This is a translation of the third part of the article 建設的文明革命論 (‘Discussion of Creating a Revolution in Literature’) by the Chinese writer 胡适 (Hú Shì) . Please post any issues or questions in the comments at the end of the page. As usual, the translation here is more of an annotation than a conversion into authentic English.
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上節所說，是從文學一方面著想，若要活文學，必須用國語。 The previous section said that when considering literature, if we want a living literature, we must use the national language.
如今且說從國語一方面著想，國語的文學有何等重要。 If we consider our national language now, what is important about literature in the national language?
有些人說：「若要用國語做文學，總須先有國語。 Some people say: "If we are to produce literature in the national language, then we must first have a national language."
如今沒有標準的國語，如何能有國語的文學呢？」 "At present there is no standard national language, so how can we have a literature in the national language?"
我說這話似乎有理，其實不然。 I say that whilst this point seems reasonable, actually it is not so.
國語不是單靠幾位言語學的專門家就能造得成的；也不是單靠幾本國語教科書和幾部國語字典就能造成的。 The creation of a national language does not simply rely on a few language specialists; neither does its creation simply rely on a few national language textbooks or a few national language dictionaries.
若要造國語，先須造國語的文學。 If we are to create a national language, we must first create a literature in the national language.
有了國語的文學，自然有國語。 Once we have literature in the national language, we will naturally have a national language.
這話初聽了似乎不通。 This point may seem illogical at first.
但是列位仔細想想便可明白了。 However, dear readers, if you think about it carefully it will become clear.
天下的人誰肯從國語教科書和國語字典裏面學習國語？ Of all the people in the world, who has learnt their national language from a national language textbook or a national language dictionary?
所以國語教科書和國語字典，雖是很要緊，決不是造國語的利器。 So, national language textbooks and national language dictionaries, although important, are absolutely not an effective method for creating a national language.
真正有功效有勢力的國語教科書，便是國語的文學，便是國語的小說、詩文、戲本。 What makes a truly effective and powerful national language 'textbook' is literature in the national language; it's fiction, poetry and theatre in the national language.
國語的小說、詩文、戲本通行之日，便是中國國語成立之時。 The day when national language fiction, poetry and theatre are in general use will be the day when a Chinese national language has been established.
試問我們今日居然能拿起筆來做幾篇白話文章，居然能寫得出好幾百個白話的字，可是從甚麼白話教科書上學來的嗎？ Suppose that we could go as far as to pick up our pens and write a few articles in the vernacular today, and could even write several hundred words in the vernacular - would we have learned to do that some from vernacular textbook?
可不是從《水滸傳》、《西遊記》、《紅樓夢》、《儒林外史》，…… 等書學來的嗎？ Or would we have learnt it from _'Water Margin'_, _'Journey to the West'_, _'Dream of the Red Chamber'_, _'The Scholars'_ and so on?
這些白話文學的勢力，比甚麼字典教科書都還大幾百倍。 The power of such vernacular literature is a hundred times greater than that of any dictionary or textbook.
字典說「這」字該讀「魚彥反」，我們偏讀他做「者個」的者字。 The dictionary says that the character '這' should be read 'yu yan fan' [?], but we actually read it as 'zhe ge'.
字典說「麼」字是「細小」，我們偏把他用作「甚麼」、「那麼」的麼字。 The dictionary says that the character '麼' means 'tiny', but we actually use it for 'what' and 'then'.
字典說「沒」字是「沉也」，「盡也」，我們偏用他做「無有」的無字解。 The dictionary says that the character '沒' means 'to drown' or 'to exhaust', but we actually use it to mean 'to not have'.
字典說「的」字有許多意義，我們偏把他用來代文言的「之」字，「者」字，「所」字和「徐徐爾，縱縱爾」的「爾」字。 The dictionary says that the character '的' has many meanings, but we actually use it in place of the classical '之', '者', '所' and the '爾' in '徐徐爾，縱縱爾'. [?]
……總而言之，我們今日所用的「標準白話」，都是這幾部白話的文學定下來的。 In brief, the 'standard vernacular' that we use today is all determined by a few pieces of vernacular literature.
我們今日要想重新規定一種「標準國語」，還須先造無數國語的《水滸傳》、《西遊記》、《儒林外史》、《紅樓夢》。 If we want to reformulate a 'standard national language' today, we must first produces countless _'Water Margins'_, _'Journey to the Wests'_, _'The Scholars'_ and _'Dream of the Red Chambers'_ in the national language.
所以我以為我們提倡新文學的人，盡可不必問今日中國有無標準國語。 So I believe that those of us who advocate a new literature, absolutely must not question whether or not China currently has a standard national language.
我們盡可努力去做白話的文學。 We absolutely must strive to go and produce literature in the vernacular.
