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Classical Chinese study group

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zhuangzidisciple

Hello Everyone! Is this thread still active? Anyone still interested?

I am a long time student of Chinese classical literature. I saw this thread and thought I could contribute. I am researching the classical novel 聊齋誌異 by 蒲松齡. written in the early Qing dynasty. The author asked many of his friends to write prefaces 序 to the texts, and this one is by 唐夢賚. It has some very basic structures as well as more complicated ones, especially towards the end. I hope this is an appropriate post.

夫人以目所見者為有,所不見者為無。曰,此其常也;倏有而倏無則怪之。至於草木之榮落,昆蟲之變化,倏有倏無,又不怪之;而獨於神龍則怪之。彼 萬竅之刁刁,百川之活活,無所持之而動,無所激之而鳴,豈非怪乎?又習而安焉。 獨至於鬼狐則怪之,至於人則又不怪。夫人,則亦誰持之而動,誰激之而鳴者乎?莫不曰:「我實為之。」夫我之所以為我者,目能視而不能視其所以視,耳能聞而 不能聞其所以聞,而況於聞見所不能及者乎?夫聞見所及以為有,所不及為無,其為聞見也幾何矣。

I can provide a translation but thought we could discuss it first, if anyone is reading this thread, that is. If someone has any suggestions, please say so. I can also provide information about textbooks and resources etc.

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j.rydberg

I posted a message making considerations about the fact that von Gabelentz`s and Julien`s grammar of Classical Chinese are never mentioned in this forum, at least as far as my perusal of the ad hoc threads could go. And I didn`t see it posted, as yet (!). Is there any particular reason for that?. Did I use wrong proceedings?

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li3wei1

It appeared, I saw it. First posts by newbies sometimes take a while to get vetted, but it did appear. I don't think anyone's responded to it, though.

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Toddd

hi guys, 

 

i was digging around on the net hoping to find a classical chinese study group.  I have worked on it for a good while now, and work on Tang dynasty materials.  and as many of you know, you just have to keep doing classical and make it a life long project.  It does not appear than anyone here is reading a text together.  

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Xuan

Is anyone interested in starting up a literary chinese reading group?  I see there was one back in 2009 on the forum, and there has been a person or two since who has manifested their interest in reviving it in the past few years, though nothing seems to have come of it.  Anyone interested now?

 

At the moment, I've struggled my way into Book 3 of 王力《古代漢語》, and am intermittently reading a passages from 《古文觀止》.  Also on my shelf, I have 《明文觀止》,《清文觀止》,and  《浮生六記》, the latter was recommended and gifted to me (as I am at an early intermediate stage), though I have not yet read it.  Does anyone want to trudge through some of this stuff with me? 

I'm open to other reading materials as well, though I don't have Fuller's and Rouzer's well know textbooks at hand anymore.  I have easy access to most anything published in China, though.

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somethingfunny

Hello,

 

I am interested. I started reading Mencius last year but then it fell down my list of priorities. I should be relatively free over the summer months though so would be able to put some more time into something.

 

I have copies of 王力’s books and a copy of 古文观止.  Although anything else can easily be got from ctext or somewhere similar.

 

I’m not sure how much other interest you’ll get. I’m sure people will dip in and out and offer help where required, but as far as a dedicated reading group goes, I think we’ll have to just see what happens.  I think the first thing would be decide what to read. Are you learning for a particular reason? I’m not, so I’d be open to anything (as long as it’s not insanely difficult, like 庄子).

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Xuan

Excellent.

As far as attracting broad interest, I'm actually hoping to avoid a huge, unwieldy swarm of people.  Even if there is just a committed core of two or three of us, that would be good, I think.

 

Perhaps we can hold off for now on deciding what exactly what we should read, and how we should run the group.  I would like to see if there are any others interested, and then we can decide as a collective how to proceed in a day or two.

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Xuan
Quote

 I think the first thing would be decide what to read. Are you learning for a particular reason? I’m not, so I’d be open to anything

Sorry, I didn't address your question in my last post.  Allow me to do that now.

As for reading material, 王力《古代漢語》would be ideal, as I'm already working my way through it.

