Questions tagged [classical-chinese]

Classical Chinese (古文, Pinyin: gǔ wén, "ancient text") is the language of the classic literature from the Spring and Autumn period through to the end of the Han Dynasty, a written form of Old Chinese. The term is also used for 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.

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How to precisely understand '願此日繼之,變者,不易者也,吾知一切同要' in this article?

I have problem in understanding this Classical Chinese article: 觀地平日入,兩人肩並肩視之,搖曳風前,懷平昔之心,你想甚麽?凝睇俄頃,余但欲捫之須臾耳,潛入爾衷,我欲勾選同秒針,信我明朝微笑,天藍色一點染成,譬如墜愛河時心形圖案。長願一日終。願此日繼之,變者,不易者也,吾知一切同要。輕閉目聽,柔波旋律,無論如何,我今欲聞汝聲。何也?...
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How would I write water tiger vertically?

I was born in the year of the tiger and water element, 1962. I want a vertical tattoo of that and wanted to make sure what I wanted was correct. How would I write water tiger vertically in Chinese ...
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Meaning of 提頓 outside 書法

I know that 提頓 has a certain meaning in calligraphy. Besides that, however, it appears in the definition of a few classical grammatical particles. For example, the Hanyu Da Cidian remarks on 耶: 助词。...
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How to understand '过中不至,太丘舍去,去后乃至' in this paragraph?

I have a problem in understanding this paragraph: 陈太丘与友期行,期日中。过中不至,太丘舍去,去后乃至。 元方时年七岁,门外戏。客问元方:“尊君在不?”答曰:“待君久不至,已去。”友人便怒曰:“非人哉!与人期行,相委而去。”元方曰:“君与家君期日中。日中不至,则是无信;对子骂父,则是无礼。”友人惭,下车引之。元方入门不顾。
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How to understand 不知其然而然?

At first glance, this appears to mean Not knowing (one‘s) being (in) such (a situation), but still being (in) such (a situation). I searched texts with translations and found this one, containing ...
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Meaning of the "雨菽" phrase in 明史

In the sentence below there are two phrases: "雨菽" and "兵端吐火". I am not sure if they should be read as a metaphor for hail (雨菽) and a rebellion/mutiny (兵端吐火)? 今春以來,天鼓兩震於晉地,流星晝隕於清豐,...
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Can anyone give me an idea of how to understand [這-言+(血/(豕-一))]?

This archaic character is described in CBETA as [這-言+(血/(豕-一))] It does not seem to be in Unicode yet. I don't care about pronunciation, what would it mean? The context is 由斯經歷,保爾行途。取經早[這-言+(血/(豕-一))],...
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Is the final particle 夫 a fusion of 不乎?

I read this in Pulleyblank's Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar, where he said it is a maybe. In Old Chinese (OC), they have the following initial and rhyme groups with Baxter-Sagart reconstructions:...
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About the origin of the quote 所爱隔山海,山海亦可平

A 网友 drew my attention to a quote which I find recorded in different variations online, e.g. on Baike Baidu as 所爱隔山海,山海亦可平. It's attributed there to a collection of works called 山木诗词全集. My question is:...
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Trying to find information on this silk painting - Presumably from 1666, made for the Kangxi Emperor

This painting was presented to us as follows: “Xia Summer”. With seals“Chen Quan Xi” and “Nam Ping Kangshi”. Dated 1666. I've figured out that this does refer to 'The year of the Fire Horse' which ...
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Difference between 也 and 者 as topic markers in Classical Chinese

民之欲富貴也,共闔棺而後止。 曾子曰:「以能問於不能,以多問於寡;有若無,實若虛,犯而不校,昔者吾友嘗從事於斯矣。」 The first text uses 也 as a topic marker, and the second text uses 者 in the same way. What are the differences between these two? Are they ...
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what does 言無主一也 mean

I was asked to translate this passage: 人固有無喜怒時,然謂之未發則不可。言無主一也. But I find it weird: "All people hace no [emotions] of anger and sadness, thus this we cannot call this a [state of] being not ...
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What poem of 李太白 was 毛泽东's painting with the title "half sun, half rock" alluding to?

I'm reading the book "Red Star over China" by Edgar Snow. In the autobiography 毛泽东 reported to Snow, in the passage about his teacher's education in a school in 长沙, it is said that he once ...
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周礼 passage on youth education

There is a following passage in 说文解字: 《周禮》:八歲入小學,保氏教國子,先以六書。一曰指事。指事者,視而可識,察而見意,「上、下」是也。二曰象形。象形者,畫成其物,隨體詰詘,「日、月」是也。三曰形聲。形聲者,以事為名,取譬相成,「江、河」是也。四曰會意。會意者,比類合誼,以見指撝,「武、信」是也。五曰轉注。轉注者,建類一首,同意相受,「考、老」是也。六曰假借。...
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Interpreting a line from Li Shangyin -- 鶯花啼又笑

The full poem is as follows: 早起 風露澹清晨 簾間獨起人 鶯花啼又笑 畢竟是誰春 I was discussing this with a friend who speaks Chinese, and they translated this line: 鶯花啼又笑 as "Birds and flowers cry and laugh". ...
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Need help deciphering this Classical Chinese from 《左传·襄公三十年》

Could you please help me out with the meaning of this sentence? 且先君(伟大圣明的先君/以先君之明智)而有知也,毋宁夫人,而焉用老臣?《左传·襄公三十年》 I don't think Classical Chinese actually had punctuation, so it would have looked like ...
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A quote from Lu Jiuyan - 不要即则 否

EDIT: The correct phrase is 人之于耳,要听即听,不要听则否,于目亦然,何独于心而不由我乎 ~ There is this quote from Lu Jiuyuan. I am not sure if my translation is correct: "With their hearing people may not listen if they ...
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Does 秩 mean 俸禄 or 品级 in 加秩二等?

