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VAN DER PYL, R. [REINIER VAN DER PIJL]. - [Igirisu Kaiwahen] Conversation of English Language; for those, who begin to learn the English. Third edition.

 1380971896,
Numadz, Watanabe 1871 (Meiji 4). 183x122mm publisher's wrapper with printed label (wrapper discoloured); title leaf and 50pp. Several annotations and corrections in pencil and ink. A nice copy. ¶ I would elect this a pioneering piece of Chindogu (Japanese unuseless inventions) but that phrase books have a long history of being nonsensical. You may wonder at the lack of parallel Japanese translations in this and suspect that, illogical as it would be, a companion volume exists but it's all weirder than that. No Japanese-English version ever existed. This evolved out of a Dutch guide for learners of English, 'Gemeenzame Leerwijs ...', that was already out of date by the time it was reprinted in Japan in 1857. But it made sense that scholars of things Dutch could use it as a bridge to the fresh urgency of learning English. By the beginning of Meiji learning English was ever more important and Dutch obsolete so naturally enough the Dutch half is dumped and we are left with a series of quaint, stilted, often incorrect, exchanges of little use to anyone in Japan in the seventies. I don't know how much van der Pijl is to blame and how much is local corruption. Nevertheless, three editions and the annotations show that this was used, carefully used. Waseda University helpfully illustrates its copy, likewise, but not identically, dutifully annotated, which all goes a long way toward explaining the Japanese approach to English for the next century or so.
AUD 350.00 [Appr.: EURO 236.25 US$ 277.23 | £UK 215.5 | JP¥ 30290] Book number 9388

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