1982年，國際標準化組織 (ISO) 將漢語拼音定為國際標準漢語；1986年，聯合國對漢語拼音亦作出了相同的認可。
讓孩子從小學習拼音，有助為他們的將來作充份準備。當他們日後要報考大學，尤其是海外的大學，懂得拼音輸入法會為他們帶來優勢 (或最少不會落後)。很多海外大學的評核試，例如美國的AP test，拼音就是他們的官方認可輸入法。
A Romanised Phonological Recording System
Pinyin is a combination of Roman letters and Chinese phonetics. Nowadays, most people in this world are already familiar with the Roman alphabet. Pinyin uses the 26 letters of the alphabet, plus a few new digraphs (such as zh, an, ang) and the indication of the 4 intonations. Once you have mastered these basics, it becomes easy to learn how a character should be pronounced.
As someone whose first language is not Chinese, it has become easier to grasp Chinese through pinyin. Pinyin is also useful for those whose mother tongue is another dialect, such as Cantonese. It helps them to learn the standard pronunciation in Putonghua.
Pinyin Is an International Standard
In 1982, the International Organization for Standardization announced Pinyin as an international standard for Chinese. In 1986, the United Nations followed suit.
While pinyin can never replace 漢字 (we will discuss the reasons in a future post), for many new-generation Chinese across the globe, it has become a standard way to communicate.
Building a Child's Confidence in Self Expression
For young children learning Chinese, especially those from foreign countries, their Chinese names are often the first thing they learn. This is true whether the child is Chinese or not. Learning pinyin can help them pronounce their names correctly. It certainly helps boost their confidence and interest in learning the Chinese language.
A lot of people have difficulties pronouncing Chinese names correctly. Pinyin helps with this. Although in Hong Kong or in Taiwan, many people spell their names based on the pronunciation of their own dialects, most Chinese use pinyin as their Romanised version of their name. Pinyin has given us a standard way to tell others our name.
Nowadays, pinyin input has become a simple and standardised way to type Chinese. This is especially helpful for children who grow up overseas, when they reach high school, university, or beyond. They will be able to use pinyin with word processors to express themselves correctly in Chinese characters, both in formal situations or casual chats with friends.
Prepare your Child
Learning Pinyin at a young age can better prepare young children. When they are old enough to take the various standardized tests to get admitted to their desired universities, pinyin will put them at an advantage. For many standardized tests for the Chinese language, such as the Advanced Placement (AP) tests in America, Pinyin is the official computer input method that is admitted during the tests.
For our older children who will be entering the workforce, there are many reasons to learn pinyin. As industries become increasingly digitized, job performances are often evaluated based on individuals’ computer skills. It is becoming inevitable to learn various computer input methods. Pinyin is one of the easiest and fastest way to type Chinese, for both Chinese and foreign Chinese-learners.
Although Pinyin has many limitations on its own, its convenience in facilitating communication and learning is the one of the main reasons you should incorporate it into your children's Chinese learning journey.
All of Sagebooks publications incorporate Pinyin, both traditional and simplified Chinese versions. In the free downloadable practice sheets, Pinyin is also included for all characters that are not taught in the Basic Chinese 500 course.
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