Du Ponceau online

Pinyin Info has long made available a selection from Peter S. Du Ponceau’s groundbreaking work on the nature of Chinese characters.

Google Print now offers the complete text of this book: A dissertation on the nature and character of the Chinese system of writing. (Also available as a 14.3 MB PDF.) This was first published in 1838; and if more people had paid attention to it the ideographic myth might well have perished then instead of flourishing to continue to plague us today.

Here is a fuller version of the title:

A Dissertation on the Nature and Character of the Chinese System of Writing, in a Letter to John Vaughan, esq … To which are Subjoined, a Vocabulary of the Cochinchinese Language by Father Joseph Morrone, R.C. Missionary at Saigon, … And a Cochinchinese and Latin Dictionary, in Use Among the R.C. Missions in Cochinchina.

Du Ponceau also did important work on some Native American languages and served as president of the American Philosophical Society for seventeen years. That organization continues its tradition of inducting distinguished members (MS Word document).

Alternate versions of Du Ponceau’s name: Peter Stephen DuPonceau and Pierre-Etienne Du Ponceau.

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