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Hofmann

An Introduction to Literary Chinese, Michael A. Fuller

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Hofmann

This is a thread about Michael A. Fuller's textbook An Introduction to Literary Chinese, ISBN-13: 978-0674461741.

This textbook for beginning students contains 35 lessons of increasing difficulty designed to introduce students to the basic patterns of Classical Chinese and to provide practice in reading a variety of texts. The lessons are structured to encourage students to do more work with dictionaries and other references as they progress through the book. The Introduction provides an overview of the grammar of Literary Chinese. Part I presents eight lessons on sentence structure, parts of speech, verbs, and negatives. Part II consists of sixteen intermediate-level lessons, and Part III offers five advanced-level selections. Part IV has six lessons based on Tang and Song dynasty prose and poetry.

I'm reading this textbook on-and-off and will probably post some notes here. I encourage others to post stuff about this book.

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chrix

yay, I have that book too! I just have to find it.. So that makes at least two of us :mrgreen:

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Xiao Kui

Sounds like one worth adding to the library - thanks for the summary!

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chrix

OK, here are some of my questions. I understand the meaning and background to all the lessons I'm posting about, my questions are more about finer points of interpretation. Any suggestions welcome.

Lesson 9

The text can be found here.

晉平公問於師曠曰:“吾年七十欲學,恐已暮矣。”

The subsequent metaphore used by 師曠 is quite clear to me, but the way the Duke meant to use the word 暮 was something along the lines of "it's too late". Was this kind of usage common? I suspect the primary meaning of 暮 would indeed be "at dusk"

Lesson 10

What exactly is 陰德. Fuller gives "hidden act of goodness" as gloss, but is there some kind of philosophical thought behind this?

Lesson 12

Text here.

I'm a bit puzzled about 知足而已. I assume in this context, it means "he only knows it is sufficient", because I don't think "he knows it enough" makes sense here. Or would that work as well?

Lesson 13

Text here.

“臣有夙笑。” (Fuller has 臣有宿笑). This obviously means something like I have been laughing since the early morning (夙) or last night (宿), though Fuller's gloss of 宿 is somewhat cryptic to me: "to pass the night > remain from prior time"). My biggest problem is the function of 有 here. Anybody able to shed some light on this?

Lesson 16

Text here.

"夫以父立政,不孝也." "establish principles of governance with my father", I guess in the sense of "using the case involving my father as an example".

王赦其罪,上惠也. Why not 臣 or 吾 instead of 其, this is still supposed to be what Shi She is saying?

遂不受令,自刎而死: I guess this means without receiving any orders to the effect, he killed himself, rather than he did not follow orders in the sense of he became insubordinate and killed himself.

Lesson 17

Text here.

"今者妾觀其出,志念深矣,常有以自下者". In understand the intended meaning (something along the lines of "Now I saw him (the minister) come out, in deep thoughts, and always humble."), but the function of 有以 is a bit unclear to me. Fuller says elsewhere that it can be equivalent to 有所以 "there is that by means of which.." but I'm not sure if that would work.

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Daan

Hi Chrix,

I don't have the book myself as yet, but I have read some of the texts, so let's see if there's anything I can add. Again, I must reiterate, I am only a student of classical Chinese, so 赦 me if there are any mistakes :)

晉平公問於師曠曰:“吾年七十欲學,恐已暮矣。”

The subsequent metaphore used by 師曠 is quite clear to me, but the way the Duke meant to use the word 暮 was something along the lines of "it's too late". Was this kind of usage common? I suspect the primary meaning of 暮 would indeed be "at dusk"

When I read this passage I, too, thought this was a brilliant expansion of the meaning of 暮 from "dusk has set in" to "it is now too late". I was unable to find any other contexts in which 暮 was used with a similarly expanded meaning, although a CHANT database search does seem to suggest it was common to refer to 暮 in moralistic texts on studying. A word of caution, though I have not translated the texts I found, just glanced through, as there are some exams coming up. By the way, if you have a copy of the Gudai Hanyu changyong zi zidian handy, you could look up 曉 (dawn) which, if I recall correctly, was also quoted in some contexts where its meaning had been expanded along the lines of the English "to dawn (upon somebody)". But you'd really have to check, as I don't have a copy here with me at the moment.

