Wade published in 1867 the first textbook on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin in English, Yü-yen Tzŭ-erh Chi (), which became the basis for the romanization system later known as Wade–Giles.
Giles's Chinese–English Dictionary of 1892. The romanization systems in common use until the late 19th century were based on the Nanjing dialect, but Wade–Giles was based on the Beijing dialect and was the system of transcription familiar in the English-speaking world for most of the 20th century.
The system, designed to transcribe Chinese terms for Chinese specialists, was further refined in 1892 by Herbert Allen Giles (in A Chinese-English Dictionary), a British diplomat in China and his son, Lionel Giles, a curator at the British Museum. Taiwan used Wade–Giles for decades as the de facto standard, co-existing with several official romanizations in succession, namely, Gwoyeu Romatzyh (1928), Mandarin Phonetic Symbols II (1986), and Tongyòng Pinyin (2000).
London: Shanghai: Bernard Quaritch; Kelly and Walsh, 1892.
III: shao-yün), Shanghai: Hong Kong: Singapore: Yokohama: London: Kelly & Walsh, Limited; Bernard Quaritch, 1912.
In mainland China Wade–Giles has been mostly replaced by the Hanyu Pinyin romanization system, which was officially adopted in 1958, with exceptions for the romanized forms of some of the most commonly-used names of locations and persons, and other proper nouns.
(This is similar to the obsolete IPA convention before the revisions of the 1970s).
The Kuomintang party has previously promoted Hànyǔ Pīnyīn with Ma Ying-jeou's successful presidential bid in 2008 and in a number of cities with Kuomintang elected mayors.
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