THE STUDY OF THE OLD CHINESE DIALECTS

THE NAME FOR THE WILDCAT IN FANG-YEN, viii, 2 *

in Oriens
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THE STUDY OF THE OLD CHINESE DIALECTS

THE NAME FOR THE WILDCAT IN FANG-YEN, viii, 2 *

in Oriens

References

* This article has been slightly reworked and completed from a paper read at the Second Meeting of the Western Branch of the Arrvericasa Oriental Society, Berkeley, May 9, 10, '952, under the title: "The Name of the Leopard in Farae-yen, 8, 2."

1 Prof. E. Ileruzzi describes a method of linguistic maps for extinct languages: "Lorsque la recherche henneneutique, quelle qu'en soit la methode, doit s'appuyer sur l'etude et la distinction de differences extrernement nuancees, selon les diverses conditions de lieu et de temps, un atlas linguistique geographico-chronologique est le seul instrument qui puisse donner une vision imme- diate et complete des elements les plus importants de la grammaire et du vocabulaire. C'est pre- cisement le cas de 1'6trusque, pour lequel on a projete un atlas (qui n'a pas pu etre realise) presentant 'des caracteres tout a fait sui generis, qui seraient plus ou moins les nremes pour tous les atlas de langues eteintes par exemple, moindre richesse de materiaux, classification g6ographique et chronologique en même temps (chaque forme etant localisee sur la carte a son lieu d'origine et portant a son cote 1'indication du siecle auquel remonte le document epigraphique qui 1'atteste) etc., tandis que les indications orohydrographiques les plus importantes mettraient en relief sur la carte la possible influence du milieu gebmorphique sur 1'expansion et 1'evolution de la langue con- sid6r6c. Les questions prelirninaires fondamentalcs touchant au probleme des atlas de langues eteintes sont les suivantes: i. Pour quelles langues un atlas pourrait-il etre étabIi avec perspective de bons resultats (riche documentation, soit du point de vue g6ographique, soit du point de vue chronologique, necessites herm6neutiques partieulières de chaque langue, aussi bien que des en- seignements fournis par les atlas de langue vivantes (classement et representation du materiel, type des cartes, reproduction photographique de monuments et objets pour les finalites objectives de 1'etude linguistique, etc.) .... (Proceediazes of the Sixth International Congress of linguists, 1948, p. 80-81). ). Concerning the role of the "archaic words" in the study of linguistic material with the method of linguistic geography, Prof. G. RonJarzte protests against J. Orr's remark that "the purpose of a linguistic atlas is surely to represent as far as possible, a picture of present-day speech, of an "etat

de langue". To mingle with present-day forms the words surviving in such things as proverbs and folksongs, that are notoriously archaic is entirely to confuse the picture and to destroy its value as a sure basis of study." Bonfante on the contrary states: "C'est la une conception a laquelle je ne puis pas souscrire. L'idee de diviser rigoureusernent les mots ou les elements du language en normaux et anormaux est essentiellement un prejuge de neo-granunairien; 1'idce de considerer seulement les mots normaux dignes d'interet 1'est encore davantage ... L'emploi des proverbes et des refrains [mots archaiques et rares] constitue, a mon avis, un enrichissement precieux et fournit des données du plus haut int6r8t..." (Proceedivags of the 6th congress of linguists, 1948, P- 547-8).

1Yhilologieetlinguistiquedansleseludessinologiyues. Monuments Serica, vol. VIII, 1943, p. 204-210; recently: The narrse for the lizard in the old chinese dialects., Orbis, Bulletin International de Documentation linguistique, I, 2, 1953, P. " As can be seen from the title of our paper read on May io, 195z, at the 2nd meeting of the Western Branch of the American Oriental Society, we are not sure what was exactly the animal meant in Fang-yen viii, 2. While almost all the texts we know seem to point to a wild animal resembling the leopard or the wildcat, Chuang-tzir's text (chap. 24, beginning) could mean the ordinary laouse-cat. But there is no certainty about the existence of the housecat at that time in China. It is possible also that the Chinese had another division of species and genus of animals than ours. The main fundament for our comparison, however, is the fact that the author of Fang-yen has set up the terms li, p'i, p'ei, lai, and p'i-li as being perfect synon yms, words belonging to one group comparable to each other, every if not always applied to one and the same kind of animal and that the other words are identified and defined by the commentators, not much later than Fang-yen, as

words used for the same meaning. Our translation wildcat may be inexact, but the equation of the words given as real synonym in the spoken language. is all that is required for a linguistic study like this one. 1 The reconstructed forms of Archaic Chinese are noted with **; those of Ancient chinese with *. Square brackets [ ] are use for the hypothetical reconstructions older than Archaic chinese. Ordinary brackets ( ) mean ancient or archaic values changed in some details for reasons of sandhi-combinations.

' ^F A ^S already found in Shuo-wen and therefore not to be considered as a character invented in later periods. Moreover the character �� is found on bone and Chou inscriptions (Gr. Ser. m· rz5r, b-e: '�*�agiera: repress oneself, force oneself to, a particle). Although ** is not found in pre-Han texts it is hardly admissible that it is only an abstraction invented by Shuo-wen. Gr. Ser. does not offer any explanation on the analysis of the graph � . Moreover if 3W» was not found in .4cj% .40% early inscriptions or in pre-Han text, it would not change the method in dealing with the phonetic series very much. The rare characters, included for instance in Shen Chien-shih's Kuang-yim- sheng-hsi, and whose readings cannot be explained by ancient phonetic values, are of the greatest importance. Since they are phonetically so different from the series they belong to, at the time of Ch'ieh-yun and Kuang-yiin, they could not have been invented at the time of the compilers of the dictionaries, and still be considered as phonetic compounds by those compilers, unless these scholars were basing themselves on documents and traditions that went far back enough to explain the cases phonetically in a satisfactory way. The systematic investigation of these exceptions may furnish interesting facts on the Chinese language. They are quite numerous and are not to be explained with a general supposition of confusion of characters or errors of transcriptions.

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