我們可儘量採用《水滸傳》、《西遊記》、《儒林外史》、《紅樓夢》的白話。 As far as possible, we must use the vernacular from _'Water Margin'_, _'Journey to the West'_, _'The Scholars'_ and _'Dream of the Red Chamber'_.
有不合今日的用的，便不用他；有不夠用的，便用今日的白話來補助；有不得不用文言的，便用文言來補助。 If there are things we do not use today, then do not use them; if there are things that are not used enough, then use today's vernacular to substitute for them; if there is no choice but to use Classical Chinese, then allow use of Classical Chinese.
這樣做去，決不愁語言文字不夠用，也決不用愁沒有標準白話。 Going on in this way, there is absolutely no need to worry about words being used enough, and absolutely no need to worry about there not being a standard vernacular.
中國將來的新文學用的白話，就是將來中國的標準國語。 The vernacular used in China's new literature in the future will be the national language of China in the future.
造中國將來白話文學的人，就是制定標準國語的人。 Those who create the vernacular literature of China's future are the creators of a standard national language.
我這種議論並不是「向壁虛造」的。 This discussion of mine is not 'baseless fabrication'.
我這幾年來研究歐洲各國國語的歷史，沒有一種國語不是這樣造成的。 In my research over the last few years into the history of national languages of European countries, there has not been one national language that was not created in this way.
沒有一種國語是教育部的老爺們造成的。 There is not one single national language that was created by old men in the Ministry of Education.
沒有一種是言語學專門家造成的。 There is not a single one that was created by language specialists.
沒有一種不是文學家造成的。 There is not a single one that was not created by writers.
我且舉幾條例為證： Here I will cite several examples as proof:
五百年前，歐洲各國但有方言，沒有「國語」。 Five hundred years ago, whilst every country in Europe had dialects, there were no 'national languages'
歐洲最早的國語是義大利文。 The earliest national language in Europe was Italian.
那時歐洲各國的人多用拉丁文著書通信。 At that time, the people of all European countries used Latin to write books and communicate.
到了十四世紀的初年，義大利的大文學家但丁極力主張用義大利話來代拉丁文。 In the beginning of the 14th Century, the Italian writer Dante made a supreme effort to advocate the use of Italian in place of Latin.
他說拉丁文是已死了的文字，不如他本國俗話的優美。 He said that Latin was already just dead words, and couldn't match the elegance of his country's common language.
所以他自己的傑作《喜劇》，全用脫斯堪尼（義大利北部的一邦）的俗話。 So his own masterpiece _'The Divine Comedy'_ was completely written in the common language of Tuscany (a region in northern Italy).
這部《喜劇》，風行一世，人都稱他做「神聖喜劇」。 This _'Divine Comedy'_ became popular across the world, and everyone praised this _'Divine Comedy'_. [? not sure why the full title is translated from here on, rather than just 'Comedy'.]
那「神聖喜劇」的白話後來便成了義大利的標準國語。 This vernacular of _'The Divine Comedy'_ later became the standard national language of Italy.
後來的文學家巴卡嘉和洛倫查諸人也都用白話作文學。 The later writes Boccacio and Lorenzo de Medici also used the vernacular to write literature.
所以不到一百年， 義大利的國語便完全成立了。 So within one hundred years, the national language of Italy was fully established.
英倫雖只是一個小島國，卻有無數方言。 Although Britain is only a small island nation, it has countless dialects.
現在通行全世界的「英文」， 在五百年前還只是倫敦附近一帶的方言，叫做「中部土語」。 The 'English' that has now spread across the whole world was five hundred years ago just the dialect from a belt around London, known as the 'middle dialect'.
當十四世紀時，各處的方言都有些人用來做書。 In the 14th Century, there were people writing in the dialects of every region.
後來到了十四世紀的末年，出了兩位大文學家，一個是是趙叟一個是威克列夫。 Later, at the end of the 14th Century, two great writers emerged, one was Chaucer and one was Wycliff.
趙叟做了許多詩歌，散文都用這「中部土語」。 Chaucher wrote many songs and poems, and his prose was all written in the 'middle dialect'.
威克列夫把耶教的《舊約》、《新約》也都譯成「中部土語」。 Wycliffe translated the Christian _'Old Testament'_ and _'New Testament'_ into the 'middle dialect'.
有了這兩個人的文學，使把這「中部土語」變成英國的標準國語。 With the literature of these two people, the 'middle dialect' became the standard national language of Britain.
後來到了十五世紀，印刷術輸進英國，所印的書多用這「中部土語」，國語的標準更確定了。 Later, in the 15th Century, printing technology was introduced in Britain, and printed books mostly used the 'middle dialect', and the standards of the national language were made more definite.
