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New Online Course: Intro to Classical Chinese


OneEye
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Signed up. I've been looking for something like this for a long time!  The books been sitting on my shelf for a very long time to say the least. 

 

Only question for now is regarding the Course community, where there is one (I don't see anywhere to post an introduction or anything). 

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On 2/22/2022 at 1:53 PM, alantin said:

Hi @OneEye,
What kind of level should a student have to benefit the most from the course?
You say on the video that it is beneficial to study this at a lower level, but what would the minimum requirements be?

Won't speak for the course, but this book is often used as a textbook for grad students who have taken maybe 1-2 years of Modern Chinese in college as a prereq. The FAQ mentions HSK2-3. 

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@OneEye — The "benefits" listed on the web page are a little vague. Have you guys written any specific/measurable Learning Outcomes for the course?

To put it another way, what are the criteria for grading the "exams"?

 

Also: Looks like you're using Traditional characters (no surprise there). Are the learning materials also available in Simplified?  If not, what support is there for learners who don't know Traditional?

 

Thanks!


 

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On 2/23/2022 at 4:07 AM, PerpetualChange said:

Won't speak for the course, but this book is often used as a textbook for grad students who have taken maybe 1-2 years of Modern Chinese in college as a prereq. The FAQ mentions HSK2-3. 

 

Yeah, that's about right. You should know a few hundred characters first, in order to not get overwhelmed with the book. But @alantin since your profile says HSK5, you'll be just fine.

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On 2/22/2022 at 10:26 AM, Jane_terracota said:

Signed up too. 299$ feels nothing comparing to the such value of the content.

 

I've never seen a course like this taught outside of graduate school. Agree - small price to pay, considering the alternative. 

 

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On 2/23/2022 at 6:40 PM, mungouk said:

@OneEye — The "benefits" listed on the web page are a little vague. Have you guys written any specific/measurable Learning Outcomes for the course?

To put it another way, what are the criteria for grading the "exams"?

 

Also: Looks like you're using Traditional characters (no surprise there). Are the learning materials also available in Simplified?  If not, what support is there for learners who don't know Traditional?

 

Thanks!

 

Sorry, I missed this earlier.

 

The "benefits" section is meant to be "benefits of learning classical Chinese," not a list of learning outcomes. :)

 

Fuller is an introductory textbook, and we're covering the first half of the book. It's approximately equivalent to a semester-long university course at a Western university. After completing the course (diligently), students will:

  • be comfortable with the basics of classical Chinese syntax
  • have experience using basic supplementary resources like dictionaries and classical commentary
  • be able to work through simple texts from the classical period on their own, with the aid of dictionaries, grammar references like Pulleyblank, and commentary
  • be familiar with online resources such as the Chinese Text Project and use them to aid reading

I'll be providing the main readings in simplified Chinese, but (given that those parts are public domain) I don't think I can adapt more of the book than that without risking running into copyright issues. But in our Course Community (a private discussion forum), I have a "space" specifically for people learning simplified to collaborate and share notes.

 

Hope that helps!

 

On 2/23/2022 at 9:10 PM, Jan Finster said:

Are the lectures in Chinese?

Are the texts in simplified or traditional characters? (I believe I saw some traditional characters on your landing page?)

 

The lectures will all be in English, though I may use some examples in Chinese. Many of the students are at a low-intermediate level in Chinese, and some don't know any Chinese but are learning Japanese and using onyomi pronunciation, so lectures in Chinese wouldn't do for those students.

 

See above re: simplified/traditional.

On 2/24/2022 at 12:15 AM, PerpetualChange said:

I've never seen a course like this taught outside of graduate school. Agree - small price to pay, considering the alternative. 

 

I've seen this exact sentiment from several people. Very cool to see so much excitement about this course!

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On 2/23/2022 at 10:41 AM, OneEye said:
On 2/22/2022 at 8:07 PM, PerpetualChange said:

Won't speak for the course, but this book is often used as a textbook for grad students who have taken maybe 1-2 years of Modern Chinese in college as a prereq. The FAQ mentions HSK2-3. 

 

Yeah, that's about right. You should know a few hundred characters first, in order to not get overwhelmed with the book.

 

On 2/24/2022 at 11:07 AM, OneEye said:

Many of the students are at a low-intermediate level in Chinese

 

I am a bit surprised and quite frankly sceptical how such students would benefit from this? Is this not a bit like talking about the language and grammar of Chaucer's (Middle English) Canterbury Tales to Chinese students after 3-6 months of English lessons? I would not say HSK2+3 students even have any sort of grasp of modern Chinese grammar.  

