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Classical Chinese: A Functional Approach (Traditional Characters) Bilingual Edition

2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0887277375
ISBN-10: 0887277373
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Classical Chinese: A Functional Approach (Traditional Characters) + Classical Chinese Primer (Reader) + Classical Chinese Primer (Workbook)
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Editorial Reviews


This textbook provides readers with a solid foundation for learning classical Chinese as well as a bridge between classical Chinese and modern Chinese...The arrangement greatly facilitates grasping the targeted functional words or patterns in various settings, and the samples are usually from the most famous maxims by the most important writers. By using this book, students will not only learn Classical Chinese words and grammar structures, but also get acquainted with the values and philosophies of Chinese tradition. --Professor Yu Feng, Director of the Chinese Language Program, Brandeis University

About the Author

Kai Li teaches Chinese at Oberlin College. He has taught in Middlebury College's Chinese Summer School and in the International University Program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. He has also served in faculty and administrative positions at his alma mater, Beijing Normal University, and has written many articles on various aspects of Chinese language instruction.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Cheng & Tsui Company; Bilingual edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887277373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887277375
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.2 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,065,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Don Quickoats on May 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have 7 or 8 textbooks for teaching Classical Chinese. Aside from this, I most prefer Rouzer (which I recommend for East Asian students studying in the States). For my purposes, however, Li and Dew is the best text because of its exceedingly clear approach. It progresses through Classical Chinese concepts, one particle at a time, with many different contexts and iterations. Rouzer uses paragraph-length texts which always have one or two exceptional sentences per passage. Other texts (such as Chiang, Language of the Dragon) use the incremental approach, but this Li and Dew text uses smaller units for samples and the support for the lessons is crystal clear -- modern Chinese and English translations which are accurate and appropriate, with clear and direct grammar explanations. There is very little ambiguity. (Classical Chinese does contain much ambiguity, deliberately, but I think it counter-productive to throw full-bore interpretation tasks at beginning students.) I plan to use this text to teach an introductory course with Pulleyblank's Outline as an accompanying text.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M.M. on October 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is probably different from most of the Classical Chinese textbooks on Amazon in that it translates Classical Chinese into Modern Chinese in the examples and exercises but not into English, which is fine if you are an intermediate or advanced learner of Chinese but would be problematic for beginners. At first I was irritated that Amazon doesn't seem to have the simplified character version of the book but after thinking about it, I realized that most of the Classical Chinese you encounter will probably be on paintings or scrolls and will be in traditional not simplified characters. The book has a good answer key in the back and uses texts from the Spring/Autumn period all the way to the 20th century, which is a pretty impressive range. I've just finished Chapter 1 and I'm not sure if I like translating from Classical into Modern Chinese in the exercises yet, which is why I'm giving this three instead of four stars. But it seems better than some of the Classical Chinese books I've tried (Dawson) and the dictionary lookup of characters required has been minimal.
Update: After having gotten into Chapter 4, I'm realizing the advantages of the translation into Modern Chinese as my next step will probably to get a Chinese language edition of Confucius' Analects with a Modern Chinese translation. So if you want to move beyond English language textbooks, this book is really helpful. The main challenge is not so much the grammatical particles in Classical Chinese but filling in the missing context and this book is helpful with that. I can get through a sentence a day and find I need to rely on the book's translation heavily to make sense of anything and I've been studying Modern Chinese for years. One of the real advantages of the book is that every sentence is translated, even in the exercuses, as opposed to other books where this is not the case.
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Classical Chinese: A Functional Approach (Traditional Characters)
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