Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/61

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47
The Cultivation of their Language by the Chinese.

on the finals, called "Yen-tsuan" (韻纂), by Tsün, Prince of Ch'in (秦王俊). This work, we are told, made the sounds of characters the chief thing, and so differed from the "Shuo-wên" and "Tzŭ-lin." But little notice is found of the book, and it was apparently not of much importance. It was added to the "Ch'ie-yun" of Luh Fa-yen, as a sort of appendix, by Kuo Chih-hsüan.[1]

This Luh Fa-yen (陸法言), called also Luh Tzŭ-pei (詞輩), has an important place in the history of the cultivation of the language. With the co-operation of Liu Chin (劉臻) and seven others, including Yen Chih-t'ui, some from the south and some from the north, Luh made the phonetic dictionary with which his name is associated. This treatise was begun in 581 and first published in 601, but no copy of that edition seems to have survived very long. The earliest edition which became generally known was that of 677. In this year the work was edited by Kuo Chih-hsüan (郭知玄) and published with the title "Ssŭ-shêng-ch'ie-yun" (四聲切韻) in five chuan. It cannot be known what the original text of Luh contained, for we are told that Kuoh and others made many additions and corrections. The "Ch'ie-yun," to use the short title of the work, as Kuo left it, had the characters arranged under 206 finals according to the four tones. It was the first dictionary apparently to do so, and from it latter works derived the system. Luh and his associates, who were all scholars well learned in the language, took the works of Chow Yen-lun and Shên Yo as their basis, and the "Ch'ie-yun" is described by some as the lineal successor or continuation of Shên Yo's treatise. The aim of Luh and his fellow-workers was to correct the mistakes which had been made by their predecessors, and to reform abuses in the employment of characters generally, adding the correct pronunciation of these according to classical authorities. They wished to make and transmit a uniform language, to establish a criterion for ancient times and a standard for the modern. It is not known how much of the "Ch'ie-yun" was due to Luh himself. Some think that he only arranged and edited

the materials which Liu Chin and the seven others had collected.

  1. Kuei's "Shuo-wên," chap. 1.; "Yun-hsiao."