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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
0 votes
1 answer
66 views

Textual Examples of Honorifics used (contemporary/historical) [closed]

Could anyone recommend some texts or videos where Chinese honorifics are used? I have a list of types of Chinese honorifics but not any textual examples.
jinbu1's user avatar
  • 1
0 votes
1 answer
118 views

Are there published adaptations of the Analects in Modern Mandarin?

Bilingual (English/Chinese) editions of the Analects seem to be set using standard, Modern Mandarin fonts. And some of the analects are pretty easy to read with a Modern Mandarin background -- with a ...
Colin McLarty's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
134 views

According to the official rules of pinyin, should 道德经 be transcribed with or without spaces between the individual syllables?

While reading the Wikipedia article about the 道德经 / 道德經, I noticed how inconsistent it is in its pinyin transcription of that book title. Here are the transliterations found in the article (the link ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 1,144
3 votes
1 answer
110 views

What means Nanfu? (Characters identified: 阿難)

A friend of mine bought that stone a while ago With the help of a friend, we were about to determine that the words in small seal script means (from left to right) 難 (difficult) and 阜 (plentiful). ...
Andy K's user avatar
  • 169
3 votes
2 answers
195 views

"以 V 之" as a post-nominal modifier in Classical Chinese

In English, we can say "He bought something to eat," where "to eat" functions like an adjective to "something." I'm wondering whether in Classical Chinese, "以 V 之&...
Apollyon's user avatar
  • 499
1 vote
1 answer
69 views

meaning of 從 in 必操几杖以從之

In the following sentence, what does 從 mean? What is the implicit subject of 從之? 謀於長者,必操几杖以從之。 I'd appreciate your help.
Apollyon's user avatar
  • 499
4 votes
1 answer
153 views

"食人" in Classical Chinese of the 先秦 period

I'd like to know whether "食人" is used in Classical Chinese of the 先秦 period. I am not looking for "食人肉."
Apollyon's user avatar
  • 499
5 votes
2 answers
179 views

In classical Chinese, does 從 always imply the follower is lower in rank?

When 從 in Classical Chinese means "to follow", literally as in "John followed Peter to the park," does the subject (the follower) necessarily refer to someone who is lower in rank ...
Apollyon's user avatar
  • 499
2 votes
1 answer
129 views

What does this phrase outside Yue Fei Temple mean? (Characters identified: 乾坤正氣)

Another phrase as 岳王廟 that I can't make out, this one outside the main courtyard. I can only make out the last two characters: 正氣. I found this image at kknews.
Johan88's user avatar
  • 283
2 votes
1 answer
348 views

What is the meaning of 元亨利贞 in the I-Ching?

Probably the most cryptic lines of the 周易 Book of Changes, it reads: 元亨利贞 yuan2 heng1 li4 zhen1 This is the Judgement to the very first hexagram, 乾卦 The Creative. The same characters also appear ...
blackgreen's user avatar
  • 5,452
4 votes
2 answers
449 views

In 则无迟重之虞所谓顶头悬也, does 顶头悬 translate to "Incoming Danger"?

I stumbled across this word in an old Tai Ji Quan text, in the following context: 则无迟重之虞所谓顶头悬也。 I translated the main part of this sentence as "Don't be paralyzed by fear, which is referred to as....
Coleman Gailloreto's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
274 views

word meaning of 回也其庶乎 in Classical Chinese

Could someone explain the meaning of every character after "也" in "回也其庶乎"? I'd appreciate your help.
Apollyon's user avatar
  • 499
2 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the original quote of “To be calm is the highest achievement of the self"?

This is allegedly a "Zen proverb": “To be calm is the highest achievement of the self” I tried to look for it by searching on Google, but I could not find the original. What is the original text ...
Flux's user avatar
  • 801
2 votes
1 answer
131 views

How to rhyme (押韻) when translating poetry?

I found the following traslation of Psalm 1:3-4 of the Bible amazingly elegant: 譬彼林木、植於溪旁、隨時結果、其葉青蒼、百事允臧、維彼惡者、猶之粃糠、爲風飄揚。 English (KJV): And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of ...
Zuriel's user avatar
  • 1,995
0 votes
2 answers
232 views

What is the equivalent in Chinese for निताइ (Sanskrit)?

