BA Film Studies and East Asian Studies / Course details
Year of entry: 2020
Course unit details:
Introduction to Classical Chinese
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Offered by||Chinese Studies|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
This course, intended for students with an intermediate level of Modern Chinese, introduces the basic grammar and vocabulary of Classical Chinese. Prior to the twentieth century, Classical Chinese was the lingua franca of East Asia, was widely read and written by educated people, and continues to influence present-day language through idiomatic phrases (chengyu) and professional and academic writing. The focus in the course will be on reading classical texts, and although reciting the material aloud can be helpful, class discussions and presentations will be in English with a focus on translating and interpreting the meaning of the texts. Readings will include excerpts from some of the foundational texts of East Asian history, including the Analects, the Mencius, Stratagems of the Warring States, and the Records of the Historian.
- Introduce students to the essential vocabulary, grammar, and stylistic conventions of literary Chinese
- Familiarise students with the foundational texts and authors of classical China
- Provide a general introduction to the intellectual and cultural world of classical China through primary and secondary readings
- Improve students’ ability to systematically analyse and parse classical and literary Chinese
Teaching and learning methods
Language of Teaching and Assessment
English (Readings and Exercises in Classical Chinese, but discussions, translations and many secondary materials will be om English).
Weekly self-assessed quizzes and additional study materials posted on Blackboard
Knowledge and understanding
- Show familiarity with essential vocabulary terms and grammatical structures of classical Chinese
- Read simple passages of classical Chinese text and, with the aid of dictionaries and other tools, work through more complex material
- Identify and understand the function of classical structures within modern Chinese, thereby enhancing their understanding of the language
- Work through difficult material by using dictionaries, concordances, available translations, and other research tools
- Analyse the structure of classical Chinese sentences and make decisions about their meaning that inform translations
- Discuss a range of possible interpretations and their reasons for selecting these interpretations with their peers
- Think independently and analytically about textual interpretation
- Express ideas about meaning and context clearly in speech and writing
- Read difficult texts effectively
- Collaborate well in groups
Formative or Summative
Weighting within unit (if summative)
Regular oral feedback during course meetings on assignments in progress
- Fuller, Michael A. An Introduction to Literary Chinese. Revised Edition Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2004.
- Kroll, Paul W., et al., comp. A Student’s Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese. Leiden: Brill, 2015.
- Pulleyblank, Edwin. Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1996.
- Rouzer, Paul. A New Practical Primer of Literary Chinese. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.
- Yuan, Naiying, Hai-tao Tang, and James Geiss. Classical Chinese: A Basic Reader in Three Volumes. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Gregory Scott||Unit coordinator|