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• which it abounds, may, as Mr. cam, aut physicam, aut diale&ticam • Selden observes, give offence to appellem, quibus, ut aliis multis, * some grammatical and squeamish consuetudo jam utitur pro Latinis. • stomachs, who would rather choose Qualitates igitur appellavi, quas to live in ignorance of things moft watotnias Græci vocant: quod ip.
useful and important, than to have fum apud Græcos non eit vulgi • their delicate ears wounded by the verbum, sed philosophorum, atque • use of a word unknown to Cicero, id in multis. Dialecticorum vero vero • Salluft, or the other writers of the ba nulla sunt publica; suis utuntur. • Auguftan age.
Et id quidem commune omnium
ferè eft artium. Aut enim nova « * Cic. Op. omnia, Gronovii. funt rerum novarum facienda no
Acad. Quest. L. 1. mina, aut ex aliis transferenda, quod “ 24. *** Dabitis enim profectò, fi Græci faciunt, qui in iis rebus tag ut in rebus inufitatis quod Græci jam fæcula verfantur, quanto id . ipfi faciunt, a quibus hæc jamdiu gis nobis concedendum eft, qui bær tractantur, utamur: uerbis interdum nunc primum trafiare conamur ? inauditis?
“ 26. Tu verò, inquam, Varro, “ 25. Nos verò, inquit Atticus, bene etiam meriturus mihi videris, Quin etiam Græcis licebit utere, cum de tuis civibus, si eos non modo copie voles, f te Latina forte deficient. rerum auxeris ut effecifli, fed etiam Bene fanè facis : sed enitar ut La- verborum. Audebimus ergo, inquit, tinè loquar, nisi in hujus modi ver. novis verbis uti, te auctore.' bis, ut pbilosophiam, aut rhetori.
OBSERVATION3 on the NATURE of the CHINESE LANGUAGE.
[From SirGEORGE STAUNTON'S Account of the Embassy to Caisa.] " THE
THE sounds of several letters 6 The nice distinctious between
in most alphabets, such as the tones and accents of words near. B, D, R, and X, are utterly un ly resembling each other in found, known in the Chinese tongue. The but varying much in fenfe, require, organs of speech in a native of Chi- no doubt, a nicety of ear to distinna are not in the habit of pronoun- guilli, and of vocal powers to render, cing them. In endeavouring to ut- them exaêly. Tu fiicceed in mak. ter one of these, another to which ing those distinctions perfe&tly, a the same organ has been habituated ftranger ihould begin to learn them is generally founded: instead of the at an early age, while his organs are setter R, the liquid L is usually pro. flexible and acute. A material nounced by a Chinese; who ibus aid, however, towards taking each occasionally falls into ridiculous milo word in its proper fense is afforded takes.' A Chinese dealer in rice, often by the general context of the for example, is sometimes heard to fentence in which they are used. offer for sale what few persons An English reader, for example, would be disposed to purchase. will scarcely recollect, when in con
verfation, versation, he had any difficulty in never says that he will depart tode!ermining whether the idea of fun morrow; because the expression of (which fines), or that of fon (obey. the morrow is sufficient 10 ascertain ing his father', was meant to be that his departure must be future. conveyed, though the words are not The plural number is marked by to be diftinguilhed in the pronuncia- the addition of a word, without tion. Synoaynious words are also which the fingular always is implivery frequently introduced in Chi. ed. Neither the memory nor the ne le dialogue, as has been before organs of speech are burthened with observed, to prevent any doubt a. the pronunciation of more sounds to bout the intended sense. If, how- express ideas, than are absolutely ever, in an intricate discussion, any necesary to mark their difference. uncertainty should still remain as to The language'is entirely monofyilathe meaning of a particular expref. bic. A single syllable always exSion, recourse is had to tie ultimate preffes a complete idea. Each fylcriterion of tracing with the finger lable may be founded by an Euro. in the air, or otherwise, the form of pean consonant preceding a vowel, the character, and thus afcertaining fometimes folowed by a liquid. at once which was meant to be ex. Such an order of words prevents pressed.
