Saturday, July 15, 2017

It's China

The mapping poll closed:

China won by a landslide.  Greenland made a late surge at the end but none of the other options were even close.

I'll be working on Sinkiang, Tibet, Qinghai (or Kokonor, as English people called it in my youth) and Mongolia, about two million square miles worth of land, most of it terribly empty.  Meaningful settlements, the only ones that will appear on the map, will be few and far between; I expect the area to cover many sheets.

And it does bring up the issue of what I'm going to call everything.  I will be using the Wade-Giles system whenever possible, which was standard before 1979.  This means that modern Chongqing will be Chungking, that Beijing will be Peking and so on.  This is terribly, abusively politically incorrect now, as it is seen as an English racist system that was inconsiderate to the Chinese people.  I don't care.

When Chinese maps show "Alberta" written in English letters, I'll use Pinyin.  I know of no language except English that makes concessions to foreign languages when attempting to describe places on the map: and I don't see the difference between writing "King" and "Qing," if we're going to pronounce the Q as a K, nor in writing "Chong" instead of "Chung," if we're going to pronounce the o as a u.  It all seems ridiculously pedantic and I'm not buying into it.  I'm old.  I'm willing to make concessions for things that make sense, but this Pinyin thing is bullshit.  Always has been.

Not that people haven't tried to convince me differently.

But, hm, let me see, how do the Chinese pronounce "Canada?"  How do they spell it?  Oh.  That's right.

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