Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

From The Saturday Review.

compliment to the prominence of British A JAPANESE GRAMMAR.*

interest in Japan. M. Hoffmann has al“If France is such a rich nation, why do ready contributed a valuable aid to students her merchants come all the way to Japan to of the language in the form of a very useful make money ? ” was the very reasonable volume of dialogues in Dutch, English, and remark of Prince Tokugawa Minbataiho Japanese, and we are promised a dictionary when being shown the beauties of Paris. in the same languages. The fact of crowds of European merchants

In the Grammar before us we know not eagerly desiring admittance into Japan is whether to admire most the industry

which explicable to the Japanese mind only

by the collected such a mass of information from theory that their native countries are too books and stray Japanese — for the author small, poor, and barren to support them,

has never visited the country with the lanand that they are obliged to seek the fertile guage of which he is so familiar — or the plains and rich markets of Japan to gain a power of arrangement which has sorted this sustenance. This and other fallacies of a mass and reduced it to order. The gratisimilar kind cannot be dissipated until the tude due to M. Hoffinann will however be Japanese become practically acquainted

felt by few, for we venture to assert that, with European countries, and we are, there after reading his introduction, none but fore, glad to observe that year by year an very enthusiastic philologists, or persons increasing number of young Japanese ar

compelled by circumstances to pursue the rive in this country to study our language study, will care to dip further into the mysand arts. This they do thoroughly. Eng- teries of this tortuous tongue. Many a lishmen who have had opportunities of would-be-learner will be staggered by being conversing with them cannot fail to have

told on the first page that, before commencbeen struck by the extreme correctness of ing the study of Japanese, a considerable their diction. No desire to appear fluent acquaintance with Chinese is necessary; causes them to give utterance to clumsy

but such is the fact, for the Japanese preungrammatical sentences, but with great

sent the extraordinary phenomenon of a patience and deliberation they mould their people possessing a written language of formula of words according to the strictest their own taking bodily over that of another rules of syntax. Gifted with great natural country: In one gulp they swallowed the quickness and ability, and possessed of un

fifty Chinese characters, and so interwoven tiring diligence, they eagerly study and have the two languages since become that easily master the by no means simple con- in a medley of the two. Writers freely use

the majority of books published are written struction of our language. While engaged the two kinds of characters in the same in these studies they must recognise that our comparatively systematic arrangement

line, and these mutations are not made on of grammar considerably lightens their task. I any system or governed by any rule; while, It is not unreasonable to hope, therefore,

further to puzzle the student, the ideothat their desire for improvement may in- graphic Chínese characters are sometimes duce them to apply the same arrangement

used to convey the meaning, and at others to their own language. At present they merely as phonetic signs. The Japanese may be said to possess no expressed system character predominates in inverse ratio to of grammar, and consequently European the value of the work. It is only from the students of the language are left to form trashiest of story-books that Chinese is entheir own syntax and frame their own rules tirely excluded, while the best scientific and a practice which often gives rise to un

historical works, together with all Buddhist faithful translations from the Japanese, and books translated from Sanskrit, are printed renders the task of translating into that lan- solely in that character. To add to the anguage one of great difficulty and uncertainty. omaly, Chinese was introduced into Japan by

a native of neither country, but by a Corean have appeared written by European schol- Prince who journeyed thither in the third English, French, and Dutch - but century. For a number of years it was

studied only as none equal in comprehensiveness and ar

accomplishment by rangement to the work before us. By pub- the doctrines of Buddha were introduced

courtiers; but when, in the sixth century, lishing an English edition of his book M. Hoffinann has secured for it a wider circula- from China, it spread throughout the length tion, at the same time that he has paid a

and breadth of the land, and is now invari

ably read and understood. This last sen• A Japanese Grammar. By J. J. Hoffmann, Ph. tence, we ought to explain, requires some D., Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, lic. qualification, for although it is true thai &c. Published by command of His Majesty's Minister for Colonial Affairs. Leiden: 1868.

