Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/56

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The Cultivation of their Language by the Chinese.

a text-book and as the only authoritative edition of the "Fan-yeng" The old treatise known as the "San-ts'ang," noticed above, was also edited by Kuo and furnished with a commentary: and he composed other books on subjects connected with the language.[1]

The extinction of the Chin dynasty in 420 was followed by that division of the empire known as the South and North Dynasties, which lasted to the year 588. Of this period, however, only the portion embraced by the Southern Dynasties Ch'i (齊) and Liang (粱), extending from 479 to 557, is of much importance in connection with our subject. It marks an epoch in the cultivation of the language, and is regarded as the period in which the study of etymology began to flourish.

The first name to mention is that of Chow Yü (周顒) al. Chow Yen-lun (彥倫) who lived in the second half of the fifth century. He was a native of Ju-nan, in the province of Honan, and held office, but he is remembered only as an author on the language. The treatise ascribed to him was the "Ssŭ-shêng-ch'ie-yun" (四聲切韻), Words Pronounced According to the Four Tones. This is said to have been the first native work in which the four tones — P'ing, Shang, Ch'ü, Ju — were distinguished, and also one of the earliest treatises in which the fan-ch'ie mode of giving the sounds was systematically adopted. The work was long since lost, and its contents are known only by the statements of subsequent writers. Of Chow Yen-lun the well-known story is told that when Liang Wu Ti refused to recognise the four tones, the courtly scholar convinced him of their existence by the expression T'ien-tzŭ-shêng-choh (天子聖哲), Your Majesty is saintly wise. This story is told also of Shên Yo, and of his disciple Chow Shi (周捨).[2]

Next to Chow Yen-lun comes Shên Yo (沈約), al. Shên Hsiu-wên (休文). The native place of Shên was Wu-hsing (吳興) in the present prefecture of Hu-chow, near the T'ai-hu

  1. "Chin.shu," chap. lxxii.; Mayers' Ch. R. M., No. 304; 爾雅註疏 (in 十三經), Int.; 方言註 Pref.; 文中子, chap. vi.
  2. "Ku.shi, etc., Yin-lun," 中 chap.; "Li-shi-yin-chien," chap. ii.; "Yun-hsio"; Ma T. L., chap. clxxxix.