the harsh-efs of succeeding confo“ The learner of Chinese is, bes nants founding ill together; and lides, not puzzled with many minute renders the language as soft and rules of grammar, conjugation, or harmonious as the Italian is felt to declension. There is no necessity of be, from the rarity of consonants, distinguiling, fubitantives, adjec. and the frequency of its vowel tera tives, or verbs: nor any accordance minations. of gender, number, and cafe, in a 66 The first founds emitted proChinese sentence. That language bably by man, were exclamations furnishes, indeed, a practical proof, confisting of single sounds, or monothat the laborious structure, and in- syllables. The naines, or founde, tricate machinery of the Greek and by which men may be first fupposed Arabic tongues, are by no means to have distinguished other animals, neceffary either for a complete when occasion offered to designate communication on all the busi. them in their absence, were atness of life, or even the grace of tempts at an imitation of the sounds elocution, or to the harmony of peculiar to those beings; and still, verse. The beginning or end of in Chinese, tie name, for example, words is not altered, as it is in the of a cat, is a pretty near resemo Greek verb alone, in above one blance of its usual cry. It occur. thousand instances, by the times of red as naturally to endeavour, in performing the action meant to be speaking, to imitate the voice, if expressed, or the cases in which the practicable, as it was in writing, tą things mentioned are intended to be sketch a rude figure of the object of placed. A very few particles de description. It is observable, that pote que part, the present, and the the radical words of most languages, future ; por are those auxiliaries em separated from the servile Terters, ployed when the intended time may which mark their infections, ac be otherwise infecred with certainty. cording to their conjugations, of de A Chinese who means to declare bis clensions, are monofyllabic. A part idienion of departing to-morrow, of each radical word is retained in
composition to denote the meaning the written language, there are at and etymology of the con pound, leaft eighty thousand characters, or which thus becomes polysyllabic; different forms of letters; which but the Chinese grammarians, d- number divided by the first, gives ware of the inconvenier:ce resulting nearly fifty senses, or characters, upfrom the length and complication of on an average, to every found exsounds, confined all their words, prefied; a disproportion, however, however fignificant of combinied that gives inore the appearance, ideas, to fingle sounds; and retain- than the reality, of equivocation and ed only, in writing, some part, at uncertainty :o the oral language of leaft, of the form of each character the Chinese. Johnson's Englih denoting a simple idea, in the con- Dictionary affords instances of words pound characters conveying com- taken in upwards of one hundred plex ideas.
different renies, without any doubt “ There is in the Cliinese a cer- being thereby felt in English contain order, or settled syntax in the versation; where, indeed, if there succession of words in the same sen· were, no reco::rle can be had for tences; a succession fixed by custom, ascertaining its precise sense, as in differently in different languages, but the Chinese, to the form of the writfounded on no rule or natural order ten character peculiar to each sense of ideas, as has been sometimes sup- in which the word is received, posed; for though a fen ence con. “ The number of words in any filis of several ideas, to be rendered language, or at least of senses in by severai words, these ideas all which each word is understood, exist and are connected together in mult depend chiefly on the state of the same intrant: forming a picture, civilization to which the people that or image, every part of which is use it are arrived; and in some deconceived at once. The formation gree also, on the population of the of Chinese sentences' is often the country, and on the arts flourishing fimplest and most artless possible, among them. It is not surprising, and fucli as may naturally have oc- therefore, that the Chinese dictioncurred at the origin or society. To ary should contain at least eighty interrogate, for example, is often, at thousand characters. Perhaps it least, in require the folution of a every sense in which an English question, whether the subject of term is sometiines received, were doubt be in a particular way, or the considered as a distinct word, and contrary; and accordingly, a Chi. the vast variety of those employed nese inquiring about his friend's in the different arts and occupations health, will sometimes say kou, poo of lite were taken into the accoun, hou! The literal meaning of which the muniber would not be much is, well, tot well?' A Imple cha- fewer than that of the Chinese. racter, repeated, stands fonetimes "The characters of the Chinese for more than one of the objects, language were originally traced, in which, fingly, it denotes; and most inftances, with a view to ex. sometimes for a collective quantity press either real images, or the alle of the linie thing. The character gorical signs of ideas; a circle, tor of , fingly, is a tree; repeated, exainple, for the fun, and a crescent is a thicket; and tripled, is a fo. for the moon. A man was repre• reft.
sented by an erect figure, with lines “ In Chinese, there are scarcely to mark the extremities. It was evi. foftoen hundred diftinct sounds. In dent that the difficulty and tediouf.