 

My reason for studying is that it was demanded of me.  I'm a grad student doing modern Asian history, but my professor has demanded that I start learning literary Chinese, and not just limit myself to the modern Chinese, modern Japanese, and literary Japanese I've already been working on.  As part of my research, I've been reading (清)王夫之 and other 宋元明清 era Confucian's views on 神鬼 and Buddhism, and I've found it difficult to understand. Clearly, I need practice.  However, I doubt that such esoteric writings would stimulate anyone other than me, so in the reading group, I would like to maybe do some of the prose in《古代漢語》Book 3 or the 宋元明清 era passages from 《古文觀止》. 

 

But I'm flexible.

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Geoffrey Sampson

Having just discovered this forum, I wonder whether some of its followers might be interested in a book I published in August 2020, "Voices from Early China":  a new translation of the Book of Odes (Shijing), with the special feature that alongside renderings into modern, unstuffy English it shows the original Old Chinese pronunciation of the lines, full of rhyme and alliteration which disappears when the poems are read in modern pronunciation.  See my web page <www.grsampson.net/BVEC.html>.

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Luxi

Thank you so much  @Geoffrey Sampson. 您来的真好! The Odes are about to take a priority spot in my aims for 2021 (if there is a 2021, that is). Your book couldn't come at a better time for me.  At first glance, it looks like your approach and translations may fill a huge gap in the resources I have at hand. I really like the sample translation on your page ... I'm not so taken by the ancient pronunciation, but it's early days yet. I hope there are recordings of that pronunciation?

 

Welcome to the Forums!

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Geoffrey Sampson

Many thanks for your warm welcome to a newcomer, Luxi!  -- I agree that the reconstructed Old Chinese pronunciation doesn't sound mellifluous, but like it or not the evidence is that that's how the language sounded 3000 years ago!  Not every language in the modern world, where we know for sure what they sound like, is smooth and flowing like Italian, say.  As I say in my Introduction, poets have to work with the material available to them, and in a way the "staccato" nature of Old Chinese makes it all the more interesting to look at those sound-effects that were used in the Shijing.  A section near the end of my Introduction explains what my alphabetic transcriptions mean in terms of phonetics, for readers knowledgeable about that subject.  I'm not sure about actually trying to record a recitation, though it's an interesting idea:  lots of Frenchmen know English pretty well, but there aren't many of them who could actually pass for an Englishman (even though they have access to the living models).  Perhaps I could try it with one specimen Ode.  -- Incidentally:  I don't want to turn this thread into a commercial advert, but since my post on Saturday my publisher has allowed me to offer a 25% discount on price to those who buy it via my webpage, <www.grsampson.net/BVEC.html>.

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Luxi
On 11/2/2020 at 11:04 AM, Geoffrey Sampson said:

has allowed me to offer a 25% discount on price

 

Lovely, thanks! Unfortunately I clicked too fast and somehow did something wrong, so the code didn't work for me, but I appreciate the gesture. Never mind, I had a couple of unused gift cards in Amazon that I was able to use, and I already have the book.

 

It's BIG. No bedside book, I'll have to read it on a table. But I look forward to it.

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Geoffrey Sampson

"the code didn't work for me"  – it turns out it isn't working for anyone.  This is very annoying.  I suggest you complain to the man at the publishers who encouraged me to include this offer on my page:   cambridgescholars.com>.  My guess is that there are crossed wires among the people at the publishers who have to implement something like this, which will be excused by what has become the universal excuse of Covid; but if Jamie is bombarded by complaints perhaps something will happen.  I feel very apologetic that you have apparently paid full price for my book -- but I'm just the poor old author, what can I do ...?

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Geoffrey Sampson

Later:  it turns out the correct discount code is ODES25.  I'm not sure who is to blame for this muddle – perhaps me, though I don't believe so.  Deep apologies anyway, Luxi, if you have already paid full price.

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roddy

Welcome to the site, George. I've edited that email address out - best not to post contact info for people without them knowing about it. I've left the publisher's website there in case anyone wants to visit.

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Geoffrey Sampson

You know best, Roddy.  I wouldn't post someone's private address, I hadn't realized that a work address would be sensitive.  By the way, I am Geoff not George – that was my father.

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Luxi
2 hours ago, Geoffrey Sampson said:

I feel very apologetic

 

Don't feel bad about it Geoff! It's only my karma for all those pdfs I downloaded from the web in the past...I did have to use those Amazon cards soon anyway.

 

I must say, such a beautifully readable, annotated translation of the Odes is well worth the full price. I'm busy with other things right now, but my study start date is 1 January 2021.

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