgang der nordchinesis ...
: Used mainly in Germany. *
Postal romanization Postal romanization was a system of transliterating developed by postal authorities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For many cities, the corresponding postal romanization was the most common English-language form of the city's name ...
(1906): Early standard for international addresses *
Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken lang ...
(1892): Transliteration. Very popular from the 19th century until recently and continues to be used by some Western academics. *
Yale Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
(1942): Created by the U.S. for battlefield communication and used in the influential Yale textbooks. *
Legge romanization Legge romanization is a Romanization of Mandarin Chinese, transcription system for Mandarin Chinese, used by the prolific 19th century sinologist James Legge. It was replaced by the Wade–Giles system, which itself has been mostly supplanted by Pi ...
: Created by
James Legge James Legge (; 20 December 181529 November 1897) was a Scottish sinologist, missionary, and scholar, best known as an early and prolific translator of Classical Chinese texts into English. Legge served as a representative of the London Miss ...

James Legge
, a Scottish missionary.


=Mainland China

= *
Hanyu Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objecti ...
(1958): In
mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies ...

mainland China
, Hanyu Pinyin has been used officially to romanize
Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration o ...
for decades, primarily as a linguistic tool for teaching the standardized language. The system is also used in other Chinese-speaking areas such as
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
and parts of
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
, and has been adopted by much of the international community as a standard for writing Chinese words and names in the Latin script. The value of Hanyu Pinyin in education in China lies in the fact that China, like any other populated area with comparable area and population, has numerous distinct
dialects The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to b ...
, though there is just one common written language and one common standardized spoken form. (These comments apply to romanization in general) * ISO 7098 (1991): Based on Hanyu Pinyin.


=Taiwan

= # Gwoyeu Romatzyh (GR, 1928–1986, in Taiwan 1945–1986; Taiwan used Japanese Romaji before 1945), # Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II (MPS II, 1986–2002), # Tongyong Pinyin (2002–2008), and #
Hanyu Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objecti ...
(since January 1, 2009).


=Singapore

=


Cantonese

* Barnett–Chao * Canton Romanization, Guangdong (1960) * Hong Kong Government Cantonese Romanisation, Hong Kong Government * Jyutping * Meyer–Wempe * Sidney Lau * Yale romanization of Cantonese, Yale (1942) * Cantonese Pinyin


Min Nan or Hokkien

* Pe̍h-ōe-jī (POJ), once the ''de facto'' official script of the Taiwanese Minnan#Scripts and orthographies, Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (since the late 19th century). Technically this represented a largely phonemic transcription system, as Min Nan was not commonly written in Chinese. * Tâi-uân Lô-má-jī Phing-im Hong-àn


=Teochew

= * Guangdong Romanization#Teochew, Guangdong (1960), for the distinct Teochew dialect, Teochew variety.


Min Dong

* Foochow Romanized


Min Bei

* Kienning Colloquial Romanized


Japanese

Romanization (or, more generally, Roman letters) is called "rōmaji" in
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...

Japanese
. The most common systems are: * Hepburn romanization, Hepburn (1867): phonetic transcription to Anglo-American practices, used in geographical names * Nihon-shiki romanization, Nihon-shiki (1885): transliteration. Also adopted as (ISO 3602 Strict) in 1989. * Kunrei-shiki romanization, Kunrei-shiki (1937): phonemic transcription. Also adopted as (ISO 3602). * JSL romanization, JSL (1987): phonemic transcription. Named after the book ''Japanese: The Spoken Language'' by Eleanor Jorden. *
ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to represent bibliographic information ...
: Similar to Modified Hepburn * Wāpuro rōmaji, Wāpuro: ("word processor romanization") transliteration. Not strictly a system, but a collection of common practices that enables input of Japanese text.


