This course is discontinued

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course is a first introduction to Classical Chinese. It presents the basic grammar and introduces basic strategies for reading original texts. The students will read a number of short passages selected from central works of the Classical period.

Through the readings the students will encounter the vocabulary needed for a basic understanding of the language. The course will touch upon various aspects of historical linguistics to the extent that this is useful in order to acquire a working knowledge of Classical Chinese.

Learning outcome

The course aims to enable students to read Classical Chinese texts with the help of dictionaries and other reference works. The emphasis will be on the study of Classical Chinese idioms and proverbs that are current in modern China.

A sound ability to read Classical Chinese is a skill which is central not only for those who want to read premodern Chinese, Japanese, and Korean sources, but also for those who want to read modern Chinese which often includes passages in literary Chinese.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

See the general enrolment criteria for the relevant programme options within the master's programme in Asia and Middle East Studies.

Recommended previous knowledge

The teaching presupposes:

  • basic knowledge of Chinese, Japanese or Korean language
    corresponding to that of 80 credits at the
    bachelor's level
  • basic reading skills in Chinese and the pinyin transcription

Overlapping courses


The course consists of 14 lectures of two hours each. Active participation in class is encouraged.


Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The course evaluation is portfolio assessment. The students are required to hand in three annotated written translations of classical Chinese texts, one of which may be a Kanbun text. The annotations should make it clear that the student can account for why he/she has translated in a particular way. The selection of texts must be approved by the course teacher in advance.

A single, overall grade is awarded for the portfolio as a whole.


Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination


Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.


Useful information about master's degree programmes at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages.

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Facts about this course






Offered on an infrequent basis


Offered on an infrequent basis

Teaching language