J. Dyer (James Dyer) Ball.

Cantonese made easy : a book of simple sentences in the Cantonese dialect, with free and literal translations, and directions for the rendering of English grammatical forms in Chinese online

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Online LibraryJ. Dyer (James Dyer) BallCantonese made easy : a book of simple sentences in the Cantonese dialect, with free and literal translations, and directions for the rendering of English grammatical forms in Chinese → online text (page 20 of 23)
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The principal enlargement is in the Grammatical portion of the book. The
classifiers have been rearranged into two tables, one giving the words to
which this name strictly applies, and the other the words which have a some-
what similar use, but are not entitled to the name ; while a better table of
the Personal Pronouns has' been drawn up, and important additions made to
the idiomatic uses of verbs. The introductory part of the work has also
been greatly enlarged. Mr. Ball . . . has recast and largely extended
the tonic exercises. . . . To this introductory part there have also been
added very useful exercises on long and short vowels and aspirated words.
The sentence lessons have not been greatly enlarged, but several important
improvements have been made. ... At the end of the book there is a
useful index to the grammatical part. This work of Mr. Ball's supplies a
great need, and we have no doubt it will find its way into the hands of all
learners of Cantonese. — China Mail, i8th January, 1888.

The present revised and enlarged issue certainly leaves little to be
desired .... Mr. Ball does not fail to acknowledge the assistance he

has received from Dr. Chalmers, Mr. J. Stewart- Lockhart, and others who
have endeavoured to contribute their mite towards the perfection of this
important dialect, and it seems only fair to him to admit that he has
succeeded in extracting the utmost net result of their contributions, and has
produced as precise and critical a manual as it is reasonably possible to
expect. The leading feature in Mr. Ball's work is the conscientious exactitude
with which he handles the knotty subject of tones. In the main„ his
chapters on this subject may be considered unexceptionable. .....

Another strong point in Mr. Ball's new hook is his list of final expletives.
. . . . Mr. Ball's changes of spelling are undoubtedly improvements in

the majority of cases. . . . The tone exercises are excellent, and the

student will notice many cases — e.g., chd-kd-yi — where the tone is both
radically changed and then specially modified in some particular senses.
Mr. Ball rightly insists on the important distinction between the long and

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short vowels. . . . His separation of Williams's sa, thirty, into sd — d is
very judicious, and undoubtedly correct. . . . The lessons are admirable,
and great pains have been taken to mark distinctions. . . . Mr. Ball
wisely avoids all bookish expressions. . . . Mr. Ball's rules and
exhortations are much to the point ; and, if students endeavour to profit by
the vast experience he has gamed, they cannot fail to reap a proportionate
reward. . . The work deserves very high praise, is clearly and neatly
printed, and, considering the enormous number of tone marks used, betrays
very little trace of inaccuracy. . . . Mr. Ball is probably the most facile
of educated European speakers of Cantonese ; and this being so, the novelties
which he introduces can be accepted with complete trust; and they convey
moreover a graceful compliment to those who have previously ventured to
hint at what Mr. Ball has now, speaking ex cathedra, pronounced to be
undoubted facts. — Chitta Review , 1888.

The work is the most reliable introduction to the study of Cantonese we
have met with. . ., The .... sentences . . are all well chosen,

and the grammatical part also contains many good phrases The

prominence attached to aspirated and non-aspirated words,to long and short
voweU, and to correct pronounciation in general, shows Mr. BalFs great
carefulness and mastery over the spoken language. . . . All the phrases
given are in idiomatic and concise language. • . . We think Mr. Ball
quite right in selecting the most perfect form available for his standard. —
Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal, April, 1888.




