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chrix

Classical Chinese study group

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gato

Many articles in magazines published in the 1920s were written in semi-classical Chinese. Even 《新青年》(La Jeunesse) magazine, which was edited by radical intellectuals at Peking University, had lots of articles in wenyan.

See here for a scanned copy of an issue:

http://rs268.rapidshare.com/files/277224364/_________2___1.pdf

More can be downloaded on this forum after a free registration:

http://bbs.gxsd.com.cn/viewthread.php?tid=96546&extra=page%3D3

陈独秀主编的《新青年》 (PDF)

http://bbs.gxsd.com.cn/viewthread.php?tid=129806&extra=page%3D5

储安平主编的《观察》(PDF)

http://bbs.gxsd.com.cn/redirect.php?tid=53531&goto=lastpost

胡适主编的《独立评论》(PDF)

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Mark Yong

Hi, gato,

I tried accessing the links you provided below. Apart from the first link to the PDF of the La Jeunesse issue, which I managed to download, the other three kept giving a "404 Error" messages. And when I tried accessing the http://bbs.gxsd.com.cn/ main page and clicked on the 購書入口 link, it came up cryptic. Not sure if you have the same problem.

Anyway, the magazine is a great read - thanks for that!

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gato

Mark,

It looks like the bbs site might be down for maintenance. Or it could be censorship related to the Oct 1 60th anniversary of the PRC, but let's hope that's not the case and it'll be back up soon.

I've downloaded a bunch of 《观察》, which was published in the 1940s, with articles mostly by college professors at PKU, Tsinghua, 中央大学 and so forth. Most of the articles are written in 白话, but some by older Confucian scholars like 梁漱溟 are more on the wenyan side.

A few issues from 1947 can be downloaded here (see 梁漱溟's “中国文化特征之研究”):

http://rapidshare.com/files/278970045/Guancha2-5.pdf

http://rapidshare.com/files/278970046/Guancha2-6.pdf

http://rapidshare.com/files/278970047/Guancha2-7.pdf

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chrix

Hi,

sorry for having been absent, things got too stressful... Anyways, I just wanted to add to the debate regarding the Japanese use of Literary Chinese: it's quite a complicated evolution. Back in the day of Old Japanese, around the 8th century CE, the Japanese elite was bilingual in Chinese and Japanese, but this changed to a complicated situation of diglossia later, with various forms of literary Chinese used for writing, though later Classical Japanese emerged as another high written standard later (which means the Japanese 白話文運動, called 言文一致運動 in Japanese had as its aim the abolition not of just one written language, but two!). There's a lot of intermediate variants, i.e. basically reading a Chinese text in Japanese word order. For instance,

春眠不覺曉

with the help of appropriate diacritical marks becomes:

春眠、暁を覚え不: Shunmin, akatsuki o oboezu

Research into these intermediate variants usually known as "hentai kanbun (変体漢文)" has been a hot topic in Japanese philology for the past few years.

Edited by chrix

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gato
with various forms of literary Chinese used for writing, though later Classical Japanese emerged as another high written standard

For the real masochist among us. Wahaha!

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chrix

I've been quite busy lately, so at this moment, I won't be able to go through entire texts, but to keep myself up to speed, I was thinking of doing the rest of Fuller and that other reader I might have mentioned.

I do, however, also have all four (at least I hope it's complete) volumes of 古代汉语 by 王力. What do you think of this textbook? Years ago when I tried it first, I found it too difficult at times, but now with more Mandarin reading competence and also the power of the internet at my fingertips I feel much better prepared to have another go :mrgreen:

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Daan

Four volumes would be the complete set, as far as I know, though there are also a few additional books by 王力 on the same subject. I bought them a few weeks ago here in Taiwan, and they seem to me to be quite good textbooks, but I think it's lovely how the structure is chronological. What do you mean, start out by translating some easy texts? Here's some 左傳 for you - take that! I mean, it's not as if the language of the 左傳 is much similar to 文言. It's been argued Chinese was an SOV language in that phase.

Still, as a whole, the books are probably the best resource there is to help you learn how to read classical Chinese all by yourself. I'm also planning to be working through them, but am not sure how quickly I will be able to make headway. (I do have an edition in traditional characters, by the way.)

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chrix

Yeah, just reading some texts in them. I'm currently reading the first lesson, with the Zuozhuan text on the Duke of Zheng and his brother. Zuozhuan is hard, but between Wang Li's explanations and Legge's translations I feel I can manage :mrgreen:.

Well the book is not just a reader, it explains common vocabulary, and some grammatical stuff, though if you proceed through the textbook in linear fashion, you feel like having been thrown into cold water, because from the very beginning he doesn't explain everything.

I bought a mainland edition at the bazaar of the Sinological Department 10 years ago, for maybe 4 DM or so, but I'm happy to tell you that everything is in traditional characters as it should be :mrgreen:

I suggest opening a thread on Wang Li's book to discuss any specific problems issues with the texts. Maybe more people will wanna join us

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gato

I'd be up for it. I've reading 《古文观止》 on and off. I keep on running into quotes from《论语》 in texts I read, so my plan was to do another run of 论语 as it seems to be fundamental text that everyone refers to.

