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Completely OT: Romanization of Chiense speech

I apologize in advance as this is about as OT as you can get, but I've
found a great diversity of backgrounds and languages on this list so I'm
hoping someone might have more information on this for me as most of the
stuff I've found through googling seems to be geared towards linguists
and not casual users.

So, getting onto the actual question. This all started with the search
for the proper pronunciation of "chi". (As in life-force, etc.) Whether
it's "che(eseburger)" or "key". In looking around, I've learned about
Pinyin, Wade-Giles, Lessing-Othmer, EFEO, et al. romanizations.
Unfortunately, I've learned a whole lot of nothing. I'm finding "chi"
referred to as "qi" and as "chi" with no consensus on either
pronunciation or spelling. I think a big part of the problem is that I'm
finding a number of old English references done in the Yale style, which
has very conflicting characters with Pinyin.

So the first and easy question is, what's the story on ch/qi. And
second, is there any easy way to tell which romanization is being used
for a particular word in order to more easily figure out the
pronunciation? (I'm guessing that it's "che(eseburger)" as "q" in Pinyin
seems to be a ch and not a k sound.

Also, any simpler references to more on the subject would be
appreciated. I'm actually finding all of this very interesting. :)

Alex Malinovich
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