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BY REV. G. A. STUART, M.D.
S some of the readers of the RECORDER know, the writer is
compiling a comprehensive work on chemistry. It is
hoped to have the portion on inorganic qualitative analysis and the vocabulary ready early in 1894. In the preparation of this work he has been confronted with the difficulties of a faulty, inexpressive and incomplete nomenclature. This fact has rendered it advisable to make a few practical suggestions at this point on the subject of scientific nomenclature in general and of chemic terms in particular.
All of the scientific terms at present in use in China have been adopted by, or through, the influence of Westerners. To give to China a faulty scientific nomenclature, or to perpetuate the faults of Western terms by slavishly translating or transliterating them, will surely be nothing to the credit of Western educators. We now have two Committees on Revision of Nomenclature-one of the general missionary body and one of the Medical Missionary Association. It would seem to be wisdom on their part to attack this question as if they expected to settle it for all time. They should endeavor not to leave anything with the expectation of its being changed within the next generation. It seems to the writer that something like the following rules should guide them in their duties :
1st. To retain no term at present in use, however venerable its associations, when a better term can be found.
2nd. Not to transliterate a Western term when it can be translated, even though the rendering be rather “far-fetched," and it be necessary to give a special technic meaning to the Chinese term.
3rd. To translate, for use in text books, only the most modern and the most expressive terms. Old terms and terms not technically correct might be put in an addendum to their report for use by those who desire them. But the preferred term should be the one that most nearly describes the object. It is not worth while to
. transmit the inaccuracies of Western common terms, simply for the present convenience of a few Western teachers.
A thorough revision of terms is more practicable at the present time than it ever will be again. The editions of many of the text-books and scientific works are about exhausted, and new editions
can easily be made with the new nomenclature. Many works now in preparation are only awaiting the action of these Revision Committees, in order to have a settled terminology before publication. Let us, therefore, have a thorough revision and a useful and usable vocabulary.
And now for a few suggested changes in chemic nomenclature. First of all, the present term for nitrogen (ik) should be changed. While answering to the requirement that the character should, if possible, express some quality or function of the object it represents, this term is most unfortunate. It is evidently meant to represent nitrogen's use as a diluent of the atmosphere. At the same time Be is almost the only term that can be used in the sense of "dilute," or to express the operation of dilution, and sometimes most confusing combinations occur. As e. g., te ofrece in chemic terms may mean either dilute hydrochloric acid, or nitro hydrochloric acid. Other instances of such confusion might be given. Dilution of the atmosphere is not the only, nor indeed the most important function of the element nitrogen. It is the essential element of all living things; the activity and change characteristic of all living things are only found where this element is present. Nitrogenized bodies are a necessary part of the food of all organic life. Plants consume it as ammonia, while animals uso it largely in the form of the albuminates (Parkes. op. cit.) Therefore a term meaning the vital, or energising element would be descriptive of its most important function. In these senses either of the characters 5, 1, or could be used. The writer's preference is in the order named. Either of the terms is not open to serious objection, and would be most useful as expressing a very important use of the element, not only to students of medicine but to all classes of students. The character ty, which is an approximate translation of the Western term, is not usable for three reasons : 1st. It perpetuates the misconception of this element's important use, which gave rise to the name “nitrogent", lit. nitre producer. 2nd. It is the common name of an article of commerce in China, which article contains not only nitre but also salts of sodium and of other bases. The use of such a term would be misleading and confusing to the Chinese student. 3rd. As the source of pure potassic nitrate, as well as of other salts, tij must be constantly used in descriptive chemistry, and this term would therefore be open to the same objection offered to tk, viz., that it would be used with two distinct technic meanings in the same book, and that such use would produce confusion rather than simplicity.
Another change that would teod to simplify terms very much is the discarding of from the names of the mineral acids and the
using of simply the name of the distinguishing element with me As e.g., the Th, ttt TikeTo these may be prefixed certain terms to designate the grade of the acid. The use of her and * in the names of acids I regard as a meaningless expedient, and inasmuch as their use is entirely unnecessary they should be at once discarded. The use of * is particularly objectionable since
. the one so designated is not peculiarly an oxygen acid, but all grades of acid, except the hydro-ic, contain oxygen. I propose to use I as a prefix to represent the Western -ic, or ate ; for -ous, or -ite; for hypo-ous, or hypo-ite; and for per-ic or perate. The ides will require no prefix, except where more than one with the same base occurs; when to the ous-ide may be prefixed and to the ic-ide. The following list will give an idea as to how these terms are to be used :輕綠酸 Hydrochloric Acid,
HCI, 弱綠酸 Hypochlorous Acid,
HCI04. 火煉酸 Pyrophosphoric Acid,
H*P2 07單綠表 Mercurous Chloride,
do. Hypochlorite, KCIO.
Na' SOS. 綠鋪 do. Chloride,
NaCl. The character should not be used in the names of salts with organic radicals.
These salts are not nearly all acid in reaction, and he is therefore misleading. The characterizing term of the radical with the name of the base is sufficient to express all that is needed, e.g., tk, etc. The use of to designate acid, or “bi” salts is also the perpetuation of an inaccuracy. All such salts should be distinguished by the use of me as Hik, The F, etc. I would also do away with the meaningless among and use “basic, middle and acid character” (, , , bet )
(底中立,酸,性 in expressing a salt's reaction.
These are a few of the many changes that might be made, and all would tend to make the nomenclature more simple, expressive and uniform.
