waij > old books

Chinese without a teacher


Herbert A. Giles


Kelly & Walsh, Limited; Shanghai

First edition:


Current edition:

Ninth edition, 1931

This book has been dedicated to the ladies and members of the mercantile, sea-faring and sporting communities of China, many of whom I have heard expressing regret at not knowing a few words of Chinese. Herbert A. Giles is famous for his work on the Wade-Giles system for romanizing Mandarin (site).

I wonder where the desire for little red books comes from?

The housewives of the several communities in China were occupied ordering Call the cook (clearly they were not going to call the cook themselves); planning activities such as: I want my hair done now and scolding the servants: The coolie is also very lazy

I am intrigued by the first sentence on the left page Have you had chow-chow? It looks to like the Chinese expanded this phrase book themselves, without help from a native English speaker. They might have mistaken sentences like this one with proper English, because they were always (?) addressed in this way.