Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)

Module CHNS3081: Classical Chinese II

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Chinese)

CHNS3081: Classical Chinese II

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Classical Chinese I or equivalent knowledge


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • Build on the Classical Chinese reading skills and language knowledge developed in Classical Chinese I to achieve a good level of proficiency in decoding a range of text types including poetry and literary texts. Study also traditional unpunctuated texts and commentaries on the texts. This will also include study of text genres and their prosodic and rhetorical features.


  • Reading a range of literary, philosophical, historical and epistolary texts in Classical Chinese
  • Reading unpunctuated texts
  • Reading interlinear commentaries
  • Analysing and discussing the features of the texts

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of a range of basic Classical Chinese text types and how to read them
  • Knowledge of vocabulary and rhetorical techniques used in such texts
  • Knowledge of the aesthetic, historical, literary and social background to the texts
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to understand and analyse written discourse in Classical Chinese
  • Ability to recognise and appreciate the rhetorical devices used in Classical Chinese texts
  • Ability to place such texts in their historical, literary and intellectual contexts and explain their significance
Key Skills:
  • Ability to analyse complex language usage
  • Ability to relate texts to their aesthetic, literary, historical and social environments
  • Ability to carry out self-directed study and present the results both orally and in writing

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The teaching will be delivered through two separate weekly classes at which the lecturer will introduce the texts concerned, discuss their content and place in the literary canon, explain their language usage and guide the students in translating the texts into English. The students will be asked to translate unseen and prepared texts and give presentations on the content of the texts. There will be a formative assessment during the year. The summative assessment will consist of a 2,000 word essay and a three hour written examination for which students produce seen and unseen translations of Classical Chinese texts and write commentaries.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 2 weekly 1 hour 40

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,000 words 100% No
Component: Exam Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Exam 3 hours 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Seen and unseen translation, presentations on the contents of the text; a mock examination in the middle of the Epiphany term

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University