Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/96

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The Cultivation of their Language by the Chinese.

he composed also several treatises on subjects connected with the oral and written language. Yang was a great explorer of antiquity, and studied specially the relation of the language of his own time to that of the early periods. One of the best known of his philological treatises is the "Chuan-chu-ku-yin-liao" (轉注古音略), a compendium on the old words of the class "deflected." Yang uses the term chuan-chu or "deflected" to denote the characters which came to acquire new pronunciation and new meanings. To some extent he was a follower of Wu Yü, and this treatise is by some regarded as an enlarged and improved "Yun-pu." Like Wu, he gave the name "Old rhyme-sounds" (古韻) to sounds found in the miscellaneous literature of comparatively late times. The treatise here mentioned is said to show great learning but little criticism, and to be marred by a love of display. Yet students of the language and literature continue to regard Wu Yü and Yang Shên as sources of authentic information about the phonetics of the old language.[1]

About the year 1570 appeared the "Shi-yun-chi-liao" (詩韻輯略), a methodical compendium of the rhymes in the "Shi." The author of this treatise was P'an Ên (潘恩) a native of the Shanghai district and a distinguished scholar in the reigns of Shi Tsung and Mu Tsung (1522 to 1573). P'an adopted the "P'ing-shui" 107 finals, and his book, which is in five chuan, gives 8,800 characters. His etymology of these is largely based on the work of the brothers Yin and on the "Yun-hui" of Huang Kung-chao. The "Shi-yun-chi-liao" was popular for a time and it is still used, but it has not a high place as an authority on the old language. It is condemned as learned but inaccurate and unmarked by critical discrimination. Yet it had the fortune to be appropriated by a man named Liang, who had it printed word for word as his own production about sixty years after it was first published. Liang's son continued the fraud, and P'an's

work was long sold—is perhaps still sold—as that of Liang.

  1. "Ku-chin-yun-liao," Int.; "Ku-yun-piao-chun," Int.; "Ming-Shi," chaps. xcvi.; cxcii.; Wylie's Notes, p. 130.