Saturday, June 25, 2011

Learning Classical Chinese Through Sino-Korean

歸源 (Kuiwon) begins "a series of posts on Classical Chinese... so that English readers, who know Korean at a basic to intermediate level, can learn how to read Classical Chinese texts, using Sino-Korean pronunciations" — Classical Chinese Primer – Introduction and Classical Chinese Primer – Characters and Tones.

Sŏnsaengnim writes, "The advantage in learning Classical Chinese through Korean as opposed to Mandarin is that since the Korean language is somewhat removed from Classical Chinese there is little need to distinguish 'modern' versus 'classical' meanings of characters."

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Fascinating -- are you studying classical Chinese?

2:09 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Not yet, although I have some books on my desk. I took a semester of Mandarin and self-studied about 1500 Sino-Korean characters ten years ago. My wife says I know more than the average young Korean, which isn't saying much. Kuiwon is spurring me on.

A few years ago, I decided I was done with living languages (other than Korean and perhaps brushing up my Spanish). So I self-studied Latin and Greek, not getting as far as I wanted. Dead languages don't need conversation. If and when I have time, I'll study Latin, Greek and Classical Chinese. If I have more time, I'll add Classical Nahuatl just for fun.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

I'm past 40 now, so too old to learn a living language -- I play around with Spanish, which I used to speak fairly well when in my early 20's (but I've lost most of it since I went to law school). I've toyed with studying Latin -- something I could use to pray, and we have Latin Mass regularly celebrated here in Spokane. But the time is the thing. I just don't have that much of it. Maybe when I get a sabattical in another year or two...

11:23 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

With knowledge of Spanish, it's pretty easy to learn the prayers of the rosary in Latin.

Best Latin proverb about Spain: "Beati Hispani quibus vivere bibere est."

12:08 PM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


I'm hoping to set aside some time for Latin again this year. I thought I'd use my brothers as an excuse, tutoring them for my "drills" and then reading harder stuff on my own . . . but the silly, generation-bound boys aren't having it! =/

Dead languages are the best!

12:39 AM  
OpenID kuiwon said...

I wouldn't call it quite dead -- maybe in Korea. It's well understood by educated Chinese and Taiwanese, and among the remaining Confucian scholars of Korea.

3:27 PM  
Blogger hoihoi51 said...

there is chinese classic class in Japanese high school.
most student must take this class for one year
chinese classic is one of japanese national language..

Of course, the pronunciation and how to read are by Japanese method.

1:48 PM  

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