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Tongyong Pinyin

Tongyong Pinyin (通用拼音, literally "Universal/General Usage Sound-combining") is the current official romanization of the Chinese language adopted by the national government (although not all local governments) of the Republic of China (on Taiwan) since late 2000, announced by the Mandarin Promotion Council of the Ministry of Education. Tongyong Pinyin is the successor of MPS II. Like all previous ROC official romanizations, it is based on the official Chinese dialect of Mandarin.

Created by Yu Bor-chuan (余伯泉 Yu Boquan) in 1998, Tongyong Pinyin has been modified several times since. Around 90% of the Tongyong Pinyin syllables are spelled identical to those of Mainland China's Hanyu Pinyin, mainly with a few consonants changed.

Notable features of Tongyong Pinyin are:

Punctuation features: Some have argued that tongyong pinyin is ridiculous in assigning the letters 'c' and 'q' more than one phonetic inital. However, supporters argue that tongyong pinyin avoids the 'j', 'q', and 'x' characters that often leave non Mandarin speakers clueless on the appropriate pronunciation.

Even though in early October 2000, Mandarin Commission of the Ministry of Education proposed to use Tongyong Pinyin as the national standard, Education Minister Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗) submitted a draft of the Taiwanese Romanization in late October to the Executive Yuan, but it was rejected.

The adoption of Tongyong pinyin has also resulted in political controversy. Much of the controversy centered on issues of national identity with proponents of Chinese reunification favoring the hanyu pinyin system which is used on the Mainland and proponents of Taiwan independence favoring the use of tongyong pinyin, and declaring it the "Natural Pinyin" (自然拼音).

In October 2002, the ROC government has adopted tongyong pinyin but through an administrative order which local governments can override. Localities with governments controlled by the Kuomintang, most notably Taipei City have overridden the order and are using hanyu pinyin for local signs. This creates the odd situation in which adjacent signs have different pinyin based on which government controls them.

In part because of the lack of agreement of which pinyin to use, the goal of the Ministry of Education to replace bopomofo with pinyin to teach pronunciation in elementary school remains stalled as of 2003.

Tongyong Pinyin also has a Taiwanese phonetic symbol version (台語音標版) that uses v (for 万) but not f.

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