Classical Chinese

Classical Chinese or Literary Chinese (古文, gǔ wén, "ancient text" or 文言文 wényán wén, "text of written language") is a traditional style of written Chinese based on the grammar and vocabulary of ancient Chinese, making it different from any modern spoken form of Chinese. Classical Chinese was used for almost all formal correspondence in China until the early 20th century, and also, during various periods, in Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Among Chinese speakers, Classical Chinese has been largely replaced by written vernacular Chinese (白話; pinyin: báihuà, "plain speech"), a style of writing that is similar to modern spoken Mandarin Chinese, while speakers of non-Chinese languages have largely abandoned Classical Chinese in favor of local vernaculars.

Literary Chinese is known as kanbun in Japanese, hanmun in Korean, and Hán Văn in Vietnamese (From 漢文 in all three cases; pinyin: hànwén, "Han writing").

Read more about Classical Chinese:  Definitions, Pronunciation, Grammar and Lexicon, Teaching and Use

Famous quotes containing the word classical:

    Et in Arcadia ego.
    [I too am in Arcadia.]
    Anonymous, Anonymous.

    Tomb inscription, appearing in classical paintings by Guercino and Poussin, among others. The words probably mean that even the most ideal earthly lives are mortal. Arcadia, a mountainous region in the central Peloponnese, Greece, was the rustic abode of Pan, depicted in literature and art as a land of innocence and ease, and was the title of Sir Philip Sidney’s pastoral romance (1590)