Chinese, character by character, is perfectly

ars

an

understood by Japanese, yet so widely dif- the division of words. Though so intimately ferent is the construction of the two lan- connected with the Chinese, the sounds of guages that a transposition of characters is the two languages are very different, the necessary to make a Chinese sentence intel- Japanese more nearly resembling the Burligible to a Japanese reader. To obviate mese, and possessing consonants, such as the actual displacement of characters, signs the initial V and R, which are entirely forare added at the side to indicate the rela- eign to the Chinese. In the case of the lattive positions of each word in the sentence, ter letter, a curious exchange of sounds which thus becomes translated into Japan- takes place in the two countries, whereas a ese. As a consequence of all this confusion, Chinaman invariably pronounces an initial R the Chinese character is read in two ways; as an L. The Japanese as invariably proeither the Chinese pronunciation, or an ap- nounce their initial L's as R's; with the latproach to it, is retained, or it is made to ter also the letters F and H are often conrepresent the Japanese equivalent to its vertible. The forty-seven sounds spoken meaning, and may therefore be said to pos- of above having been found to be utterly sess two sounds. For instance, the Chinese inadequate to represent the language, rings character “teen,” signifying heaven, may and dots were supplemented to supply the be read either as

ten"

" -- the sound anal- deficiency; but even with these additions it ogous to the original Chinese - or may be is impossible to describe in writing the lanpronounced ama,”

,” the word bearing the guage as spoken, much less to give correctly same signification in Japanese. The spirit the sounds of a foreign tongue. of appropriation which induced the Japanese In common with all countries where locothus to adopt such a clumsy vehicle of motion is difficult, and consequently interthought as the Chinese writing would seem communication rare, dialects abound, and to be a conspicuous trait in the national assume to themselves the dignity of sepacharacter- - a trait which has made itself rate languages; so distinct are they that a apparent of late years by the eagerness native of one province has great difficulty with which they have seized upon the results in making himself understood in another. of our superior scientific and mechanical This state of things proved so highly inknowledge; in curious contrast to their convenient to officials, and the upper classes neighbours the Chinese, who have for the who by their position were constantly obliged most part shown a stolid indifference to the to move from one part of the country to anintroduction of foreign improvements. The other, that a Court dialect was, as in China, Japanese Government are now rich in introduced which is now recognised all over steamers; their forts, built on the most the Empire as the medium of official and scientific principles, are bristling with can- polite intercourse. non made on the European model in their Though not deeply versed in the science own manufactories, while the troops are of grammar, the Japanese have a general drilled and accoutred after the latest West- idea of its utility, and native philologers ern pattern. In imitation of the Sanskrit, have so far advanced in the study as to dithe Japanese divided their language into vide their language into three parts of forty-seven sounds, and selected a certain speech — namely, “ na," names or nouns ; number of Chinese characters to represent kotoba," words or verbs ; and particles, them which were called “ kana,” or bor- called either “ teniva," opening leaves, or rowed names. These words were written sute-gána, foundling letters. In common either in