Classical Chinese

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Re: Classical Chinese

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:33 pm

Ordered the Student's Guide to Classical and Medieval Chinese and I am very pleased with it. I've already gone back over some rough spots in previous, incomplete translations that I've done and figured out where I went wrong, thanks to the clarity of this reference. Some details:

- Entries span the period from the earliest sections of the 書經 (Book of Documents), composed in Western Zhou, through to 1000 CE. Meanings and readings that are strictly medieval (post-3rd century CE, roughly) are marked as such in the entries.
- Many entries have clarifying details on usage that go beyond the larger, more jumbled dictionaries. Such as one word I found just flipping through it, meaning only "to burn" in my larger dictionary, but in this having a longer, explanatory note clarifying it as burning or heating specifically to produce cracks in oracle bones for divination
- Many entries also have comments making clear that a very common, later meaning did not develop until much later.
- Lots of words for technical, medical and religious terms are included
- Although a dictionary can't replace a proper study of grammar, characters that function as particles or grammatical function words are given much-expanded entries compared to my other dictionary
- Appendix 5 has all of the reign years from Western Han to the end of Tang, with the Western calendar year and date, the Chinese calendar year and date, the ruler's name and date of ascension to the throne (Chinese and Western) and the actual reign title adopted.

The only drawback, if you can call it that, is that at 700 pages it is far from complete. A thoroughly comprehensive dictionary covering this period would run to several volumes. However, for people interested in a dictionary that specifically weeds out meanings and readings that are not relevant to ancient and medieval documents, I think it's quite essential.
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Liu Yuante
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