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the original written characters of the Chinese were imitative or figurative, and that they were few in number. These have, in process of time, been modified and changed, both as to form and use, so that scarcely a vestige now remains of their original appearance, and, in some cases, of original usage. All the Chinese writing was originally ideographic; that is, it resembled the figurative and tropical hieroglyphic method of the Egyptians. But now, as stated by that excellent Chinese scholar, Abel Remusat, in his Chinese Grammar, p. 4, at least one half of the Chinese characters are merely phonetic, or alphabetic, in the sense of syllabic. These the Chinese call hingching, that is, representing sound. In the next place, the Chinese have an order of characters which they name hoei-i and kia-tsiei, which are designed to express abstract and intellectual ideas. These resemble, of course (not in form, but a3 to use), the tropical hieroglyphics of the Egyptians. But, on the other hand, there are some striking differences between the hieroglyphic system of writing and that of the Chinese. The Chinese characters are divided into primitive, or simple, and derived, or composite. Of the first, called siang-hing, which make the elements of all their writing, there are only about two hundred (Remusat's Grammar, p. 1, note 2), while the Egyptian hieroglyphics amount to more than eight hundred (Précis, p. 267). The derived or composite characters of the Chinese are exceedingly numerous; and in these are combined two or more simple characters. The combination oftentimes is very complex, and not a little difficult for a learner to decipher. These are called hocï-i. On the contrary, in Egyptian, the combination of proper hieroglyphics is very rare; indeed, it scarcely ever takes place, and when it does, it is in such a way that the elements of the combination are preserved entirely separate; as, for example, in the anaglyphs above, described. These striking points of difference serve to show that although the figurative hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, and the siang-hing, or original simple characters of the Chinese, were alike (for such must be the case, inasmuch as both were pictures, or imitations of sensible objects), yet, in the course which the two nations respectively chose, in order to represent abstract and intellectual ideas, there was a great diversity; hence the tropical characters of the Chinese, compounded of the simple ones, and diversified to an
almost endless extent, are very different from the tropical characters of the Egyp tians, which continued to be simple in their structure, and, in general, incapable of combination. That light may yet be cast on the invention of proper alphabetie signs, from a diligent and extensive collation of Egyptian and Chinese characters, and a better understanding of the true nature and history of each, every lover of literature will continue to wish and to hope." To illustrate another very important step in writing, that of expressing grammatical forms by hieroglyphics, alIuded to in the article Hieroglyphics, we extract the following passage from the fifth Lecture in Spineto's work: "The marks of the genders are, a square, either plain or striated, for the masculine, and half a circle for the feminine. The plural is almost invariably expressed by a simple repetition of the [hieroglyphical] units: to these units sometimes is added a quail: all of these stand for the syllable noue, or oue, which is the termination added to the plural: for instance, the word soten signifies king; and, by the addition of noue, we have so-tenoue (kings); noyte (god), noytenoue (gods); and the like. In regard to the genders, it seems the Egyptians also expressed them by employing the pronouns of him, of her; and these pronouns were represented by the figure of an undulating line over a serpent, or over a broken line. In the first instance, the group represented the pronoun his, or of him, which, in Coptic, was nev, or nef; in the second instance, the group stood for the pronoun hers, or of her, which, in Coptic, was called nes." These terminations, or an abbreviation of them, if added to hieroglyphic expressions, would make them either of the masculine or feminine gender: "For example, the chenaloper, that is, the goose, or the egg, are the phonetic hieroglyphics expressing the word child; for both of them represent the letters, which is an abbreviation of the word se, or ise (son, child): therefore if to the bird or to the egg we add the figure of the serpent, or the broken line, we shall have, in the first instance, the group signifying son of him, or his son; and, in the second, son of her, or her son. The genitive case is expressed mostly by an undulating line added to a group. This hieroglyphic stands for the letter n, and, on those occasions, is taken as an abbreviation of the syllable nen, which is the invariable termination of the genitive case in the Coptic language. The Egyptians distinguished the third
person singular of the present tense in the same way as we do in the English language, by adding the letters to the word, such as he does, he writes. The figure of the serpent, which stands for the letter s, is a mark of the third person singular of the present tense." Champollion has found a number of other hieroglyphics, which exhibit the inflections of verbs; but they are not yet all accurately determined. "The passive participle was represented by two hieroglyphics, the horn and the half circle. The pronoun this was exhibited by a vase and a perpendicular line. The pronoun who or which was represented by a vase and half a circle. Such are some of the principal and most important grammatical forms or phrases." It may be made a question whether phonetic alphabets are all derived from a common source, or whether different nations, in the gradual progress of improvement, were led to this great invention without mutual communication. If the latter supposition be correct, the similarity of these alphabets in the oldest languages would be owing to the similarity in the minds of men, and in the processes of their developement; but in either case, after phonetic characters were invented, they would naturally