Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/79

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65
The Cultivation of their Language by the Chinese.

Ssŭ-ma contributed to an accurate knowledge and proper use of the language is the "Ch'ie-yun-chih-chang-t'u," Pronunciation made easy in Tables. In this we have twenty tables representing as many groups of sounds which serve as finals. Each table gives the 36 Sanskrit initials at the head, and under these above 3,000 characters in all are arranged according to the four tones and other technicalities of utterance.[1]

Other writers of distinction on the language in this century were Sung Hsiang (宋庠) and Chang Yu (張有). To the latter the Chinese owe a book for which the orthodox student retains great admiration and almost affection. This is the "Fu-ku-pien" (復古編), a Book which Restores the Ancient, that is, the old writing of characters and their meanings. Chang Yu, whose other names were Ch'ien-chung (謙中) and Chên-ching (真靜) was a native of what is now Hu-chow in Kiangsu, and lived in the latter half of the eleventh century. His "Fu-ku-pien," which occupied him many years, was not published until the beginning of the next century. The chief part of this treatise is a collection of characters in the "small seal" mode of writing. These are given according to the four tones and the ordinary finals; then the modern form of each is given; the meaning, wrong ways of writing, and the spelling are added. The book contains also collections of compounds and of pairs of characters similar in sound or form or both, but these refer rather to the mere writing. Chang Yu was a strong opponent of Wang An-shi's theories about the "combination meaning," and it was chiefly to combat these that he composed the "Fu-ku-pien" which takes those characters which are made up of two elements, one significant and one phonetic. The "Fu-ku-pien" has been many times edited and republished, and it is still consulted. Its author wrote another treatise on the language, but it does not seem to have survived.[2]

The next author to be mentioned is Chêng Ch'iao (鄭樵) styled Yü-chung (漁仲) "one of the most erudite and renowned

  1. "Ma T. L.," chap. clxxxix.; Supt. "Ma T. L.," chap. xxv.; 切韻指掌圖 (Reprint of 1203 ed.)
  2. 復古編 (Reprint of 1781); "Ma T. L.," chap. cxc.