I'm a bit puzzled about 知足而已. I assume in this context, it means "he only knows it is sufficient", because I don't think "he knows it enough" makes sense here. Or would that work as well?

I agree, "he knows it enough" does not make a lot of sense to me in this context either. In Daodejing 33 知足 means "to know when something is enough", i.e. to know when to stop pursuing higher goals:

知人者智,自知者明。勝人者有力,自勝者強。知足者富。強行者有志。不失其所者久。死而不亡者壽。

It seems to me that this would work in this context as well, right?

“臣有笑。” (Fuller has 臣有宿笑). This obviously means something like I have been laughing since the early morning (夙) or last night (宿), though Fuller's gloss of 宿 is somewhat cryptic to me: "to pass the night > remain from prior time"). My biggest problem is the function of 有 here. Anybody able to shed some light on this?

Hmm..I have no clue really, but my best guess would be that in Fuller's version, it means something like "I'm having a laugh about something that happened earlier", as 宿 was used to write not only the word presently pronounced as 'to pass the night', but also e.g. xiù 'place where the moon passes the night > constellation'. This special reading xiù is explained by the fact that the word was formed by combining the 'normal' pronunciation of 宿 and a suffix (sorry, I don't have a reconstructed lexicon here, so I cannot give you the reconstructed pronunciations, but I know this was the case specifically for 宿). That might explain his gloss of that extra character, which might in turn explain the use of 有: perhaps 宿 could not be used as an adverb? Again, this is just guesswork...but it's the best I have to offer.

continued...

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Daan
"夫以父立政,不孝也." "establish principles of governance with my father", I guess in the sense of "using the case involving my father as an example".

Yes, that's right, I think.

王赦其罪,上惠也. Why not 臣 or 吾 instead of 其, this is still supposed to be what Shi She is saying?

I wondered about this too when I read the text. It might simply be a case of using 其 to mean 'this'. I could see if my annotated edition of the Shiji has any comments on this clause, thought I fear not. I'll still check though when I get my hands on it.

遂不受令,自刎而死: I guess this means without receiving any orders to the effect, he killed himself, rather than he did not follow orders in the sense of he became insubordinate and killed himself.

Personally, I think 受 does mean 'to refuse' here, as the king had clearly told him to forget about the entire matter and to get back to work, although I agree both interpretations would probably be plausible.

Lesson 17

"今者妾觀其出,志念深矣,常有以自下者". In understand the intended meaning (something along the lines of "Now I saw him (the minister) come out, in deep thoughts, and always humble."), but the function of 有以 is a bit unclear to me. Fuller says elsewhere that it can be equivalent to 有所以 "there is that by means of which.." but I'm not sure if that would work.

This is a difficult section...have you got a copy of Princeton University Press's Classical Chinese:

Selections from Historical Texts? I seem to recall it includes an exhaustive explanation of this part. Unfortunately, Google Books won't let me search this book. If you cannot get your hands on a copy there, let me know, I'll see if I can get my computer to scan the relevant page.

Hope my remarks are useful to you! :)

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chrix

Hi Daan,

thank you, these are very useful comments!

暮 and 曉: yeah, at some point these two have taken on these extended meaning,because that's what you find in Modern Chinese 曉得 "know" or 日暮窮途. Yeah I think we should have that dictionary, if I get around to it, I'll check it.

知足者富

yes, I'd agree that makes a lot of sense from the Daoist perspective, and at least one translator here agrees as well.

臣有宿笑

oh yeah now I see it, the 笑 is a noun here."Your servant had a laugh", with 宿/夙 modifying it. I think 宿/夙 would fit either way.

王赦其罪

That's why we have to be very aware from what period the texts are which we are reading. As Pulleyblank says on p.80, starting with the Warring States Period, 其 can SOMETIMES be "found as a demonstrative more or less equivalent to a definite article, rather than a possessive". And this text is indeed post-classical already.

今者妾觀其出,志念深矣,常有以自下者

Good, I'll see if we have the book.

Also Pulleyblank has discussed 有以 too, as an equivalent to 有所以 (his gloss is "have that by which; have whereby". His example is the famous quote from the beginning of Mencius: 亦將有以利吾國乎 "Surely you are going to have whereby to benefit my country".So I guess in the above example, it could mean something like "he always had something by which he would lower himself", maybe in the sense of "he always found reason to lower himself", because he is such a humble person...