Korean

While romanization has taken various and at times seemingly unstructured forms, some sets of rules do exist: * McCune–Reischauer (MR; 1937?), the first transcription to gain some acceptance. A slightly changed version of MR was the official system for Korean language, Korean in South Korea from 1984 to 2000, and yet a different modification is still the official system in North Korea. Uses breves, apostrophes and Diaeresis (diacritic), diereses, the latter two indicating orthographic syllable boundaries in cases that would otherwise be ambiguous.
What is called MR may in many cases be any of a number of systems that differ from each other and from the original MR mostly in whether word endings are separated from the stem by a space, a hyphen or – according to McCune's and Reischauer's system – not at all; and if a hyphen or space is used, whether sound change is reflected in a stem's last and an ending's first consonant letter (e.g. ''pur-i'' vs. ''pul-i''). Although mostly irrelevant when transcribing uninflected words, these aberrations are so widespread that any mention of "McCune-Reischauer romanization" may not necessarily refer to the original system as published in the 1930s. ** There is, for example, the
ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to represent bibliographic information ...
/ U.S. Library of Congress system, based on MR but with some deviations. Word division is addressed in detail, with a generous use of spaces to separate word endings from stems that is not seen in MR. Syllables of given names are always separated with a hyphen, which is expressly never done by MR. Sound changes are ignored more often than in MR. Distinguishes between ‘ and ’. Several problems with MR led to the development of the newer systems: * Yale romanization of Korean, Yale (1942): This system has become the established standard romanization for Korean among linguistics, linguists. Vowel length in old or dialectal pronunciation is indicated by a Macron (diacritic), macron. In cases that would otherwise be ambiguous, orthographic syllable boundaries are indicated with a period. This system also indicates consonants that have disappeared from a word's Hangul orthography, South Korean orthography and standard pronunciation. * Revised Romanization of Korean (RR; 2000): Includes rules both for transcription and for transliteration. South Korea now officially uses this system that was approved in 2000. Road signs and textbooks were required to follow these rules as soon as possible, at a cost estimated by the government to be at least US$20 million. All road signs, names of railway and subway stations on line maps and signs etc. have been changed. The change has been either ignored or grandfather clause, grandfathered in some cases, notably the romanization of names and existing companies. RR is generally similar to MR, but uses no diacritics or apostrophes, and uses distinct letters for ㅌ/ㄷ (t/d), ㅋ/ㄱ (k/g), ㅊ/ㅈ (ch/j) and ㅍ/ㅂ (p/b). In cases of ambiguity, orthographic syllable boundaries were intended to be indicated with a hyphen, but this is inconsistently applied in practice. * ISO/TR 11941 (1996): This actually is two different standards under one name: one for North Korea (DPRK) and the other for South Korea (ROK). The initial submission to the ISO was based heavily on Yale and was a joint effort between both states, but they could not agree on the final draft. * Fred Lukoff, Lukoff romanization, developed 1945–47 for his ''Spoken Korean'' coursebooks


Thai

Thai language, Thai, spoken in Thailand and some areas of Laos, Burma and China, is written with Thai alphabet, its own script, probably descended from mixture of Tai–Laotian and Old Khmer, in the
Brahmic family The Brahmic scripts, also known as Indic scripts, are a family of abugida writing systems. They are used throughout the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia, including Japan in the form of Siddhaṃ script, Siddhaṃ. T ...
. * Royal Thai General System of Transcription * ISO 11940 1998 Transliteration * ISO 11940-2 2007 Transcription *
ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to represent bibliographic information ...


Nuosu

The Nuosu language, spoken in southern China, is written with its own script, the Yi script. The only existing romanisation system is Nuosu language#Phonology, YYPY (Yi Yu Pin Yin), which represents tone with letters attached to the end of syllables, as Nuosu forbids codas. It does not use diacritics, and as such due to the large phonemic inventory of Nuosu, it requires frequent use of digraphs, including for monophthong vowels.


Cyrillic

In English language library catalogues, bibliographies, and most academic publications, the ALA-LC romanization for Russian, Library of Congress transliteration method is used worldwide. In linguistics, scientific transliteration is used for both Cyrillic script, Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets. This applies to Old Church Slavonic, as well as modern Slavic languages that use these alphabets.


Belarusian

* BGN/PCGN romanization of Belarusian, 1979 (United States Board on Geographic Names and Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use) * Scientific transliteration, or the ''International Scholarly System'' for
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying ...

linguistics
* ALA-LC romanization, 1997 (American Library Association and Library of Congress): * ISO 9:1995 * ''Instruction on transliteration of Belarusian geographical names with letters of Latin script'', 2000


Bulgarian

A system based on scientific transliteration and ISO/R 9:1968 was considered official in Bulgaria since the 1970s. Since the late 1990s, Bulgarian authorities have switched to the so-called Romanization of Bulgarian#Streamlined System, Streamlined System avoiding the use of diacritics and optimized for compatibility with English. This system became mandatory for public use with a law passed in 2009. Where the old system uses <č,š,ž,št,c,j,ă>, the new system uses . The new Bulgarian system was endorsed for official use also by UN in 2012, and by United States Board on Geographic Names, BGN and Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use, PCGN in 2013.


