Talk:Chiang Kai-shek

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"Communist version"

RJ, to describe Jiang Jieshi as the 'Communist version' of his name is arguable, and I note that you (quite properly) haven't changed other names to Wade Giles. You may not like Pinyin, but it is now the accepted scholarly system for rndering Chinese names, and I'd ask you to stick to this. Bugler 06:54, 20 September 2008 (EDT)

it is not true that historic names like Chiang are changed to pinyin. Proof: just look at the titles in the bibliography: " Boorman, Howard L. "Chiang Kai-shek in Howard L. Boorman, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Republican China (1967) 1: 319-38;

Fenby, Jonathan. Chiang Kai Shek: China's Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost (2004); Huang, Grace C. "Chiang Kai-shek's Uses of Shame: An Interpretive Study of Agency in Chinese Leadership." PhD dissertation U. of Chicago 2005. 282 pp.; Li, Laura Tyson. Madame Chiang Kai-shek: China's Eternal First Lady (2007). It's hard to find an English language article (in a scholarly) with Jiang Jieshi in the title. The Communists adopted pinyin in the 1950s as a political tool to oppose Taiwan on the linguistic front (they had not used it previously).RJJensen 07:43, 20 September 2008 (EDT)

Whether one likes it or not (and I find it much more accessible than Wade Giles), pinyin is here to stay. It is used in virtually all the CP articles on China and we need to adiopt it as a standard. Indeed it is used throughout this article. I agree that naming can be problematic, and the use of familiar non-Pinyin terms for very major figures is fine (Sun Yat-sen, Chiang) as long as the pinyin alternatives are given. Also, we need to be careful to be consistent. I have just altered Soong Meiling to Song Meiling; if we wanted the Soong version, it should be Soong May-ling (iirc). The same applies to geographical names. Bugler 07:49, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
I agree this ency should use pinying for geographical names and for events post 1950. But changing history goes against my grain (and most historians I thik) and is murder for the users. For example there are hundreds of useful articles on China in the TIME magazine archives, and they use Wade-Giles. In Chiang's case he founded a contemporary government in Taiwan that very much still exists, and which rejected pinying. gives 8740 books with Chiang Kai-shek and only 1276 using Jiang Jieshi. RJJensen 09:03, 20 September 2008 (EDT)
To Bugler, just so you know, the name Chiang Kai-shek is actually Cantonese, not Wade-Giles. Cantonese preserved the "-k" final consonant from Middle Chinese (e.g. shek in Chiang Kai-shek) and Mandarin, which is the dialect that the Wade-Giles system was based on, does not have any final consonants except "-n" and "-ng". Anyways, I do have to agree with Bugler on this issue. Yes, I think that using Chiang Kai-shek and any other non-pinyin words could be used only when those non-pinyin words are still well known, provided that the pinyin alternative will be given for the sake of modernization. The point of pinyin, whether you think it is communist or not, is to give a consistent system for learners of Mandarin Chinese to pronounce words. It is used in many modern textbooks targeted at Chinese learners. I have yet to find a modern textbook that uses Wade-Giles as the basis of romanization. I personally find it easier to grasp than Wade-Giles, especially because pinyin lacks the apostrophes used in Wade-Giles countless times. And to RJJensen, Chiang Kai-shek did form the Republic of China which, as you know already, on Taiwan. But from what I heard, the Republic of China used inconsistent romanization systems of Mandarin Chinese, which included Wade-Giles, Tongyong Pinyin, and Hanyu Pinyin, and this was because of local governments leaning toward different romanization systems of Mandarin Chinese. Tongyong Pinyin was basically a slightly modified version of Hanyu Pinyin and Hanyu Pinyin is… well, the pinyin system that is used today. Just recently, Hanyu Pinyin was even officially adopted by Chiang Kai-shek’s government. So you can’t say that Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China is still rejecting pinyin because the Republic of China's Ministry of Education finally adopted this measure nationally. And, in case you don’t believe me, here’s the source: [1] --私は苟不教(正),性乃遷。 19:46, 24 September 2008 (EDT)
I agree with Watashiwa that students learning to speak the Chinese language should use pinyin. That is irrelevant to this English language history article about a figure of major historical importance. If readers only use the pinyin spellings of historical events they will be totally cut off from the historical literature--for example, the back issues of Time Magazine (which are online free and very valuable). That would be a major, tragic loss with no upside. RJJensen 21:44, 24 September 2008 (EDT)
Here's my take on it: use pinyin as the standard here, but use the other when needed and where necessary. This would be important in citing older sources that were not written in pinyin. Any thoughts? Karajou 21:51, 24 September 2008 (EDT)
Words like Canton, Peking, Chiang etc. have become standard English names and are essential to historical articles. We can't change thr English language here. Words that never became standard in English can be rendered in pinyin. RJJensen 21:58, 24 September 2008 (EDT)
My feeling is that non-Pinyin forms should only be given primacy where not to do so would lead to confusion - this would be the case with such very well known names as Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen, and possibly Mao Tse-tung (though the pinyin form of the last of these, Mao Zedong, is much closer to the 'old' version than is the PRC-used names of Sun (Sun Zhongshan) and Chiang (Jiang Jieshi). I hardly ever hear Canton outside of a historical context - Guangzhou is now far more common worldwide, I would say - and even Peking now sounds archaic in my opinion, and the Beijing Olympics have probably knocked it even further down the ladder. My suggestion, which sort of builds on that of Karajou, is to use pinyin as the primary form (except for Chiang, Sun and maybe one or two others). We should for major geographical names - provinces, important cities, major figures in politics or history - always also give the W-Gor other alternative names. For major figures, redirects should aslo be provided. Thus whether Zhou Enlai or Chou En-lai is chosen as the 'main' name, the other should exist as a redirect. If we can agree on this in outline (and I think that those of us participating here are those with the greatest interest in this issue), perhaps we could start a separate discussion on the Pinyin talk page to decide who should be 'pinyin exempt'? Bugler 05:06, 25 September 2008 (EDT)
I think we need to minimize confusion among people who do further historical reading, or who will write history papers. They should be using the historical terms in common English usage at the historical time. The point is that key words became part of the English language, and that doing historical research using, say, google or should be facilitated not impaired. This is by no means a Chinese issue--it's all over European history as well. English writers use "Florence, Italy," not "Firenze Italia". English-speakers use "Tchaikovsky"; other European languages use Tschaikowski, Tschaikowsky, Chajkovskij and Chaikovsky. RJJensen 07:50, 25 September 2008 (EDT)
They should be using the historical terms in common English usage at the historical time Oh, come now. So if I were writing about Sri Lanka/Ceylon in the sixteenth century I should be referring to it as Serendip or whatever? And who now refers at all to Formosa? Bugler 08:41, 25 September 2008 (EDT)
Yes indeed, or they will have trouble. Please let's stick to China and to words in common use in English. (Think of Burma, Ceylon, Persia, and the USSR -- kids need to know these historical names.) History is real. :) RJJensen 09:03, 25 September 2008 (EDT)