Many thanks again for your comments, they've been quite helpful!

Edited by chrix

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Hofmann
吾年七十欲學恐已暮矣

暮 here is 遲暮, "past one's prime." I don't know if it was common, but I don't find anything extraordinary about it.

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chrix

well I didn't think it terribly extraordinary, but I was just curious if this usage was prevalent already in Classical Chinese, or if this is a later development, that's all.

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zhwj

The Analects has the line 莫春者,春服既成,冠者五六人,童子六七人,浴乎沂,风乎舞雩,咏而归, in which 莫 is the root character later expanded into 暮.

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Daan
遂不受令,自刎而死: I guess this means without receiving any orders to the effect, he killed himself, rather than he did not follow orders in the sense of he became insubordinate and killed himself.

Personally, I think 受 does mean 'to refuse' here, as the king had clearly told him to forget about the entire matter and to get back to work, although I agree both interpretations would probably be plausible.

Hi Chrix!

While preparing for my exams, I just came across 受命 in another text in the Shiji, the biography of Sunzi, which offers some insight into Sima Qian's usage:

臣既已受命為將,將在軍,君命有所不受

Full text of the passage can be found here: http://chinese.dsturgeon.net/dictionary.pl?if=en&id=7421

Hope this might be of interest!

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chrix

Thanks zhwj and Daan, both very interesting points.

Studying Classical languages can be a lot of fun, but sometimes you wonder if they really spoke like that, in the case of Latin, if you've ever seen one of Cicero's periods you're left to wonder if his audience could really follow along, and in the case of Classical Chinese, with so many polysemous and homophonous words, if they'd be able to understand it. But I guess that just how a modern learner feels about those languages :mrgreen:

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Jose

Before even trying to join the discussion about the more advanced lessons, I will post some questions and comments about the introduction and the first eight lessons (Part One). I bought the book three years ago for a four-month university course, and at that time worked through the first ten lessons in a more or less haphazard way. I am now trying to study the lessons thoroughly and have spent the last three weeks struggling with the examples in the introduction and the first eight lessons, keeping Edwin Pulleyblank's great book by my side as a reference. My list is long, so for the time being I will post my questions about the introduction and the first lesson, and leave lessons 2-8 for a later post. I have numbered the questions and indicated the page in the 2004 edition of the book. I appreciate any help and comments.

Introduction

1. Page 9. 去 is glossed as "depart, leave, go". In the few classical texts I have been exposed to, 去 is usually a transitive verb meaning "leave, abandon" while the notion of "going" usually appears as 往 or 之. Because of that, I had assumed that the meaning "to go" was a later development. I suppose I was wrong, but just to be sure I would like to ask whether 去 has been used as a verb "to go" since the classical times or if it is a later development in literary Chinese.

2. Page 24. 祿山陷東京者丁酉也 I find this sentence strange syntactically. Basically the idea of equating an event with a time expression as if it was an identity sounds very weird to me, but Fuller presents it as a straightforward transformation of the previous sentence where 丁酉 is in front of a verbal phrase. Since I haven't found any other example of this, I was wondering how common such a construction is. Can anyone point out any real examples of this pattern (ACTION者TIME也)?

3. Page 27. 為之君 "[The sage] made rulers for them (.i o.)". I find the translation odd, but maybe it's my English. Does it mean that [the sage] trained (other) rulers for the benefit of them (whoever 之 is is) or that he made rulers out of them, i.e. trained them into being good rulers?

Lesson 1

4. Page 40. 王之不王,不為也 "Your Majesty's not ruling as a true king is a case of not trying". Why is this 不為 translated as "not trying"? Pulleyblank on p. 16 (sentence 6) translates 是不為也 as "this is not-doing", which makes more sense to me. So my question here is whether Fuller has opted for a very loose translation based on the general context of the sentence, or whether 為 does indeed mean "to try" in this case?