assume a great variety of forms, being merely arbitrary signs. Such we find to be the fact. Å considerable number of ancient alphabets still exist, such as the demotic, hieratic and hieroglyphic characters of the Egyptians, the old Phœnician, Punic, Etruscan, Greek, Runic (q. v.), Cufic (q. v.), arrowhead characters, and a number of others. The last are also called by some the wedge characters, because the lines of which they consist are so put together as to have a wedge-like form. This species of writing is found upon some ancient monuments of Persia and Babylonia. The arrow-head characters may be divided into two principal classes, the Persian and Babylonian, or the Median and Chaldean, of which the former has again three, the latter two subdivisions. The Persian arrow-head characters are found in the ruins of Pasargadæ and Per-. sepolis, in the valley of Murgab near Fasa in Persia, in the ruins of Susa and Babylon; and, in most of these cases, inscriptions in all three characters stand word for word one under the other. The Babylonian arrow-head character, however, never appears, except alone, on the various kinds of tiles and other bricks and stones in the ancient Babylon; also on gems and cylindrical amulets. All
these sorts of inscriptions are read horizontally from left to right, are phonetic, and comprise some characters for parts of words and monograms. As yet the various attempts to decipher these inscriptions have proved unsuccessful.-See The Assyrian Wedge-Character explained, &c., edited by Dorow (Wisbaden, 1820, in German). Not only the character of the various alphabets differ, but also the order in which the characters are connected, or, which is the same thing, the way in which the writing is to be read. The most ancient ways of writing include, 1. Cionædon, or column writing, in which the letters and words stand one under the other, as is the case with the Chinese writing, and with the Egyptian hieroglyphics; 2. the Boustrophedon (q. v.), or furrow writing, which proceeds, like the furrows of the plough, alternately from right to left, and from left to right; 3. Sphærædon, or circular writing. The various materials used for writing have been stones, metals, bark and leaves, wood, wax, ivory, shells, linen, skins of animals, parchment, Egyptian papyrus, cotton paper, and paper made of rags. The instruments for writing have been chisels, styles of iron or bone, reeds and quills. Ink was made, in ancient times, of the liquor of the cuttle-fish, of cinnabar, &c. Down to the invention of the art of printing, the calligraphers and stenographers formed professions. (See Stenography.) Of the papyrus, sheets (scapi) were formed; of these, rolls (volumina) were made, wound round a staff of box-wood, ivory or gold, to which the ends of the rolls were glued. Square books are said to have come into vogue in the time of the kings of Pergamus. (See Manuscripts, and Palæography.) It is highly probable that the Greeks received the art of writing from Egypt, either directly or through the Phoenicians. The Greeks say that Cadmus brought them the first alphabet, consisting of sixteen letters, according to Pliny the following:A, E, F, A, E, I, A, M, N, O, II, Р, Σ, т, Y. To these Palamedes (q. v.) added e, z, o, x ; and Simonides (q. v.) again added Z, H, V, 2. It ought to be observed that the Samaritan letters did not differ from the Greek. Originally the Romans wrote only with uncial characters. In the ancient manuscripts found at Herculaneum, and especially in the Greek manuscripts, all the words are written in uncial characters, and are neither separated by points nor spaces. There is nothing to indicate the division of the words. No sign is
met with, which might assist in the pronunciation. The signs of punctuation did not begin to be used until the knowledge of the Greek language was lost. (See Winckelmann's Letters on Herculaneum.) With the conquests of Rome, the art of writing, and particularly the Roman alphabet, were more and more widely spread; but great difficulties were found to attend the attempts to write down the languages of particular countries with characters adapted to another language; i. e. to other sounds. Such attempts were not often made by the Romans; but when the missionaries spread themselves through the countries of Europe, and found it necessary to give instruction in writing, as well as to prepare translations of the Gospels into the various idioms, we meet every where with complaints of the difficulty, and sometimes the impossibility, of rendering the native sounds by the already existing alphabet. The reason is clear. In some instances, the sounds may have been so rude, and so little different from the cries of animals (as is sometimes the case with the language of savages), that they could not be expressed by signs for articulate sounds: sometimes the tones were totally different from those for which the alphabet had been made. This circumstance has produced a great effect on the orthography of these languages, and, in our opinion,in various cases, on the languages themselves. Certain differences between sounds have been lost in consequence of the want of characters to designate them, as appears from a variety of facts. The same complaints, which were made in the first centuries of Christianity, respecting the difficulty of ascertaining the true sound of the native words in some instances, and of writing them with Latin characters, are now made by the missionaries in the South sea islands, &c. And if it was difficult to adapt the Latin alphabet to foreign idioms, how much more difficult must it be to adapt the English orthography-certainly the most preposterous existing-to different classes of languages! It was, therefore, a very useful undertaking of Mr. John Pickering to prepare an alphabet fitted to convey all the sounds which commonly occur in the various languages. This alphabet has been adopted by the war department of the U. States for the writing of the Indian languages, and by the missionaries in the South sea islands. It is given at the end of this article. Respecting the alphabets used at various times in Great Britain, Mr. Astle observes that, after
