Classical Chinese

Yale-NUS offers a course in Classical Chinese. For specific questions about the courses, please contact the relevant faculty.



For a list of courses taught this coming semester, please visit the OurCORS site. For a complete list of courses, see below.

YHU2212 Classical Chinese

Instructor(s): Scott Cook

Pre-requisite(s): YLC2202 Intermediate Chinese 2 or native equivalency

This course will introduce students to the basic particles and grammatical structure of the classical Chinese language (otherwise known as literary Chinese). Through the close reading of texts from the pre- and early-imperial periods, students will also learn skills such as recognising syntactic parallelism, the art of reading in context, and understanding rhetorical structures.


Title Author Publisher ISBN
A First Course in Literary Chinese, vol. I   Harold Shadick  Cornell University Press  978-0801498374
A First Course in Literary Chinese, vol. II   Harold Shadick  Cornell University Press  978-0801498381

YHU4000: Chinese Prose

Instructor(s): Scott Cook

Pre-requisite(s): YHU2212 Classical Chinese or equivalent ability to read classical Chinese

This class will examine the Chinese prose (sanwen) tradition as it evolved from early historiographical and philosophical works of the Eastern Zhou through the collections of literary masters from the Tang, Song, and later imperial China. All the primary readings will be in the original classical Chinese, and these will be supplemented by secondary readings in both English and Chinese.


Title Author Publisher ISBN
Guwen guanzhi 古文觀止 (The Ultimate Anthology of Ancient Literature) Wu Chucai & Wu Diaohou TBD TBD


For course-specific textbooks, click on the course description above. For a complete list of course textbooks, please visit the textbook website.

Learning Goals

By completing Classical Chinese, students will be able to:

  • Read Classical Chinese literary texts
  • Understand complex Chinese words in everyday tasks such as reading a newspaper
  • Work towards the completion of the Chinese Studies Minor requirements