5. Page 41. 桀紂之失天下也,失其民也。失其民者,失其心也。Jié and Zhòu's losing the realm was a matter of losing the populace. Losing the populace was a matter of losing their hearts and minds. My problem here is with the first 也. The English translation makes it appear as if the two sentences are parallel, but in the original the first one uses ...也...也 while the second one uses ...者...也. Based on the English translation I would rewrite the Chinese sentence with a 者 replacing the first 也. So, my question is: Can 也 can be regarded as equivalent to 者 in this case? Or is it again a case of a very loose translation? My gut feeling is that a more literal translation would be "It turns out that Jié and Zhòu lost the realm, and it turns out that they lost their populace. And their losing the populace was a matter of losing their hearts and minds" This interpretation can be backed by Fuller's own explanation of the sentence 非敢後也,馬不進也 on page 45.

6. Page 41. 德不孤 "The virtuous are not alone. Why is 德 translated as "the virtuous"? Without further context, couldn't 德 be regarded as the abstract notion of virtue, something like "virtue does not come alone"? Or is there something in 德 or its use next to 孤 that calls for an interpretation as a collective noun? I would have expected "the virtuous" to be something like 有德者 rather than a plain 德.

7. Page 43. The word 伐 has an asterisk next to it. I have seen that there are several vocabulary items in the lessons that have an asterisk, but I haven't found any explanation anywhere in the book as to what it stands for. I thought it could have to be with the special pronunciation in the first tone, but this is not consistent with the other cases where the asterisk is used (遽 in lesson 4, p. 65 and 鬻 in lesson 5, p. 72; there are more cases from lesson 14 onwards). What does this asterisk next to vocabulary items mean?

Edited by Jose
Fixed wrong character

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Daan

Hi Jose,

I don't have the book at hand, so forgive me if I can't answer some questions without the context readily available. I am omitting those from this post, and I hope chrix would be so kind to take a look at those questions, since if I recall correctly, he does have a copy of Fuller with him at all times. At all times :wink:

1. Page 9. 去 is glossed as "depart, leave, go". In the few classical texts I have been exposed to, 去 is usually a transitive verb meaning "leave, abandon" while the notion of "going" usually appears as 往 or 之. Because of that, I had assumed that the meaning "to go" was a later development. I suppose I was wrong, but just to be sure I would like to ask whether 去 has been used as a verb "to go" since the classical times or if it is a later development in literary Chinese.

Yes, the meaning 'to go' is a later development. In classical Chinese, 去 can carry a lot of different meanings, including 'depart, leave, banish, die, abandon', but generally not 'to go'. You would use 往 or 之, indeed.

2. Page 24. 綠山陷東京者丁酉也 I find this sentence strange syntactically. Basically the idea of equating an event with a time expression as if it was an identity sounds very weird to me, but Fuller presents it as a straightforward transformation of the previous sentence where 丁酉 is in front of a verbal phrase. Since I haven't found any other example of this, I was wondering how common such a construction is. Can anyone point out any real examples of this pattern (ACTION者TIME也)?

This is a very strange sentence and I wonder where he got it from. A quick search through the CTP database of classical texts did not come up with anything, so I wonder if he wrote it himself? Does he give a source for this quotation? And what is the previous sentence?

4. Page 40. 王之不王,不為也 "Your Majesty's not ruling as a true king is a case of not trying". Why is this 不為 translated as "not trying"? Pulleyblank on p. 16 (sentence 6) translates 是不為也 as "this is not-doing", which makes more sense to me. So my question here is whether Fuller has opted for a very loose translation based on the general context of the sentence, or whether 為 does indeed mean "to try" in this case?

Pulleyblank's translation will eventually lead you to Fuller's looser translation if you think about what "not-doing" means here: the problem isn't that the king can't be a decent ruler, but that he's not being one. And that's because he's not trying to be one (since if he wanted to be a good ruler, he could).

5. Page 41. 桀紂之失天下也,失其民也。失其民者,失其心也。Jié and Zhòu's losing the realm was a matter of losing the populace. Losing the populace was a matter of losing their hearts and minds. My problem here is with the first 也. The English translation makes it appear as if the two sentences are parallel, but in the original the first one uses ...也...也 while the second one uses ...者...也. Based on the English translation I would rewrite the Chinese sentence with a 者 replacing the first 也. So, my question is: Can 也 can be regarded as equivalent to 者 in this case? Or is it again a case of a very loose translation? My gut feeling is that a more literal translation would be "It turns out that Jié and Zhòu lost the realm, and it turns out that they lost their populace. And their losing the populace was a matter of losing their hearts and minds" This interpretation can be backed by Fuller's own explanation of the sentence 非敢後也,馬不進也 on page 45.

