Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/109

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95
The Cultivation of their Language by the Chinese.

subjects connected with the language. Of these one of the most important is the "Liu-shu-yin-chün-piao." The author of this was Tuan Yü-tsai, noticed above, a native of Chinkiang Foo in Kiangsu. The work, which is now often published as an appendix to the author's "Shuo-wên," is a series of five essays on the relations of the ancient to the modern language. It gives the author's seventeen classes of finals, under which he groups all the rhymes of the "Shi-ching" and the old poetry generally. Tuan maintains that the rhymes in the "Shi" are generally correct, that at the time of its composition there were three tones, the p'ing, shang, and ju. These three he finds to be kept quite distinct. The ch'ü-shêng he considers to have arisen about the fourth or fifth century of our era. But words, he thinks, have been all along changing their sounds and passing from one tone to another. The "Liu-shu-yin-chün-piao" is prefaced by contributions from the author's literary friends Tai Tung-yuan, Ch'ien Ta-hsin, Ch'in Ch'ung (欽沖) al. Chǐ-fu (之甫), all scholars of repute in this department of study.

Tai Chen (^ g) al. Tung-yuan C^ ]g) al. Sh^n-hsiu () has been already noticed for his labours on the Fang-yen. He was a native of the Hui-chow Prefecture of Anhui and lived from 1723 to 1777. In addition to many other works on various subjects he composed the "heng-yun-k'ao " (g f| ^) in four chuan, the " Sheng-lei-piao " (g ^ ^) in ten chitan, and the "Hsii-yen" (). Tai's studies in the language embraced the forms and sounds of characters and also their uses and history. He had great natural abilities, which he improved by a wide range of reading. Of a sceptical disposition he always wanted to know the how and the why of the statements he was taught to accept. This spirit gives a value to his writings and makes them of more than common interest. Thus the "Hsii-yen" examines the different uses made of such words as tao (道), li (理), hsing (性) by various writers and various schools of religion and philosophy.

(reprint).

, chap, v.; (reprint).