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A New Practical Primer of Literary Chinese by Paul Rouzer: All Chapter Links

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stapler

Great work!

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roddy

Excellent, pinned!

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OneEye

This is awesome. Glad to have been involved, even if only a bit.

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Naphta

Thanks a lot for this! I've been working with this book for some weeks now and I think my very few Chinese friends with real knowledge of literary Chinese were getting tired of my questions...

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somethingfunny

Welcome Naphta.  How far into the book are you?  How are you finding it?  I agree with you - I don't think I'd like it very much if a Chinese friend of mine kept asking me to explain passages from Shakespeare to them, or something similar.  Mainly because I wouldn't be able to do a very good job at it!

 

Please feel free to post comments and/or questions in each thread as you work through - it's always nice to have other people's views on this stuff and while the action can be a little slow here there is usually someone who will be able to answer your questions (eventually).

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Naphta

Thank you for the welcome, somethingfunny!

 

Today I started lesson 13, I usually learn one to two lessons per week. I like the book so far, I find it really useful but I found much harder the first lessons than the last ones, perhaps because longer texts give more context.

 

My main concern now is vocabulary. I haven't put much effort into learning the new characters on the previous lessons. When I learnt ancient Greek and Latin, I always supposed that these were languages that I was always going to read using a dictionary so I almost didn't memorize any difficult words. I got used to work with my grammar books and dictionaries and in general that was enough.

 

But now I'm hesitating. On one hand, actively learning new characters can be useful as many of them will sooner or later appear again in mandarin words. But it is also truth that it would suppose to actively learn all the old meanings of characters that I already know in their modern usage.

 

I use a reliable classical Chinese dictionary and it doesn't take me long to check up the words that were previously introduced but I didn't really learn. But I don't know how it will be when studying more complicate texts, I guess it can be painful to look up half of the words...

 

What is your experience regarding literary Chinese vocabulary? Did you learn it systematically or rather passively?

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somethingfunny

For about the first ten lessons of Rouzer I would try to actively learn the new vocabulary, but after that I stopped.  I'm sure once I get onto reading full texts this is going to be a bit of a problem, but now - with introductory material - there seems to be quite a specific set of vocabulary that you can pick up fairly passively.  Obviously it helped that I knew quite a lot of characters as well, and I was already familiar with the basics of traditional characters.  The trickier thing is learning new meanings for characters you know from modern Chinese.

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