Resources for Learning Classical Chinese
Posted by Jenie Cao on 2016-08-24 11:22:31 2022

classical Chinese learning resources

Classical Chinese is one of a written language in ancient China, mainly including the spoken language and written language which were formed on the basis of the pre-qin period. In the 1918 years ago, all the articles are written in classical Chinese. Now generally we will call "Classical Chinese" to "文言文(wén yán wén)". Today I would like to recommend a book of learning ancient Chinese for some students who are interested in Chinese classical language.

The importance of the Classical Chinese

This language is very broad and profound, it is belongs to our ancestor language, and now it become an very important courses for each of Chinese middle school students. It is a very good way for us to understand the way how our ancestor to speak and to think about things. Such as 孙子兵法 Sun Zi Bing Fa is a very popular book in foreign market, it is read by many foreigners. In fact, this is a book that related to the strategy of war, but there are many very classic strategy also are very practical in today's business market, as the saying goes, "business market just like a war without gun-smoke battlefield".

A very authoritative book for learning classical Chinese

古代汉语 (ɡǔdàihànyǔ)

Classical Chinese learning book

There are total 4 books for this series. Total 14 unit, each of unit have three parts: anthology, common words and archaic Chinese. These three contents are not completely separate, but with anthology to be key link, the other two parts organically combined with it. If you only master the common words but don’t read the anthology, then you only can get some bits of knowledge about the word. If you only read the anthology but don't master the common words, then you will only know the meaning of this article which the teacher showed you , you will never know some else meaning. If you only read the anthology and common words, but don’t read the basic theoretical knowledge of archaic Chinese. You will not achieve mastery through a comprehensive, summarized them comprehensively. So you must read all of these 3 parts when you are study this series books.

The part of anthology: This series of books has chosen a lot of very famous anthology of history. All of them made a great contribution to our modern literary history, and provide essential help for our later generations in the history of research literature. There are some very famous article like: <左传.齐桓公伐楚zuǒzhuànqíhuánɡōnɡfáchǔ> <战国策zhànɡuócè> <论语lúnyǔ> <孟子mènɡzǐ>.

The part of common words: The common words will be followed by anthology. For example: they will show you how to check the dictionary and the different word between ancient and modern.

For example
Determinative-sentence: 今日是也. Jīnrìshìyě. (Today is like this.)
Negative sentence: 饭否? Fànfǒu ? (Did you have dinner?)

As we see, in ancient China, when you want to say the same thing with "oral language" and written language. They are different.

In spoken language is "你吃饭了吗? Nǐ chīfàn le mɑ?". But if we use the written language to express, it will be "饭否? Fànfǒu?". 饭 fàn is a noun, it means rice. But the writings in classical style, "rice" is a verb meaning for having a dinner.

The part of archaic Chinese: In this part you will know more about history or background of the corresponding anthology. It is very helpful for you to understand the whole story.

If you are interested in classical Chinese, I bet you are also interested in Chinese history, you can take our Chinese History and Literature, let our teachers help you learn better!

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