Here goes the dilettante again...

I know just enough to confuse matters. ☺

I'm reasonably sure that modern Vietnamese, with its latin alphabetic
base and delightful diacritics represents (or can represent) VN speech
fairly closely, tones and all.

Considering that VN is a tonal language, what I'm wondering is whether
its writing system could be adapted fairly simply to represent, say,
Putonghua (Mandarin Chinese). (Perhaps Cantonese would be more of a
problem, having (I think) more tones than Vietnamese.)

I'm aware that Vietnam was under the big thumb of China for almost a
millennium, and the topic has political overtones.

Nevertheless, existing schemes for romanization of Chinese (at least)
seem to offer sufficient detail to be completely practical, although
numeric representatin of tones seems arbitrary. Nevertheless, only
four tones is not many!

Nicholas Bodley |@| Waltham, Mass.
Sent by Opera 6.05 e-mail
via TheWorld, using Speakeasy DSL
who is hoping for the preservation of Chu Nôm literature.
There are only about 30 scholars now living, afaik, who are
capable of transcribing it.