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Page:Chinese Speaker (E. Morgan, 1916).djvu/11

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INTRODUCTION

Modern Mandarin implies amongst other things the introduction of new ideas demanding new words: suggests a more varied and complex world, and, therefore, possibly, a more involved thought. Of the new terms some have been recovered from old times, some have been recently coined.

The author has for many years watched the native press for good Mandarin: and he has been able to make a large compilation, from which the passages in this work have been selected. The pieces, for the most part, carry their own date and history.

The work is intended to supply students, who have spent, at least, a year on some elementary, and progressive text book, with a more advanced course of study. Text-books, made up of sundry sentences, lose their value after one year's study. Some more connected prose is wanted after that preliminary study. The author feels there is a need for such a book as the one offered now. Connected readings afford more interest, and, give a more comprehensive view of the language to the reader. Whilst choice and detached sentences are useful in the preliminary stages, yet it is wearisome and useless to continue too long in such a method. The consecutive steps in an argument, the continuous march of thought in connected sentences, are a fertile way of training the mind, and creating a comprehensive impression of the power and flexibility of a language. These are as necessary as a good vocabulary to the Chinese Speaker.

The passages selected represent a style of Mandarin that would be spoken between well educated scholars. Some may find parts of it a bit high for ordinary work. But in that case, it is only needed to add a few words, here and there, to make the sentences more plain and clear. In any case, new terms will not be readily understood, except by those who are accustomed to them. Of course many new terms are really old, like ch'i tao 祈禱 which though it is as old as the hills, yet has a new significance in modern use. The words not only bring up classical ideas today, but cluster round the Christian Church.