Literary Chinese (文言文 wényán wén, "text of written language"), a traditional style of written Chinese modelled on the classical language, making it different from any modern spoken form of Chinese.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
2answers
64 views

What does 前後鼓吹 mean?

can anyone tell me what 前後鼓吹 means? In context: 賜以秬鬯一卣。寵以前後鼓吹。知悉。 I grant you one vessel of black millet herb-flavoured liquor, and I proclaim my favour for you. Let it be known. Something like ...
0
votes
1answer
87 views

What is the verbatim (grammatical) meaning of 不了​了之 ?

不了​了之 is a ChengYu, read as bu4liao3liao3zhi1 its figurative meaning is "to let sth. in its original state". I guess the ChengYu had some concrete verbatim meaning in literary Chinese, but I do not ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

What is the meaning of 庸 in 利之而不庸 ?

A random passage from Menzius is: 殺之而不怨,利之而不庸,民日遷善而不知為之者 The first two lines have the same structure V1之而不V2, wherein V1 is expressing someone doing something to another and V2 how this one ...
1
vote
3answers
66 views

What is the meaning of 庸 in the phrase 毋庸置疑?

毋庸置疑 is a chengyu, its meaning is "beyound any doubt", but what is its verbatim meaning in literary Chinese ? 毋 is like "Don't" 置 is "to place, to put" 疑 is "doubt" 庸 here i am not sure which ...
0
votes
1answer
85 views

What is the translation for 淫之以色,啗之以利,養之以味,娛之以樂?

淫之以色,啗之以利,養之以味,娛之以樂 is a sentence from 六韜 (six secret teachings), a book about strategies. There are 4 lines each containing 4 characters and the same pattern: A 之以 B, wherein A and B are semantically ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

What is the grammatical function of 當 and 自 in 爾男子,當自警 ?

Two lines from 三字經 are 爾男子,當自警. I understand 爾男子 as "you boys" as if asking for attention by adressing them. 警 is to warn or to guard or being in a state of attentive observation. Now as for 當 and 自 ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

What is the meaning of 豫兮 in 豫兮若冬涉川 ?

A random phrase from the 道德經 is 豫兮若冬涉川 . I understand the part 若冬涉川 as "like crossing a stream in the winter" where "in the winter is used" is used adverbially, so a more verbatim translation might ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

What is the meaning of 貪人之有者殘 ?

貪人之有者殘 is a phrase from 素書, I am not able to understand the grammatical structure of this sentence. for instance: 貪 does it mean greedy or make s.o. greedy, or consider s.o. greedy , or greed ...
0
votes
2answers
39 views

What is translation for 或作譈懟,亦書作憞 ?

In the sentence from the Kang-Xi Dictionary 或作譈懟,亦書作憞, I looked up the characters 譈,懟,憞 all are pronounced dui4 and all are translated as to hate. I am confused and do not know how to deal with ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

what is the translation for 或啁之曰 ?

A random phrase from Lun-Heng begins with 或啁之曰, as far as I understand its parts mean: 或 someone 啁 to chirp, to twitter 之 objectpronoun "it,him,her" as in "I like him, I talk about it" 曰 to say ...
1
vote
3answers
68 views

Is the phrase 南狩之志,乃大得也 ironically ?

A random phrase from 周易 is 南狩之志,乃大得也. I tried to translate it using the following thoughts. 乃 is probably a conjunction and renders to "in fact, actually" to stress something not as expected. 大得 ...
3
votes
3answers
80 views

What is the cultural meaning of the practice 歃 when taking an oath ?

I came across the character 歃 , namely in the sentence: 葵丘之會諸侯,束牲、載書而不歃血 it is glossed as "to smear one's mouth with the blood of a victim to take an oath". I have searched for further details ...
2
votes
1answer
68 views

Chinese literature vocabulary

I'm looking for synonyms of everyday words, and I realized many of these "complicated words" are used in Chinese literature. Is there a name for this group of words? For example, we sometimes read 蓦然 ...
2
votes
5answers
236 views

Is “之” usually used as a possessive pronoun (attributive) in Classical Chinese?

True or False Question: In classical Chinese, “之” is usually used as a possessive pronoun (attributive), “其” is usually used as a subject, and “彼” is usually used as an object. a. True b. ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the difference between Classical Chinese and Modern Chinese?

What I mean by difference is its grammatical difference. How is Classical Chinese grammatically different from today's Chinese? Is modern Chinese's golden rule similar or equivalent to some rules in ...
3
votes
2answers
324 views

张九龄《感遇》“奈何阻重深”句解/Translation of a sentence in one of Zhang Jiuling's poems

张九龄《感遇》之一首: 江南有丹橘,经冬犹绿林。 岂伊地气暖?自有岁寒心。 可以荐嘉客,奈何阻重深。 运命惟所遇,循环不可寻。 徒言树桃李,此木岂无阴? 请问其中“奈何阻重深”一句怎么讲?“重”应读阳平还是去声? 此诗作者借歌颂丹橘以表自己遭排挤的愤懑心情,表达自己的坚贞不屈。“可以荐嘉客”句“荐”作“赠送”解。
3
votes
1answer
213 views

How Archaic is James Legge's Written Chinese in this Side by Side English/Chinese Book?

I'm not sure if this is even an appropriate question for this venue, but here's hoping. I want to read the translated works of Zhuangzi on this site, but I'd like to know how archaic the original ...
8
votes
2answers
404 views

Specifics of the idiom “四海一家”

There are several sayings and idioms similar to 四海一家 which reference "四海". Does the 四海 actually refer to 4 specific oceans such as the Indian, Pacific etc. or is it more of a metaphor for all of the ...
10
votes
4answers
994 views

Classical Chinese Literature - What languages could be written with it? And why?

I understand that classical Chinese (see Wikipedia) was very different from spoken Chinese (at least in the last centuries of its usage). Nevertheless, despite or maybe even because of this, it was ...