Classical Chinese and Japanese

The Summer School in Classical Chinese and Classical Japanese/Kanbun is unique in its kind. Organised in collaboration with Princeton University, it offers two tracks of comprehensive, grammar-focused instruction taught by Faculty members from both Ca' Foscari and Princeton.

The programme is designed especially for students who wish to develop their linguistic expertise for graduate study in any discipline of premodern China or Japan.


Tracks

Each track consists of 80 hours of class time in addition to a lecture series on topics in premodern Chinese or Japanese culture (history, literature, thought). Both tracks welcome students who are beginners in Classical Chinese or Japanese, as well as those who already have some background foundation.

Track A – Classical Chinese

Instructors: Attilio Andreini & Giulia Baccini

The course provides the fundamentals of classical Chinese grammar through the reading and analysis of passages of pre-modern Chinese historical and literary texts.

Prerequisites: one year of modern Chinese language.

Teaching methods
During the course, the instructor will guide the students through the grammatical analysis and  comprehension of the basic structures of classical Chinese grammar. The course will also be devoted to translation and analysis of selected texts and their context. 

Expected learning outcomes

  1. Students understand the basic structures of the classical Chinese language.
  2. Students know the necessary tools for translation.
  3. Basic knowledge of the Chinese literary tradition.
  4. Students are able to identify basic grammatical structures and, accordingly, to translate correctly.
  5. Students are able to identify the most appropriate tools to translate a particular text.
  6. Students are able to evaluate different translations for correctness. 

Grading: Participation in Class 30%; Final Exam 70%. 

Texts
Scarpari, Maurizio, “Classical Chinese”, in Rint Sybesma et al. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, Leiden: Brill, 2017, vol. 1, pp. 608-620. (pdf).

All language study texts will be supplied during the lessons.

Track B - Classical Japanese/Kanbun

Instructor: Keiko Ono

This course will intensively and systematically provide the fundamentals of classical Japanese and kanbun grammar along with readings in the major genres of pre-modern Japanese historical and literary texts. After three weeks of intensive classical Japanese, the final week will be devoted to the kanbun reading system, which is based on classical Japanese grammar.

Prerequisites: at least one year of modern Japanese and familiarity with Chinese characters and Japanese kana.

Teaching methods
During the course, the instructor will guide the students through the grammatical analysis and comprehension of the texts and their contexts. There will be quizzes and homework.  Students are expected to present their translations and actively engage in the class discussion.

Expected learning outcomes

  1. Students understand the basic structures of classical Japanese.
  2. Students know the necessary tools for translation.
  3. Students are able to identify basic grammatical structures and, accordingly, to translate correctly.
  4. Students are able to identify the most appropriate tools to translate a particular text.
  5. Students are able to evaluate different translations for correctness. 

Grading: Class participation, homework and quizzes 30%, Final 70%

Texts: Various handouts created and provided by the instructor. Reading texts includes Makura no sōshi, Uji Shüi Monogatari, Taketori Monogatari, Poetry, Nihon Gaishi etc.

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic that is currently affecting the entire globe, the Summer School in Classical Chinese and Classical Japanese/Kanbun 2020 has been cancelled.

We have delayed making this decision for as long as we could, in the hopes that the situation would improve, but it is now clear that there are too many variables for us to continue our planning of the programme when there is still so much uncertainty around its feasibility this summer.

We look forward to welcoming students again in 2021.

Programme Directors

Tiziana Lippiello (Ca' Foscari University Venice)
Martin Kern (Princeton University)

Last update: 07/07/2020