In commenting on the second edition of his 'Cantonese Made
Easy,* we pointed out that although that work treated in a more compre-
hensive manner than had hitherto been attempted the tones, expletives,
pronunciation and grammatical structure of Cantonese, it was deficient in
lessons illustrative of the use of the language in everyday life. Mr. Ball has
now made good that defect by his new work, which contains fifty * conver-
sations,' eminently practical, covering almost all the forms of expression
and almost all the vocabulary for ordinary conversations in Cantonese. The
author has succeeded in giving these conversations a life-like form, making
them as near as possible what one would naturally expect to form the subject
matter of conversation. Mr. Ball has perhaps mastered the Cantonese

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dialect better than any foreigner has yet done ; and hie daily practice • . •
has given him a power of setting forth the great difference between the
structure of English and Chinese in a more lucid manner than has yet been
attained. It is not an Anglified Cantonese that he endeavours to make his
readers conversant with, but the real idiom of Canton. We have no hesita-
tion in saying that Mr. BalPs two works 'Cantonese Made Easy' and 'How
to Speak Cantonese ' form as concise and complete a manual of the dialect as
it is nigh possible to expect. There are really no other works on the subject
worthy of comparison with them. — China Mail, 28th February, 1889.

Hongkong is about the only English Colony where the invaders never
seem to take kindly to the native language. Fy-ti and mdn-mdn constitute
the vocabulary of most residents not Hongkong- born, eked out by the
ridiculous pidgin- English. With regard to this latter means of communica-
tion it has often struck us as curious that no attempt is made to improve the
ungrammatical, childish, terms out of it, and. give the Chinese a chance of
speaking good. English, as they do in tte Straits Settlements. There
pidgin-English would be laughed at by any Chinaman who knew any
English, and yet we here go on perpetuating the idiotic ' This no blong
ploppa* style of conversation. Even a slight acquaintance with Chinese
would be preferable to this, and there is very little excuse nowadays for not
possessing that, for every five-and-twenty minutes some handy* and most
carefully explicit handbook on the subject is issued by Mr. J. Dyer Ball.
His latest production is a companion volume to ' Cantonese Made Easy,*
and is entitled * How to speak Cantonese.* In the former work a copious
list of those most necessary perplexities, classifiers, are given, together with
short lessons in composition and a few pages of short sentences. The latter
production is even more useful. It contains fifty ' conversations * on ordinary
topics, covering most of the ground of everyday business. Mr. Dyer Ball is
too old a teacher of the public to waste time on such fraudulent sentences as
',The gardener's son gave the neighbour's daughter a flower,' like the old
First French Courses did ; his system is more practical. On one page he
gives the English sentence, with its translation in Chinese type, and on
the opposite leaf, the sound of the Chinese words, with marks of intonation
for those who care to speak correctly, and, fourthly, a word-for-word
retranslation of the translation, showing the idioms and quaint construction
of the sentences in Chinese. — Hongkong Telegraph, ist March, 1889.

As a . . collection of sentences, we have no hesitation in saying
that this book is without rival. . . . We heartily recommend it to all
earnest students of Cantonese ; and ... it will prove of use even to old
hands. — Hongkong Daily Press, 19th March, 1889.





Mr. Bairs latest, and perhaps his best attempt to popularize the . .
study of Cantonese. We have gone through it very carefully from its first
pages to its last . . The matter . . is simply excellent throughout
. . . Here we have a . . collection of sentences extensive and
highly valuable . . . and which must prove of the greatest assistance

to the colloquial student The conversations, more

especially those in the latter sections of the book, are of the most useful
character, the idioms are well chosen, the vocabulary is extensive and, with
one or two exceptions, the foot notes appended throughout are of great
value and such as could only be given by one whose knowledge of the
subject was of very thorough and intricate description. We note that Mr.
Ball peruses the local native Press ; the great number of the newest and
latest approved expressions for naval, military, and scientific technicalities
shows this plainly.


Second Edition.

Fifty conversations in Cantonese Colloquial, with the Chinese Character.
Free and Literal English Translations, and Romanised Spelling with Tonic
and Diacritical Marks, etc. Second Edition. Revised and Corrected. By
J. Dyer Ball, m.r.a.s., etc., of His Majesty's Civil Service, Hongkong.
Hongkong : Messrs. Kelly & Walsh, 1902.

We find at the end of this volume a collection of Press notices, so
laudatory of Mr. Ball's books in the Canton dialect that to further extol the
new edition of * How to Speak Cantonese* might appear like an attempt at
painting the lily or gilding the refined gold. The merits of the work before
us were recognised in the earlier edition ; the value it then had is enhanced
by the author's revision. Mr. Ball is, we observe, among the Reformers of
Romanization and diacritical marking in Cantonese colloquial

Of greater consequence to the student is the tone marking. This, in our
opinion, should be one of the main criteria for determining the value of books
of instruction in Cantonese. In this respect the latest edition of Mr. Ball's
work is beyond praise. We have the more pleasure in thus writing
inasmuch as accuracy of tone marking can only be secured by intelligent and
painstaking effort on the part of proof readers.

