The Pollard script, which is also known as Pollard Miao or Miao, was devised in 1905 by Samuel Pollard (1864-1915), a British missionary, with help from Yang Yage and Li Shitifan. Before Pollard came along, the A-Hmao language, when written at all, was written with Chinese characters. Pollard Miao underwent many changes and revisions and only became stable in 1936, when a translation of the New Testament was published in the Pollard script.
The authorities in Beijing were not too keen on a spelling system devised by Western missionaries in Laos in the 1950s - the Romanized Popular Alphabet (RPA). Therefore in 1957 the Chinese government introduced an alternative system based on Hànyŭ Pīnyīn. This was not popular among the A-Hmao people, who were already familiar with the Pollard system.
Various efforts have been made to improve Pollard Miao writing, which inadequately represents the phonetics and tones of A-Hmao and is not ideal for writing Chinese loan words. A semi-official 'reformed' Pollard script has been in use since 1988, along with the older version of the script, and the pīnyīn version.
This chart shows the Pollard script with the Pinyin equivalents of each letter and IPA transcriptions of the pronunciation.
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