Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/63

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49
The Cultivation of their Language by the Chinese.

of them single and in combination, than a dictionary. It is valuable as a repertory of ancient views." A separate chuan on the old vocabulary, the "Urh-ya," is also given as having been compiled by Luh Tê-ming. It is the 30th and last in the edition I possess, which is a good modern reprint. Another scholar who was already famous when the T'ang dynasty succeeded was Ts'ao Hsien (曹憲). The native place of Ts'ao was Chiang-tu (江都), Yangchow, in Kiangsu, and he lived in the sixth century and the early part of the seventh. During the Sui period he had composed several treatises which had made his name famous. One of these was a new edition, with revised text and a commentary, of the "Kuei-yuan-chu-tsung" (桂苑珠叢), which was made by command of Sui Yang Ti. For the "Urh-ya" and "Kuang-ya," also, Ts'ao wrote commentaries, giving the sounds and meanings of characters, and these he added to texts which he carefully edited. Another treatise by him was the " Wên-tzŭ-chih-kuei" (文字指歸) or Guide to the Restoration of Characters, on the correct forms of the old writing. By these works Ts'ao had made himself an authority on all matters relating to the antiquities of the language, and his fame for learning in these matters was over the empire. The T'ang rulers offered him high office of a congenial nature, but as he had served the Sui dynasty, etiquette forbade him to accept preferment from the new rulers. T'ai Tsung, however, esteemed him none the less, and was wont to refer to him when in difficulty about a word or phrase. It is for his services in reviving a knowledge of the language as it was before the Han period that Ts'ao is best remembered. The new learning of tones, and finals, and fan-ch'ie, had put out of fashion the old learning taught by Tu Lin and his fellows. But by the books which he published, and the great popularity of his teaching, Ts'ao Hsien brought the attention of students back to the structure and derivation of characters.[1]

Another scholar of great learning and genius who adorned the reign of T'ai Tsung was Yen Chou-ch'i (顏其), known only by his other name Yen Shi-ku (師古). He was a native of

  1. "T'ang-shu," chaps. lvii., cxcviii.