As to the subjects of the fifty Conservations, these are, we think,
sufficiently varied to afford the basis of a useful vocabulary in Cantonese.
In regard to the modes of speech, it should be pointed out that a sound use
of the book will be, for the beginner to take its typical sentence models as a
guide to construction in the vernacular of which it treats.

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It seems to us that the time has come when the question * How to
speak Cantonese * may well exercise the minds of a larger number of non-
Chinese residents in the south of the Empire. We believe that the new
time in China will be fraught with opportunities for the Cantonese-speaking
Chinese. At the present time, they are to be found in hundreds and
thousands at the chief industrial and commercial centres in the central and
northern provinces. The opening- up of China will mean greater scope for
Cantonese enterprise, energy, foresight and capacity. The foreigner who
has learned how to speak Cantonese is likely to find his acquisition of service
in many directions. If, as we think, the dialect is destined to rule largely in
the commercial life of the near future this consideration should lead to the
timely and wide use of the book just issued.


A Small Dictionary in English and Cantonese, containing only Words
and Phrases used in the Spoken Language, with Classifiers indicated for
each Noun, and Definitions of the Different Shades of Meaning, as well as
Notes on the Different uses of Words where ambiguity might otherwise arise.

The work should be very useful to students of the Cantonese Dialect. —
China Mail, 26th July, 1886.

Mr. J. Dyer Ball, author of * Easy Sentences in the Hakka Dialect,'
' Cantonese- Made-Easy,' etc., has just issued a companion work to these
useful publications to students of Chinese. . . . The words and phrases
appear to have been most carefully collected and arranged, and we doubt
not that this little dictionary will adequately fulfil the aims of the compiler. —
Hongkong Telegraph, 27th July, 1886.

Giving an exhaustive list of different shades of the English meaning, to
save the beginner from falling into mistakes to which he would otherwise be
liable. The vocabulary seems to have been most carefully compiled, and it
cannot fail to prove most useful to students, especially beginners. — Hongkong
Daily Press, 29th July, 1886.

We have here a very neatly got up vocabulary of the most common terms
which a beginner is likely to stand in need of. . . . The rendering of
the terms selected appears to be given in good idiomatic colloquial style. .
. . As the author gives, for the English words selected by him, the corres-
ponding Chinese characters, together with their pronunciation and tones,
the little book is sure to prove useful. — China Review, July and August, 1886.

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This book will prove useful to persons desirous of learning the Cantonese
dialect. — Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal y November, 1886.

Everything possible is being done to lighten the labours of merchants,
cadets, missionaries, and students, in their study of that difficult language,

the Chinese Mr. Ball is one of the most accompli^ed

linguists in Hongkong, .... and no more able pen could be found
for the work of simplifying and popularizing the Chinese tongue.

There are many people in England as well as abroad to whom Mr. Ball's
work will be a boon . 1 1 gives first the English words in alphabetical order, then
the Chinese equivalents, and finally a transliteration of the Chinese words,
so that those who do not understand the characters may still be able to tell
at a glance what is the Cantonese equivalent of the word before them. Thus
the word Any is stated to be an adj, and adv,, then follows the Chinese word,
and finally its pronunciation maif so that mat is the Chinese equivalent of
any; yan stands for man, kiu is the verb to call, and so on. Numerous notes
are added where there is any danger of the learner being misled by the
ambiguity of terms, and altogether the book is a capital vade-mecum for the
young student. — Retford and Gainsborough Times, Worksop and Newark Weekly
News, 24th December, 1886.

While dealing with China it will not be out of place to mention another
work for which future learners of that curious language will be grateful.
This is * The Cantonese- Made-Easy Vocabulary' by J. Dyer Ball, m.r.a.s.,
of H. M. Civil Service, Hongkong. The author is one of the best foreign
speakers of Chinese we have ever had the good fortune to meet. Born and
brought up in the East, he can converse as readily in Cantonese as in English,
and is consequently a most reliable authority on such critical points
as Tone and Classifiers, which are the bugbears of every beginner in Chinese.
The volume will also be valuable to the philologist, even though he may know
little or nothing of the Celestial tongue, since every Chinese character is
represented by the equivalent sound in English letters. — English paper.

