The Trung orthography uses Latin letters in standard alphabetical order, based on a system first conceived by American linguist and missionary Robert Morse for Rawang in Burma.
The effort to create a Trung orthography on this basis and the initial outlines of such a system date back to the mid-1980s and have continued down to the present day thanks to the efforts of Trung scholars. Although no competing standard exists, the current orthography has only been implemented to a very limited degree and varies by user — the most notable efforts towards dissemination and standardization include training sessions for teachers and a series of standard primary school textbooks (bilingual, translated from Chinese into Trung by Lǐ Jīnmíng 李金明 and Lǐ Aìxīn 李爱新). Trung Christians, working with the Summer Institute of Linguistics, have also produced very basic primers employing a version of the orthography, but otherwise very little exists in terms of writing or media in the language.
Though some users may spell phonetically, the orthography employed here is a “deep” phonological representation of the language, rather than a “surface” orthography that shows the language exactly as spoken. Hence, despite the phonological rule that transforms final nasals /m, n, ŋ/, followed by any voiceless segment, into the corresponding voiceless stops /p, t, k/, the compound will be spelled in its underlying form. In (41), /kət⁵⁵ti⁵⁵/ ‘green vegetable soup’ will be spelled kvnti.
When Trung is written without marking of tones, as native speakers may sometimes do due to tone’s low functional load, apostrophes can be used to disambiguate syllable boundaries, e.g. between adjacent vowels that do not constitute a diphthong (mv’eu), adjacent consonants (vng’lvp), or in cases where syllable codas and onsets might be confused (wang’u).
Pronunciation generally resembles English, but please consult the Phonology page and note the following major modifications: