Passing as an Intellectual

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Jun 10, 2017 01:59
I received my books from Amazon China last week. One is an ancient Chinese dictionary, a collection of over 20,000 ancient Chinese words, the other an ancient Chinese grammar book. The reason I ordered these two books is that I want to expand my Chinese vocabulary and brush up on ancient Chinese grammar.

In actuality, modern Chinese and ancient Chinese are very different in terms of grammar and vocabulary. Therefore, it’s difficult for most Chinese people to understand ancient texts. Chinese students only study excerpts of ancient magnum opus but don’t exclusively study the grammar and vocabulary. Since most people are unfamiliar with ancient Chinese words, the writing fraught with them may make readers feel alienated. So, it’s advisable not to pepper our essays with archaic words.

However, in my opinion, it was a pity that most of us Chinese have discarded these words, many of which can make writing more succinct, descriptive, and, on many occasions, sound literary. When I correct some entries here on Lang-8, I sometimes feel all the corrections incompatible with the authors’ English version because there are many words that derived from Latin. Our Chinese corrections are completely modern-Chinese-based. It isn’t our fault, though. I’ve just now explained the reason: we simply don’t have that habit.

That being said, we haven’t abandoned ancient Chinese vocabulary for good. Nearly all the formal words, say, four-character idioms, have an ancient Chinese origin. But I still think it’s far from enough. Hence, I bought the two books in hope of expanding my ancient Chinese knowledge. I think it won’t be a burden as I can cut down on reading modern Chinese and practice ancient Chinese.

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Only flipping through the dictionary within a few days, was I thrilled to find tons of super compact, descriptive words and expressions. :-)
上个星期在亚马逊上买的两本书到货了。一本是《古代汉语词典》,收录了2万余古代汉语词,一本是古代汉语语法书。买这两本书的原因主要是为了扩大我的中文词汇量和温习部分古代汉语语法。

现代汉语和古代汉语的词汇和语法完全不一样。因此,大部分中国人理解古代汉语文本有困难。学生在学校里只学习部分名著的节选,不会专门学语法和词汇。大部分人不太懂古代汉语词汇,所以如果在写作中应该避免大量使用这些词语。

但是,在我看来,中国人丢掉了这些词语真的很可惜,很多古代汉语词能够使文章更紧凑,更生动,有时候会更具文学效果。我在Lang-8上修改文章的时候,我时常会觉得中国网友的所有修改都不能和一些作者的英语文风上匹配起来。因为在他们的英语版本中,有很多拉丁语源词汇,但我们的修改却完全是基于现代汉语。这其实也不是我们的错,原因我上面已经解释过,因为我们没有大量使用古代汉语词汇的习惯。

但话说回来,我们并没有完全摒弃古代汉语词。几乎所有正式的词汇,比如成语,都来源于古代汉语。但我仍然觉得借用得不够,所以我买了这两本书,希望加深我的中文知识。我觉得应该也不是什么太有负担的事,因为我减少阅读现代汉语文章,就能挤出时间看古代汉语。

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才翻了几天词典,就激动地发现了很多超级紧凑,形象,言简意赅的词。。。。