222Reviews A Chinese-Russian-English Dictionary Arranged by the Rosenberg Graphical System (Mudrov's Chinese-Russian Dictionary with an English Text and Appendices).John S. Barlow. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. 1995. Pp. xxii + 829. $125 (cloth). The invention of the Chinese language," wrote the Reverend Justus Doolittle (1865), "has been ascribed to the devil." Many are the students of the Chinese language who would agree with that attribution.1 Until the May Fourth Movement in 1919 led to the trend of writing Chinese in a style close to the spoken language rather than in the dead classical language, the Chinese people spoke their modern versions of various Chinese languages and dialects, but they wrote in a single, dead language that difdifficulties of the written language, with its thousands of individual ideograms ("characters") led to widespread illiteracy, as few but the wealthy could afford the expense and the time required to learn to read and write, and those who could were ordinarily the boys of a family. Of course many women learned to read and write, and the literature they produced is only now being recognized and studied (Widmer and Chang 1997). And some women invented a secret script (nûshu) that men did
Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America – Dictionary Society of North America
Published: Apr 4, 1998
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