Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar
208 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Jan 1996
Release Date:01 Nov 2007

Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar

UBC Press

Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar is a comprehensive introduction to the syntactical analysis of classical Chinese. Focusing on the language of the high classical period, which ranges from the time of Confucius to the unification of the empire by Qin in 221, the book pays particular attention to the Mencius, the Lúnyu, and, to a lesser extent, the Zuõzhuàn texts.

Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar starts with a brief historical overview and a discussion of the relation between the writing system and the phonology. This is followed by an outline of overall principles of word order and sentence structure. The next sections deal with the main sentence types – nominal predicates, verbal predicates, and numberical expressions, which constitute a special type of quasiverbal predication. The final sections cover such topics as subordinate constitutents of sentences, nondeclarative sentence types, and complex sentences.

By any measure the most important book-length work on Classical Chinese grammar to have appeared in a Western language since Gabelentz's comprehensive grammar of more than a century ago ... a very sophisticated and scholarly treatment of Classical Chinese grammar, it is all the same entirely appropriate for even a beginning-level class. William G. Boltz, Journal of Asian Studies
Finally there is a comprehensive grammar of Wenyan in English. Here in one volume one has handy the major grammar references needed to approach Classical Chinese texts. This useful book is the first comprehensive treatment of the grammar of the ancient form of Chinese used by the great philosophers like Confucius and Mencius.... useful to all students of Classical Chinese language and philosophy. Wordtrade
A most welcome and practical book ... I have been waiting for a book like this for years. The text is beautifully clear. And not only does it make work for people like me just that much more reasonable, it also reduces the man hours it usually takes merely to set out the sounds of even a short poem. I for one am grateful. Professor Wayne Schlepp, Deptartment of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto
Edwin G. Pulleyblank is a professor emeritus in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia.



I. Introduction

II. Some Basic Principles of Classical Chinese Syntax

III. Noun Predication IV. Verbal Predicates

V. Compound Verbal Predicates

VI. Numerical Expressions

VII. Noun Phrases and Nominalization

VIII. Topicalization and Exposure

IX. Pronouns and Related Words

X. Adverbs

XI. Negation

XII. Aspect, Time, and Mood

XIII. Adnominal and Adverbial Words of Inclusion and Restriction

XIV. Imperative, Interrogative and Exclamatory Sentences

XV. Complex Sentences


Sources of Examples


Index of Chinese Vocabulary


General Index

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