Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/26

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Some Western Opinions.

"Origin of Chinese Civilisation," and "China before the Chinese: the Aboriginal and Non-Chinese races of China."[1]

Professor Friedrich Müller gives a genealogical classification of languages based on Hæckel's "Hair" classification of mankind. His ninth class is called Mongolian, and it includes the following, (1) the Ural-Altaic languages, (2) the Japanese, (3) Corean, (4) the Monosyllabic languages, i.e., Tibetan and Himalaya languages, Burmese and Lohita languages, Siamese, Annamite, Chinese, and the isolating languages of the Indo-Chinese Peninsula. This classification has been followed, with considerable modifications, by Professor Sayce in his genealogical arrangement of all known languages. Sayce, however, puts Chinese in a separate group, and he gives under it the following curious list of dialects: "Amoy, Cantonese or Kong, Foochow, Punti, Shanghai, Mandarin." Professor Sayce did not learn in any of the authorities quoted in his note that "Punti" was a Chinese dialect.[2]

The opinions which have been cited above are, we may say, chiefly on the material constituents of the Chinese language as compared with those of others. They are based on a study, or pretended study, of the roots or original elements, with little reference to the formal structure. We now proceed to notice some of the opinions which have been given on Chinese from this latter point of view. And here we do not find a very great diversity of opinion among Western scholars, although, as will be seen, there is by no means perfect agreement among them.

The first to make a morphological classification of languages was perhaps Friedrich von Schlegel in his treatise on the language and wisdom of the Hindus. Using terms taken from natural science he divided languages into Organic and Inorganic. In the latter division he placed (1) language without inflections and composed of roots which suffer no change what ever,

  1. "Early History of the Ch. Civilisation," p. 19; Colquhoun's "Amongst the Shans," Int'n. pp. 29 and 40; M. De La Couperie, in "The Academy," September, 1st, 1883.
  2. Grundriss d. Sprachwissenschaft v. Dr F. Müller. B. I. S. 76; Sayce's "Introduction to the Sc. of Lang." Vol. II., p. 48.