也 can also be used as a topic marker, without its full meaning as a copula, although a lot of questions remain on how this is different from using 者, for example. See Pulleyblank, page 20.

I'm sorry, I have to run now. I'll be back later with a bit more :)

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chrix

Haha, Daan beat me to it :mrgreen: Well, contrary to the rumours Daan is spreading, I'm not carrying around a copy of Fuller at all times, but a copy of Wang Li 8)... In fact, I don't know where my copy of Fuller is at the moment, I think it is at some box, and I don't know on what continent :wink: so I'm afraid I can't help lacking further context...

1. yep, as is confirmed by the fact that in Japanese, 去 is assigned the kun "saru" - 'to go away, leave'. However, the meaning of "go" appears quite early, I have two sources:

- Han (Shiji): 招之不來, 麾之不去.

- Tang (Li Bai): 一為遷客去長沙, 西望長安不見家.

Wang Li discusses the difference between 往 and 去 on p. 135 in the first volume of his textbook as well. He cautions that a sentence such as "孟子去齊國" actually means the opposite in Classical Chinese as what it would mean in Modern Chinese.

2. I remember this example from the introduction, and it didn't strike me as particularly surprising, Japanese is full of constructions like that. But of course, the question is whether this is common in Classical Chinese, and on this the jury is still out.

6. "virtue" can also refer to "the virtuous" in an abstract sense, would be my explanation. But have a look if "virtue is not alone" would also work in that context, though I think one can still come up with Fuller's interpretation with that.

7. I don't have my copy of Fuller here right now, but all three characters you gave as an example are characters with multiple readings (as per my Classical Chinese dictionary). Maybe you can give us more characters so we can confirm this hypothesis.

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Daan

Wang Li, oh yes, good man. I somehow ended up having to give a presentation on Mozi's 鬼神觀 in class today, so I spent the last week reading the 明鬼 chapter from the 墨子. A fascinating read, with lots of examples and some unbeatable logic. I should see if I can post it here sometime, although I'm really busy this and next week, with tests, presentations and family coming over. Anyway, enough off-topic chit-chatting, let's get back to the questions on Fuller.

2. I remember this example from the introduction, and it didn't strike me as particularly surprising, Japanese is full of constructions like that. But of course, the question is whether this is common in Classical Chinese, and on this the jury is still out.

For what it's worth, I have never seen anything like this, and my copy of 古代漢語語法學 does not list any example sentences with similar structures under 也 either. But if anyone could come up with examples and their sources, I would be happy to be enlightened. I doubt Fuller would have invented the construction. Does he say where he took it from, Jose?

3. Page 27. 為之君 "[The sage] made rulers for them (.i o.)". I find the translation odd, but maybe it's my English. Does it mean that [the sage] trained (other) rulers for the benefit of them (whoever 之 is is) or that he made rulers out of them, i.e. trained them into being good rulers?

Is this from the Mencius? Please give the sources of the texts you have questions about next time - that way we can look them up even if we don't have Fuller's book at hand :) Anyway, if this is from the Mencius (故將大有為之君,必有所不召之臣) I would be interested to hear how he translates the rest of the sentence. To me, judging from the context in that story, this seems to refer to a 君 who 大有為, not a 為之君.

On 6, I side with chrix :)

Hope these help. If there is anything that remains unclear, please don't hesitate to ask, and if you have questions on the other texts, feel free to post those as well!

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Jose

Thanks, Daan and chrix, for your interesting replies. It's great to have people like you two on these forums.

2. Page 24. 綠山陷東京者丁酉也 I find this sentence strange syntactically. Basically the idea of equating an event with a time expression as if it was an identity sounds very weird to me, but Fuller presents it as a straightforward transformation of the previous sentence where 丁酉 is in front of a verbal phrase. Since I haven't found any other example of this, I was wondering how common such a construction is. Can anyone point out any real examples of this pattern (ACTION者TIME也)?

