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Language VIb: Classical Chinese

Code: 101559 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2500244 East Asian Studies OB 3 2


Xianghong Qu

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
spanish (spa)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:

Other comments on languages

Exchange students must have a level of Spanish equivalent to B2 ECFR.


In order to attend Idioma VIb Xinès Clàssic, students must have previous knowledge of modern Chinese, especially in the areas of syntax and grammar.

- Understanding written texts on themes concerning daily life. (MCRE-FTI A2.2.)

- Understanding short and simple oral texts (MCRE-FTI A1.2.)

- A good command of modern Chinese grammar

- A good command of Chinese characters

Objectives and Contextualisation

This course aims at providing students basic knowledge of the Classical Chinese language. 

It is not a language used for oral communication; it is, in fact, a language used for written communication since the birth of the Chinese writing system up to the early twentieth century. One can still find many Classical Chinese expressions in the Chinese language spoken and written today. It is for this reason that this course aims at getting students acquainted with issues such as phonetics, morphology, semantics, gender and discourse in Classical Chinese. 

Concurrently, this course is also intended as a means to provide students with the necessary tools to improve their active use and passive understanding of Modern Chinese. Therefore, this course will also approach social, historical and cultural issues that can be extremely useful to understand many East Asian civilizations.


  • Developing self-learning strategies.
  • Ensuring the quality of one's own work.
  • Understand texts written in one of the languages of East Asia.
  • Write texts in one of the languages of East Asia.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply knowledge of lexis, morphosyntax, texts, rhetoric and linguistic variation.
  2. Apply strategies to produce written texts for different contexts and for specific communicative purposes.
  3. Apply strategies to understand written texts from various different contexts.
  4. Deal with interferences between the working languages.
  5. Developing self-learning strategies.
  6. Ensuring the quality of one's own work.
  7. Produce written texts for different contexts and for specific communicative purposes.
  8. Produce written texts that are appropriate to the context and linguistically correct.
  9. Understand the communicative intent and the meaning of written texts from various different contexts.


Basic Knowledge of the Chinese writing system and classical Chinese language.

Writing conventions: lexical, morphosyntactic and textual differences.

Cultural, social and historical knowledge, which is deemed necessary in order to learn classical Chinese language and to better understand East Asian civilizations.

Knowledge of the main literary works written in pre-imperial and imperial China, especially those written in the classical period.  


We will work with original texts from the Chinese literary tradition: historical, philosophical and anecdotal texts of the pre-imperial period to the 3rd century AD.

Students will be given the text in advance and must prepare it on their own so that they are able to read aloud and can easily locate the part that is being referred to. This first step is essential in order to fruitfully follow the course. 

The text will be analyzed sentence by sentence by the teacher, highlighting its most important features, illustrating them with more examples highlighting syntactic and grammatical aspects. Then, difficulties as well as different translation options will be discussed.

The student must take notes of all these issues addressed in class, as well as of the common characters that appear in the lessons, since they should be known in order to move forward to the following texts. The student will also engage in textual analysis together with the teacher and his fellow classmates.

Once the textual analysis is carried out, the student must translate the text on their own by the date indicated by the teacher. Moreover, the student must be able to justify their translation option choices.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Analysis of texts in foreign languages 18.5 0.74
Comprehensive and analytical reading of texts in foreign language 19 0.76
Type: Supervised      
Individual or group translation of texts in foreign language 18.5 0.74
Problem solving and controlled exercises translation 13.5 0.54
Type: Autonomous      
Documentation search 17.5 0.7
Expansion of knowledge 15 0.6
Learning of vocabulary 15 0.6
Preparation of texts and translations 30 1.2


The course evaluation consists of three tests:

1. Knowledge test (35% of the final grade): it aims at testing the student knowledge regarding philological, historical, linguistic and cultural aspects of Classical Chinese as well as of the authors/texts studied during the course.

2. Grammar text (25% of the final grade): this part aims at testing the students understanding of Classical Chinese grammar and knowledge of traditional characters.

3. Translation (40% of the final grade): Students will be asked to translate two short texts from classical Chinese into Spanish, Catalan or English. 

Related matters 

The above information on assessment, assessment activities and their weighting is merely a guide. The subject's lecturer will provide full information when teaching begins. 


When publishing final marks prior to recording them on students' transcripts, the lecturer will provide written notification of a date and time for reviewing assessment activities. Students must arrange reviews in agreement with the lecturer. 

Missed/failed assessment activities 

Students may retake assessment activities they have failed or compensate for any they have missed, provided that those they have actually performed account for a minimum of 66.6% (two thirds) of the subject's final mark and that they have a weighted average mark of at least 3.5. Under no circumstances may an assessment activity worth 100% of the final mark be retaken or compensated for. 

The lecturer will inform students of the procedure involved, in writing, when publishing final marks prior to recording them on transcripts. The lecturer may set one assignment per failed or missed assessment activity or a single assignment to cover a number of such activities. 

Classification as "not assessable" 

In the event of the assessment activities a student has performed accounting for just 25% or less of the subject's final mark, their work will be classified as "not assessable" on their transcript. 

Misconduct in assessment activities 

Students who engage in misconduct (plagiarism, copying, personation, etc.) in an assessment activity will receive a mark of “0” for the activity in question. In the case of misconduct in more than one assessment activity, the students involved will be given a final mark of “0” for the subject.

