Yuen Ren Chao

Most Influential Person Across History

Chinese-American linguist and educator

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Yuen Ren Chao
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According to Wikipedia, Yuen Ren Chao , also known as Zhao Yuanren, was a Chinese-American linguist, educator, scholar, poet, and composer, who contributed to the modern study of Chinese phonology and grammar. Chao was born and raised in China, then attended university in the United States, where he earned degrees from Cornell University and Harvard University. A naturally gifted polyglot and linguist, his Mandarin Primer was one of the most widely used Mandarin Chinese textbooks in the 20th century. He invented the Gwoyeu Romatzyh romanization scheme, which, unlike pinyin and other romanization systems, transcribes Mandarin Chinese pronunciation without diacritics or numbers to indicate toness.

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