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Poetry in Classical Chinese


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Hello..

Sorry to interupt the train of thought..

Am I correct in thinking that Classical Chinese poetry is better when spoken in another dialect? I remember hearing that if a lot of those old poems are spoken in fujian hua they actually sound a lot more beautiful and flowing?

I'm no expert, so I'd like to know! :mrgreen:

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Am I correct in thinking that Classical Chinese poetry is better when spoken in another dialect? I remember hearing that if a lot of those old poems are spoken in fujian hua they actually sound a lot more beautiful and flowing?

Many say that Classical Chinese poetry sounds better then read in a non-Mandarin language. I speculate that this is because Mandarin is relatively less conservative of finals, on which tone patterns and rhymes rely.

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I'd like to post a poem that is elegant, easy to understand, and not one of the pre-school basics:

夜雨寄北

李商隱

君問歸期未有期,巴山夜雨漲秋池。

何當共剪西窗燭,卻話巴山夜雨時。

I like pre-school basics.

Anyway,

君問歸期(qi2)未有期(qi2)

平仄平平仄仄平

巴山夜雨漲(zhang3?)秋池

平平仄仄仄平平

何當共剪西窗燭(zhu4)

平平仄仄平平仄

卻話巴山夜雨時

仄仄平平仄仄平

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Many say that Classical Chinese poetry sounds better then read in a non-Mandarin language. I speculate that this is because Mandarin is relatively less conservative of finals, on which tone patterns and rhymes rely.

Is it not because the poetry was written with older dialects than Mandarin??

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It was Ming Dynasty 500-600 years ago. Poems from Tang and Song Dynasties (the most popular classical poetry) are up to about 1000 to 1400 old. And there are many from older times.

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Yes, that was implicit in my post. Depending on whether you're talking about Tang or the Book of Songs from the Zhou era, the other "dialects" would have not been in existence either... Middle Chinese is about the Tang era (though some posit it for an earlier period), and then the various Chinese languages split off from it...

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we even sang it in the Classical Chinese course back in university

I can't help but wonder how you pronounced it. Did you make it rhyme?

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I can't help but wonder how you pronounced it. Did you make it rhyme?

Nah, we just sang it using the Modern Mandarin pronunciation. I know, we were lame :mrgreen:

We sang it like this:

春眠春眠不覺曉 處處聞啼鳥 處處聞啼鳥

夜來夜來風雨聲 花落知多少 花落知多少

If I ever find the tune on the internet, I'll post a link

Well, it kinda rhymed, if you just look at the second and fourth line :mrgreen:

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I don't know how to make it rhyme even if I wanted to (without speaking something besides modern Mandarin).

This is what I would do:

春眠不(bu4; always ignore tone sandhi)覺(jue4)曉

處處聞啼鳥(diao3; my preference. You don't have to if you don't want to.)

夜來風(fong1)雨聲

花落知多少(:conf)

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A lot of it was reconstructed using rhyme books and old poems like this one.

But with all ancient languages, it's a reconstruction, and nobody knows for sure. You just know that it rhymes better in languages like Cantonese, so they didn't change as much as Mandarin did in the meantime.

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Well, that's not entirely correct, we do have a good idea of what Middle Chinese sounded like, from the 廣韻, and that's the direct ancestor of all the "dialects" (I personally dislike the use of this word in this context)

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How about the one everybody knows?

牀前明月光

疑是地上霜 ʂɨaŋ平 (using Pulleyblank this time)

舉頭望明月

低頭思故鄉 hɨaŋ平

No tone pattern.

Question: In

starting at 2:58 is said that 上 was 上聲 in Middle Chinese when it was a direction or a preposition, while it was 去聲 when it referred to the emperor or giving something. You can hear him read the poem above
. In 王力古漢語字典 is written that the 去聲 was a preposition and the emperor, while the 上聲 was a verb "ascend." In modern Cantonese also, 陽去 is usually a preposition and 陽上 is a verb. Is biopolyhedron mistaken?
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