Item description for Etienne Fourmont (1683-1745) Oriental & Chinese Languages in Eighteenth-Century France (Leuven Chinese Studies, 13) by Cecile Leung...
Fourmont was the first scholar in France to deal with Chinese matters. He started his career in the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres as an Hebraist, but he left this discipline and turned to Chinese in 1711. At that time he met Arcadio Huang, a young French-speaking Chinese man in the Bibliotheque Nationale. Fourmont seized the opportunity to be introduced to Chinese. Huang taught him the pronunciation of the Chinese syllables, and quite particularly, he introduced him to the 214 radicals. Fourmont's first book on the Chinese language, the Meditationes Sinicae, came out in 1737. His second work, Linguae Sinarum Mandarinicae Hieroglyphae, in 1742. Both these works are analyzed in detail in the present monograph. The presentation of the Chinese language in these publications was based on the Latin Grammar.
One of the most fascinating points of Fourmont's studies was the way he dealt with the Chinese radicals. In the dictionaries, the Chinese characters are arranged according to a number of simple characters that enter obligatorily into more complex characters. In the course of the centuries the number of radicals varied from 60 to 600, but since 1615 it was settled at 214. This system of 214 radicals, which Fourmont saw in the dictionaries of the Bibliotheque Nationale, and which Huang taught him, was known to very few scholars in Europe. Fourmont's greatest feat was having 80,000 fine Chinese characters engraved in Paris for his many proposed dictionaries. He must have visited his engravers each day for many years to inspect and correct their work. The petits chinois, as these engravings were called, are still on display today at the Imprimerie Nationale in Paris.
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Studio: Leuven University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.3" Width: 6.2" Height: 0.8" Weight: 1.27 lbs.
Publisher Leuven University Press
ISBN 9058672484 ISBN13 9789058672483
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Reviews - What do customers think about Etienne Fourmont (1683-1745) Oriental & Chinese Languages in Eighteenth-Century France (Leuven Chinese Studies, 13)?
The Work of a Life Time Presented in a Cutting Edge Fashion Jun 6, 2009
The age of Globalization may be in the 21st century but it certainly had its beginning in the 17th century, at the least, as far as the interaction between China and the West. Prof. Leung has synthesized a life time of interest and research into a clear and concise narrative that unveils the beginning of the interactions between the Empires of China and France. It all begin with a Frenchman willing to learn and a Chinese willing to teach. We (in our contemporary times) certainly have something to learn from their interactions. A fascinating book and a must read.
I certainly do hope the Leuven Press will print more of this volume since the going rate is now $157...