Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/344

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.
330
Foreign Words in Chinese.

were obtained. Thus benzoin was brought from the country named An-hsi, and so it got the name an^ksi-hsiang (^ ,g, ff ), the fragrant substance from An-hsi (Parthia), and this continues to be the designation of all benzoin, no matter whence derived. Another country which gave its name to several articles of com- merce was that known as P^o-ssu, a term by which Chinese writers often indicate merely a Western land of vague situation and extent.

Of examples in later times only two need be mentioned. The kingdom of Chiam-pi (part of Cambodia) at one time sup- plied a portion of China with upland rice of a very excellent quality and with " water-rice " also better than that grown in China. The people of South Fuhkien called this foreign rice chien-ahi (i5 tIv), Chiampi rice. And this term or simply chien-a is still used in some districts of Fuhkien to designate rice of a peculiarly good quality. But the origin of the name and its history have been lost from the memories of the people who use it. The other instance to be given is the use of the word ho-lan (荷蘭) name by which the Dutch first became known to the Chinese, but the latter came to extend the name to Europeans generally. Thus sodawater is called wherever it is known in China ho'lan-sliui or Dutch water. So also one name for the potato is ho-lan-shu, the Dutch tuber; and in some districts at least European peas are known as /lO'lan-toUj Dutch peas.

In the history of China we seem to have three chief periods which are marked by a great increase in her active relations with foreigners. These may be distinguished as the periods of the Han, T*ang and present dynasties. In the first the empire had almost constant dealings of war or peace with the Hiung-nu and other tribes on its frontiers. The Chinese also extended their intercourse and influence to the lands about India, the restless hordes on the North, and the rich lands beyond the Ling- nam. During the T^ang period the Chinese became well acquaint- ed with India and the countries beyond, and also with the Ma-

hometans from the South and West. And now the present dynasty