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Introduction to Classical Chinese I

Course Code: MODL 3393
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Modern Languages
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course is an introduction to Classical Chinese, the language of traditional Chinese culture, which includes philosophy, literature, and the arts. This course is designed to increase students’ ability to understand and appreciate historical and literary classics written in Classical Chinese. In this course, grammatical comparisons will be drawn between Classical and Modern Chinese languages, and students will be introduced to basic Classical Chinese grammar, syntax, and rhetoric expressions by examining some early works produced from ca. 1000 BC to 100 BC. This course is taught entirely in Chinese (Mandarin).

Course Content

  • Brief introduction of Modern Chinese grammar and grammatical terms
  • Brief introduction of major grammatical and stylistic features of Classical Chinese language
  • General comparison between Modern Chinese and Classical Chinese languages
  • General comparison between Confucianism and Taoism
  • Reading and analysis of selected classical works such as The Book of Songs, The Analects, Mencius, and Dao de Jing.

Methods of Instruction

Methods of instruction may include, but are not limited to: lectures, small group work, class discussions and presentations, screening of audio or video materials.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on this general outline:

Attendance and participation


Three written projects (in Chinese) during the semester


One presentation (in Chinese) during the semester


One final research paper (in Chinese) during the semester


One final written exam (in Chinese)




No single evaluation will be worth more than 20%.

Learning Outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate their knowledge of major grammatical and stylistic features of Classical Chinese language
  • Identify and articulate their understanding of the main differences between Classical and Modern Chinese languages
  • Gain an appreciation for the beauty and the wisdom of Classical Chinese works
  • Demonstrate their understanding of key features of Confucianism and Taoism

course prerequisites

MODL 2292 or equivalent or assessment (students should be able to speak Mandarin or one of the Chinese dialects fluently, and be able to read and write in Chinese at intermediate or advanced level).



curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.