到十六、十七世紀，蕭士比亞和「伊裏沙白時代」的無數文學大家，都用國語創造文學。 In the 16th and 17th Centuries, Shakespeare and countless Elizabethan writers all used the national language to produce literature.
從此以後，這一部分的「中部土語」，不但成了英國的標準國語，幾乎竟成了全地球的世界語了！ From then on, this part of the 'middle dialect' not only became the standard national language of Britain, but almost went as far as to become a world language across the globe!
此外，法國、德國及其它各國的國語，大都是這樣發生的，大都是靠著文學的力量才能變成標準的國語的。 In addition, France, Germany and the national languages of all other countries were almost all produced like this; almost all of them relied on the power of literature to become standard national languages.
我也不去一一的細說了。 I won't list them one by one in detail here.
義大利國語成立的歷史，最可供我們中國人的研究。 The history of the establishment of the Italian national language provides the most for us Chinese to study.
為甚麼呢？因為歐洲西部北部的新國，如英吉利、法蘭西、德意志，他們的方言和拉丁文相差太遠了，所以他們漸漸的用國語著作文學，還不算希奇。 Why? Because the dialects of the new states in Western and Northern Europe, such as England, France, Germany differ too much from Latin, so the fact that they gradually used their national languages to write literature isn't strange.
只有義大利是當年羅馬帝國的京畿近地，在拉丁文的故鄉，各處的方言又和拉丁文最近。 Only Italy, when it was the surrounding territory of the capital of the Roman Empire, the homeland of Latin, had dialects in each region that were closest to Latin.
在義大利提倡用白話代拉丁文，真正和在中國提倡用白話代漢文，有同樣的艱難。 When Italy promoted the use of the vernacular over Latin, it genuinely faced the same difficulties that China does it promoted the use of the vernacular over Classical Chinese.
所以英、法、德各國語，一經文學文學發達以後，便不知不覺的成為國語了。 So as soon as each of the countries England, France, Germany developed their literature, it unconsciously became the national language.
在義大利卻不然。 It was no so in Italy.
當時反對的人很多， 所以那時新文學家，一方面努力創造國語的文學，一方面還要做文章鼓吹何以當廢古文，何以不可不用白話。 At the time, there were many who resisted, so the new writers of that era had to both strive to create a literature in the national language and write articles to enthusiastically promote the abandonment of the classical language, and the use only of the vernacular.
有了這種有意的主張（最有力的是但丁和阿兒白狄兩個人），又有了那些有價值的文學，才可造出義大利的「文學的國語」。 With this kind of intentional promotion (the most effective of which was that of Dante and Alberti), there was some literature with value, and only then could a literary national language of Italy be established.
我常問我自己道：「自從施耐庵以來，很有了些極風行的白話文學，何以中國至今衰不曾有一種標準的國語呢？」 I often ask myself: "From the time of Shi Nai'an, there has been some extremely popular vernacular literature, so why does China still fail to posses a standard national language to this day?"
我想來想去，只有一個答案。 I have thought it over and over, and there is only one answer.
這一千年來，中國固然有了一些有價值的白話文學，但是沒有一個人出來明目張膽的主張用白話為中國的「文學的國語」。 In these thousand years, whilst it is true that China has had vernacular literature with value, it has not had someone come out and have the guts to openly advocate the use of the vernacular as China's 'literary national language'.
有時陸放翁高興了，便做一首白話詩；有時柳耆卿高興了，便做一兩白話的小說。 Sometimes when Lu You was happy, he would write a vernacular poem; sometimes when Liu Yong was happy, he would write one or two fiction pieces in the vernacular.
這都是不知不覺的自然出產品，並非是有意的主張。 This is unconscious production, and is certainly not intentional advocation.
因為沒有「有意的主張」，所以做白話的只管做白話，做古文的只管做古文，做八股的只管做八股。 Because there has been no 'intentional advocation', writing in the vernacular is concerned only with writing in the vernacular, writing in Classical Chinese is concerned only with writing in Classical Chinese and writing eight-part essays in concerned only with writing eight-part essays.
因為沒有「有意的主張」，所以白話文學從不曾和那些「死文學」爭那「文學正宗」的位置。 Because there has been no 'intentional advocation', vernacular literature has never fought with 'dead literature' for the place of the 'literary orthodox'.
白話文學不成為文學正宗，故白話不曾成為標準國語。 That vernacular literature has not become the literary orthodox is because there has never been a standard national language.
我們今日提倡國語的文學，是有意的主張。 The national language literature that we promote today has intentional advocation.
要使國語成為「文學的國語」。 We must make our national language a 'literary national language'.
有了文學的國語，方有標準的國語。 Once we have a literary national language, we will have a standard national language.
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