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An Early Missionary Syllabary for the Hangzhou Dialect1

  • Richard VanNess Simmons (a1)


A picture of the phonology of the Hangzhou dialect at the turn of the century is found in a short book entitled Sound-table of the Hangchow dialect that was published in 1902 by the Church Missionary Society in Shàoxīng. The author of the book is not identified, but its production was no doubt associated with Bishop George Evans Moule, who for over 40 years, beginning in 1864, operated a mission in Hángzhōu affiliated with the Church Missionary Society. The spellings used in this book, which presents a syllabary of the Hángzhōu dialect, presumably reflect the system used in two textbooks on the dialect and a prayer book in colloquial Hángzhōu all written by Bishop Moule. The same spelling system was also used in a Hángzhōu vernacular translation of Matthew from the New Testament which was published sometime in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.



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An sen Ma-tՙai dzunfoh-in sö. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, n.d.
Shìjié, Bào 1988. ‘Hángzhōu fāngyán yǔ běifāng huà , in Fùdán dàxué Zhōngguó yǔyán wénxué yánjiūsuǒ Wúyǔ yánjiūshì, ed. , Wúyǔ lùn cóng Shànghǎi: Shànghǎi jiàoyù chūbǎnshè : 282288.
Ren, Chao Yuen. 1928. Studies in the modern Wu dialects. Peking: Tsing Hua College Research Institute.
Ren, Chao Yuen. 1968. Language and symbolic systems. London: Cambridge University Press.
Cloud, Frederick D. 1906. Hangchow: the ‘City of Heaven’. Shanghai: Presbyterian Mission Press. (Repr. Taipei: Chՙeng Wen, 1971.)
Mitsuaki, Endō 1989. ‘Kōshū hōgen no onin taikei ’ (The phonological system of the Hángzhōu dialect), Insha Ronsō (Journal of Chinese Philology) 16 (September): 2558.
Xùdōng, Liào 1958. Sūzhōu yǔīn . Nánjīng: Jiāngsū rénmin chūbǎnshé .
Moule, George Evans. 1907. Notes on Hangchow past and present. 2nd ed.Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh Ltd.
Sherard, Michael. 1982. A lexical survey of the Shanghai dialect. (Computational Analysis of Asian and African Languages, monograph series, no. 8.) Tokyo: National Inter-University Research Institute of Asian and African Languages and Cultures.
Simmons, Richard VanNess, 1992. ‘The Hangzhou Dialect.’ Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington, Seattle.
Sound-table of the Hangchow dialect. 1902. Shao-hsing: C.M.S. [Church Missionary Society].

An Early Missionary Syllabary for the Hangzhou Dialect1

  • Richard VanNess Simmons (a1)


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