I don't know what point you are trying to make. Of course students of history need to know historical names, but here 'Ceylon' quite properly redirects to Sri Lanka. (Persia unfortunately redirects to Persian Empire rather than Iran, but that's for another time to fix). Thus Peking should redirect to Beijing. Bugler 10:14, 25 September 2008 (EDT)

the point is that we use the historic English names, and not replace them with terms that came into use much later. RJJensen 10:22, 25 September 2008 (EDT)
But we don't, certainly we don'ttotally. I am looking at a copy of Hunter Blair's Northumbria in the Days of Bede as I type, as scholarly a work as one could wish. In it he refers to Deira rather than Yorkshire; but he refers to York rather than Evoracum or Jorvik. And I refuse to accept that you would be so perverse, if writing about seventeenth century Australia, to refer to it throughout (rather than mention that it was at the time referred to as) Terra Australis Incognita, Eendractsland, or van Diemen's Land. Bugler 10:53, 25 September 2008 (EDT)
look at the books listed at the top of this page. They are major recent publications about Chiang and use that name. It's what scholars, writers and publishers do. So let's use the common English name (like Florence), not the rare names that only experts are likely to recognize like "Firenze" or "van Diemen's Land". RJJensen 11:16, 25 September 2008 (EDT)
Yes, yes, yes. I have done. I am not arguing about Chiang, or Florence, or Dougal for that matter. I am taking issue with your assertion that historians always use the name contemporary with the period being treated, which is manifestly incorrect. Bugler 11:30, 25 September 2008 (EDT)
We are agreed. I do not argue that historians always use one form or the other. It depends on the audience. A historian writing in a scholarly journal can assume the readers are experts. Here we should assume our users are home school/high school or college students who do not know the Chinese language.RJJensen 11:37, 25 September 2008 (EDT)

using the talk page

Please take all major changes to the talk page first, and please provide full citations. The reverted text assumes China was so fragile and weak that a couple spies could destroy it. That is contradicted by the recent scholarly literature. RJJensen 20:39, 16 April 2009 (EDT)