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Which books to use to learn Classical Chinese?

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Renacido

 

http://www.indiana.e...art-One_2.0.pdf

 

Free link to Part One of Fuller's Introduction to Literary Chinese.  I'll see if I can find part two in my bookmarks.

 

Daniel MM, that's not Michael A. Fuller's An Introduction to Literary Chinese, that's Robert Eno's Introduction to Literary Chinese.

 

Here's the link to part two, by the way:

 

http://www.indiana.edu/~e103/Wenyanwen_Part-Two_1.0.pdf

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Daniel Tsui44

文言:Written language

文言文:Article by written language

白话:Speaking language (also means Cantonese, Cantonese is the dialect that most close to ancient Chinese speaking)

白话文:Article by speaking language

古文:Article from ancient

The modern Chinese is developed from speaking language of the past. So now most of the time we write and speak in speaking language of the past.

 

If you want to learn 文言文 well. 古文观止 is a must. It's created in Qing dynasty for as an entry book for student. It corrects the most beatiful 文言文 from the pre-Qin period to Qing dynasty. 

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roddy

Thanks for bumping this, it inspired me to order a book or two. I went looking for @gato's recommendations from a full horoscope ago, (《轻松学习文言文:三行编排精析》 by 汪钰明 published by 上海远东出版社) but it's out of stock on jd.com, not sure if it's still in print. This looks to be a more recent equivalent? It's sitting in my basket, anyway. 

 

Actually looking at Classical Chinese has been a 'should do' for an awfully long time. I do seem to be finding more time for Chinese reading lately, so who knows. 

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realmayo

I actually re-started this last week - I've barely done touched anything in modern Chinese for a few years now and don't have much motivation to do so, but I like the old stuff.

Maybe a couple of years ago I got up to Chapter 6 in the Rouzer book, and I'm back there now. After the first part of Rouzer I'll probably pause to read the first part of the Fuller book before going back to Rouzer, or maybe reading the two in sync. I'm also dipping in and out of "Fifty-Five T'ang Poems" by Hugh Stimson, which is quite severe on grammar. And dipping in and out of the 王力 textbook(s). Clearly I have accumulated too many in the way of books not to give this project a decent shot!

 

The Plan is to memorise the texts that I study, or at least the initial, shorter ones. Some people who got to grips with the classical language reckon that's the way to go - and I previously found rote-memorising 課文 from a modern Chinese textbook helpful to internalise language structures quickly. We'll see.

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roddy
On 5/26/2020 at 9:18 AM, roddy said:

This looks to be a more recent equivalent? It's sitting in my basket, anyway. 

I've now got this book. I'm not entirely sure why I thought I needed it, but I'll let you all know if I ever read it. 

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somethingfunny

Looking forward to reading your review...

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Luxi
On 5/26/2020 at 2:28 AM, rylixe said:

Archie Barnes, Chinese through Poetry - The first 15 chapters are excellent.

 

I just got it and like it a lot, but it probably isn't so thrilling if one isn't into poetry. 

 

Also got "Du's Handbook of Classical Chinese Grammar" by Archie Barnes, Don Starr and Graham Ormerod, in the same Amazon delivery. It's a rather thin paperback packed densely with concise answers to all my questions on Classical Chinese. Also packed with example sentences. I find it amazingly clear, I've enshrined it and now read it daily. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1904623743/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It's a 2009 edition, out of print (may be reprinted) and Amazon UK has a few copies left. 

 

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realmayo
6 hours ago, Hopkins said:

It reminds me a little bit of the Shaddick I used in college.

 

One reason it may remind you of Shadick is that the first few texts in Shadick are exactly the same stories that Brandt uses in the opening texts of his book! Throwing stone at birds, children being scared of their own shadow, the sign about the tiger, the thirsty crow.

Shadick rewrote the texts but they're the same stories. I wonder why - lack of inspiration, or some other reason?

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realmayo

 

16 hours ago, Luxi said:

I just got it and like it a lot, but it probably isn't so thrilling if one isn't into poetry. 

 

不学诗, 无以言 :mrgreen:

 

I've tried and failed to get beyond the first few chapters of this book so many times! I'll get there one day. I remember it being the translation exercises that killed my enthusiasm each and every time. But because I really liked the premise of the book - I downloaded it it way back when it was published as a pdf, before anyone was considering turning it into a published book - I later picked up a copy of "Du's Handbook" too, which I'd forgotten all about until now! It's encouraging that you like it so much.

 

 

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Luxi
2 hours ago, realmayo said:

I've tried and failed to get beyond the first few chapters of this book so many times!

 

I know what you mean, but I like his approach, makes some poems easier to understand and has notes on topics that I haven't seen clearly explained anywhere else. It's not a primer though, and I'd say better taken a small bit at a time.

 

The Chinese Dept at Durham must have been quite something in Archie Barnes times! 

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realmayo

In fact @Luxi I had another look at the first chapter of the Archie Barnes book and reckon the reason I previously found the early exercises so frustrating was that I already knew the characters and their meaning, and I'd already read lots of Tang poems, so I thought I should breeze through the early exercises, rather than realising they're directly using and testing teh grammar just introduced in the relevant chapter.

 

But now, freshly humbled from working through the opening chapters of the Rouzer book, they don't seem like such a pain.

 

Can you think of any obvious reason - perhaps from the point of view of how the classical language changed over the intervening hundreds of years - why it might not be a good idea to work through the Barnes book at the same time as Rouzer/Fuller/other very early texts?

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somethingfunny
On 6/4/2020 at 8:45 AM, realmayo said:

I remember it being the translation exercises that killed my enthusiasm each and every time.

 

I also find this difficult.  I think it is because so many of these books are products of university courses - a professor teaches a course using a selection of passages and eventually it just becomes easier (and profitable) to put them into book form.  So if you study by yourself, you only get half the experience - you do all the hard work making a translation, but then don't get the satisfaction of going to class and comparing your translation with everyone else, or being the only person who managed to translate that tricky sentence because you spent hours working on it.

 

It's best if you can do this jointly with someone else so you can discuss thoughts while doing the work.  Or make a thread and hope there are people willing to provide comments and feedback on what you do.

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realmayo
1 minute ago, somethingfunny said:

So if you study by yourself, you only get half the experience

 

I'm sure you're right. That is why those chapter by chapter discussions of Rouzer and Fuller (which you contributed so much to) come as a real relief, as well as being informative. They're encouragement or even incentive to crack on through subsequent chapters. I think it might be tougher to find fellow students for the first few chapters of the Barnes book though.

 

 

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somethingfunny

You don't necessarily need someone going through it with you at the same time.  Post the text, add your translation, and highlight any difficulties you had or questions you're still not sure about.  Someone will come along eventually and make a comment.

 

If you did it for Barnes and people like the look of the texts in the book, they might end up buying it and joining in.

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