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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A Scroll which appears to be from 2004 signed 包德和

包德和 Bāo dé hé Longevity Scroll Which I think reads something like '50 Things to buy for an Emperor' Unfortunately I am still learning Chinese characters. Who is the Caligraphy Writer?
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How would I translate “与君知”

Google translate his been giving me straight pinyin as a translation, and pleco doesn't have what I'm looking for. I got the definitions of each individual character, but I'm not sure how to put them ...
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Are there online resourses that automatically translates English to classical Chinese?

Google translate supports traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese but not classical Chinese. On the other hand, classical Chinese is one of the supported languages of Wikipedia. Are there online ...
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Is there any comprehensive English-language source on Classical Chinese poetic metre?

I’ve been wondering if there are any comprehensive books or locations that deal in Western languages with the peculiarities and norms of the Classical Chinese poetry. The difference between the jueju, ...
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Please help identify traditional Chinese painting

I've inherited a Chinese cloth painting from my ancestors. I'd be grateful if you could help me know more about the artwork through the signature and seal. Regards, VinayakFull artwork
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Unknown Traditional Chinese characters on lacquered boards

I'm a East Asian preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year and have been given these pictures of lacquered boards from my father. The first picture I suspect contains stylized Seal scripts. I cannot ...
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What does 利口耳丝耳 and 利口丝久 mean?

Here's a screenshot from the 1point3acres forums: it says: 利口耳丝耳 利口丝久 What does this mean? Is it a transliteration from English? You can also find phrases like: 利口 斯尔 利口 丝丝久 ...
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A better translation of 假作真时真亦假,无为有处有还无。

In the Chinese classic 红楼梦 ("Dream of Red Mansions"), there is a famous couplet: 假作真时真亦假,无为有处有还无。 Pinyin: jiǎ zuò zhēn shí zhēn yì jiǎ, wú wéi yǒu chù yǒu huán wú. This has been translated into ...
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What is the character for romantic love in classical Chinese?

In Mandarin, 愛 means romantic love. However, New Practical Primer of Literary Chinese by Paul Rouzer has this to say about its use in literary Chinese: This character [愛] usually does not imply "...
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Help with Zen Painting translation?

Can anyone help with translating this? I think I see characters for Buddha, Chan Zen and Insight or Seeing Clearly?
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Word count in Classical Chinese vs English

Apologies if the title isn't clear, I'm not sure how to express this. I'm trying to establish roughly how many words a Classical Chinese text results in, once translated into English. Classical ...
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What were the tools that Chinese teachers could use in China, before Zhuyin and Pinyn

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 ...
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Is there a proverb that means “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”?

Is there a Chinese (Mandarin or Classical Chinese) proverb equivalent to the American proverb "the squeaky wheel gets the grease"? I looked it up in the Cambridge English-Traditional Chinese ...
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What is the usage of 子 in 「修我戈矛,与子同仇」?

This particular phrase comes from《诗经·秦风·无衣》 Full: 岂曰无衣?与子同袍。王于兴师,修我戈矛。与子同仇!
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When did the meaning of shi 是 shift from »this« (此) to being a copula (»be«)?

I know this question is somewhat unclear since the word shi 是 never only meant this, but carries (and has done so for a long time) several meanings. The Gu Hanyu da cidian (via Pleco) lists some of ...
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What does “明微推远,憭若蓍蔡” mean?

I got an answer from the internet but cannot make too much out of it. My biggest issue is 蓍蔡. A search reveals this to mean "a person of high moral standing" or some sort of big turtle. So I am not ...
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Is Classical Chinese the shortest language?

Generally speaking, when a lengthy document or a book is translated into different languages, will the classical Chinese be the shortest translation? To put in another way, if the same book is ...
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How would a person start translating classical stories from the Han dynasty?

Stories like both Confucius's Analects and Ying Shao's Fengsu Tonyi seem to use the characters in different ways than I've encountered so far. As an example, I'm currently working on translating a ...
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How do I analyze “是其于主也至忠矣”?

