The Travels Of Marco Polo - Volume 2 Of 2 By Marco Polo And Rustichello Of Pisa











































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NOTE 6. - The meagre statement in the French texts shows merely that Polo
had heard of the Fo-kien dialect - Page 472
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NOTE 6.

- The meagre statement in the French texts shows merely that Polo had heard of the Fo-kien dialect.

The addition from Ramusio shows further that he was aware of the unity of the written character throughout China, but gives no indication of knowledge of its peculiar principles, nor of the extent of difference in the spoken dialects. Even different districts of Fo-kien, according to Martini, use dialects so different that they understand each other with difficulty (108).

[Mendoza already said: "It is an admirable thing to consider how that in that kingdome they doo speake manie languages, the one differing from the other: yet generallie in writing they doo understand one the other, and in speaking not." (Parke's Transl. p. 93.)]

Professor Kidd, speaking of his instructors in the Mandarin and Fo-kien dialects respectively, says: "The teachers in both cases read the same books, composed in the same style, and attached precisely the same ideas to the written symbols, but could not understand each other in conversation." Moreover, besides these sounds attaching to the Chinese characters when read in the dialect of Fo-kien, thus discrepant from the sounds used in reading the same characters in the Mandarin dialect, yet another class of sounds is used to express the same ideas in the Fo-kien dialect when it is used colloquially and without reference to written symbols! (Kidd's China, etc., pp. 21-23.)

The term Fokien dialect in the preceding passage is ambiguous, as will be seen from the following remarks, which have been derived from the Preface and Appendices to the Rev.

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