Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/85

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71
The Cultivation of their Language by the Chinese

In the first half of the thirteenth century Wang Poh (王柏), a celebrated scholar and philosopher who lived from 1197 to 1274, compiled the "Chêng-shi-chĭ-yin" (正始之音). This little treatise, published in 1236, was made up of materials taken from the works of Hsü Hsüan, Chia Ch'ang-chao, and Chêng Ch'iao. It has no claim to literary merit, but it is valuable for the information it gives about changes in the forms, sounds, and meanings of characters.[1]

Contemporary with Wang Poh (or Pai) was Wang Tsung-tao )王宗道) al. Yü-wên (與文). The latter was a native of Fêng-hu in the Prefecture of Ningpo, and he held office under the Emperor Li Tsung (1225 to 1265). His claim to mention here rests on two works which he composed to teach the proper use of the Sanskrit initials with the rhyming finals. These were the "Ch'ie-yun-chĭ-hsüan-lun" (切韻指玄論), quoted usually by the short title "Chĭ-hsüan" (or yuan 元), and the "Ssŭ-shêng-têng-ti-t'u" (四聲等第圖), in one chuan.[2]

One of the most noteworthy books on the language in the 13th century is that known as the "Wu-yin-lei-chü" (五音類聚), which also was the work of the Han family of Chang-li. This book in its late editions has a long title, given at the foot of the page, which gives some clue to its history and composition. It was first published in or about 1208, and it has been several times republished in the North. The basis of this dictionary was the "Yü-pien" as enlarged and re-arranged by Wang Yü-pi, mentioned above. The work of compilation seems to have been begun by Ching P'o, already noticed, and it was continued by Han Hsiao-yen and finished by Han Tao-chao with the help of other members of the Han family and of certain disciples. The arrangement of the book is peculiar. The characters are grouped under classifiers, of which there are 444, being 421 selected from those of the "Yü-pien" with 23 added. These classifiers are

taken according to their position under the thirty-six initials

  1. 程氏家塾讀書分年日程, chap. iii.
  2. 試策箋註, chap. iii.; "Ma T. L.," chap. cxc.