Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/25

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11
Some Western Opinions.


We may not pass unnoticed the opinions on the genealogical affinity of Chinese held by our revolutionary Sinologist, M. Terrien De La Couperie. As the result of long study and research, M. De La Couperie has been led to recognise in the Chinese spoken language "an ancient member of the great family of agglutinant languages, known as Ural-Altaic." He adds: "And in doing so, it may be necessary to establish a third division of that family's group which has been provisionally constituted by recent discoveries, and which might appropriately be called Amardian; a group in which the first division embraces Akkadian and its dialect, and the second division Proto-medic, Susian, and Kossian."[1] We are this brought back to dear old Babylon. Professor Douglas, in the preface to the paper which contains the passage here cited, says of the "linguistic facts and suggestions" contained in it: "Put in a few words, these, and an abundance of others which will shortly be adduced in support of them, prove an unmistakeable affinity between the languages and traditions of ancient China and of Babylonia." Then in another book we have the following characteristic statement by M. De La Couperie: "China has received its language (since altered) and the elements of arts, sciences and institutions from the colonies of the Ugro-Altaic Bak families who came from Western Asia some twenty-three centuries B.C., under the conduct of men of high culture, acquainted, through their neighbours the Susians, with the civilisation which emanated from Babylonia and was modified in its second focus. This general statement is now beyond any possibility of doubt, for the evidence in its favour is overwhelming." It is a pity that the evidence has overwhelmed M. De La Couperie and disabled him from imparting it to expecting students. We look, however, for much light and leading from his promised works, the

    p. 283; "A Comprehensive Dict. of the Languages of Ind. and High Asia," by W. W. Hunter, Disser'n. p. 20.

  1. Under the head "Turanian or Ural-Altaic (Ugro-Altaic)" Professor Sayce places two classes: (1) the West Asia and (2) the Uralic Languages. In the former he has the two groups of obsolete languages, (a) Accadian or Sumerian, and (b) Susianian, Kossæan, Protomedic. Introduction to the Sc. of Lang., Vol. II., p. 43.