the most diligent inquiry, it doth not ap'pear that the Britons had the use of letters before their intercourse with the Romans; and though, from the coming of Julius Cæsar till the time when the Romans left the island, in the year 427, the Roman letters were familiar to the eyes of the inhabitants, he is of opinion, that writing was very little practised by the Britons till after the coming of St. Augustine, about the year 596. writing which prevailed in England from this time to the middle of the eleventh century, is generally termed Saxon, and may be divided into five kinds; viz. the Roman-Saxon, which is very similar to the Roman, and prevailed in England from the coming of St. Augustine till the eighth century; the set Saxon, which took place towards the middle of the eighth century, continued till about the middle of the ninth, and was not entirely disused till the beginning of the tenth century; the running-hand Saxon, which came into use towards the latter end of the ninth century, when learning was diffused in England under the auspices of king Alfred, in whose reign many books were written in that island in a more expeditious manner than formerly; the mixed Saxon, occurring in the ninth, tenth, and in the beginning of the eleventh centuries, in many manuscripts which were written in England in characters partly Roman, partly Lombardic, and partly Saxon; and the elegant Saxon, which took place in England early in the tenth century, lasted till the Norman conquest, but was not entirely disused till the middle of the twelfth, and is more beautiful than the writing in France, Italy and Germany during the same period. The writing introduced into England by William is usually called Norman, and is composed of letters nearly Lombardic, which were generally used in grants, charters, public instruments and law proceedings, with very little variation, from the Norman conquest till the reign of king Edward III. About the reign of king Richard II, variations took place in writing records and law proceedings. The charters from the reign of king Richard II to that of king Henry VIII, were composed partly of characters called set chancery and common chancery, and some of the letters called court-hand; which three different species of writing are derived partly from the Norman and partly from the modern Gothic. The modern Gothic began to take place in England in the twelfth century; the old English about the mid
dle of the fourteenth century; and set chancery and common chancery in the decline of the same century, and are still used in the enrolments of letters patent, charters, &c., and in exemplifications of recoveries: the court-hand was contrived by the English lawyers, and took its rise about the middle of the sixteenth century, and continued till the beginning of the reign of George II, when it was abolished by law. The court-hand characters were nothing more than the Norman characters very much corrupted and deformed. In the sixteenth century, the English lawyers engrossed their conveyances and legal instruments in characters called secretary, which are still in use. The French call their writings by the names of the different races of their kings, in whose times they were written: these were, the Merovingian, the Carlovingian, the Capetian, the Valesian, and the Bourbon.The manuscripts written in the northern parts of Scotland and in Ireland are in characters similar to the Saxon. It seems probable, that the interior parts of Europe were immediately peopled from the northern parts of Asia, and the maritime parts from Phoenicia, and the southern and western parts of that quarter of the globe. If this be the case, it is not surprising that some Eastern customs prevailed in Great Britain and Ireland, and that many Celtic words are still preserved both in the Irish and in the Welsh languages. The Norman characters, it is observed, were generally used in England from the coming of William I; and the Saxon characters were entirely disused in the very beginning of the twelfth century; but the Irish and Scots preserved the ancient forms of their characters till the end of the sixteenth century. The Gaelic or Erse language, used in the Highlands of Scotland, and the Hiberno-Gaelic, are nearly the same; and their letters are similar to each other; as Mr. Astle has shown by various specimens. The curious will find much information on the subject of this article in Astle's Ori
gin and Progress of Writing (4to., 1784). The German alphabet was formed by Kero and Ottfried, in the time of Charlemagne. German was first written with Latin letters. In fact, most writings of that time, as forms of laws, treaties, &c., were even drawn up in the Latin language. The thirteenth century is generally considered as the time when German characters became common, under the emperor Frederic II. Others assume a later period. Germany has, as Mr. Breitkoph observes, but two national alphabets, the (so called) fractur and the current. Fractur characters were formed out of the (so called) new-Gothic and monastic characters, which sprung up in the eleventh century. It was not till the fifteenth century, that the current or cursive characters were used in printing. Before that time, straight characters only had been used in printing; but the elder Aldus Manutius (q. v.) made types for the cursive character. Albert Dürer (q. v.) at last settled the proportions for the German characters. In diplomatics (q. v.), the knowledge of the letters used at different periods is very important. They have been classified, &c.-See La Nouvelle Diplomatique; also Weber's Essay towards a History of the Art of Writing (in German, Göttingen, 1807).—We have said above, that the alphabets of Europe, and, in fact, most, perhaps all, alphabets now existing, are phonetic (see the article China, division Chinese Language, Writing, &c.); and it is interesting to know what articulate sounds are used to express the thoughts and feelings of man. have touched upon this subject in the article Voice, and add here a synoptic table of the English elementary sounds, as they really exist in the English language, however they may be written. This table is taken from the article Sound, written by Mr. Herschel for the Encyclopædia Metropolitana. The syllables which contain the sounds referred to, are printed in italics, where words of more than one syllable are introduced.