This is from 《太平广记》:赐金帛,加秩二等。 The main story happened in Tang Dynasty. Su Wuming caught the thieves who had stolen from the Princess. The Queen wants to reward him by 赐(bestow)金(gold)帛(silk),加(promote)...
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Why put a comma in 告纣之罪于天,及殷民?

"(衅社,)告纣之罪于天,及殷民" This is from 《史记·鲁周公世家》. There's a comma in this sentence in 中华书局点校本二十四史修订本. I also googled "告纣之罪于天及殷民", most of the results come back with a comma. What is the ...
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seal character identification request is anybody on here qualified to do so thanks

seal identification request [![enter image description here]seal identification request 2]2part of the seal on a painting various experts cannot translate the writing symbols is anybody on here ...
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3 answers
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How should "燭之死" be understood in the following context?

In a short story by Pu Songling, the following sentence appears: 燭之死,然心下絲絲有動氣。 In the English translation I have available, the translation goes as follows: They saw he was near death, like a ...
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How to grammatically analyze 三国之一 in 大都不过三国之一?

It's from 《左传 郑伯克段于焉》. The meaning of the sentence is clear: (the measure of) the wall of big cities cannot exceed one third of (the wall of) the capital. My question lies in the grammatical structure ...
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Reading older Chinese magazines

I'm at a stage where I'm able to read novels, including the ones by Zhang Ailing, Bai Xianyong and the like. I have now reached the point where I need to start venturing into (somewhat) early 20th ...
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audio version of Analects

I'm currently learning classical Chinese, and was wondering if somewhere online there were spoken versions of works like the Analects (obviously in Chinese.) A version where it is easy to find the ...
provocateur's user avatar
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the meaning of 一作虛

Below is a passage from a Song Confucian, Cheng Yi: 胎息之說,謂之愈疾則可,謂之道則與聖人之學不干事,聖人未嘗說著。若言神住則氣住,則是浮屠入定之法。雖謂養氣猶是第二節事,亦須以心為主,其心欲慈惠安(一作虛)。靜故於道為有助,亦不然。孟子說浩然之氣,又不如此。今若言存心養氣,只是專為此氣,又所為者小。舍大務小,舍本趨末,又濟甚事。今言有助於道者,...
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得數條別錄 - what does it mean exactly?

There is this passage from a Korean Confucian Yun Hyu, where he discusses relation between 理 and 動: 理動之說,非某之說,朱夫子嘗屢言之矣。今得數條別錄以上,乞以此更入思量,如何。 I am at loss with "今得數條別錄以上" this part. Any help ...
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What does 流通 mean as a metaphor for Nirvāṇa?

In the 890th sūtra of the Saṃyuktāgama, at the end of the sūtra, the text transmits a number of metaphors, such as "the deathless" (不死) and "the island" (洲渚). One of these terms is ...
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Can the view of non-linear grammar of Classical Chinese be corroborated?

I'm not sure how non-linear grammar is defined. The search results seem to all come back with programming languages. That being said, I learned it from from a video of a college course by 万献初 Link. ...
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以故 at the beginning of the sentence

I am wondering if the following translation is correct? 以故使炳夏搜送刊行文集,則歸報以不得,極可歎也。 This (以故) caused 炳夏搜 to pursue publication of the collected essays, thus there will be no payback, which is extremely ...
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who is the author of 行狀 in the phrase " 其祖考所撰行狀"

Here is a sentence I have a problem with: 再昨招宋炳夏商量,又更審其祖考所撰行狀... I just want to make sure whether the obituary (行狀) was composed about the deceased grandfather (祖考) or by the grandfather of 宋炳夏? (EDIT)...
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relation between "疏" and "上命" (clarifying meaning in a sentence)

I have a couple of problems concerning this sentence: 庚辰,具疏投進,上命校書館印布正文,其後玉堂權尚游、尹趾仁請下兩南,竝注疏印進,學士大夫皆印藏而賞。 How does 上命 relate to the previous clause (具疏投進)? I am not sure how to understand "尚游&...
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meaning of "正相發"

There is this passage from the Doctrine of the Mean: ""Hence the sovereign may not neglect the cultivation of his own character. Wishing to cultivate his character, he may not neglect to ...
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Meaning of "辭" in a passage from 晦庵先生朱文公集

I have a question concerning a passage from a text by Zhu Xi. The full passage goes as follows (passages I have problem with are marked): "唐子西嘗曰,弘景知本草而未知經。注本草誤,其禍疾而小,注六經誤,其禍遲而大。前世儒臣引經誤國,其禍至於伏屍百萬,...
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說苑 Chapter 16, 小人以耳目導心

Chapter 16 of 說苑 contains the following: 聖人以心導耳目,小人以耳目導心。 The literal meaning is quite obvious. But I'm not sure what the author is trying to convey. In particular, what's wrong with letting your ...
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論語 4-5 裡的「之」指甚麼? What does 之 refer to?