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I started learning Classical Chinese when I was at a lower intermediate level, and it helped me tremendously when I got to higher levels in modern Chinese. The textbook we’re using is meant for people with 1-2 years of modern Chinese classes at a Western university, and classical Chinese is commonly taught at this level in university programs. 

 

The difference with your example is that Middle English doesn’t really make much of an appearance in modern English. Latinate vocabulary in English is a better analogy here than Chaucer—the more formal the register in English, the more Latin vocabulary you’ll see.

 

Classical Chinese, however, plays a huge role in modern Chinese. The more formal the register of a text, the more it resembles Classical Chinese. Even signage in modern Chinese (think 非請勿入 for example) heavily borrows from Classical syntax and usage. 

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Chaucer/Chinese: not a great comparison I think. Going from Modern Chinese to Classical Chinese is I reckon essentially about adding some things (e.g. particles, vocabulary, concepts, culture) and taking away other things (e.g. particles, vocabulary). Then it's a question of the reader having to work hard to fill in the gaps that Classical Chinese expects you to be able to fill in easily. Also being able to read Chaucer opens far far fewer windows into historical English texts than being able to read Classical Chinese does.

 

As for price, USD300 sounds like a lot, but USD20 per class doesn't sound like a lot. Depends on the quality of the teaching I guess.

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I would like to learn classical Chinese but my Chinese is fairly low-level and rusty, and so I regret that this book doesn't contain much pinyin by the examples.

 

Chaucer is not hard to read and it is pretty Latinate. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, less so.

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On 2/24/2022 at 8:57 AM, Zeppa said:

I regret that this book doesn't contain much pinyin by the examples.

My copy has pinyin in the vocab lists as well as beside the names of proper nouns referenced in the explanatory sections. 

 

On 2/24/2022 at 7:40 AM, realmayo said:

As for price, USD300 sounds like a lot, but USD20 per class doesn't sound like a lot. Depends on the quality of the teaching I guess.

 

This is where I'm at. If there was anything like this in the area taught at one of the local colleges I'd expect it to cost at least 3x as much, if they even let non-enrolled students audit it. And then I'd have to work it into my day, somehow, since most college aren't offering "An Introduction to Literary Chinese" at all, let alone, at 9pm.

 

The teacher has serious credentials and the ability to take the class either live or by listening to recordings afterwards is a service that allows me, a guy with a fulltime job, wife, and kid, to engage in something that would be shut off to me otherwise. The price is good when you consider the value and compare to other activities depending on a live instructor such as a music lesson, private tutoring, personal training, etc., etc....

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On 2/24/2022 at 6:27 PM, realmayo said:

Plenty of assistance already on these forums.

 

Thanks for the tip:

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/21037-an-introduction-to-literary-chinese-michael-a-fuller/

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/58623-how-to-use-fullers-introduction-to-literary-chinese/

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/50860-an-introduction-to-literary-chinese-study-propsal/

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/47530-learning-classical-chinese-query/

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/13600-which-books-to-use-to-learn-classical-chinese/

 

After browsing those threads I had a look at Fuller's book (you can google it and a PDF version comes up in the top 5 results): to me it not too appealing at first glance 😵

 

This may be naive, but instinctively, I would rather try to read one of the classics and as I come across "problems", I might consult this or other books

(rather than reading this book first as a preparation to reading classical texts !?)

 

So, I guess I am going to pass and wait for the feedback we hopefully will hear on this thread from participants.

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@PerpetualChange - mine is revised edition 2004, does that mean the 2nd edition 2005 was different? I was just looking at the Syntax of Literary Chinese, p. 39, and following - of course I can look them all up - it was harder in the 1970s when I had to count the strokes. Is Pulleyblank easier going?

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Quote

to me it not too appealing at first glance 😵

 

That's funny, because I read Fuller's introduction this morning and got interested in possibly doing the course or studying it on my own, because Fuller was promising to crack the code (to a certain extent at least) for students of the ambiguities of Chinese that trouble me.  What I mean is, I've from time to time been baffled by how to understand a Chinese sentence because the structure didn't seem to say who was doing what to whom.  I found his analysis of the different levels of interpretation/resolution of ambiguities very intriguing.

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