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Classical Chinese Frequency List


叫我小山
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This list was generated from all the texts of the "Pre-Qin and Han" category of the ctext.org website, which includes all of the Classical Chinese corpus prior to the end of the Han dynasty (220 AD). It consists of a base file of 12,236,622 characters. I took this massive data file (5,609 pages!) and sorted it using a character frequency counter online. This method found approximately 14,000 unique characters. After cleaning the data for non-Chinese characters (, . ? ! 1 @ # [ 。、) and etc., I was left with a frequency-sorted list of 13,673 unique characters. I have included the tab-separated raw frequency data to enable you to ascertain how common a character's occurrence is within Pre-Qin and Han texts when viewing this table.

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vTk5SxXG_n-V6erAG0dJJOu7SYQwxyO6pEk0lzp2rdfpfdmiT_b1mbiKJK2rzdJMjwLejug-amMY15Y/pubhtml?gid=1128595619&single=true

 

Classical Chinese Frequency List.txt

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The only other frequency list for Classical Chinese that I can find is on the Jun Da website https://lingua.mtsu.edu/chinese-computing/statistics/char/list.php?Which=CL, but as people have said in the past, it contains modern characters (的,你,个,etc.), so I think this is better. There may have been modern texts mixed in the Jun Da data, but the raw data files from ctext are only the original text sans annotations, translations, and commentaries.

 

I may use this to make an Anki deck with sentences containing these characters specifically for learning Classical Chinese, but I myself am still learning, so we'll see. Maybe someone will use this and beat me to the punch.

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I've updated the original post because my word processor was only showing a character count of 261,484 characters (file to big). The actual number is 12,236,622 which makes more sense. 13,673 is still the unique character count and the amount in the list.

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