12 votes
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How do I look up a graph in 說文通訓定聲?

How to look up an entry in 《說文通訓定聲》? 前言 Introduction 一般中文字典的內容是按部首字形分類排列。 《說文通訓定聲》則是依音韻分類排列。 從內容順序來看,作者 朱駿聲 是假設讀者已熟悉字的音韻。 所以,他先列出自創的「古韻十八部」做為「總目」,然後才是各部的內容。 The contents of common Chinese ...
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11 votes
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What is the 行 in 行有餘力?

行 here means "to do" or "to perform". 行:實行;實踐 to do; to perform; to practice 有:還有 still have 餘:多餘的 superfluous; surplus; excess 力:能力 ability; capability 行有餘力, After doing these and still having ...
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  • 1,501
10 votes

What Chinese characters are rare in modern but common in classical Chinese?

There are people studying this. Classical Chinese Character Frequency List Modern Chinese Character Frequency List Now do your own comparisons because I'm lazy. Update -- I feel less lazy today so ...
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  • 4,492
10 votes
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Write date and time using 文言?

Some disagreements with above. Though '七曜' did exist in Chinese philosophy and literature from the very beginning, it is almost certain that the practice of using '七曜' to notate the seven days of a ...
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10 votes
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What does 荠麦之茂,荠麦之有 in 《猗兰操》 mean? 韩愈《猗兰操》“荠麦之茂,荠麦之有”一句作何解释?

薺麥之茂,薺麥之有。 薺麥之茂生,薺麥之因有。 薺麥之茂生,因薺麥之有。 薺麥茂於雪霜之時,乃因薺麥之內有。 薺麥能茂生於雪霜之時,乃因薺麥之內在本有。 The buckwheat(?) can grow well in the snow because of its inherent ability. 君子之傷,君子之守。 君子之傷厄,君子之見守。 君子之傷厄,見君子之守。 君子居於艱難之境,...
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  • 1,394
10 votes

Has Unicode included these Classical Chinese characters?

𢂎 U+2208E 𦩳 U+26A73 𥸷 U+25E37 𤭹 U+24B79 𠰉 U+20C09 𢮿 U+22BBF 𦧴 U+269F4 𢜫 U+2272B 𤍐 U+24350 𢃛 U+220DB 𤟔 U+247D4 𣩒 U+23A52 𩵖 U+29D56 𪇇 U+2A1C7 𩬱 U+29B31 𤜅 U+24705 﨣 U+FA23 𥺝 U+25E9D 髟+忿?(...
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10 votes
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Difference of 青 and 黑

青 does not mean black in modern Chinese (likely due to semantic transition). It can mean black in classical Chinese, but that does not mean its meaning is ambiguous either, given the context is ...
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  • 5,455
9 votes
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Why is 景 written "wrong" on the Nestorian Stele?

This is a 隸書 form of 景. According to the references cited in the 教育部異體字字典, it occurs on steles from the Tang dynasty. Sometimes these variations are done for ease of cutting, or because certain ...
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  • 4,315
8 votes

meaning of 傳 in 傳不習乎?

朱熹四書章句集注 「傳,謂受之於師。習,謂熟之於己。」 So 傳 means what you've received from your Master. James Legge's translation seems right.
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  • 450
8 votes

What is the usage of 蔑 as a negation word in classical chinese?

Here's a good English definition and explanation with an example sentence to get you started: A Students Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese 2 negative particle of the perfective: had not, ...
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7 votes
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Why did people sometimes call Liu Bei "明将军"?

It's an honorific, meaning "illustrious" or "enlightened general", and as such is not specific to Liu Bei. For example, in the Records of the Three Kingdoms, Pei Song's annotations ...
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7 votes
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What is the difference between 吾 and 我 in 文言文?

The first thing to point out is that「吾」(Baxter-Sagart: /*ŋˤa/) and「我」(Baxter-Sagart: /*ŋˤajʔ/) are cognate. They mean exactly the same thing, and were interchangeable to a very large degree; as the ...
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6 votes
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What is the ancient Chinese one-character name for woman like '子’ means man?

