I am interested in any answer to that question. I already found a few elements in an old question here:

How were Chinese characters taught to Chinese children before the introduction of pinyin?

I have already searched web informations, and it looks like kids were learning using " expressions dictionnaries " to fix grammar points, use of function words as " 之 平 者 也 “ and there was no use of any grammar books. I would be very happy to find links for any of these " expressions dictionnaries " available on internet.

  • 1
    To be honest I believe the question you linked already answers your question, no? If not maybe you can edit your question here to state why you think it's different. – Mo. May 21 '19 at 8:00
  • thank you, but the answers are as old as the question ! it's why i asked again, and got the link for a pdf :-) i am still interested by the " expressions dictionaries " ( dictionnaires d'expressions ) mentioned in that article below ( in French :-( ) – seeeerge May 22 '19 at 7:47
  • < L’apprentissage progressif de locutions figées permet alors de fixer certains emplois. Les outils favorisés sont des dictionnaires d’expressions, proches de cahiers de rhétorique. L’élève doit faire l’apprentissage de ces expressions destinées à exprimer tous les sentiments humains, toutes les formes de descriptions physiques et psychologiques, afin de pouvoir les employer dans un contexte congruent. > available here : cairn.info/revue-carrefours-de-l-education-2011-4-page-211.htm# – seeeerge May 22 '19 at 7:48
  • Well, here we don't open new questions for questions that already exist to solicit new answers. Unless there is something more specific or more technical that you have a question about - then this is just a duplicate question. – Mo. May 22 '19 at 9:04

if you can read traditional chinese, i recommend the book "釧影樓回憶錄" by 包天笑, here's a link of the pdf file:


it's in written vernacular chinese, an easy read, with numerous "gems". the author talked his own experience of learning, and attending examinations at about 1883. related chapter: p43~p54, p72~p78, p83~p114.

briefly, when children had a teacher, or went to a private school (私塾); there were given a book (without punctuations), the teacher would pronounce a verse, students recited what did the teacher say; again and again, until they can recall from memory.

at the same time of recite, students look at the characters, they could connect each character to its pronunciation gradually.

also, at the same time, students marked the pause and stop (句讀) with dots & circles.

such activities repeated daily, weekly, and monthly.

started from trimetrical classic (三字經), thousand character writing (千字文) or other "books for children learning" (童蒙讀物). afterwards, the "proper" reading materials are four books and five classic (四書五經).

back to your question, in the past, no one care about unify the pronunciation. each learn in his/her dialects.

about the tools needed, just books, brush pens and black ink, red ink. maybe "夏楚" (a stick?) as a punish instrument.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.