Wikipedia:Help for non-Hakka speakers
First of all, what romanization is this? At first glance, I would have thought Vietnamese.
Second, why are some pages written in romanization and some pages written in Chinese characters? The pages written in romanization are as annoying to read as reading all-Pinyin text. It's actually more efficient to write the Chinese language (whatever variety) in logographic format for various reasons. Though, I have to admit, once in logographic form, reading 貓熊 feels like a form of vernacular Chinese. Sure, there may be regional words here and there, but overall, it is pretty readable for non-Hakka Chinese speakers. Journey to the West, a classic Chinese novel, is written in archaic form of vernacular Chinese with its own 方言, and it is still very readable for modern native speakers, as much as Shakespeare is for native English speakers.
Third, one big problem with romanization is that it focuses on a single pronunciation, and there are various dialects within Hakka, and these dialects don't pronounce things in the exact same way, to the extent that some are not even mutually intelligible with each other in spoken form. I'm sure all Hakka speakers (even non-Hakka-speaking Chinese speakers) can read this: 歡迎來到客家維基百科。Only people who are educated in this kind of romanization and know a specific dialect of Hakka can read this: Fôn-ngiàng lòi-to Hak-kâ Vì-kî-pak-khô.
I personally speak Putonghua and have some knowledge of my hometown dialect, which is based in Southwestern Mandarin. Though, I know my mother's mother's parents speak a Wu dialect natively. We do not believe that our Mandarin dialect has a specific written form; and we - as normal Chinese people do - believe that our dialect is based on the hometown, not on some kind of general linguistic classification (the entire Mandarin branch of Chinese). That means, while the dialect may be classified under the Mandarin branch, socially it is identified as the dialect of the hometown. People generally identify with their hometowns and hometown dialects, not by some kind of linguistic classification. For example, the word 面粉 has a Wikipedia article. This term is the Standard Written Chinese term, and it has a Putonghua pronunciation, and the nature of Chinese allows it to be pronounced in the regional dialect. The word 灰面, on the other hand, is associated with my hometown dialect more, and it can be pronounced in the local dialect and Putonghua. It's like "soda" and "pop" in the English-speaking world. Some people prefer "soda"; some prefer "pop", but we generally know they refer to the same thing, the carbonated sugared beverage. There are some instances, I've found out as an Overseas Chinese, where the preferred regional term has no written equivalent. What I mean is, the hometown people may prefer a specific word, but they cannot write it, because the word is mainly spoken (part of 口语), not written down (part of 书面语). So, in writing literature, people will just use the Standard Written Chinese equivalent word down, because (1) it's more easily recognizable and (2) more people beyond your hometown will understand it in that context and (3) using Putonghua pronunciation to transliterate a regional word is very bad practice (mainly because that character holds meaning, and the meaning may conflict with the sound). However, in informal context such as text messages, number 3 may be the norm, simply because most people are educated in Standard Written Chinese, associated with the Putonghua pronunciation, and want to find some way to get the message across in casual texting. This is how you get 毛丝 (meaning 厕所 from a Mandarin dialect, while the "correct" regional term is 茅厕) and 白相 (meaning 玩 from a Wu dialect).
While I like the idea of a Hakka Wikipedia as it allows me to see different 方言 words in context, the current project is not what I expected. Why can't it be like the Yue version? The Yue version writes in mostly Chinese characters, not some kind of romanized form. Sometimes, it may provide the Jyutping pronunciation, so we only know the Standard Cantonese pronunciation in Hong Kong (as opposed to the other dialects of Yue). Hong Kong Cantonese speakers prefer to write Cantonese in Traditional characters, while Guangdong Cantonese speakers prefer to write Cantonese in Simplified characters. On the other hand, Mainland China may not access Yue Chinese wikipedia, so it's no wonder that that Wikipedia is dominated by Traditional Chinese users.
Finally, I would like to add that writing in Chinese characters is superior to writing in romanized form, because Chinese characters tolerate a variety of pronunciations, while a Latin script is pronunciation-intolerant. Writing in all Pinyin can be extremely tedious, because people like me have to look up the proper way to spell words. For example, it is much easier to write 作业. At home, my parents pronounced it in Putonghua with a regional accent like this: zuo2 ye4. The actual Putonghua pronunciation is zuò yè. As an Overseas Chinese, I only hear zuo2 ye4 from my parents and associate that with the word. Pronouncing it in Putonghua with a regional accent doesn't make something a new word. 作业 is still 作业. It's only a new word, when the characters change. SuperSuperSmarty (kâu-liù) 16:06, 17 Si-ngie̍t 2019 (UTC)
- User:SuperSuperSmarty: I don't speak Hakka, or any other variety of Chinese for that matter, but I think I can answer your very first question: the romanization used on hak.wikipedia is Pha̍k-fa-sṳ. It resembles the Pe̍h-ōe-jī system used on Min Nan Wikipedia and the Bàng-uâ-cê system used on Min Dong Wikipedia. PiRSquared17 (kâu-liù) 19:15, 18 Si-ngie̍t 2019 (UTC)