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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10805/1620

Title: I Sistemi di Romanizzazione del Cinese Mandarino nei Secoli XVI-XVIII
Authors: RAINI, EMANUELE
Tutor: Masini, Federico
Keywords: Chinese
Romanization
Issue Date: May-2012
Abstract: The history of the Romanization systems created by European missionaries in late-Ming and early-Qing's China to transcribe the Chinese pronunciation of their time is long and complex. Far from being simply composed by a series of cognate systems, it reflects the complexity of the multilinguistic environment in which were settled down the earliest Catholic missions in China. Also, from the observation of the various methods of Romanization, it is possible to appreciate the different degrees of linguistic sensibility of the many people directly involved in the invention, use or, sometimes, also in the "oblivion" of this or that method. After the arrival of the first European missionaries in the Philippines and Macao, different methods of transcription for the pronunciation of Chinese dialects have been developed and employed. Following the random romanizations used by different missionaries in their earliest accounts, as well as the massive use of a Portuguese-italian transcription made by Ruggieri-Ricci and their early confreres, the first (successful) attempt to impose a real standard for the Romanization of Mandarin based on Portuguese pronunciation was made by Ricci and Cattaneo in the early 1600’s, followed by a second experiment (failed) by Trigault in 1626, who tried to propose his own upgrade to the previous system. In the early 1650’s, other Jesuits of the Padroado employed systems descendant from that one of Ricci-Cattaneo. Martino Martini first used a Romanization system based on Portuguese, according to which he compiled the earliest known grammar of Mandarin, through which the rescued Ricci-Cattaneo system spread among the Company and the Intellectuals of Europe. Afterwards, and apparently very abruptly, Martini decided to move permanently to a slight different system, actually more suitable to Spanish speakers, which reached a very wide audience through his historical and geographical works. In the same period, Boym employed a personal variant of the Ricci-Cattaneo Portuguese transcription, but his customization had only a small diffusion thanks to the extracts of his writings inserted by Kircher in his own works. Then it was the turn of a brand-new French standard of Romanization, first systematically employed by Bouvet, followed by Le Comte and other French-speaking missionaries and scholars. At the same time, Spanish-speaking missionaries strengthened the Spanish system of Romanization, especially through the linguistic works of Varo and the treatises by Navarrete. Some of the Italian-speaking missionaries of Propaganda, mainly active at the beginning of 1700, re-evaluated the role of Italian orthography in Romanizing Mandarin, even if it never achieved a wide-spread position among the other strands. After all, also some intellectuals and scholars like Mentzel, Muller, Hyde, Liebniz, Bayer, etc., who engaged themselves in the study of Mandarin from the second half of XVII century up to the whole XVIII century, also made experiments in developing their own systems, based on German or even English orthography. The huge amount of data concerning the Romanization of Chinese at its early stages can be arranged in several kinds of comparative charts and tables, to build up a general comparative framework which can be used as a friendly reference to investigate any kind of romanized material of that period.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10805/1620
Research interests: linguistics, missionary linguistics, sinology
Appears in PhD:STUDI ASIATICI

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