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Progressive Exercises in the Chinese Written Language, by Bullock, T.L. (1912)


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I’ve recently stumbled upon a book written in the early 1900’s with progressive sentences written in what appears to be literary Chinese. It starts out very simple then builds upon from there. A few people told me it’s almost like a hybrid of modern and literary, but more so further into the book. Can anyone check it out and let me know? Is this a good text following general 文言文 grammar, etc? I really like it so far.


Here’s an archive.org scan:


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Given its time period and having read a couple pages, I would say, yes, it's like a hybrid of literary Chinese with some amount of (limited) vernacular elements. I imagine this would be a good resource if you're interested in reading very late Qing and very early modern literature. I'm no expert though, I've learned a little literary Chinese and read just a few early modern works. I'm actually pretty interested in working through this book myself.


I don't know what your experience with literary Chinese is, but (as someone who is still at a very basic level in the language) I tend to favour the early texts first, later texts later approach. But if you have a specific interest in this period or have a solid foundation, then go for it I'd say.

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Thanks @NinKenDo for the info! I have been learning for a few years now and I began with Rouzer's NPPLC text but I've been wanting to write prose in a "non-flowery" version of 文言文, not that I don't like poetry. I think 文言文 can still can be used as a utilitarian language like it was before in Asia. I've learnt up to lesson 10 in this text through Anki where I made cards with the English text in the front and the sentence in the back to practice writing. It's quite fun so far.

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