the full character or in the run- with Chinese, the nouns are destitute of ning-hand, called respectively Yamáto-kána grammatical gender, number and case. and Man-yov-kána. These forms being To indicate the first, the characters for again abbreviated gave rise to the two or- man and woman are affixed much in the dinary kinds of Japanese writings of the way that we say in English man-servant, present day — namely, the Kátakána and woman-servant; the plural is marked either the Firagana ; the former being more or by repeating the noun or by affixing to it less a contraction of the Chinese, while the an adjective of quantity; cases are exwidest range is given to the fancy in form- pressed by suffixes. These distinctions, ing the characters of the latter, in many of however, are not by any means always prewhich all trace of the original correct form served, and there remains therefore a ceris lost. Constant and patient attention is tain vagueness in Japanese sentences which required to unwrap the characters from can only be explained by the context.. As these mysterious flourishes, while the dilli- also in Chinese, their verbs possess neither culty of doing so is further enhanced by the number nor person, which, however, are letters forming the sentence being placed at indicated by the rest of the sentence, great eqnal intervals, without any sign to mark stress being laid, in polite conversation, on rendering clear by the use of complimentary sixty different combinations. This system and depreciatory terms the persons and was soon found to be very defective, it bethings spoken of. The moods and tenses ing obvious that the cyclical characters can are determined by the use of auxiliary only point to the number of the year in the words or verbs, the terminal letters or syl- cycle and fail to denote the particular eşcle. lables of the verbs themselves undergoing It became necessary, therefore, to introduce no nuodification; the student, therefore, has a system by which it might be made plain, to learn but one form of regular verb and and for this purpose the sovereign, on asthe use of a certain number of auxiliaries. cending the throne, selects a name comWe have no space to follow M. Huffinann posed of two characters of felicitous imthrough his able disquisitions on the details port by which his reigo shall be known, of their grammar. As the reader will prob- which are prefixed to the cyclical charac ably expect, the construction of their sen- ters to fix the date. The twelve characters tences is the reverse of anything European; of the second series spoken of above also for instance, it is rather difficult for the serve as the signs of the zodiac, the points uninitiated to recognise in the Japanese of the compass, and the hours of the day, form“He I come shall that knowing of which there are but twelve. Numbers is,” a translation of the sentence “ He are, however, often used for this last purknows that I shall come.” Whatever may pose, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, being those selected; be the deficiency, however, of other parts the first representing noon and midnight, of speech, there is no lack of personal pro- and the others, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 o'clock nouns, or rather substitutes for personal respectively. prorouns, for the ingenuity of the Japanese In this notice we have given but a faint is constantly taxed to invent terms of de- idea of the contents of the work before us. basement and exaltation suficiently numer. It is a book full of practical inforination adous to meet the demands of their polite mirably arcanged, and which will help conversation. A speaker who spoke of many a weary student of Japanese over himself as “I," instead of adopting the the stony path before him. usual depreciating terms of " your servant,"