The second edition . . . will prove a useful vade-mecum for students.
After a careful perusal of it one is struck by its accuracy both as regards
the markings of tones, the romanizing of sounds, and the meanings of the
various words and phrases. With respect to tones, Mr. Ball has carefully
distinguished between the ordinary tones and the 'changing' or colloquial
tones, . . . which must be observed in speaking by those who wish to
speak Cantonese and not a pidgin -Cantonese, or jargon passing muster for
the lingua pura of the city of Canton.

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J. DYER BALL, m.r.a.s., Etc.

Notices by the Press.

It is meant . . for the use of strangers, tourists, or even residents,
who, from want of time, are unable to master the intricacies of the language,
but who, at the same time, feel a desire to pick up a few words, so as not to
be in the position of deaf mutes when entirely surrounded by natives. Those
who have any knowledge of the subject will readily appreciate Mr. Ball's
object in compiling this limited vocabulary, the want for which has been felt,
we might say, ever since the Colony was founded. To say the least of them,
tonic marks are decidedly confusing unless they are seriously studied, and
their entire absence from this vocabulary will alone prove a recommendation.
Mr. Ball's book makes no pretensions to oust those vocabularies which are
already in existence; it merely makes an attempt to supply a demand hitherto

unprovided for It is sufficiently copious to enable

any one to make himself, or herself, understood in the ordinary transactions
of everyday life; and it is just possible that it may awaken a desire in some
persons to know more of the language. Mr. Ball has very wisely issued the
book at a low price, 75 cents a copy, and its merit and cheapness should
ensure an extensive sale. — China Mail, 22nd September, 1886.

Mr. J. Dyer Ball's * English-Cantonese Pocket Vocabulary ' is quite a
novelty in its way, and is the first publication we have seen in which some
knowledge of Chinese is rendered possible without the use of Chinese
characters. The sounds of the Chinese words in this little work are
represented by English spelling, in exactly the same fashion adopted in
many rudimentary treatises on the French and other foreign languages.
. . . The plan adopted by Mr. Dyer Ball is very simple, and we think
an eflfective one. He wished to provide a method by which travellers and
others, who may not consider the acquisition of Cantonese a game worth the
candle, without any very serious study, can acquire a sufficient acquaintance
with the vernacular to be understood if unhappily isolated amongst non-
English speaking Chinese. Mr. Ball has done his work in his customary
careful and painstaking fashion, and we imagine this little book will command
a ready sale. — Hongkong Telegraph, 23rd September, i886.

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We have received a copy of another of those useful aids to the acquisition
of the Chinese colloquial for which Mr. Dyer Ball is becoming noted. This
last work is entitled * An English- Cantonese Pocket Vocabulary.* It contains
common words and phrases, printed without the Chinese characters or tonic
marks, and the sounds of the Chinese words are represented by an English
spelling, as far as practicable, while the author in his preface gives some very
simple directions how to overcome the difficulties of pronunciation. The
little book is not intended for those who intend to make a serious study of
Chinese; it is intended to enable the English resident or tourist to pick up a
sufficient vocabulary to make known his wishes or wants to the natives, and
to understand something of what is going on around him when surrounded
by Chinese. . . . The pamphlet will supply a want and its study is likely
to lead to further exploration in the same direction. — Hongkong Daily Press,
24th September, 1886.

The pamphlet is published for the benefit of tourists or residents who
have no time to master the intricacies of the Cantonese dialect and who are
deterred from the task when they take up other books on the subject bristling
with tonic and other diacritical marks. Mr. Ball labours therefore here, as
in his other pamphlets, to make an intrinsically difficult subject easy. We
think the book has its merits by its extreme simplicity and by the judicious
selection of a stock of the most ordinary and popular words and phrases. The
spelling .... may prove handy enough for the purposes stsiied.— China
Review, November and December, 1886.




