Literary Chinese is the pre-eminent language for writing in China for over two thousand years before the modern era. Today, elements of its grammar – particles and sentence patterns – are still regularly used in professional and academic writing as well as in news reports and educated speech. Therefore, knowledge of literary Chinese is essential for second learners of Chinese at the advanced level. This course introduces students to the fundamentals of literary Chinese by reading works of the classical period. The goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the literary tradition and of how classical elements serve as a link between classical and modern formal Chinese. The course material covers a full range both in terms of time (from classical to modern) and in terms of formality (from written to oral).

Readings are selected from classics of philosophy, history and literature. Course work emphasizes understanding the passages, meaning and the use of words and patterns, retelling the passages in modern Chinese and discussing how classical elements are used in modern writing. Key sentences (epigrams) and parts of the texts are assigned for recitation. The course is taught in Chinese.

Gen Eds: BN, WB