This is a very strange sentence and I wonder where he got it from. A quick search through the CTP database of classical texts did not come up with anything, so I wonder if he wrote it himself? Does he give a source for this quotation? And what is the previous sentence?

2. I remember this example from the introduction, and it didn't strike me as particularly surprising, Japanese is full of constructions like that. But of course, the question is whether this is common in Classical Chinese, and on this the jury is still out.

For what it's worth, I have never seen anything like this, and my copy of 古代漢語語法學 does not list any example sentences with similar structures under 也 either. But if anyone could come up with examples and their sources, I would be happy to be enlightened. I doubt Fuller would have invented the construction. Does he say where he took it from, Jose?

I reproduce the full paragraph by Fuller:

b. One common use of the topic-comment structure is to move the time or location to the beginning of the sentence to set the scene for the event to be described:

丁酉祿山陷東京 On the Dīngyǒu day Ān Lùshān captured the Eastern Capital.

If the topic and comment were reversed, the effect would be to stress the day, as if the date were in question or part of some reckoning:

祿山陷東京者丁酉也 It was on the Dīngyǒu day that Ān Lùshān captured the Eastern Capital.

(An Introduction to Literary Chinese, Michael A. Fuller, pp. 23-24)

I suppose the first sentence is the original one (although Google doesn't give any results), while the transformed one was probably made up by him.Note that Fuller only gives the sources for the full texts, but not for the sentences in the grammar explanations and exercises. That's why I don't know the source of the short phrases like 為之君 or 德不孤 either.

7. I don't have my copy of Fuller here right now, but all three characters you gave as an example are characters with multiple readings (as per my Classical Chinese dictionary). Maybe you can give us more characters so we can confirm this hypothesis.

I also thought it could have to do with alternative readings, but I'm sure there are many cases of characters with multiple readings that don't get the asterisk, while 遽 only seems to have the reading jù, according to all the dictionaries I've checked. The list of vocabulary items marked like this seems quite heterogeneous, so I'm leaning towards the possibility that this may have been some internal code that the proofreaders forgot to remove from the final text. The vocabulary for lesson 14 contains nine items marked with the asterisk: *鵷鶵 yuān chú, a fabulous bird; *練實 liàn shí, (n) bamboo seeds; *成玄英 Chéng Xuányīng, early Táng scholar; *武延緒 Wǔ Yánxù, a Qīng scholar; *楝 liàn, (n) chinaberry tree; *醴 lí (sic) (n), sweet wine > sweet water;*鴟 chī (n), owl; *嚇 hè hoot (a shout); *姚鼐 Yáo Nài, important Qīng scholar. (Note that 練 is actually a variant 糹東, which I've been unable to type. As for the second tone in 醴, I think it must be a mistake; all the dictionaries I've checked, including those that adhere to the older 國語 standard, list this character as lǐ).

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Jose

By the way, I've just realised that there was a typo in my first message, where I typed 綠山 for 祿山. I've edited and fixed it now.

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Jose

I continue with my questions. In this post I sum up my comments for lessons 2 to 5.

Lesson 2

8. Page 49. There seems to be an error in the vocabulary. 父 apperas as fù, father. Because of that, I thought 鄰人之父 was "the neighbour's father". This didn't make too much sense. Why introduce a certain neighbour's father if the neighbour himself has not been mentioned at all? And wouldn't the father be a neighbour too? After checking some translations and glosses on the Internet, it turns out that 父 must be fǔ in the third tone here (see this Baidu question), which appears in dictionaries with the meaning of "old man". So, it seems that 鄰人 refers to the neighbours as a group and the 鄰人之父 is just "an old man from the neighbourhood".

9. Page 51. 時雨降 This is the first sentence in exercise 1. What's the meaning of 時 here?

10. Page 53. I have a couple of questions about the Han Feizi text (宋國富人) at the bottom of the page. In the third sentence, "因問於群臣,吾欲用兵", is the 群 a pluraliser that turns 臣 'minister' into 'the ministers'? Or does it have a more specific meaning? Near the end of the text there is the sentence "厚者為戮,薄者見疑". What do the expressions 厚者 and 薄者 mean? My guess is that it is something like "the more serious case" and "the less serious case"? Is that right? Is this use of 厚 and 薄 common?