The 王力 book might be tough one for most people on this board, though, as it's meant for Chinese college students. The gap between 王力 and, say, the typical US undergrad classical Chinese course is huge, as it pre-supposes that you've already studied quite a bit of classical Chinese in high school.

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Daan

I would be up for that. I am also working on the first chapter, same text in fact. Progress is slow at times and I don't always understand the entire point, since I do not have an English translation handy here. So some discussion would definitely be a good idea. Looking at my book (and my calendar), I think I will probably finish this text by Wednesday or so.

gato, I agree 王力's books might not be easy for beginning students, but if you know Mandarin and come armed with the 古代漢語常用字字典 you will probably be able to fight your way through :) That's not to say, of course, we couldn't open some threads about easier texts for those who are interested. Some Mencius, perhaps, or just some stories from the 搜神記. Might even get others interested too, if they are not too difficult. What would you personally like to read?

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Kenny同志

I think 古典文学 would be a better tag than 文言文 or Classical Chinese

because it covers 古白话文。

:)

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chrix

@kenny, you can always add tags, so feel free to. We've touched upon this issue in the thread. Also be aware that different scholars might have slightly differing definitions.

However, this thread is open to any form, even though we have mostly done Premodern texts, i.e. up to 史記. 王力's textbook explicitly excludes 古白話 from consideration though. But what's not to like about some Tang poems or some Song texts or even Ming novels :mrgreen:

@gato: the fact that it is written in Modern Mandarin is exactly the reason I wanna use it, because it will benefit my Mandarin reading abilities as well. OK, then I'll get a thread started. Edit: here's the thread, see y'all there.

@Daan: well I don't have a print copy of Legge either, there's some stuff online, unfortunately it's not complete. So actually the second text already I could rely only on a partial translation, and the third didn't have one at all. :help

@gato, Daan: for other texts, there's always the list of readings I proposed a while ago. Eventually I will get back to them at some unspecified point in the future,but if somebody wants to charge ahead, they'd be most welcome to!

Edited by chrix

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chrix

So now we have the Classical Chinese forum :clap

I'd suggest we continue to use this thread to discuss projects in general relating to Classical Chinese, but from now you can just directly start new threads on textbooks, grammar questions, or texts in general....!

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roddy

Right . . .and let me say in advance, :oops:

First off, as there currently seems to be a bit of a burst in Classical activity, I figure we might as well start this forum now rather than waiting. So here it is, enjoy. I should probably have done this much sooner, apologies.

During the process of setting this up I attempted to move in all topics tagged with 'classical Chinese'. What I actually managed to do was merge them all, creating one monster 34-page topic. It's taken me a couple of hours to sort that particular mess out, but I think I did ok - you may notice a couple of posts here and there though which have . . . drifted . . . from the topics they were originally in. If you spot any, send in a post report, and bonus points for telling me where it *should* be. I also had to reset the original topic id numbers directly in the database which may cause odd behaviour - although I can't see any yet.

There are probably other topics that should be moved in, but I'm not doing anything potentially dangerous still I've had a good night's sleep.

Edit: Well done Chris, you got in before the official announcement.

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chrix

yeah, one thing I can see is that by resetting the topic ID, apparently the threads concerned were removed from my subscription folder. But that's not a big deal, since now they're all in one place anyways :mrgreen:

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chrix

OK, one thing we might want to discuss is how to discuss specific texts, since different textbooks might teach the same texts, it wouldn't be wise to duplicate those.

But on the other hand, giving each text in Wang Li's textbook its own thread would result in having 20 threads or more on左傳 alone. But it might be the only choice we have, because cramming everything into one 左傳 thread would make it quite confusing. As a compromise, we could make the threads about 左傳 by year, which sometimes would mean that one year would have two to three stories, but this way, it would be easier to find.

The topics could be named: "Discussion of 左傳, 僖公三年" or whatever. They would be cross-referenced in the corresponding textbook thread so people would be able to follow the progress of our study group.

What do you think?

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gato

Each piece of text in the Wang Li book is pretty short, at least compared to 古文观止. Having 20 threads on 左传 does seem pretty senseless. Why don't we start with a thread on 左传 and see how that goes? If it becomes unmanageable, we can always then decide to break it off into a new one. I like the idea of having one thread for each book (i.e. 左传, 战国策, 论语), as it might make it easier for others to jump in randomly and comment on anything discussed up to then about that book or raise something new about it, perhaps on the basis of something outside of Wang Li.

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chrix

Daan was saying in the other thread:

Should we perhaps create a new topic for every text we discuss? That would make for easier and more structured discussion, I think. We could then use his one as the main discussion thread. How do you all feel about that?

At the very least, it would be useful to create threads by text, and we can argue about how to divide them up, and in fact this seems what we're doing right now :mrgreen:

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renzhe

I will probably never learn Classical Chinese, and don't really know any now, but I'm enjoying the discussions here, as an interested observer.

So keep up the good work.

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chrix

So, what are your opinions? Split them up further or just go by work? I think in the long run, it should be split up further, because works such as 左傳 or 孟子 are very long and it will get very confusing if different parts of them are discussed in the same thread...

If at some point we get too many "reading threads", we could think about creating a subforum just for them...

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