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To elevate the two hands, 55, negative, mo, 71, mok, 80, put, 175. To speak, 73.

To compare, 81.

To arrive, 133. This is a picture of birds flying down to the ground. To reach, 171.

To look down, 146.

To see, 147.

To distinguish, 165.

To eat, 184.

To fly, 183.

To dispute, 191.

To be fatigued, deficient in energy, 76.

To use, 101.





THE phonetics of the present Chinese language are characters used as signs of sound. As the 214 radicals are used for classifying words ideographically, so the phonetics are used for writing them down phonetically. The phonetics constitute a body of sound symbols. They are here presented as they appear in the modern writing, and make up in all, many rare ones being omitted, eleven hundred and forty-four. They are a hundred and four more than in Callery's Systema Phoneticum Scripturae Sinicae.

The order and numbering of Callery are here preserved. He was the first to make a list of the phonetics, which he has embodied in his Systema published in 1841.

The order is that of the number of strokes, as in K'anghi's dictionary. But where the number of strokes is the same, it must be remembered that the strokes themselves take an order. This depends on the practice of Chinese caligraphy and school teaching. Gonçalves and Callery fixed the order for application to the arrangement of words in a dictionary. It is that order which is the basis of the arrangement adopted in the following list. The names and signs of the nine strokes in use are-1, chu ; 2, hwa; 3, keu ; 4, pie J; 5, yi Z; 6, kwun | ; 7, kiue Ţ ; 8, t'i / ; 9, na \.

The sound of the phonetic part of a character is an index to the sound of the words when the characters were first made.

To learn the primitive sounds, the losses sustained by letter changes, and by wearing away, and all additions made through the acquisition of new elements, must be carefully examined. This I have endeavoured to do in each case; and following the Mandarin pronunciation of the present day, will usually be seen the nearest approximation I have reached to the primitive sound.

When a phonetic has final k, t, or p in the dictionaries under a part of the examples, it is to be attributed to all the examples. The partial loss of such letter is to be ascribed to phonetic decay.

The modern final n and ng have both changed from m in a larger or smaller number of cases. They are here indicated in each instance.

Many phonetics have two or more sounds, which may be entirely unconnected or derived the one from the other. Thus wu, hu, mu, wen, are sounds all given to 96 wu "do not." They can be divided into three, kot, mot, mon. The first two have no connexion but in meaning. They are different roots. The last may be connected with the second by an ancient change from t to n.

If we look at phonetic 187 mu "mother," we find the sounds mu, wu, meu, all closely connected by interchange of letters. Here, then, is no likelihood of two sounds having been originally attached to the character.

Phonetics acquire a new sound when they are applied through resemblance in idea to write some word whose sound differs. Thus wang, mong 18 "to disappear," "be lost," is used in hwang, kong "waste, desert, vast," 217, on account of similarity of idea.

The guiding principle on which this chapter has been compiled is that anciently words like in their phonetic symbols were like in sound. This is at once recognized by every one in simple cases. Thus pi 21 "he," p'i 5 "skin," were written with the same symbol because their sounds were regarded as like.

We may proceed farther than this, and say that where difficulties occur in discovering similarity of sound, it is in every case due to the

1 When in this list the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 occur after the modern pronunciation of any character, they are tone marks. Usually the old pronunciation follows them.

changes effected by time in the sounds of the words. Of this statement, the facts of the present chapter may be taken as proof.

It has been a chief aim throughout to obtain as nearly as possible an approximation, by the light of the phonetic signs, to the sounds given to the words at the time the characters were made.

There is a circumstance that can scarcely fail to strike the student. The limitation in area of the letter changes is very remarkable on account of the peculiarity of the Chinese syllabary. Thus in English the initials k, t, and p can take after them the letter r, and k and p the letter. In Chinese, t can take after it s or sh. In English, s may precede k, t, or p at the beginning of a syllable. For example, scan, crumb, clan, plan, etc. The expansive power of English is as eight to two therefore as compared with the Chinese in regard to the prefixing or affixing a consonant to the radical initial in a syllable.

There is a similar lack of expansive power in the other parts of a Chinese syllable. Changes take place within a very small area, and can be reduced to a few simple principles. There are few known languages which are so limited as the Chinese in the faculty of syllabic development.

Through the four thousand years of its history since the invention of writing, the Chinese language has never been able to extend its syllabary after the fashion of the more richly developed types of speech to which in Europe we are accustomed.

The changes undergone by the syllabary within its very small circle of variation are registered in this chapter in an imperfect manner, with references to native authorities.

As a whole, the phonetics are here given as they are found in the modern writing, but an eye has been kept on the ancient forms.


1. Zyi, 4, kit, second in the denary cycle. K'it in 38 ki, "beg.' Initial t deduced from the sound kieu, with RR. 142, 157, 167, and fromngit in Kwy, R. ear. Perhaps also tat, as in cha, P. 150. Tiechiu, chek 8, it 4.

la. yi, 4, tit, "one."

"a stroke."

Also hwa, 8, gak,

1b. kuun, kon, a downstroke. Perhaps a contraction from 20.

1c. Jpi, pit. Found in 11, 13, 132, etc. First occurs in Sw. A contraction for some longer character.

1d. chu, 4, tok or tot, "a dot." Tak, tok, in PP. 29, 41, 42, 69, 129. Tot in 148 shut, with several radicals. See 53.

le.fu, put. The reverse of lc. Sometimes na, nap.

1f. kiue, 8, get. Found in kie 37, ya, "tooth," 76. See 311 sie. 1g. L kiue, 4, kit, "hook." Found in kieu, 16 yue, ket, "spear," 154. 1h.mi, mik or ming. Found in 627.


k'au, 2, k'ok.

Found in 19, 21, yü 111, hi 194, hau, "sign," 236 k'wa, 241 k'au 427 kik 603 ngok, 731, 1006. Final k in 427, 603, indicates loss of k in the others.

2a. Itse, 4, tak, ngat, gan or ngam, "impending cliff." See for tak 140, 166; for gan, ngan, 512, 637; for ngam, 939, 1035. It is ideographic in 810, and may be so considered in many of those just enumerated. Also yai, ngat, 410.

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4. T ting, 1, tang, "nail." Phonetic in 513, dang. The forms on old bells and vases are often only a dot or small black square. Tak in the Odes, RR. sun, "shine."

5. JJ tau, 1, tok and tot, "knife." water. Tyt. Found in 160 chau, tok,



Kit and sit in 567 hie.

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Tit in 74 t'sie,

li, 8, lik, "strength." Found in 189 yeu "young."

6a. Ţliau, lo(k), "ended." Lio in Kwy, RR. metal, boat.


45, 127.

fan, 5, bam, "contain," "rule." Phonetic in fan, bam,

8. 7 nai, 6, nak, " then," "therefore," "thou," "it is so;" "milk," "breasts," R. woman. K is inferred from the meanings. See in 287 "milk" and "thou." Also ning. It is used in 564 yiug "full."

9. JL ki, "bench." Kik in 309, k'ek "overcome" 487. Kit in 22 ot, 103 ku, kot. Also she, tit. See 777 teu and she, "place," 103. 10. kieu, "nine." Kuk in Kwy, RR. 44, 32, 72, 157, 170. Kuk in the Odes, R. hole, III, where it rhymes with words in k. Kik in Kya, RR. earth, corpse, combined.

11. pi, pit, "spoon." Found in 108. Bit in Kwy, P. 108.

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