Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

to a subordinate duty as hinges or pivots of phraseology'. He knows the division of words into the living' (verbs), the 'dead' (nouns) and 'auxiliaries' (particles of all kinds); or by another kind of distinction into the 'solid' and the 'empty' or nouns and particles. But declension, case, number, tense, &c., are ideas wholly foreign to China; and there exists, in the proper sense of the word no native Grammar of so ancient and so cultivated a language.

Another obstacle to correct observation is the unalphabetic character of Chinese. Sanskrit spells every shade of varying grammatical form. Form and pronunciation become thus identical. In Chinese orthography pronunciation' is nothing ; and grammatical form has no adequate written representation.

The absence of native grammars and of any historical system of phonetic writing, to do for the 'sinologue' what the nagari orthography does for the Sanskrit student and for the student of the science of language, accounts perhaps for the occasional inaccuracy of the illustrations drawn from Chinese by English philologists.

Europeans, missionaries and others, have it is true published Chinese grammars. But some of them have aimed only at guiding the studies of persons in China; and others have apparently been tempted to generalize on inadequate data, and to assimilate Chinese to the usages of more developed languages. Scientific

3

fuh(2622),

1 Morrison's Dictionary, Pt. I. vol. i. p. 34, sub voce che.

2 Callery (Systema Phoneticum) hardly proves the contrary.

3 See the interesting Article in this Journal, Vol. 1. Part ii, on 'the Growth and Development of Language;' in which, for example, Tsan (258) mau (7533) li (6944) hai (3088), rendered by Mr Farrar • Women are timid,' must mean rather • The Taiping rebels'—commonly called 'the long-haired'-'are formidable.' Li hai cannot mean 'timid;' nor are

even in China ever called shaggy' or 'unkempt' which is the idiomatic force of tsan (ch'ang) mau. Again, in p. 8, of the Essay, highly

composite phrases, which occur no doubt in certain connections for “happiness,' 'virtue,' and the like, are given as though they were the regular, if not the only, terms for those ideas. Whereas happiness' is commonly ex. pressed in writing by the single term

and orally by fuh-ke, where

is the breath' or 'spirit' of happiness; and 'virtue,' in the same way by tih(10202) and tih-ke. And

lin-keU(6063), or lin-shay (9129) etc. are preferable substitutes in most instances for what Mr F. appears to regard as the only word for neighbours,' kyai-fan-lin-se.

ke (5311)

lin (7236),

women

philologists appear sometimes to have yielded still further to the generalizing tendency, and sometimes to have been misled as to the authenticity of the information on which they relied. And the manifold systems of European orthography, from the nature of the case, have led persons not skilled in Chinese to forget the ideographic representation of its words, and to draw their conclusions from the similarity or otherwise of groups of Roman letters, the representatives, by a very arbitrary convention, of the unspelt Chinese words.

Chinese is monosyllabic; its different vocables numbering less than five hundred. The well-known system of tones, (accentus. Prémare), modifies these so as to give an apparatus of thirteen or fourteen hundred sounds distinguishable by a practised and tolerably delicate ear. And although even this number is inadequate to the purposes of general conversation, yet the connection of thought and combinations of words of similar or contrasted meanings serve to discriminate among the words of like sound, so that whilst the chances of confusion are greater in Chinese than in English, the former in practice is hardly less precise than the latter; in which, for example, we distinguish without difficulty between hare and hair, between air and heir, among the three or four meanings of the word lime, and so forth.

On paper the distinctions are made with perfect accuracy by means of the multiform ideographic character alluded to already But these distinctions are between word and word; there is no distinction of form between verbs, nouns, and adjectives.

In this latter respect English very much resembles Chinese. But English still possesses, especially in the verb, some few inflexions, using the word in its strict sense, in which it is inapplicable to the corresponding phenomena in Chinese. Chinese never possessed inflexions, though certain words in it may possibly, as some philologists appear to think, be tending towards a condition in which they will cease to be words, and, remaining mere appendages to other words to indicate their case, number, or time, will deserve the name of inflexions.

The intention of this paper is to exhibit the Chinese usage

in respect of what in other languages are the genitive case of nouns and pronouns, and the plural number of pronouns. These are the most remarkable of the idioms in which the tendency just referred to is seen. It will appear however that the words in question are still very far from that degree of degeneracy which belongs to the inflexional syllables of other languages.

I shall give examples both of the classical Chinese, or language of written composition, and of the colloquial. Under the latter head there are two main subdivisions, the court or mandarin colloquial, which possesses some small literature, and the provincial dialects', which have hardly ever been reduced to writing except by Missionaries, who, sometimes with Chinese characters, sometimes with Roman letters, have printed the New Testament and several other books in two or three of these dialects.

