18 June 2018

An Exercise in Literary Chinese - Part 4

Alright, I was initially planning to end this series with the 4th part, but it looks like it'll be a 5-parter. For this part, I'll quickly wrap up translating the remainder of the story. By now, I've covered most of the main grammatical rules we need to know so I'll be covering the sentences much more quickly.

The concluding part 5 coming later this week should be much more interesting as I turn away from the grammar-lessons and comment on the intersection of diplomacy and war in history in order to appreciate this story.

*For any nerds interested in learning more about literary Chinese, or are planning to major in that area, there are a lot of readily available resources to be found on the internet. You can very easily find pdfs or ppts put up by university professors as part of their classes on google. I will upload a zip file containing 5 helpful textbooks that I'm slowly working through myself.

Literary Chinese text/workbooks:   Mega

12 June 2018

An Exercise in Literary Chinese - Part 3

Open this in a new tab to look at it while reading this post.
Now that we've covered most of the background, in part 3, we'll focus mostly on translating the next 9 sentences.

Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 before this.

8 June 2018

An Exercise in Literary Chinese - Part 2

In part 2 of my series on a reading exercise in literary Chinese, I'll give a basic outline of the Zhou dynasty, the historical context of Zhanguo Ce, and decode the first sentence in our selected passage from this text.

Be sure to read part 1 before this.

7 June 2018

An Exercise in Literary Chinese - Part 1

Zhanguo Ce (Strategies of the Warring States), chapter 1.
It looks intimidating, but trust me, it's not so bad.
Instead of talking about manga, current events, or books I've read, I'm going to do something very different in these posts. You see, I once listened to a particularly inspiring presentation in which the lecturer did a combined history lecture/primary source analysis/language lesson on a passage from Shiji to an audience that largely knew neither Mandarin nor literary Chinese. So today, I'll attempt my own version of this. I'm going to assume you know little to nothing about Mandarin, literary Chinese, nor ancient China in general. And I'm going to decode that wall-of-text you see in the image above, line by line, while giving necessary background info and interesting historical tidbits. I've only actually started self-studying literary Chinese myself with no Mandarin background so I know I'm not the best teacher. Still, I hope this will be a fun post for anyone curious about ancient China or who ever wondered what kind of language literary Chinese is.

This will be a multi-parter, since it's too damn long to fit in one post.