Students may not retake assessment activities in which they are found to have engaged in misconduct. Plagiarism is considered to mean presenting all or part of an author's work, whether published in print or in digital format, as one's own, i.e. without citing it. Copying is considered to mean reproducing all or a substantial part of another student's work. In cases of copying in which it is impossible to determine which of two students has copied the work of the other, both will be penalised. 

More information: http://www.uab.cat/web/study-abroad/undergraduate/academic-information/evaluation/what-is-it-about-1345670077352.html

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Grammar test 25% 1 0.04 1, 8, 7, 4, 6
Knowledge test 35% 1 0.04 1, 2, 5, 6
Translation from classical Chinese to ES, CAT or EN 40% 1 0.04 1, 3, 9, 5, 4, 6


Compulsory bibliography:

The texts on which the analysis and the translation will be performed will be available on Moodle. Moreover, in order to successfully pass the knowledge test, students must read the following articles/book chapters: 

- Cheng, Anne. Historia del pensamiento chino. Barcelona: Ed. Bellaterra, 2002: 203-2016

- Martínez Robles, David. La lengua china: historia, signo y contexto. Barcelona: Editorial UOC, 2007: 81-103 y 121-132

- Rosemont Jr., Henry, "Translating and Interpreting Chinese Philosophy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2019/entries/chinese-translate-interpret/>.

Other resources (non-compulsory):

- Dawson, Raymond S. A New Introduction to Classical Chinese. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984.

- Pulleyblank, E. G. Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1995.

- Scarpari, M. Avviamento allo studio del cinese classico. Venezia: Ca’Foscarina, 1999.

- Rouzer P.A New Practical Primer of Literary Chinese. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2007.


- Mathews, R. H., M. Y. Wang, and YuenRen Chao. Mathews' Chinese-English Dictionary. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1943.

- Institut Ricci. Le Grand Diccionnaire Ricci de la Langue Chinoise. Paris: CERF, 2006.

Online dictionaries

- Le Grand Ricci online: http://chinesereferenceshelf.brillonline.com/grand-ricci/

- HanDian: www.zdic.net

Other paper and internet resources: 

The Chinese Project: www.ctext.org (Biblioteca digital de literatura xinesa d'època pre-moderna).

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Chen Qiyou: Hanfeizi jishi, Shanghai, Renmin chubanshe. 

Raymond Dawson, A New Introduction to Classical Chinese. Oxford: Clarendon, 1986.

Michael A. Fuller, An Introduction to Literary Chinese. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Robert H. Gassmann, Grundstrukturen der antikchinesischen Syntax. New York: Peter Lang, 1997.

Robert H. Gassmann, Antikchinesisch in fünf Element(ar)gängen : eine propädeutische Einführung. Bern ; New York : Peter Lang, 1997.

Robert H. Gassmann and Wolfgang Behr, Antikchinesisch: Ein Lehrbuch in drei Teilen. Bern; New York: Peter Lang, 2005.

Jean Levi: Han-fei-tseouLe Tao du Prince, Seuil, Paris, 1999.

Naiying Yuan, Haitao Tang and James Geiss, Classical Chinese: Introduction to Grammar; A Basic readerin Three Volumes. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Paul Rouzer, A New Practical Primer of Literary Chinese. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2007.

Edwin G. Pulleyblank, Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1995 (repr. 1996)

Harold Shadick, A First Course in Literary Chinese. 3 vols. Cornell University Press, 1968.

Anne-Hélène Suárez Girard: A punto de partir. 100 poemas de Li Bai, Pre-Textos, Valencia 2005.

Anne-Hélène Suárez Girard: Lun yu, reflexiones y enseñanzas, de Confucio, edición y traducción, Kairós, Barcelona, 1997.

Anne-Hélène Suárez Girard: Libro del curso y de la virtud (Dao de jing), de Lao zi, edición y traducción (prólogo de François Jullien), Siruela, colección El árbol del paraíso, Madrid, 1998. Reeditado en 2003 como Tao te king.

Anne-Hélène Suárez Girard: 99 cuartetos de Wang Wei y su círculo, edición y traducción, colección Cruz del Sur, Pre-textos, Valencia, 2000.

Anne-Hélène Suárez Girard: 111 cuartetos de Bai Juyi, edición y traducción, colección Cruz del Sur, Pre-textos, Valencia,2003.

Anne-Hélène Suárez Girard: “Poesia Clásica Xinesa” en Literatura xinesa, UOC, Barcelona 2004.

Tang Jingzhao; Li Shi’an: Hanfeizi jiaozhu, Renminchubanshe, 1982. 


Hanyu da zidian 漢語大字典. Wuhan: Hubei cishu chubanshe and Sichuan cishu chubanshe, 1986.

Gu Hanyu chang yong zi zidian 古漢語常用字字典 (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1998, repr. 2001).

Ci yuan 辭源. Edited by Lu Erkui 陸爾奎 et al. Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1979, 4 vols.

Chen Fuhua 陳復華Gudai Hanyu cidian 古代漢語詞典. Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 2000.

Bernhard Karlgren, Grammata Serica Recensa. Stockholm: Bulletin of the Museum for Eastern Antiquities, 1957.

Schuessler, Axel. Minimal Old Chinese and Later Han Chinese. A Companion to Grammata Serica Recensa. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2009.

Dictionnaire Ricci des Caractères Singuliers. Taipei: Ricci Institute, 1999.

Grand dictionnaire Ricci de la langue chinoise 利氏漢法辭典, 6 vols. Taipei: Institut Ricci, 1999.


Teams, Microsoft Word, Moodle, PowerPoint.