馬場辰猪著。西暦一八七三年（明治六）倫敦?で出版。著者英國に在留中國語問題につき我同胞間に行はれる謬見を慨して英文を以て本書を著し、一方には國語の概念を外人に與へ、他方には邦人の國語に對する謬見を指斥せむことを努めた。當時森有禮が「日本の教育?」（Education in Japan）の序に、我國語は支那語の助を借らねば思想交換の目的を達することが出來ない、これは實に国語の缺点の多いのを示すといへるを駁し、「ジョン・ロック?」John Locke? の國語の目的に關する三條件を引いて、我國語の優秀な所以を論じ、二個の國語の優劣を判するのには種々の方面に亘って綿密な研究を要することを説き、法律上の用語は我國語では示されないといふ説に對し「オースチン?」Austin? 「ウェーランド?」Wayland? の説を引用し、或は「ホイツネー?」Whitney? の手紙を擧げて、森氏が諸國語に英語を採用するといふ意見に対しその不可な所以を痛論し、日本語で普通教育?を完成するに毫も不可無しと痛破してゐる。当時國學者がなほ因循で毫も覚醒しない時に方ってこの政治家に依って斯る意見の發表を見、且一部の口語文典を著されたのは實に感歎に堪へ無い。「大日本書史?」にも英文で記述した最良著であると評してゐるのは尤である。本書は西暦一九〇四年（明治三十七）の第三版に於て浮田和民、「ヂオシー?」Diosy?二氏の手で大に増補された。本書の内容は簡易を旨としたれど全篇を聲音・品詞・文章の三部に分ち、殊に文章論には文の組織に關する十八条の規則を掲げ、最後に數多の練習問題を載せてゐる。明治時代の國語學史上注意すべき著述である。
WE have two objects in publishing this book-the first,
to give a general idea of the Japanese language as it is
spoken ; and the second, to protest against a prevalent
opinion entertained by many of our countrymen, as well
as foreigners who take some interest in our country, and
to show the reasons why we do so. It is affirmed that
our language is so imperfect that we cannot establish a
regular and systematical course of education by means
of it ; and that the best way is to exterminate the
Japanese language altogether, and to substitute the
English language for it. Those who maintain this
opinion ought to have examined the language and
proved its imperfection as a medium of intellectual
thought and expression, but so far as we are aware
they have not done so.
For example, Mr. Mori, in his introduction to
" Education in Japan," says, " without the aid of the
Chinese, our language has never been taught or used for
any purpose of communication. This shows its poverty."
From this statement, which seems to us to be too little
qualified, indeed, to be altogether much too extravagant
and sweeping, we are compelled emphatically to dissent.
Before the introdntctieu of Chinese we must have had
some sort of lane, uage which served as a means
of communication. Since we introduced the Chinese
classics, literature, &c., we have been obliged to use
Chinese words or phrases which we could not ex-
press in Japanese, and so it became necessary to teach
our language with the aid of Chinese. This is generally
the case when one nation introduces the classical lite-
rature of another country ; because there are always
many words in the latter, for which the language of the
former cannot find synonyms or equivalents.
John Locke says in his philosophical works,*' ....
. .. it being obvious to observe great store of words
in one language which have not any that answer them
in another. Which plainly shows that those of one
country, by their customs and manners of life, have
found occasion to make several complex ideas, and given
names to them, which others never collected into specific
ideas. The terms of our law, which are not empty
sounds, will hardly find words answering to them in the
Spanish or Italian, no scanty language ; much less, I
think, could any one translate into the Caribbee or
Westoe tongue ; and the Versura of the Romans or
Corbans of the Jews have no words in other languages
to answer them ; the reason whereof is plain from what
has been said. There are no ideas more common and
less compounded than the measures of time, extension
and weight ; aid the Latin names, horn, pes, libra, are
without difficulty rendered by the English names, hour,
foot, and pound ; but yet there is nothing more evident
than that the ideas a Roman annexed to these Latin
names were very far different from those which an
Englishman expresses by those English ones."
In the translation of Roman laws into the English
language, as in Gains or the Institutes of Justinian,
many Latin swords or phrases, such as " j ura in re," " jus
Civili," "Bona fide," &c., are retained ; yet this does not
show the poverty- of the English language, but only the
difference in their ideas and customs. Therefore the fact
that one language is taught with the aid of another,
does not prove its poverty. Hence we may reasonably
demand the proofs of the alleged poverty of the Japa-
nese tongue, for we cannot admit the assertions against
which we protest.
Here w e shall briefly state the view which we take as
regards our language.
Although we admit, in some respects, that the Japa-
nese language is imperfect, yet it seems to us that it is
not so imperfect as it is represented to be. We hope it
will be seen from this manual that certain rules are
observed throughout every part of speech ; there are
eight parts of speech, their subdivisions, .tenses, moods,
or voices of verbs, rules of syntax, and sb on. It is
sufficiently perfect to teach the elements of common edu-
cation so far as grammar itself is concerned.
John Locke says, in his work above quoted,** the
"Ends of language . . . . . . ; first, to make known
one man's thoughts or ideas to another ; secondly, to do
it with as much ease and quickness as possible ; thirdly,
thereby to convey the knowledge of things." We think
that our language is sufficiently systematical to accom-
plish these ends with certain exceptions.
We admit that in several respects the English is far
superior to the Japanese, but at the same time, we
think in many respects the latter excels the former.