Lesson 3

No questions here! All crystal-clear. 8)

Lesson 4

11. Page 64. In sentence 4 there is the phrase 從其所契者入水求之. I suppose the 者 can be added to any 所-phrase to make its nominalised use clear, but the text doesn't explain this. Can this 者 be omitted? Would it be possible to add this 者 to any of the example phrases used in the lesson, like 李子所往 or 我所食?

12. Page 70. Sentence d of exercise B ("Change the following sentences so that the object of the verb becomes the comment"): 盜出於窗. Since Fuller on page 66 explains that 於 "is not required" for locative objects, I suppose we can leave it out of the transformed sentence, which would give us 盜所出(者)窗也. My doubt is whether this ommission of 於 in the transformed sentence is unavoidable or whether we can leave it there. Would it be correct to write 盜所出於者窗也? Or maybe with a resumptive pronoun: 盜所出焉(者)窗也 (where I have applied the rule 於之 >> 焉 )?

13. Page 70. Sentence 1 of exercise C ("Change the following sentences so that the object of the coverb becomes the comment"): 盜從山中至. By applying the transformation rule of the example (盜以劍殺人 -> 盜所以殺人,劍也), I would get 盜所從至,山中也. I wonder if the 中 is necessary or even correct once the noun phrase has been detached from the coverb. Would it be more normal to write 盜所從至,山也? Or is the use of a location expression like 山中 perfectly normal as the attribute of a copula?

Lesson 5

14. Page 72. "莫 mò is the negative distributive: "in no case..." It is the opposite of 或." I find the explanation fine, but it strikes me as odd that the English translation is "in no case" rather than "none, no-one" as Pulleyblank translates it. The vocabulary on page 73 translates it as "in no case" again. But then the example sentence 莫之知 is translated as "none knew it". Now, I may be nitpicking here, but I feel that "in no case" is different from "none", and choosing one or the other translation actually affects the meaning of several sentences in the exercises. For example, in 觸株之兔莫不折頸而死 (exercise 1) should we understand the sentence as "in no case does the rabbit that hits the stump fail to break its neck and die" or as "none of the rabbits that hit the stump fail to break their neck and die"? From Pulleyblank's explanation and from Fuller's remark that 莫 is the opposite of 或 I would expect the second translation to be more accurate, but then I don't understand why Fuller insisits on translating 莫 as "in no case".

15. Pages 74-75 There is a long grammar note that attempts to explain the sentence 於物無不陷也. I find Fuller's explanation of the grammar a bit confusing, and I don't completely understand it. Since it is quite long, I won't reproduce it here, but I was wondering if anyone can point me to some other explanation of the grammar of this sentence.

Edited by Jose
Removed a character from a sentence (I had typed 窗戶 for plain 窗), and corrected the translation of the rabbits and the stump (to account for the 不 in the middle), and fixed sloppy sentence

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chrix

Jose, it would be great if you could include the source text, then we can look at the context, because in Classical Chinese, context is key :mrgreen:

Lesson 2

8. Page 49. There seems to be an error in the vocabulary. 父 apperas as fù, father. Because of that, I thought 鄰人之父 was "the neighbour's father". This didn't make too much sense. Why introduce a certain neighbour's father if the neighbour himself has not been mentioned at all? And wouldn't the father be a neighbour too? After checking some translations and glosses on the Internet, it turns out that 父 must be fǔ in the third tone here (see this Baidu question), which appears in dictionaries with the meaning of "old man". So, it seems that 鄰人 refers to the neighbours as a group and the 鄰人之父 is just "an old man from the neighbourhood".

My Classical Chinese dictionary agrees. Unfortunately there are no good online dictionaries specifically for Classical Chinese, so I would strongly advise you to make use of a paper one.

9. Page 51. 時雨降 This is the first sentence in exercise 1. What's the meaning of 時 here?

Again, context is key here (and also a dictionary). 時 has a number of adverbial and adjectival uses´. It looks like this is from a Mencius text, and 時 means "opportune" as in "(when) the opportune rain falls".