S-All; Caught; Organ; Sought; Broth; Broad.
Hot; Comical; Kommen (Germ.).
Hard; Braten (Germ.); Charlatan (Fr.).
7. Lamb; Fan; That.
Hang; Bang; Twang.
Hare; Hair; Heir; Were; Pear;. Hier (Fr.); Lehren (Germ.).
10. Lame; Tame; Crane; Faint; Layman; Meme (Fr.); Städchen (Germ.). 11. Lemon; Dead; Said; Any; Every; Friend; Besser (Germ.); Éloigner (Fr.). 12. Liver; Diminish; Persevere; Believe.
13. Peep; Leave; Believe; Sieben (Germ.); Coquille (Fr.).
14. s; sibilus; cipher; the last vowel and the first consonant.
1. Life; The Sounds No. 5 and No. 13, slurred as rapidly as possible, produce our English i, which is a real diphthong.
2. Brow; Plough; Laufen (Germ.). The vowel Sound No. 5 quickly followed by No. 1.
3. Oil; Käuen (Germ.); No. 4 succeeded by No. 13.
The consonants present equal confusion.
succeeded by No. 2, more or less rapidly.
different or neutral; the former two having a constant relationship or parallelism to each other, thus:
SHARP CONSONANTS. S. sell, cell; o. (as we will here denote it) shame, sure, schirm (Germ.); 6. thing; F. fright, enough, phantom; K. king, coin, quiver; T. talk; P. papa.
FLAT CONSONANTS. Z. zenith, casement; 3. pleasure, jardin (French); . the th in the words the, that, thou; V. vile; G. good; D. duke; B. babe.
NEUTRAL CONSONANTS. L. lily; M. mamma; N. Nanny; v. hang; to which we may add the nasal N in gnu, Etna, Dnieper, which, however, is not properly an English sound; R. rattle; H. hard.
COMPOUND CONSONANTS. C, or To, church, cicerone (Ital.), and its corresponding flat sound J or D, 3. jest, gender: X. extreme, Xerxes; §. exasperate, exalt, Xerxes; &c. &c.
We have here a scale of thirteen simple vowels and twenty-one simple consonants, thirty-three in all,-which are the fewest letters with which it is possible to write English. But, on the other hand, with the addition of two or three more vowels, and as many consonants, making about forty characters in all, every known language might probably be effectually reduced to writing, so as to preserve an exact correspondence between the writing and pronunciation. In addition to this table, the note which Mr. Pickering, of
Boston, added to his proposed alphabet, which, as we have stated, is now adopted in some cases, is of great interest, as showing how the vowel sounds run into one another a subject which we have had occasion to touch upon in the various articles relating to the vowels in this work. It is to be found, together with his alphabet, in the fourth volume of the Memoirs of the American Academy (Cambridge, 1818), and is given below. The alphabet itself is as follows:
* In considering the several letters by which the vowel sounds are represented, both in our own and other languages, it will be perceived, that each of them may be taken as representing, not a single sound, but a series of sounds, which series will be more or less extensive according to the genius of different languages; and it will be further observed, that each series gradually runs into the adjoining series (if we may so speak), by such slight and delicate modifications, that it is a matter of no small difficulty, in many cases, to decide in what part of any one series we should drop the vowel character with which we begin, and take another to continue the sounds of the next series: in other words, it is not easy to determine at what point one series ends and another begins. For example: if we take the letter a, we may assume the sound which it has in the word father, as the middle point of a series, the whole of which (beginning with the broad a in fall, and ending with the narrow or slender a in fate) we denote in English by this one character, thus-FALL-FAR-FAT-FATE; and these are all the sounds in this series, which philologists designate in our own language by this one letter. But if we extend our view to other languages, we shall find various intermediate sounds between the two extremes of this same series; for example, between the sounds of our a in fall and in far, we find in the French language the â in pale, mâle, &c., which can only be described, on paper, as a sound between our two, and which is seldom attended to by foreigners in speaking French. Now, if we should minutely examine a number of languages, and should endeavor to arrange accurately, in one progression, all the vowel sounds belonging to this series, we should doubtless discover in those languages many other slight modifications intervening between the different members of our English series.