The equivalent of 子 for women is also 子. 【清·張自烈·正字通】子部:女子亦稱子 Examples from Old Chinese texts: 【孟子·告子下】逾東家牆而摟其處子,則得妻,不摟,則不得妻,則將摟之乎? The Works of Mencius: "Breaking into your landlord's house ...
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  • 4,910
6 votes
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What's the difference between Classical Chinese and Modern Chinese?

The following is an excerpt from wikipedia, Classical Chinese Grammar: Grammar Further information: Classical Chinese lexicon Classical Chinese is distinguished from written vernacular ...
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  • 1,800
6 votes
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How can the expression "高就" be understood grammatically?

If you are looking for an exact English translation, the answer is that there isn't one. It is a tradition in Chinese culture. When you are talking about/to other people, you should butter him/her up ...
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  • 419
6 votes
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What does the phrase "足矣" mean?

足矣 means (lucky) enough. So the whole sentence means: knowing a person who understand you (soul mate? I think) in one's life is enough. Implicit meaning: many people won't have even one soul mate ...
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  • 1,225
6 votes
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Ancient forms of characters

I'm afraid different people may use these terms in slightly different ways. But the way I understand it, standard form 標準體 is one of several ways of writing a character, chosen as standard in a ...
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  • 1,630
6 votes
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Need help with Classical Chinese

the post card is a replication of a painting, which is in the palace museum (故宫博物院). imo, the quality is, unacceptable. here's a better image of the painting: about the text, traditionally, one read ...
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6 votes
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非 at the beginning of a sentence - Classical Chinese

1.[非] XXX,[不能] YYY = [not having] XXX, [cannot] YYY "非 XXX 不能" is a relative clause; "YYY" is a verb clause Example: [非]孟子造道之深,[不能]形容至此也= [Not having] 孟子造道之深,[cannot]形容至此也
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5 votes
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What kind of typology does ancient Chinese belong to?

There are two kinds of morphology: inflectional and derivational. The first is like English –ed or –s, or case endings in languages like German or Latin. Adding an inflectional morpheme doesn’t ...
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  • 1,726
5 votes

If Confucius came back to life today and scribbled a message, could most modern Chinese people understand it?

No. The biggest obstacle is the script; although simple characters are still understandable, the evolution of scripts from seal script (the closest script to modern ones during Confucius's time) ...
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  • 8,372
5 votes
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Medieval Chinese Pronunciation

Middle Chinese starting from the Sui dynasty (with the Qièyùn, 切韻, published in 601 CE) actually documented its phonology. These are called rime tables, and break down each character pronunciation ...
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  • 5,638
5 votes

Is there strong evidence that Classical Chinese was ever spoken?

I think doubts about Classical Chinese having ever been a medium of oral communication are quite appropriate. There are several things to consider: One, the fact that the characters are relatively ...
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  • 609
5 votes
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What are the etymologies of 局 and 局面?

The etymology of 局 1st interpretation 促也。从口在尺下,復局之。『說文解字』 促也。以㬪韵爲訓。从口在尺下復局之。尺所以指厈規榘事也。口在尺下。三緘其口之意。『說文解字注』 Upper part of 局 represents 尺 (ruler), alluding to rules and canons. Lower (inside) part ...
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  • 416
5 votes
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What's the etymology and significance of yuenyeung (鴛鴦)?

鴛鴦 is actually the name of a bird; more specifically, the mandarin duck. Here's an image: (Look at how cute they are!) In Chinese culture, the mandarin duck is a symbol of lovers, much like ...
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5 votes

How to identify 使動用法 in Classical Chinese?

the correct interpretation should be 使衆人誇贊[游者] (cause everyone to praise [the traveller]). imo, such interpretation is incorrect. 越無車﹒有游者得車於晉楚之郊﹒輻朽而輪敗﹒輗折而轅毀﹒無所可用﹒然以其鄉之未嘗有也﹒舟載以歸而誇諸人﹒觀者聞其誇而信之﹒...
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