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Study information

Classical Chinese II

Module titleClassical Chinese II
Module codeFLM3215
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Yan Wen-Thornton (Convenor)

Dr Xiaoxi Sun (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Classical Chinese, also known as Literary Chinese(æ��è¨ï¿½æ��), is the language of the classic literature from the end of the Spring and Autumn period to the end of the Qing dynasty, a written form of Old Chinese. Classical Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese that evolved from the classical language, making it different from any modern spoken form of Chinese. As a medium of the traditional Chinese civilization, Classical Chinese gives learners access to the rich Chinese achievements in philosophy, literature and art.

This module Classical Chinese II is offered to Chinese native and/or nearer native speakers from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries with significant Chinese-language populations, and/or overseas Chinese speakers who are interested to explore their ancestors’ identity, worship, heritage and culture. The majority of this module will be based on reading, translating from classical Chinese to modern Chinese, and discussing extracts taken from key philosophical, political, literary, and historical texts from the Sui (581-618CE), Tang (618-907CE), Five Dynasties and Ten States (907-960CE), Song (960-1279CE), Yuan (1271-1368CE), Ming (1368-1644CE) to the Qing dynasty (1644-1911CE). It will cover a selection of major genres in which the classical language was used over time.

Students wishing to develop their skills and knowledge should also consider taking FLM3115 Classical Chinese I

In order to register, you will be required to attend an interview.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module introduces and builds on the principles of Classical Chinese and aims to allow you to:

  • Learn the fundamentals of Classical Chinese grammar, syntax and vocabulary from Classical and Literary Chinese texts.
  • Develop greater appreciation of the richness of the Chinese literary tradition by reading selected works of prose and poetry.
  • Be able to read related literatures and gain a deeper understanding of the research tools available for studying Classical Chinese texts and analysis.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain the grammar, syntax and vocabulary of classical and literary Chinese with reference to the period of study and master the range of genres in which educated Chinese wrote in the past and their development.
  • 2. Read, write, translate, research, and provide further analysis of classical literature and interpretation of Chinese philosophy with reference to the period of study.
  • 3. Appreciate some of the ways in which classical Chinese from the period of study has influenced modern Chinese language and culture.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Communicate fluently and spontaneously, orally and/or in writing on complex topics.
  • 5. Read and/or write certain types of texts in classical and literary Chinese from the period of study with the help of annotations and other reference resources.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Work pro-actively with others as part of a team, react and adapt to some unexpected situations as appropriate and involving discussion.
  • 7. Be able to give structured and/or unstructured oral presentation or play performance on selected topics and/or literature.
  • 8. Research and write a literature review on a topic related to the texts, providing further critical argument and analysis, to demonstrate understanding of classical and literary Chinese from the period of study. Where applicable, be able to make links to their use in modern Chinese.

Syllabus plan


Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:


  • Poetry from Tang to Song periods:

- The Mountains and Streams poetry and the poetry on Frontier Life.

- The Romantic poet and the Realist poet (Li Bai and Du Fu).

- The poets from the late Tang Dynasty (Li Shangyin and Du Mu).

- The two Li’s on Ci (Li Yu and Li QingZhao).

- The poets of the Haofang style (Su Shi and Xin Qiji).

  • Prose texts from the classical and imperial period of political and historiographical traditions:

Ode to the Lotus Flower

  • Qu and plays in Yuan dynasty:

- The Romance of the West Bower

  • The Four Great Classic Novels during the Ming and Qing dynasties:

- Journey to the West

- Outlaws of the Marsh

- Romance of the Three Kingdoms

- Dream of the Red Chamber

  • Short stories in late Qing dynasty:

The strange Tales from a Chinese Studio

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching22Language classes: Teaching methods are based on lectures and discussion materials provided on the weekly topics. The module is taught in Mandarin Chinese.
Guided independent study128Consolidation of learning; learning activities are supported by various media, including audio-visual resources, and, where appropriate, computer software.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Formative task – Group presentation or Play performance 20-30 minutes. For the group presentation, groups are expected to be 2-3 students, with 3-4 for the performance. 1-4, 6-7Written and/or oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research essay 1003,000 Chinese characters (simplified or traditional)1-6, 8Written (and oral upon request)

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research essayResearch essay1-6, 8Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certified reasons judged as acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

There is no course book for this module and a study pack is posted on ELE weekly.

Key words search

China, Classical Chinese, Mandarin, Culture, Literature

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

Interview to establish native level of Chinese language skills

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date