I'd like to know how to analyze "是其于主也至忠矣" word for word. 公行之计,是其于主也至忠矣, I would appreciate your help!
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How do these characters represent the animals in the Chinese Zodiac?

I saw the following characters represent the 12 creatures in the zodiac (in order). 子,丑,寅,卯,辰,巳,午,未,申,酉,戍,亥 This was at a Buddhist temple. Obviously it’s not the standard ones a below: 鼠,牛,虎,兔,龙,蛇,...
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What is this book called? 汉说文

I am beginning Chinese speaker, but I watch this documentary on Chinese characters and they talk about origins of the characters from ideograms. They refer to a book called "Roots of Characters" but ...
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Grammar of 大道無門

On Literature Stack Exchange, someone recently asked a question about the quote 大道無門, which was identified as coming from the collection of Zen koans known as The Gateless Barrier (early thirteenth ...
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What is the difference between 吾 and 我 in 文言文?

For instance, in the phrase 「我善养吾浩然之气」 I notice both 我 and 吾 are used. Is there a reason for this?
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Meaning of 道生一,一生二,二生三,三生万物

During one class we talk about how Chinese families give name to their children, however the conclusion is a little bit confusing for me. Context: they give to a child the following name -> 冯一 Can ...
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what does triple 有 mean (非汝佛有有有无也明矣)

In Li Zhi's 焚书 there is a following sentence: "既目前无佛,他日又安得有佛也?若他日作佛时,佛方真有,则今日不作佛时,佛又何处去也?或有或无,自是识心分别,妄为有无,非汝佛有有有无也明矣" I am confused aboout this triple 有 with 无 at the end. Should it be read like 有有,...
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Are there any fora for conversing in Classical Chinese?

This is not to say my Classical Chinese has progressed anywhere near a level such that I could converse. But I have found such fora amazingly useful in Ancient Greek. You start wondering how to ...
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What is the purpose of 焉 in 「不近人情焉」?

The full sentence is: 「肩吾问於连叔曰:“吾闻言於接舆,大而无当,往而不返,吾惊怖其言,犹河汉而无极也!大有迳庭,不近人情焉。”」 焉 means "where" or "at" (correct me if I'm wrong), so what does 焉 serve here?
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Say no to Animal Cruelty [closed]

Because of the latest announcement by the government of China regarding reintroduction of use of endangered species I’d like to the translations for the following... Not medicine. Arrogance will ...
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How to translate 乎 in classical Chinese texts?

I know that 乎 usually expresses doubt and is sometimes translated using rhetorical questions. But is it always true? I am wondering how should it be translated in such a case: "而有以通乎性命之全". The full ...
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Is there any record on this specific variant of the character 選?

The below variant of the Traditional character 選 comes from an old book of 20th-century Vietnam. I personally cannot find any source that acknowledges this variant. I'm also pretty sure that Unicode ...
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How many supplies did Liu Bei have at Dangyang?

I was attempting to translate this passage from the Records of the Three Kingdoms: 比到當陽,衆十餘萬,輜重數千兩,日行十餘里,別遣關羽乘船數百艘,使會江陵。 The background of this is: Cao Cao had invaded Jingzhou, Liu Bei was ...
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How to translate 冲 in a phrase 道冲。

Is there any meaning of the character 冲 that allows to translate it as Vessel (or empty vessel)? The section four of 道德经 states: "道沖而用之或不盈" - 冲 is usually translated here as an empty vessel or ...
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Need help with Classical Chinese

I'm a postcrosser and deltiologist. A few days ago, I received a postcard from China. There was some Chinese text along with the artwork on the front side of the card: I tried the Google Instant ...
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are there any free bilingual sources of chinese proverb?

