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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

EAST3120 Classical Chinese

20 creditsClass Size: 15

Module manager: Dr David Pattinson

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of Year Abroad in China

This module is mutually exclusive with

EAST2126Classical Chinese

This module is not approved as a discovery module


On completion of this module students should have a basic knowledge of the structure and vocabulary of Classical Chinese. They should be able to read selected important texts in Classical Chinese and have the potential to read further.

Students should also gain a broad understanding of the classical Chinese scholarly and literary tradition, the role of the works they have read in it and its significance in modern China.

Learning outcomes
Upon completing this module, students will:
- Have a basic ability to read certain types of texts in classical and literary Chinese with the help of annotations, dictionaries or other reference resources;
- Be familiar with common grammatical particles and structures used in classical and literary Chinese and, where applicable, be able to make links to their use in modern Chinese;
- Appreciate some of the range of genres and subject matter of classical Chinese texts, and the contexts in which they were produced;
- Be equipped to research and write, in English, about topics related to the texts they have read in Chinese in this module.


Through readings of selected works of prose and poetry, students will learn the fundamentals of Classical Chinese grammar, syntax and vocabulary. Prose texts for study will include selections from early philosophical and historiographical works such as the 'Zuo zhuan' (Zuo Commentary), the 'Meng zi' (Mencius),the 'Zhuang zi', the 'Han Fei zi' and Sima Qian's 'Shi ji' (Records of the Historian) as well as later prose works.

Poetry for study will be chosen from among the 'Shi jing' (Book of Songs), late Han and Six Dynasties poetry, the 'shi' poems of the Tang ad the 'ci' lyrics of the Song dynasty.

Students are also expected to read related texts in English translation and scholarship about the texts and genres being studied, and to gain a basic understanding of the research tools available for studying Classical Chinese texts.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours172.00
Total Contact hours28.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students are offered one hour of supervision for their essays, which can be taken in any number of sessions. This may include reading partial drafts.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayTranslate c. 300250-350 character text of Classical Chinese + Essay 2,000 words in English.40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) (S2)3 hr 00 mins60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 02/08/2023


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