The mandarin, properly the dialect of the gentry of Peking, but said to be current with some variation throughout the provinces north and west of the river Yang-tsze, is the spoken language of the whole official class. A mandarin is legally unable to hold office in his own province, and hence he naturally abandons the local dialect of his home for that which is indispensable whenever his rank brings him into the presence of the emperor, and which forms a convenient common medium of intercourse with every other member of his class, including attachés and menial attendants. The provinces just now mentioned and the official class everywhere are thus the limits within which mandarin is spoken. The classes unconnected with civil office in all other parts of China speak, scholar and artizan alike, their own 'ground-speech, the dialect of their department, with more or less of refinement, but always with idioms essentially different from those of the court and the tribunals.

1 A very large majority of all the words in any colloquial dialect belong also to the literary language, and can of course be written. But in the provincial varieties there are a few very common words, verbs, nouns, and particles, which have no place in

the classical lexicon; and for which new symbols have to be devised or existing ones adapted. This has been done for the mandarin in half-a-dozen different popular works, but not for the other dialects.

Of the many hundred provincial or local dialects, that of Ningpo has become familiar to me in the course of seven or eight years' residence within the capital city of the department of that name. And as its usages differ widely from those of the mandarin, it has seemed to me worth the while to place some of the former side by side with those of the latter.

I. The Genitive Case of nouns and pronouns is formed
in Classical Chinese, by the enclitic che,

(526)

;
in the Mandarin Colloquial, by the enclitic te

° (9958)

or

teih (10159)

;

che gan 2886)

in the Ningpo Colloquial, by the enclitic go (k06424).
Thus e.g. “a lord's grace" is
in the Classical, Choo

(1219)

; in the Mandarin, Choo te (or teih) gan;

in the Ningpo, Chü go eng; where chü and eng are identical with choo and gan.

Of these enclitics che is a word serving in different contexts as a verb (to go to), a pronoun without nom. case (him, her, it), and a particle, whose written symbol is analysed by Morrison' after the Chinese lexicographers, thus: “The lower stroke (i.e. in the archaic form of the character) represents the ground, the middle one the stem of a plant, those on the side leaves or shoots...from the stem. Hence it is borrowed to denote the possessive case of nouns." The analysis such as it is may at least suggest the process of thought which led to the adoption of che as an enclitic to indicate the genitive.'

In the colloquial dialects this process is harder to conjecture. In the mandarin the older usage is te, a verb and a noun (subst. and adj.) as well as an enclitic. As a verb it means 'to dwell at the foot of a mountain,' also 'to arrive at and to stop;' as a substantive, 'the bottom;' and as an adjective, 'low, menial.' Is it possible that te was adopted as the enclitic to connect a possessor with his possession, a source with its issue, a parent with his offspring, because the radical meaning suggested the ground or original ? Te is still occasionally written; but it has been generally superseded in this sense by teih, a

1 sub voce(526).

2 See Morrison sub voce.

word quite distinct from te in its Chinese orthography, but in the northern mandarin almost identical in respect of sound. This similarity of sound renders it doubtful whether any logical account of the adoption of teih as a sign of case is now to be given. Court etiquette' may at some period have forbidden the ordinary use of the character te; and then teih may have been adopted in its place since they were alike in sound, and both belonged to the inflected class of tones, though they are ranged under different subdivisions of that class. The meaning of teih at any rate does not suggest any probable reason for its selection. Clear, bright, real, true; an illuminated target; an important circumstance;' are the definitions of Morrison.

In the Ningpo dialect it is equally difficult to trace the origin of the enclitic use of go. It is no doubt ko of the dictionaries, which Morrison defines to be a particle that precedes a variety of nouns, denoting individuality.' His examples indeed go beyond this definition, if they do not shew that the word is rather an enclitic of numerals and some other words, serving to connect them with the nouns they qualify. Its orthography in Chinese, which is different according as it is used of men or things, gives little aid in the investigation ; unless indeed it suggests a word of comparatively recent origin, invented on purpose to serve as a link between words in the manner shewn in the examples, and adapted by the two-fold

1 According to Julien yuen (12504) is said to have been written for heuen (2820) in the name of the great Buddhist Pilgrim of the 7th century, ever since heuen formed part of the reigning Emperor's name. I cannot verify this, as the Chinese orthographical Guide for such cases is not at hand. There is another method at any rate of avoiding the violation of etiquette, viz. by writing heuen with four strokes, instead of five, of the pen; thus omitting one dot.

2 The tones in the southern dialects, e. g. of Fuhkien and Kwangtung, are eight, viz. an upper and a lower of

each of the four classes p'ing even, shang rising, kheu departing and jüh entering.

Only five of these are heard in the mandarin dialect, that is to say the upper and lower p’ing and kheu and the upper shang. The jūh is merged in the shang and kheu classes.

For literary purposes the whole are divided into p'ing and tsih (inflected) the latter including the ‘rising,' .departing,' and 'entering' classes.

3 These examples are yih ko jin one man, urh ko jin two men, peih ko another, mei ko each.

« AnteriorContinuar »