Kyrgyz


Macedonian


Russian

There is no single universally accepted system of writing Russian language, Russian using the Latin script—in fact there are a huge number of such systems: some are adjusted for a particular target language (e.g. German or French), some are designed as a librarian's transliteration, some are prescribed for Russian travellers' passports; the transcription of some names is purely traditional.   All this has resulted in great reduplication of names.   E.g. the name of the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Tchaikovsky may also be written as ''Tchaykovsky'', ''Tchajkovskij'', ''Tchaikowski'', ''Tschaikowski'', ''Czajkowski'', ''Čajkovskij'', ''Čajkovski'', ''Chajkovskij'', ''Çaykovski'', ''Chaykovsky'', ''Chaykovskiy'', ''Chaikovski'', ''Tshaikovski'', ''Tšaikovski'', ''Tsjajkovskij'' etc. Systems include: * BGN/PCGN romanization, BGN/PCGN (1947): Transliteration system (United States Board on Geographic Names & Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use). * GOST 16876-71 (1971): A now defunct Soviet transliteration standard. Replaced by GOST 7.79, which is an ISO 9 equivalent. * United Nations romanization system for geographical names (1987): Based on GOST 16876-71. * ISO 9 (1995): Transliteration. From the International Organization for Standardization. *
ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to represent bibliographic information ...
(1997) * Volapuk encoding, "Volapuk" encoding (1990s): Slang term (it's not really Volapük) for a writing method that's not truly a transliteration, but used for similar goals (see article). * Conventional English transliteration is based to BGN/PCGN, but doesn't follow a particular standard. Described in detail at Romanization of Russian. * Streamlined System for the romanization of Russian. * Comparative transliteration of Russian in different languages (Western European, Arabic, Georgian, Braille, Morse)


Syriac

The Latin script for Syriac was developed in the 1930s, following the state policy for minority languages of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
, with some material published.


Ukrainian

The 2010 Ukrainian National system has been adopted by the UNGEGN in 2012 and by the BGN/PCGN in 2020. It is also very close to the modified (simplified) ALA-LC system, which has remained unchanged since 1941. *
ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to represent bibliographic information ...
* ISO 9 * Ukrainian National transliteration * Ukrainian National and BGN/PCGN systems, at the UN Working Group on Romanization Systems * Thomas T. Pedersen's comparison of five systems


Overview and summary

The chart below shows the most common phonemic transcription romanization used for several different alphabets. While it is sufficient for many casual users, there are multiple alternatives used for each alphabet, and many exceptions. For details, consult each of the language sections above. (Hangul characters are broken down into Hangul consonant and vowel tables, jamo components.)


See also

* Anglicisation * Cyrillization, expression of a language in Cyrillic letters * Francization * Gairaigo * Latinisation of names *Semitic romanization * Spread of the Latin script


References


External links

; About romanization
IPA for Urdu and Roman Urdu for Mobile and Internet Users (Download)

Microsoft Transliteration Utility
nbsp;– A tool for creating, debugging and using transliteration modules from any script to any other script. * Randall Barry (ed.) ''ALA-LC Romanization Tables'' U.S. Library of Congress, 1997, . (One of the few printed books with lists of romanizations)

in PDF format
UNGEGN Working Group on Romanization Systems


; Romanization online
Chinese Phonetic Conversion Tool
nbsp;– Converts between Pinyin and other formats
Cyrillic Transliteration and Transcription ONLINE (Cyrillic -> Latin)

eiktub
nbsp;– An Arabic Transliteration Pad
Lingua::Translit
nbsp;– Perl module covering a variety of writing systems e.g. Cyrillic or Greek. Provides a lot of standards as well as common transliteration schemes.
Arabeasy
nbsp;– Arabic Transliteration (free chrome extension exists, also works for Persian, Urdu)

nbsp;– Russian Transliteration (free chrome extension exists) {{Romanization Romanization, Latin script Multilingual orthographies Orthography