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Nearly 1.2 billion people (around 16% of the world's population) speak some form of Chinese as their first language.
Bernhard Karlgren (1931: 49) concluded that "the major part of its glosses must reasonably date from" the 3rd century BC.The Japanese historian and sinologist Naitō Torajirō analyzed the Erya text and concluded it originated in the early Warring States period, with the Jixia Academy having a considerable hand in it from c.325 BCE onwards, and the text was enlarged and stabilized during the Qin and Western Han dynasty.Naitō connects the Shigu chapter (1) with the first generations of the Confucian School (450-400 BCE), places the family relationships, astronomy, and meteorology chapters (4-8) in the time of Xun Ching 荀卿 (300-230 BCE) with additions as late as 90 BCE, allocates the geographical chapters (9-12) to the late Warring States, Qin, and beginning of Han (300-200 BCE), puts the natural history chapters (13-18) between 300 and 160 BCE, and ascribes the last chapter (19) on domestic animals to the time of Emperor Wen or Emperor Jing of Han (180 to 140 BCE).The Erya was considered the authoritative lexicographic guide to Chinese classic texts during the Han Dynasty, and it was officially categorized as one of the Thirteen Confucian Classics during the Song Dynasty.However, a few notable exceptions, called yashu 雅書 "[Er]ya-type books", adopted collation by semantic categories such as Heaven and Earth. 230) Guangya ("Expanded Erya"), and (1125) Piya ("Increased Erya").
The Ming Dynasty scholar Lang Kuijin (郎奎金) categorized and published the Wuya (五雅 "Five [Er]yas"): Erya, (c. Chinese leishu encyclopedias, such as the (1408) Yongle Encyclopedia, were also semantically arranged.
For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help: IPA.; literally: "Chinese writing") is a group of related, but in many cases mutually unintelligible, language varieties, forming a branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.
Chinese is spoken by the Han majority and many other ethnic groups in China.
Karlgren (1931: 46) explains that the book "is not a dictionary in abstracto, it is a collection of direct glosses to concrete passages in ancient texts." The received text contains 2094 entries, covering about 4300 words, and a total of 13,113 characters.
It is divided into nineteen sections, the first of which is subdivided into two parts.
A century later, Lu Dian (陸佃) wrote the (1096) Piya ("Increased [Er]ya") and the (1099) Erya Xinyi (爾雅新義 "New Interpretations of the Erya") commentary.