I speak modern Mandarin. I'm trying to learn classical Chinese. Reading Van Norden's Guide for absolute beginners, I'm stuck in Lesson 7, Analects 4.5: 「子曰。富與貴。是人之所欲也。不以其道得之。不處也。貧與賤。是人之所惡也。不以其道得之。不去也。」...
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Is there a translation of the daodejing into modern mandarin grammar?

Apologies for a classic "lmgtfy" question, but you probably appreciate that the nature of what I'm asking is hard to properly convey to a search engine, regardless of whether the query is ...
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非 at the beginning of a sentence - Classical Chinese

I have a problem with the following sentence in Zhu Xi's commentary to Mencius: 非孟子造道之深,不能形容至此也 How one should translate 非 at the beginning of this passage? From what I understand it is something like ...
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How does Classical Chinese deal with vertical numbered lists and punctuation marks?

So I want to create a document in Chinese but there's just one problem: How do ancient and modern day chinese deal with numbered lists while in vertical format and how do they use punctuation marks in ...
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2 answers
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Difference of 青 and 黑

My dictionary tells 青 can mean black. My questions are: Is 青 generally used to mean black? In other words, is it always ambiguous to some extent whether it means blue or black? When it means black, ...
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Are languages such as Wu, Yue, Jin, Min, Hakka, Xiang, Gan, Huizhou, and Pinghua written in Classical Chinese or Written vernacular?

Is language such as Wu, Yue, Jin, Min, Hakka, Xiang, Gan, Huizhou, and Pinghua written in Classical Chinese or Written vernacular?
IEatMy Pizza's user avatar
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3 answers
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How do I precisely understand 坐井而观天,曰天小者,非天小也 (the origin of the chengyu 坐井观天)?

CC-CEDICT: 坐井观天 (zuò​jǐng​guān​tiān) lit. to view the sky from the bottom of a well (idiom); ignorant and narrow-minded The origin of the above 成语 (idiom) is reported to be the line 坐井而观天,曰天小者,非天小也。 ...
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Timeframe for Learning Ancient Chinese

As a complete newbie to the Chinese language, I would like to ask the following questions. What is an approximate time for learning enough of the Chinese language to be able to read something like ...
MadPhysicist's user avatar
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3 answers
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I want to get a tattoo that says "Ambitious" in Chinese. However I don't fully trust google translate

野心的 is what I "Ambitious" means in google translate. Is this right? If not can someone let me know how it is actually written?
Jay's user avatar
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4 answers
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What does 大出天下 mean?

It is found in an exhibition of Qin Dynasty held in Xi'an city. The exact words are 秦国35代国君发奋图强,做好了“大出天下”的准备。I have checked the words online for the meaning, but finding no answer.But roughly I think ...
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Parsing this text from Mencius

https://ctext.org/dictionary.pl?if=en&id=12913&remap=gb#s10096477 朝秦楚,莅中国而抚四夷也 As per the translation, it seems like 秦楚 are doing the 朝'ing and the 中国 are doing the 莅'ing, so why do these ...
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1 answer
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How to parse 轉所依識?

From the Lankavatara Sutra: sūkṣmamabhivijñānaparāvṛttikuśalānāṃ Bodhiruci: 能轉一切微細識 Śikṣānanda: 能以妙慧轉所依識 Suzuki: to cause a revulsion in the depth of the mind fittingly by means of an exquisite ...
Tenzin Dorje's user avatar
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3 answers
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Retention of 其 as a modal particle in modern Chinese

There is a recent Chinese Stack Exchange question on the significance of 其 in 尤其, given the meaning of the word is largely contributed by 尤. I am quite confident that some of the answers in the thread ...
L Parker's user avatar
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Can someone explain 衣锦尚炯 character by character?

Can someone explain 衣锦尚炯 character by character? I tried wiktionary but to no avail 😰 This is supposed to mean "She covered her brocade gown with a plain robe." Source: http://www.acmuller....
lingo_journey's user avatar
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2 answers
265 views

What does 苦 mean here?

初,安肅州苦徐水之害,訴於大司農司,大司農司欲奪水故道,導水使東。東則清苑境也,地勢不利,果導之,則清苑被其害,而水亦必反故道為災。 from: https://ctext.org/wiki.pl?if=gb&chapter=415731&remap=gb My translation thus far: At first, Ansu City (???) some sort ...
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What is the evidence that "Ospreys" are the birds in the first poem in the Shijing?

Legge used "Ospreys" to name the first poem in the Shijing. Karlgren often cites it that way, but his own translation leaves it as "ts'u - kiu  bird." (Book of Odes, Museum of Far ...
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