10. Page 53. I have a couple of questions about the Han Feizi text (宋國富人) at the bottom of the page. In the third sentence, "因問於群臣,吾欲用兵", is the 群 a pluraliser that turns 臣 'minister' into 'the ministers'? Or does it have a more specific meaning?

yes, it has some kind of collectivising meaning here.

Near the end of the text there is the sentence "厚者為戮,薄者見疑". What do the expressions 厚者 and 薄者 mean? My guess is that it is something like "the less serious case" and "the more serious case"? Is that right? Is this use of 厚 and 薄 common?

well, I can't speak to how common it is, but my dictionary has these uses listed quite prominently. Nice text BTW, I remember reading that once, so yes, you're right about this, and W.K. Liao, translator of the Hanfeizi into English, agrees with you as well :mrgreen:

Lesson 4

11. Page 64. In sentence 4 there is the phrase 從其所契者入水求之. I suppose the 者 can be added to any 所-phrase to make its nominalised use clear, but the text doesn't explain this. Can this 者 be omitted? Would it be possible to add this 者 to any of the example phrases used in the lesson, like 李子所往 or 我所食?

Pulleyblank, p. 68, would seem to agree. I think this is one of the issues still poorly understood in Classical Chinese, pending further linguistic research.

12. Page 70. Sentence d of exercise B ("Change the following sentences so that the object of the verb becomes the comment"): 盜出於窗. Since Fuller on page 66 explains that 於 "is not required" for locative objects, I suppose we can leave it out of the transformed sentence, which would give us 盜所出(者)窗也. My doubt is whether this ommission of 於 in the transformed sentence is unavoidable or whether we can leave it there. Would it be correct to write 盜所出於者窗也? Or maybe with a resumptive pronoun: 盜所出焉(者)窗也 (where I have applied the rule 於之 >> 焉 )?

於者 is definitely not possible (and a quick database search confirms this). In general I do think that 於 is omitted in such constrcutions. I think a sentence like 盜所出焉(者)窗也 would be a case of a resumptive pronoun where Classical Chinese does not call for one.

13. Page 70. Sentence 1 of exercise C ("Change the following sentences so that the object of the coverb becomes the comment"): 盜從山中至. By applying the transformation rule of the example (盜以劍殺人 -> 盜所以殺人,劍也), I would get 盜所從至,山中也. I wonder if the 中 is necessary or even correct once the noun phrase has been detached from the coverb. Would it be more normal to write 盜所從至,山也? Or is the use of a location expression like 山中 perfectly normal as the attribute of a copula?

Don't equate words like 中 with locational nouns in Modern Mandarin. In Classical Chinese, 中 is more like a normal noun meaning "interior, inside". Whether it's appropriate to use or not is not a question of grammar, but of pragmatics.

Lesson 5

14. Page 72. "莫 mò is the negative distributive: "in no case..." It is the opposite of 或." I find the explanation fine, but it strikes me as odd that the English translation is "in no case" rather than "none, no-one" as Pulleyblank translates it. The vocabulary on page 73 translates it as "in no case" again. But then the example sentence 莫之知 is translated as "none knew it". Now, I may be nitpicking here, but I feel that "in no case" is different from "none", and choosing one or the other translation actually affects the meaning of several sentences in the exercises. For example, in 觸株之兔莫不折頸而死 (exercise 1) should we understand the sentence as "in no case does the rabbit that hits the stump fail to break its neck and die" or as "none of the rabbits that hit the stump fail to break their neck and die"? From Pulleyblank's explanation and from Fuller's remark that 莫 is the opposite of 或 I would expect the second translation to be more accurate, but then I don't understand why Fuller insisits on translating 莫 as "in no case".

"莫 mò is the negative distributive", which means that it doens't always mean "none", it can sometimes also be translated as "nothing" or "in no case", provided it be used as a distributive.

15. Pages 74-75 There is a long grammar note that attempts to explain the sentence 於物無不陷也. I find Fuller's explanation of the grammar a bit confusing, and I don't completely understand it. Since it is quite long, I won't reproduce it here, but I was wondering if anyone can point me to some other explanation of the grammar of this sentence.

You could start by attempting to translate the sentence and tell us what confuses you about it.

It's from the Hanfeizi again, the story about 自相矛盾. The merchant says "my spear is so sharp, there is nothing it cannot pierce".

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