Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/112

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98
The Cultivation of their Language by the Chinese.

compiled with care and are much used. But since the time of Kanghsi, efforts have been made to substitute the standard language for the local dialects. That Emperor issued an edict commanding the institution of schools in Fuhkien and Kuang-tung for the teaching of Mandarin, and he repeated his commands afterwards. These instructions led to the establishment of certain schools, and in course of time books were published to aid scholars in acquiring the national language. Thus, for the natives of Fuhkien a work named "Kuan-yin-hui-chie-shi-i" was published in 1748. Its compiler was Ts'ai Shi ((Symbol missingChinese characters)), a native of Chang-p'u in the Chang-chow Prefecture of that province. Ts'ai had travelled to Peking and other cities, and he had made it his business to observe the peculiarities of speech at the capital and the other places he visited, having first learned Mandarin. When old, he retired and compiled this book, which he published in the eighty-fifth year of his life. It is a classified vocabulary of simple terms and phrases such as are in common use. The sounds of characters are sometimes given, and occasionally a short note of comment or explanation is added. The book was intended chiefly for the use of those natives of Fuhkien who had to travel as mandarins or merchants. It has evidently been found by these to be of some use, for it has been often reprinted, and it is cheap and portable.[1]

Several treatises have been published at Canton also with the view of teaching the people of that city and the surrounding districts the standard language. In 1785 was published a book the short title of which is "Chêng-yin-hui-pien." This was composed by Chang Yü-ch'êng ((Symbol missingChinese characters)) al. Ch'ang-ch'i ((Symbol missingChinese characters)) of Pao-an in the Prefecture of Canton. The aim of the author was to provide a guide to the use of Mandarin—the chêng-yin—for the people of his own province specially. The book is a classified collection of Mandarin terms in common use, with the vulgar or provincial equivalent often added. In a short introduction the author gives the general characters of the four Tones. He next explains the five yin, which correspond to the five

  1. (Symbol missingChinese characters) (a poor reprint).