nels of initation will have occasion. nus, of which the representation of a ed foon a change to traits more time curve line approaches somewhat to ple, and more quickly traced. Of the form of the object; and the the entire figure of a man, little species referable to it include all the more than the lower extremities on- sentiments, passions, and affections, Ly continue to be drawn, by two that agitate the huma: breast. lines forming an angle with each Each species is accompanied by other. A faint resemblance, in some some mark denoting the genus, or few instances, still remains of the o. heart. Under the genus .hand,' are riginal forms in the prefent hiero. arranged most trades and manual exglyphic characters; and the grada. ercises. Under the genus word,' tion of their changes is traced in fe- every sort of speech, Itudy, writing, veral Chinese books. Not above understanding, and debate. A hohalf a dozen of the present charac- rizontal line marks a unit; crossed. ters consist each of a single line; by another line, it stands for ten, as but most of them consist of many, it does in every nation which reand a few of so many as seventy dif- peats the units after that number. ferent strokes. The form of those The five elements of which the characters has not been so flux as Chinese suppose all bodies in nature the sound of words, as appears in to be compounded, form fo many the instance of almost all the coun- genera, each of which comprehends tries bordering on the Chinese sea, a great number of species under it. or Eastern Alia, where the Chinese As in every compound character, or written, but not the oral language, species, the abridged mark of the is understood; in like manner as genus is discernible by a student of one form of Arabic figures to de. that language, in a little time, he is note numbers, and one set of notes enabled to consult the Chinese dicfor music, are uniform and intelli- tionary, in which the compound gible throughout Europe, notwith- characters, or species, are arranged Itanding the variety of its lan- under their proper genera. The guages.
characters of these genera are placed " A certain order or connection is at the beginning of the dictionary, to be perceived in the arrangement in an order, which, like that of the of the written characters of the alphabet, is invariable, and foon beChinese; as if it had been formed cumes familiar to the learuer. The originally upon a system to take species under each genus follow place at once, and not grown up, as each other, according to the numother languages, by now and distant ber of strokes of which each couintervals. Upwards of two bundred Gifts, independently of the one, or characters, generally consisting each few, which serve to point out the of a few lines or strokes, are made genus. The species wanted is thus to mark the principal objects of na. foon found out. Its meaning and ture, somewhat in the manner of pronunciation are given through obilbop Wilkins's divisions in his in- ther words in common use, the first genious book on the subject of uni- of which denotes its fignification, versal language, or real character. and the other, its found. When These
may be considered as the ge. no one common word is found to nera, or roots of language, in which render exa&ly the same sound, it is every other word, or species, in a communicated by two words, with systematic fenfe, is referred to its marks, to inform the inquirertharthe proper genus. The heart is a ge. consonant of the first word, and the
vowel of the second, juined toge. of them, each would hear names ther, form the precise fundi want, and sounds not common to both. ed.
Each reciprocally would mark down “ The composition of many of such names, in the sounds of its the Chinese characters often dif. own characters, bearing, as hieroplays considerable ingenuity; and glyphics, a different sense. In that ferves also to give an insight into instance, consequently, thote cha. the opinions and manners of the raéters cease to be hieroglyphics, people. The character expressive and were merely marks of found. of happiness, includes abridged If the foreign founds could not be marks of land, the source of their expressed but by the use of a part physical, and of children, that of of two hieroglyphics, in the mariner their moral enjoyments. This cha- mentioned to be ufed soinetimes in facter, embellished in a variety of Chinese dictionaries, the two marks ways, is humg up almost in every joined together, become in fact a house. Sometimes writien by the syllable. If a frequent intercourse hand of the emperor, it is sent by should take place between commuhim as a compliment, which is very nities, speaking different languages, highly prized; and such as he was the neceflity of uning hieroglyphics pleased to send to the ambassador. merely as marks of found, would
“ Upon the formation, changes, frequently recur. The practice and allusions of compound charac- would lead imperceptibly to the ters, the Chinese have published discovery that, with a few hierogly. many thousand volumes of philolo- phics, every sound of the foreign gical learning. No where does cri. language might be expresied; and ticism more abound, or is more the hieroglyphics which answered ftrict. The introduction, or altera- best this purpose, either as to exaêltion of a character is a serious un- nefs of sound, or fimplicity of form, dertaking; and seldom fails to meet would be selected for this particular with opposition. The most ancient use; and, ferving as to many letters, writings of the Chinese are still would form, in fact, together what claffical amongst them. The lan. is called an alphabet. This natural guage seems in no instance to have progression has actually taken place been derived from, or mixed with, in Canton, where, on account of any other. The written, seems to the valt concourfe of persons, uang have followed the oral, language the English language, who refort to foon after the' men who spoke it it, a vocabulary has been published were formed into a regular society. of English words in Chinese chaThough it is likely that all hiero. racters, expreffive merely of found glyphicai languages were originally for the use of the native merchants founded on the priciples of imita. concerned in foreign trade; and tion, yet in the gradual progress to who, by such means, learn the wards arbitrary forms and sounds, it sounds of English words. To each is probable that every society devis character is annexed a mark, to de. ated from the originals, in a differ- note that it is not intended to conent manner from the others; and vey the idea, hut merely the fothus for every independent fociety, reign found attached to it. The there arose a separate hieroglyphic habit of applying the found, inftead language. As soon as a communis of the meaning of hieroglyphics, to cation took place between any, two foreign words, led to the applica