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Western Linguists and the Languages of China

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Western Linguists and the Languages of China

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Western Linguists and the Languages of China by Robert Morrison
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The first Protestant missionary linguist of any note was Robert Morrison (1782-1834), who, sponsored by the London Missionary Society, reached Macau and Canton (Guangzhou) in 1807. Together with William Milne (1785-1822), Morrison established the Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca, which was dedicated to the training of missionaries in such necessary linguistic arts as varieties of spoken Chinese and biblical translation. In Macau, he was later joined by a number of nonconformist American missionaries, including Elijah Coleman Bridgman (1801-1861) and Samuel Wells Williams (1812-1884), jointly responsible for the founding and publication of the Chinese Repository, the first journal of Chinese studies within the modern sinological tradition. With the opening of China and the establishment of the treaty-port system after the first and second Opium Wars, in 1842 and 1858, other missionary scholars joined battle in the twin causes of evangelicism and linguistic research, including Joseph Edkins (1823-1905). Edkins was concerned to show prehistoric links between Chinese and other ancient languages such as Sanskrit, but in this was opposed by Edward Harper Parker (1849-1926), who applied Western dialectological methods to a range of Chinese dialects. During the same era, the efforts of Protestant missionaries were supplemented by those of the colonial official qua linguist, as illustrated by the prolific work of consular officials such as Thomas Wade (1818-1895) and Herbert Allen Giles (1845-1935), who became successively the first and second Chairs of Chinese at Cambridge University. This series aims to reprint a wide selection of the work of such linguists, with particular reference to the lexicography of Chinese dialects as well as the developing tradition of nineteenth-century linguistic description, which included grammars, phonologies (i.e. descriptions of the sound-system of Chinese languages), and the writing system. Other sets of reprints in the series will focus on such topics as the origin and history of the Chinese language, language reform, and debates on the lexicon of religion (e.g. the 'terms' debate on the correct translation of such words as 'God' and 'Heaven'). The first set of reprints in this series comprises four important dictionaries published by three influential Protestant missionary linguists, Robert Morrison, Samuel Wells Williams, and Ernst John Eitel (1838-1908).

Table of Contents

Vocabulary of the Canton Dialect Robert Morrison A Chinese-English Dictionary in the Cantonese Dialect Ernest John Eitel A Tonic Dictionary of the Chinese Language in the Canton Dialect Samuel Wells Williams A Syllabic Dictionary of the Chinese Language; Arranged According to the 'Wu-fang Yuen Yin', with the Pronunciation as Heard in Peking, Canton, Amoy, and Shanghai Samuel Wells Williams
Release date NZ
February 1st, 2002
Volume editor Christopher M. Hutton Volume editor Kingsley Bolton
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Ganesha Publishing Ltd
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