Correspondence. CHINESE NAME FOR Y. P. S. C. E.
THE USE OF THE TERM E , YUTo the Editor of
HWANG, ADDRESSED TO MATHETES. “ THE CHINESE RECORDER."
To the Editor of DEAR SIR: One of the important
“ TôE CHINESE RECORDER." matters in connection with the Y. P. S. C. E. in China is the choice DEAR SIR: Yü-hwang as a title of a Chinese name which will be does not, I believe, occur in any uniform for the whole empire. ancient book. It is not in the TaoIt is hoped that the name may
tê-king. Nor is it in Chwang-tei, be officially determined at the first nor in Lèê-tsï, nor in Hwai-nan-tsi. convention to be held next June. Mayers was an accorate student. Bat meantime there should be a He made marginal notes on his Chigeneral consensus of opinion. It nese books, and was in the habit of is desired that all persons using a referring to them in his researches. name, or who have a choice for a He is likely to be quite correct in name, should send the same to the his quotation in p. 127 of the ChiGeneral Secretary at Shanghai, nese Reader's Manual respecting together with the reasons for the the date of the inaugurating edict, preference.
which gave Yü-hwang his title A.D. W. P. BENTLEY,
1116. Mayers made a special study General Secretary. of the Tang and Sang dynasties. (Vice Rev. C. F. Reid, resigned.)
I have looked up the passage.
It says, in the ninth month the FINAL K IN THE SHANGHAI DIALECT. emperor visited the temple called
If the editor of the CHINESE RE- EUS, Yü-ch'ing-ho-yangCORDER questions the existence of kong, and conferred the honourable k in the Shanghai dialect will he title Ii , Yü-ti-hwei-hau. not ask a native to say lok-sih for it The full title was # I W# # is snowing, or mak-sang-ngen for the HD WIFE a stranger, or pak-sing, the people, E. Liu Ling-su is condemned
chịuk-sa for vegetarianism ? by the Confucianist historian as Ho will then admit that final k is
deserving death for his misguided in the Shanghai dialect. Final t
teaching. For it was by bis advice and final
have died out long ago, that the emperor gave the title. The but k still remains in such
emperor went himself to the temple, amples to attest what the old lan
holding in his hand the jade tablets It is heard best before
in which the name was inscribed. 8, but it is also beard before t. If
He then conferred the title any one does not feel sore let him
above given. ask other foreigners, especially those
The title I * Yü-ti, was, I who have never learned
think, first used about four cenbut that of Sbanghai. There can
taries after Christ. I have lost the be bat one answer I think. There
volome in which it is used, so that are other examples: pek-sing.dzang, I cannot verify the statement now. black heart; dok-sû, to read alood;
In the early Taoist authors ti (6) tek-sing, virtuous disposition; hok.
is used for God. The examples of sang-teï, papil; tók-sû, egg plant.
this are very nomorous. Shang-ti J. E.
is used in the early Confucian (We are sorry to have to disagree with
classics for God.
In the Yi-king Dr. Edkins in the above, but we do so in toto,-En.)
ti alone is used. In the Odes ti other passages of Scripture in cormentioned in the course of it.
is often employed, but so also is nese nation from the earliest times. 上帝,
The Buddhists failed to destroy it It seems to me quite clear that by refined logic, the Taoists failed the Taoists from time to time in- to hide God from the view of China vented names and legends much as by wrapping it up in legend. This they pleased. Doubtless Liu Ling. is shown by the circumstance that su thought he had gained a great the Confucianists reject both the triumph when he persuaded the Buddhist and Taoist view and emperor to act as he did.
The keep to that of the classics. tradition of God's existence and
J. EDKINS. greatness has lasted with the Chi
Our Book Table.
1. An explanation of the Book under these heads for Chinese readof Job. By Rev. J. Jackson, Kiu
ers, and the whole is suggestive to kiang, 1893.
them of views and ideas as to the On receiving this volume it seem- ways of God to man, both in ed to us a venturesome undertak- personal experience and social life. ing. Many points required to be con- This aspect of the case, as depicted sidered in the case of such a work in the book before us, is profoundly and claiming high qualification for interesting, and while meeting the the purpose. The age, authorship speculations and theories of the and subject matter of it all demand- Chinese, often expressed in their ed special and careful investigation proverbs and moral writings, a as if only an accomplished expert flood of light is poured on the subcould meet the requirement. And ject by the work in hand, calculated this all the more when the work to do good service, alike in the was to be done in Chinese and in a Church and outside of it. We value style adapted to the understanding the book very much on this account of the native readers. However and thank the commentator for we have looked into the volume undertaking it and for doing it so and can only express our very great well, describing as it does the appreciation of it.
common experience of human life The brief introduction gives us a and explaining in some degree the view of the antiquity and value of mystery connected with it. the original book and the manner Turning to the body of the book in which the commentator pro- we are interested to see the
in secuted his work. He sought only
He sought only which our author proceeds. At to impart his ideas to the native
first he notes the general import of teacher who conveyed them a few verses, which he places at the appropriate language to paper and head of the commentary, where he so gave them in a form and style gives a large amount of information suited to the comprehension of his on the points underlying the verses readers. Following this the author in question. Almost every variety indicates in four chapters the con- of detail is given in each casetents of the book, the circumstances moral, geographical, historical and connected with it, the general im- in the line of practical application. port of it, the time in which it
Numerous references are made to was composed and the “friends”
roboration of the subject under There is much valuable information discussion, but not in a dry and