," " your slave," “ this little one,” and similar expressions, would be considered

From The Imperial Review. vulgar and uneducated, while every wellbred man has at his command an infinite

THE FUTURE OF PHOTOGRAPHY. sliding scale of honorific terms to suit the Most men remain utterly unmoved at the rank and status of his interlocutor. Euro-intelligence that some new planet has been pean students of both the Japanese and discovered, in some obscure German obChinese languages are too apt to neglect servatory by some unknown astronomer, the observances of these modes of expres- with a name more or less unprounceable. sion, and frequently use the bald "I" or And it is to be feared that the majority of “you,” sounds unpalatable to the Jap- mankind, in their happy irreverence,' are anese and Chinese ears, and which leave only stirred up to languid ridicule at the an impression of incivility and illiterateness spectacle of the philosophical quarrels that oftentimes very prejudicial to the legitimate seem to be the inevitable result of fresh geinfluence of the speaker. The same pedan- ological discoveries. Indeed, it is difficult tic politeness has given rise to similar forms for the disinterested observer to discover of expression as substitutes for the posses- the immediate connection between the findsive pronouns, and the “ mean dwelling "ing of fossils in remote caverns and the and the thorny wife" are used to describe consequent outburst of violent abuse and those belongings of the speaker, while such rash personality amongst the savants of the terms as "honourable," * lofty,” and “su- great European capitals. Anthropology, perior” are considered applicable to the again, is one of those new inventions that possessions of the person addressed. As can scarcely claim a large share of popular part and parcel of the Chinese language the favour. Though this is not to be wondered sexagenary cycle used in China for the enu-at. For, after all, it is only natural that, meration of years, months, days, and hours even if men are descended in direct line has been adopted in Japan ; in accordance from apes, they should prefer to remain in with which system the number of the year blissful ignorance of the fact. But some in the cycle is expressed by the combina- people are always to be found wanting in tion of two characters, one drawn in a se- the delicacy and tact that should suggest ries of ten, and the other from a series of to them that it is seldom gratifying to intwelve, established letters. These charac- dividual pride to trace a family up to its ters are so arranged as to be capable of very origin. However high the branches may reach, the roots lave always sprung | less worth, and the reflection must give fioin the earth. It is convenient to forget pain to many that even this will pass away. the lowly birth of the family tree. We The causes of this fading of photographic prefer to have recourse to Sir Bernard prints depend on the process. So long as Burke for the manufacture of ancestors. the same method is used, and the same And what is true of families is true of all chemical agents are employed, there is no mankind. The present traditions are plea- remedy for the effect. And it is generally sant, if false. But the maxim “Quieta non held that some radically new mode of printmovere,” went out of practice when Lord ing must be adopted.' Many efforts have Melbourne died. Meteorology, like an- already been made to supply this defect, thropology, shares with photography the but the measure of success hitherto gained advantages of novelty. Both are things of bas been very small. One plan, however, yesterday. But the former has gradually known as the Carbon Process, that depends been relegated to learned societies, and on the reduction of carbon from a solution few bright eyes deign to study the columns of gelatine, is perfect in theory. And the of daily journals, and “the sweetest lips results are in every way satisfactory. The ihat ever were kissed” no longer whisperprints are clear, vigorous, of a good colour, confidence in to-morrow's weather on the and, above all, perfectly permanent. Unstrength of the puzzling hieroglypbics in fortunately, the practical difficulties in the the morning's Times. Meteorology has way of working the process bave hitherto had more than its due proportion of fail- been found almost insurmountable. It is ures, and the enthusiasm of those who were not likely to be ever generally adopted. cager advocates of the new science has It requires so large an amount of skill and cooled down. But all those who are care- time that only enterprising amateurs have, less on similar subjects will take interest in for the most part, availed themselves of it. the rapid advances of photography. And The well-known Wothlytype Process bases it so happens that no science can boast of a its claims to popular favour on the permaswister progress. It is seldom that a nence of its prints. It has never, however, month passes without the announcement of been well received by the photographic some fresh discovery more or less impor-world. Some deny its merits; others astant. And every addition to the thorough sert that its productions are rather deficient knowledge of the subject is important, if in brilliancy and beauty. It has certainly not in itself

, at least as paving the way for not succeeded in winning its way against future investigations.

the opposition that it excited from the first. The attention of photographers is, at the A process of this kind can only be thorpresent time, specially directed to attaining oughly tested by time. But the universal one object. It is generally known that in opinion at present is, that the field is still the process by which photographs are open for a perfect method of printing. usually produced, a picture on glass is first Most photographers indulge in one dayobtained froin which any number of proofs dream. It has the same charm for them may be printed off on paper. It unfortu- that the elixir vitæ and the philosopher's nately happens that these prints do not stone had for the old alchymists. The possess permanence. They gradually fade, vision that so temptingly displays itself to first losing their glossy blackness and the imagination of the enthusiast is the sharpness of outline; then all their early hope of discovering a method of photobrillianey dies away, they assume a yellow graphing colours. It must be allowed that tinge, and in time entirely disappear. Any there are excuses for the raptures that the one glancing over an album can convince idea excites. It would be a final triumph himself of this. Those portraits that have of science if the sun could be made to been taken some few years since contrast very transfer to paper the thousand brilliant unfavourally with ihose that have been tints that are seen in nature, and that mock lately taken. It is a cause for especial re- at the efforts of the artist to reproduce gret, for carte-de-risite portraits gain in them on canvas. And there are hopes that value with age. It happens, too often, the idea is not ntirely chimerical. In fac that death leaves no remembrance of parent most men who have paid attention to the or child, friend or lover, except a portrait subject hold that the realization of this that, in so many cases, becomes of price- I brilliant idea is only a question of time.

Part of an Article in The Churchman's Family | celled. Miss Mitford, speaking of “ Jeannie Magazine.

