Sunday, February 17, 2008

哎呀 !


Curses! It took me almost 30 minutes to write those two measly sentences using MPS! I'm used to using Pinyin, but I'm forcing myself to only use MPS now because I live in Taiwan, and once you know it, it actually is easier to type Chinese using this system. This is because in Taiwan, they use traditional Chinese characters (as opposed to the simplified characters that people in China use). If I want to type traditional characters using pinyin, what happens is I type the pinyin, press enter, and then get a long list of characters to choose from. Why do I get this long list of characters? Because the computer doesn't know what tone I need (in Mandarin Chinese there are 4 tones). For example, in pinyin the word for love is ai4 or ài (fourth tone). However, for some reason there is no way (for traditional characters) that I know of for me to write ai4 and have the computer put in the exact character I want. Instead, I can only write ai and then choose from a list of at least 4 characters (I say at least because I'm not counting all of the homonyms). On the other hand, if I write the MPS for love, which is ㄞ , and then type in 4, it will give me 愛, the exact character I want. Maybe this is a bad example, because in the case of ài, there is one perfect MPS symbol that makes that sound. Usually, you have to use a combination of several symbols to get the sound you want. For example, the tattoo on my ankle (which says "living water" in Chinese) would be ㄏㄨㄛˊ ㄕㄨㄟˇ in MPS. In Pinyin it would be huó shuǐ, and the two characters for it are 活水. Anyway, if I lived in China and used simplified characters, I would be able to type the pinyin with the tone number and then get the simplified character that I want. But Taiwan always has to be different from China and maintain their identity (I'm not saying it's a bad thing), so they don't use pinyin and they don't use simplified characters. Oh my gosh, I am so sick of studying now. I just had to rant (if you know what I wrote at the top, you'll see that this post did indeed started as a rant)!


  1. If you are using Windows, you can still use hanyu pinyin for traditional characters if you want. If you use a Mac, I don't know... probably, but I don't know.

    If you are using the Chinese IME from Microsoft, just go into the settings and access the "properties" of Chinese Traditional New Phonetic and change the keyboard layout to Hanyu Pinyin.

    If you want to type FAST... learn Cangjie, not MPS. Cangjie will increasy your character recognition exponentially too.

    With a lot of practice, MPS could be faster for you than pinyin and you *should* learn MPS because it what most Taiwanese use... but you can still use pinyin and shouldn't feel bad about doing so if it helps you type faster!

    One thing I like about pinyin input is that I don't have to know the right tone to get the character I want. Sometimes I've mis-learned a character and then can't find it with MPS input.


  2. Scott,

    You are a wealth of good advice! I do use pinyin when I take notes in class, because I can write super fast in it. I can't really write in MPS by hand, but I do like using it to type because it's easier for me to remember the tone for something than what the character looks like (which is why I hate getting the list that pinyin gives me). The main thing that slows me down is that since I bought my computer in the U.S., I don't have MPS marks on the keys. I have to keep the MPS keyboard key up on my screen and constantly refer to it! I heard that I can buy little stickers for my keyboard at a computer store though, so I'll try that. I have an Apple computer, so I'm not sure if that Microsoft Word thing you're talking about works or not. I'll have my husband look into it!

  3. 不簡單! It's not easy. Personally I prefer pinyin for text input, though I sometimes do choose the wrong character! That's what yahoo dictionary is for ;)
    I can read and write bopomofo, but I don't use it anymore.
    加油!Now I wish I could actually write it! For now typing will have to suffice.

  4. Am I on another planet? All I see is ????????!?????!
    Does that mean something?? And if so....what.
    I could be ranting and not even know it. Ha! :)
    Do you know what this means \o/ ?
    It means thank you Jesus! When we get to heaven we will all speak the same lanuage and we won't have to worry about not being able to understand one another anymore!!!!!!! No that was not a rant......just excitement. :)

    Love ya girl! You can come here and rant all the time---I won't know what you are saying. :)
    But.....I'll love ya anyway.
    jr ;pbrd upi----that means He love you--that is what you get when your fingers are on the wrong keys. ;)

    Remember you are blessed and we are walking together toward a better place!

  5. Char,

    I can't figure out how to use yahoo! dictionary! I'll get Ian to do it for me.


    Your comment was probably the most hilarious comment I've ever received on the blog!


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