For instance, generally speaking, English has the ad-
vantage of brevity of expression ; at the same time it
must. be borne in mind that there are many. Japanese
words and phrases which cannot be expressed in English
without circumlocution, as Yama in Japanese signifies
an enterprise having pecuniary gains for its object. On
the other hand we have a regular orthoo'raphy and more
uniform pronunciations in the Japanese, while it is
generally admitted that the English language in both
these respects is very defective. Thus, after a careful
examination, it will be found that there are perfections
and imperfections in both languages.
Again Mr. Mori says, in his introduction to the work
above referred to, The laws of state can never be pre-
served by the language of Japan," by which we suppose
he means that the laws of state cannot be recorded in
the Japanese language. If so, we must beg to differ
from him, because we think any words will serve this
purpose, as- John Locke says, " Any words will
serve . . . . . . . . . . for the recording our own
thoughts, for the help of our , own memories, any words
will serve the turn."*** Since we have words which
serve as signs of ideas for the help of memory, we
cannot see the reason why we cannot preserve our laws
by them. In case we have to translate English, Roman,
or any other laws into Japanese, of course we shall find
many words which cannot be answered. in the Japanese,
this owing to the difference in customs and ideas ; but
we can retain them with explanations. So far, we have
stated our view in reference to this objection, and we
think there is not the slightest proof about the impos-
sibility of establishing popular education through our
Here we shall say a few words about the disadvantage
- which must and will arise from the substitution of the
English for the Japanese language, because we cannot
adopt any course without considering its disadvantages
as well as its advantages. As Austin says in his 1 ` Juris-
prudence,"****-" We must compare the consequences on
the positive and negative sides, and determine on which
of the two the balance of advantage Best"
Mr. Mori says, " All reasons suggest its disuse,"
referring to our language. We are very sorry to say
that he does not enumerate all, the reasons which sug-
gest the disuse of the Japanese, which perhaps would
have enlightened our minds. Although we admit many
advantages of supplanting' our language by the English
tongue, yet at the same time we cannot help thinking
that there are many reasons for preserving the Japanese
in our country as the medium of education. We shall
state here the principal. The English language, which
is one of the most difficult of modern languages, and
entirely different from our own, will require a very long
time to be mastered by so many people, so that much
precious time will be thrown away. It is true that the
pages of history show many instances in which ong
nation introduced a language from another ; they were,
however, generally compelled to do so by the conquering
nation, but they did not do this voluntarily for their own
benefit. Consequently, it is quite a different case from
that which Mr. Mori and others propose to do in Japan.
Even when one nation was forced to introduce a Ian-
guage by the superior power of the conqueror, the
former did not give up their native tongue which the)
had been accustomed to speak for hundreds of years, and
which was consequently most convenient to them. This
will be seen amongst the Welsh, Irish, and Scotch, who,
in fact, are learning two languages at present, and
throwing away the time which is precious, to us all.
Hence it will be seen that there is a great difficulty in
the way of this proposed substitution.
Naturally the wealthier classes of people can be free
from the daily occupation to which the poorer classes are
constantly subjected, and consequently the former can
devote more time for learning the language than the
latter. If affairs of state, and all affairs of social inter-
course are to be transacted through the English lan-
guage, the lower classes will be shut out from the
important questions which concern the whole nation,
just as the Patricians in Rome excluded the plebs from
jus sacrum, Comitia, &c.; the consequence being that
there will be an entire separation between the higher
class and the lower, and no common sympathies between
them ; and thus they will be prevented from acting, as
one, and so the advantages of unity will be entirely lost.
These evils appear to be felt in India ; Miss Carpenter
says, in her " Six months in India," " It was shown that a
deep gulf there separates the higher and educated from the
lower portion of society ; and the very civilizing in-
fluences with which the superior classes have been for
some time in contact, through acquaintance with our
literature, serves only to make the gulf more impassable.
There are no common thoughts and sympathies between
them, except in a common love of country." These
evils will necessarily exist, unless some means are em-
ployed to establish the universal instruction of a people
through their own language.
We must try to educate the whole mass of the people
and unite them into one, in order to promote the com-
mon happiness of the community. Austin says, refer-
ring to crimes, " Nothing but the diffusion of know-
ledge, through the great mass of the people will go to
the root of evils." Again Professor Wayland says, in
his " Elements of Political Economy," " A government
may improve the intellectual character of a people, by
the dissemination of knowledge. This will be done, so
far as provision is made for the universal instruction of
a people in the elements of a common education."
Besides, there are many reasons which might be
adduced to show that a vernacular ought not to be lost,
Our limits, however, do not permit us to notice these.
Mr. W. D. Whitney, in his letter to Mr. Mori,***** says,
Even with a fully developed system of national in-
struction, it would take a very long time to teach a
strange language to so large a part of the population. as
to raise the latter, in general, to a perceptibly higher
level. If the masses are to be reached, it must be
mainly through their native speech."
We think, also, that it is more desirable to try to
enrich and complete that which we have already, and
which is, consequently, familiar to us all, than to discard
it and substitute, at a great risk, that which is entirely
different and necessarily strange to us.
* Of Human Understanding, Book III., Chapter V.
** Of Human Understanding, Book III., Chapter X.
*** Of Human Understanding, Book III., Chapter IX.
**** The Province of Jurisprudence determined, Lecture II.
***** Education in Japan.