内牛满面 – Moved to Tears by Google Pinyin


This is my first Chinese blog on this site. It’s talking about a Software called Google Pinyin, which is used to write Chinese characters using Pinyin, or Chinese alphabetic. Pinyin uses Latin alphabet to transcribe Chinese characters to show the pronunciation. Since there are so many dialects in China, when Pinyin system was created half a century ago, it was decided to use the pronunciation of Mandarin, which is a northern Chinese dialect, as the standard.

There are huge differences between the northern Chinese dialects and southern Chinese dialects, and it’s a nightmare for southerners to learn Pinyin, because it does not always sound like how they used to pronounce a character. For some southern dialects, the following pairs of consonants and syllables sound the same:  l and n, h and f, and in and ing, etc.

When different methods of inputting Chinese characters into computers are developed, Pinyin input became  the most popular one because it’s the easiest to learn, however, it’s not so easy for non-Mandarin speaking Chinese, because if you can’t say it right, you don’t get the right word.

It has been a problem for a decade until I found a new feature on Google Pinyin. It’s called Fuzzy Pinyin. By setting Fuzzy Pinyin on, you can set the input system to treat l and n, or h and f, or in and ing the same, so you can get the right word with your favorite pronunciation. For example, I came from Hunan Province, and Hunanese pronounce the name of their home province “fulan”. In Google Pinyin, if you set Fuzzy Pinyin on, and type in”fulan”, the pronunciation that used to bring laughter from Northerners will give you the correct name of your proud home – 湖南.

昨天在新机器上装Google Pinyin,突然发现有一个以前没有见过的设置 – 模糊拼音。打开一看,激动得我只能用一句流行网络语表达心情,那就是 “内牛满面”。

我们南方人,鼻音(n)无鼻音(l)不分,前鼻音(in)后鼻音(ing)不分,卷舌(s)不卷舌(sh)不分,江浙那边的人r和l不分,我们湖南及周边省的人h和f不分,当年学汉语拼音的时候吃尽了苦头,在北方上学的时候受尽了嘲笑。

我的汉语拼音不算差,虽然说的时候前鼻音后鼻音,卷舌不卷舌时常不对,可是写拼音的时候还是基本上不会错。不过对一些口音重的同学和老人家,用拼音打字是一件很头痛的事情。模糊拼音,就是让用户可以自己设置,如l=n,h=f,in=ing,这样,当你使用l,h,或f的时候 ,程序会认为你可能也是想用n,f,或ing,从而能把正确的词组选出来。

下面是我和我的南方同学们在北京上大学四年犯的一些经典错误,都是一说完北方同学就暴笑不已,说的人一头雾水。

读音 – 不用模糊拼音 – 使用模糊拼音后

he lai – 喝来 – 喝奶
yuan run de tun bu – 元论的臀部 – 圆润的臀部
fu lan ren – 弗兰人 – 湖南人
ying luan – 赢乱 – 淫乱

我很感谢这个提出“模糊拼音”概念并将该功能实现的人(不知是不是Google),真正把方便用户放在第一位。也证明了,世界上没有绝对的对和错,只有合理和不合理。

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