The निताइ Sanskrit Shape (English: Nitaai) is used to practice visualization based meditation with origins in ancient India. Can someone kindly share the Chinese equivalent to be able to write Nitaai ...
Nitaai's user avatar
  • 103
1 vote
1 answer
72 views

Using 莫 in Song dynasty Chinese

There is this passage in 语类, where the question of 天地之心 is discussed: 所以明道云:‘天地之常,以其心普万物而无心;圣人之常,以其情顺万事而无情。’说得最好。”问:“普万物,莫是以心周遍而无私否?”曰:“天地以此心普及万物,人得之遂为人之心,物得之遂为物之心,草木禽兽接著遂为草木禽兽之心,只是一个天地之心尔。 I ...
McCzajnik's user avatar
  • 531
4 votes
1 answer
92 views

Scribal convention versus scribal error

Brian van Norden's book Classical Chinese for Everyone says  We have learned from ancient manuscripts discovered in excavated tombs that it was once extremely common for scribes to substitute ...
Colin McLarty's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
87 views

Why there is "不” in “太极不是未有天地之先有个浑成之物,是天地万物之理总名否?”

There is this sentence from the opening of the fist chapterof 语类 by Zhu Xi: 太极不是未有天地之先有个浑成之物,是天地万物之理总名否? Baihua version seems to treat the "不是" part as if it ment "是不是" So the sentence would mean ...
McCzajnik's user avatar
  • 531
4 votes
2 answers
103 views

How to identify 使動用法 in Classical Chinese?

How do you identify phrases using 使動用法 in Classical Chinese? Take this excerpt for example (Baidu article here): 然以其鄉之未嘗有也,舟載以歸而誇諸人。(明·方孝孺《遜志齋集》) My initial interpretation of 誇諸人 was 誇贊衆人 (...
mbjb's user avatar
  • 522
3 votes
1 answer
301 views

What exactly is an ancient Tang dynasty 壺?

Note: I have now asked this question on the History Stack Exchange also. There are at least 33 types of ancient sacrificial, wine, food and water ritual bronze vessels of ancient China, none of which ...
Johan88's user avatar
  • 283
5 votes
1 answer
339 views

What did Eastern Han Chinese sound like?

As I was improving an answer to this question in the History SE, I discovered that the prestige Luoyang dialect of the Eastern Han and Three Kingdoms period didn't actually fall under Old Chinese but ...
lly's user avatar
  • 330
2 votes
2 answers
512 views

What does “格” mean in "爾國臨格"?

Matthew 6:10 of the Bible is translated as the following in the Delegates Version: 爾國臨格、爾旨得成、在地若天、 The context was Jesus was teaching how to pray and gave an example of a prayer. I fail to ...
Zuriel's user avatar
  • 1,995
0 votes
1 answer
46 views

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?
Bond 007's user avatar
2 votes
6 answers
201 views

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 ...
Lettuce's user avatar
  • 21
3 votes
1 answer
115 views

Are there online resourses that automatically translates English to classical Chinese? [closed]

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 ...
Zuriel's user avatar
  • 1,995
1 vote
1 answer
126 views

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?
Qidjm's user avatar
  • 11
4 votes
2 answers
140 views

將以求吾所大欲也 meaning of 將

What meaning of 將 applies? Origin In 孟子there is a sentence where he describes various failings to the king (such as war preparations) and goes on to ask, whether his majesty delights in such. And then ...
Ludi's user avatar
  • 2,758
1 vote
1 answer
201 views

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 ...
Matt S.'s user avatar
  • 133
3 votes
1 answer
157 views

What were the tools that Chinese teachers could use in China before the introduction of Zhuyin and Pinyn

I am interested in any answer to that question. I already found a few elements in the older question How were Chinese characters taught to Chinese children before the introduction of pinyin? I have ...
seeeerge's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
892 views

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 ...
Flux's user avatar
  • 801
3 votes
2 answers
190 views

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!
Andrew Wang's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
157 views

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 ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 766
2 votes
2 answers
133 views

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 ...
Andrew Wang's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
702 views

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 ...
Zuriel's user avatar
  • 1,995
2 votes
2 answers
80 views

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 ...
jm414328's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
473 views

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 "...
Flux's user avatar
  • 801
5 votes
4 answers
828 views

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!
Apollyon's user avatar
  • 499
7 votes
1 answer
577 views

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 ...
Vincent J. Ruan's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
297 views

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,...
udidosa's user avatar
  • 913
3 votes
2 answers
300 views

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 ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 1,144
6 votes
7 answers
2k views

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 ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 203
7 votes
3 answers
232 views

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,...
McCzajnik's user avatar
  • 531
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

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?
Andrew Wang's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
99 views

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 ...
Ludi's user avatar
  • 2,758
4 votes
1 answer
318 views

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 ...
Clément Jean's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
229 views

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?
Andrew Wang's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
415 views

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 ...
McCzajnik's user avatar
  • 531
3 votes
2 answers
100 views

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 ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 8,547
1 vote
2 answers
186 views

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 ...
McCzajnik's user avatar
  • 531
5 votes
3 answers
385 views

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 ...
Clicker's user avatar
  • 153