Morrison,” and others of his lyrical pieces, WILLIAM MOTHERWELL.

says :-"Burns is the only poet with whom, A YEAR after Burns's death, William Mo- for tenderness and pathos, Motherwell can therwell was born. His parents owned a be compared. The elder bard has written small estate in Stirlingshire, and to this cir- much more largely, is more various, more cumstance was he indebted for his liberal fiery, more abundant; but I doubt if there education, watched over by an uncle in be anything so exquisitely finished, so free Paisley.

from a line too many, or a word out of Of his earlier years we have no record; place, as the two great ballads of Motherbut at the age of twenty we find him Sher- well. By touching and retouching during iff Clerk Depute, in Paisley, the responsi- many years did Jeanie Morrison attain ble duties of which situation he for three her perfection, and yet how completely has years discharged to everybody's satisfaction. art concealed art! How entirely does that All the while, however, his tastes lay in a charming song appear like an irrepressible different direction, and, in 1828, he became gush of feeling that would find vent! In editor of the “ Paisley Advertiser,” to the - My Heid is like to rend, Willie,' the appoet's corner of which he had previously pearance of spontaneity is still more strikcontributed several of his best poems. The ing, as the passion is still more intense same year he also undertook the editorship intense, indeed, almost to painfulness." of the Paisley Magazine,” wherein ap- A poem or two taken at random, we peared, from time to time, various of his think, will be acceptable to our readers. lyrical effusions, as also sundry compositions in prose. In 1830, he resigned his

MAY MORN SONG. clerkship, confining his attention solely to

The grass is wet with shining dews, bis literary pursuits and to the management Their silver bells hang on each tree, of the “Glasgow Courier,” a newspaper of While opening flower and bursting bud considerable local influence and repute. Breathe incense forth unceasingly. This situation he held till his death, retain- The mavis pipes in greenwood shaw ing to the last the general respect of society, The throstle glads the spreading thorn, with the hearty good will and wishes of his And cheerily the blythsome lark many friends.

Salutes the rosy face of morn. His death was sudden and unexpected.

'Tis early prime: On the evening of the 1st of November,

And hark! hark! hark ! 1835, he had been dining in the city (Glas

His merry chime gow), and after his return, feeling oppressed

Chirrups the lark; and unwell, he went to bed. From that

Chirrup! chirrup! he heralds in couch he never rose again. Through the

The jolly sun with matin hymn. night, speech failed, and in spite of all the medical assistance obtained, this sweet sing

Come, come, my love ! and May-dews shake er died at the early age of thirty-eight

In pailfuls from each drooping bough,

They'll give fresh lustre to the bloom years. Among bis more intimate friends

That breaks upon thy young cheek now. the poet's company was much sought after: O'er hill and dale, o'er waste and wood but in general society he was reserved, sel- Aurora's smiles are streaming free; dom or never taking part in the conversation, With earth it seems brave holiday, unless poetry became the theme of the In heaven it looks high jubilee, evening

And it is right, As a poet, Motherwell was, perhaps, de

For mark, love, mark ! ficient in that robust vigour of pinion nec

How bathed in light essary for long and sustained flights. But

Chirrups the lark: in the utterances of the heart, in natural

Chirrup ! chirrup! he upward flies, gushes of feeling, and in rich mental and

Like holy thoughts, to cloudless skies. poetical sympathy with the sights and sounds of living nature, few have risen to

They lack all heart who cannot feel an equal pathos, and a descriptive beauty

The voice of heaven within them thrill, more touching and telling. Many of his

In summer morn, when mounting high pieces are of exquisite beauty, and the

This merry minstrel sings his fill. Ivrics of “ Jeannie Morrison" and " My

Now let us seek yon bosky dell Heid is like to rend, Willie,” will rank with

Where brightest wild-flowers choose to be,

And where its clear stream murmurs on any similar compositions in the English lan- Meet type of our love's purity : guage. In a soft, melancholy, and touch

No witness there, ing tenderness they have never been ex

And o'er us, hark ;

« VorigeDoorgaan »