* Readings from Cantonese Colloquial ' is . . . from the pen of that
industrious and capable writer Mr. J. Dyer Ball, the author of 'Things
Chinese.* The . . book consists of selections from publications in the
Cantonese vernacular, with free and literal translations of the Chinese
character and Romanized spelling. . . . Will be a valuable addition to
the student*s library. — China Mail, 14th August, 1894.

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Price : One Dollar.

Extracts from Notices of the above Work.

It is, for the most part, as the author says in the introduction, an
adaptation of Giles's * Handbook of the Swatow Dialect ' and will prove as
useful to those entering on the study of Hakka as Mr. Giles's book has proved
in the case of the dialect spoken at Swatow. An extensive vocabulary is
appended. — Daily Press, 28th October, 1881.

Unlike most books of the kind, there are no Chinese characters given for
the * Easy Sentences,* the collection of phrases being Romanized Phoneti-
cally so as to give to the beginner the equivalent sounds in Chinese. The
sentences given appear to be well arranged, and cover as much ground as is
ever likely to be required by those desirous of attaining to a rough colloquial
knowledge of Hakka. Mr. Ball frankly tells all others to go to a teacher,
and indeed he strongly advises even the learner to go hand in hand with the
teacher in his uphill work from the very beginning. — China Mail, 22nd
October, 1881.

A very handy little volume. . . . Useful pamphlet . . . Chinese
is admittedly a difficult study to Europeans, but, as Mr. Ball states, there is
no reason why with a little trouble, they should not pick up sufficient con-
versational knowledge so as to be able to understand what goes on about
them as well as to make themselves understood. For this purpose Mr. Ball's
compilation will answer every requirement. The sentences are judiciously
arranged, and the method of conveying a correct method of pronunciation is
apparently very clear and simple. The book is very well printed, and, as it
is published at a very low price, will no doubt obtain an extensive circula-
tion. — Hongkong Telegraph, 22nd October, 1881.

* Easy Sentences in the Hakka Dialect, with a Vocabulary.' Translated
by J. Dyer Ball, Hongkong, 1881. This title indicates the character of the
book. It contains 57 pages and fourteen chapters besides the vocabulary.
The subjects of the chapters are designated thus: — Lesson I, Domestic.
II to V, General. VI, Relationship. VII, Opposites. VIII, Monetary.
IX and X, Commercial. XI, Medical. XII, Ecclesiastical. XIII, Nautical.
XIV, Judicial. It thus contains a wide range of subjects. We cordially
recommend it to all students of the Hakka Dialect. — Chinese Recorder and
Missionary Journal, November- December, 1881.



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Mr. J. Dyer Ball has given another proof of his untiring energy in the
field of Chinese language and literature ia the tiny volume just published
under the title of * How to write the Radicals/ A glance at the pages of
the work is sufficient to reveal the progressive method which the author has
adopted. Radicals formed by one stroke of the pen constitute the initiatory
chapter of the work, and are followed by successive methods of writing
radicals up to those formed of fifteen strokes. An Excursus on the practical
use of the Chinese Dictionary completes the work. We recommend it to
the perusal of all students of the language of the Flowery Land. — Hongkong
Telegraph, 13th October, 1888.

In the pamphlet just issued he simply gives the Radicals with their
pronunciation in Mandarin and Cantonese, and a dissection of each character
into its component strokes, showing the order in which they are written or
joined together. Thus, all the strokes of the 17-stroke radical, are laid
out one by one in the order they are written. The work should not only
enable the learner to count with considerable facility the number of strokes
of which a character is composed, but aid him to pick out the Radical
component of any given character. At the end of the work are several
practical hints for the use of a Chinese dictionary. — China Mail, 13th October,

We should say it would be found more or less useful to students at
home — for Chinese is now to be found among the subjects required by
several examining bodies there — also to missionaries and others who were
coming out to China with the intention of learning Chinese, and who might

easily get up the radicals and their meanings en route The

radicals are the nearest Chinese equivalent to our Western alphabets.

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Online LibraryJ. Dyer (James Dyer) BallCantonese made easy : a book of simple sentences in the Cantonese dialect, with free and literal translations, and directions for the rendering of English grammatical forms in Chinese → online text (page 20 of 23)