Romanisation

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Romanisation, also spelled Romanization, is the rendering of words from languages which do not use the Roman alphabet into Roman or Latin letters so that speakers of languages using the Roman alphabet can have some idea of how the words are pronounced. Romanisation is most commonly used to render proper nouns intelligible to speakers of these languages and to assist learners of the non-Roman scripted language. Some languages, such as Mandarin Chinese, have an internationally recognised standard for romanising their words. In this case, the standard romanisation is the pinyin system. Usually these standards have been mandated by the government of the country where that language is spoken. Other languages, such as Cantonese, may not have a standard romanisation system. This is usually because the language is not a national language, or because the romanisation system used by the government is extremely inconsistent, as is the case in Hong Kong with Cantonese. When this happens, a variety of romanisation systems may developed by various academics. With Cantonese, there are the Hong Kong government system, the Yale system and a system based on pinyin developed in Guangdong Province.

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