In reference to the thread Is this [Ivanka Trump] Chinese proverb real? —“Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it” and related news, I've created this question, and ...
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Tang Dynasty Inscription

In researching a Tang inscription (661 CE) I came across this in a journal article. 此外,玄导时代刻经有年号、施主、住僧可考的,有唐显庆六年(661)涿城府左果毅都尉杨社生及其一家施刻的“心经”[附注11]  (11)显庆六年“心经”题记:“雍州栎阳县游骑将军守左卫涿城府左果毅都尉杨社生、母段、妻扈、息怀庆、...
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也 in classical Chinese as copula

I've been doing my research on 者 and in one of the articles I read I came across a sentence from "Analects": 安见方六七十如五六十而非邦也者。 Glosses for this example are as follows: where see size six-or-...
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Usage of 何 in Buddhist Hybrid Chinese

This is from T263, the Lotus Sūtra, eight groups of 4 characters: 如來所詔 常以知時 為其眾生 而行智慧 || 以何方便 而受道法 何因令獲 從佛經教 Does 何, particularly in 以何方便, mean that there is a question being asked here? Or is it ...
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What are the etymologies of 局 and 局面?

As far as I know 局 applies to everything which demands crooking ones body. A job behind a desk almost always means you are sitting with your back bent: A small office is 局, a chess game is 局, a game ...
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What's the etymology and significance of yuenyeung (鴛鴦)?

鴛鴦 is a mix of tea and coffee commonly had in Hong Kong (amongst other south-asian countries). I was wondering about how this drink came into being? Where does the title come from (especially the ...
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Three Chinese characters (?) on the entrance of the History Museum of Ho Chi Minh city

Since visiting the museum, I've been very curious about these three characters (shown below). I've unsuccessfully tried to search it on the Internet. Their pretty calligraphic style is one of the ...
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Can you help identify the artist for these Taizong horse rubbings?

Can you help identify the artist? The art was framed back in 1952 by the Jean Bohem Gallery in New York City. These are on scroll paper which is attached to something (cloth/ linen?) Beautiful ...
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What is the usage of 物 here?

From Daodejing 25: 有物混成,先天地生。寂兮寥兮,獨立不改,周行而不殆,可以為天下母。 I have seen this translated as both: "There is a being, wonderful, perfect; It existed before heaven and earth. How quiet it is! How ...
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Problem in understanding classical Chinese sentences

Recently, a friend asked me about some meaning of several sentences of classical Chinese, which I also can't understand. 对扬王休,用作尊彜。 呜呼!余夙夜维商密,不显,谁和? 汝慎和称五权,维中是以,以长小子于位,实维永宁。 ...
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What role does 事 play in 事不師古?

司馬遷, 史記,秦始皇本紀: 事不師古而能長久者,非所聞也。 I only understand the very broad meaning should be similar to: That someone flourished without learning from the ancients, thereof I never heard. But, to ...
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What is the relationship 驩 required by the 大略 between husband and wife?

In the 大略 荀子 requires: 君臣不得不尊,父子不得不親,兄弟不得不順,夫婦不得不驩,少者以長,老者以養。故天地生之,聖人成之。 My dictionary says this word 驩 is a term for horse breeding A form of 歡 I am thinking, it must be the second meaning ...
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how to translate “何如” in 呂氏春秋?

this question is made, and answer provided; in response to a comment in another question: How to translate the phrase 利而物利章 in context? cause, my explanation is too long to put in the comment area; ...
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What is the Chinese term for a DGEN or Degen Gambler

What is the Chinese term for a DGEN gambler or a Degen Gambler, this phrase is usually used not in a bad way by pro gamblers who considers themselves or others DGEN/Degen gamblers as they thrive and ...
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How to translate the phrase 利而物利章 in context?

I am reading a passage from 呂氏春秋. I think I understand the basic meaning of the three first quarters, but then it becomes difficult. The hard part is the tiny snippet below and especially the last ...
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What's the state of Chinese classical texts in the mainland after Simplified Chinese (and the Cultural Revolution)?

In the past I've came across a few websites that distribute Buddhist texts in simplified Chinese, which is somewhat unsurprising since there's active interest in Buddhism to propagate once again in ...