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Chinese Literature
Mashi wentong 馬氏文通 "Linguistic Overview of Master Ma"


The Mashi wentong 馬氏文通 "Master Ma's linguistic overview" is the oldest Chinese grammar. It was compiled by Ma Jianzhong 馬建忠 (1845-1900) and was published in 1898 by the Shanghai shangwu yinshu press 上海商務印書館. In 1904 a puncutated edition was published by Zhang Xichen 章錫琛 which was reproduced in 1954 by the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 and in 1983 by the Shangwu yinshuguan. Lü Shuxiang 呂叔湘 and Wang Haifen 王海棻 have compiled a textbook to the Mashi wentong, published in 1986.
The Mashi wentong is a grammar for classical Chinese. It is enriched with several thousand examples from ancient literature, including the Confucian Classics, official dynastic histories, and writings of the famous Tang period 唐 (618-907) scholar Han Yu 韓愈. Its grammatical concept follows structures and terms used in Western grammars and tries to adapt those to the very different grammar of Chinese. The 10 juan "scrolls" long book explains grammatical terms (which are often different to modern terms, like yuci 語詞 instead of weiyu 謂語 "verb" or jingzi 靜字 instead of xingrongci 形容詞 "adjective") and the grammar of classical Chinese with the help of parts of speech or word functions, less from the aspect of syntax. The syntax is treated in the last juan.


Source: Zhang Bin 張斌 (1988). "Mashi wentong 馬氏文通", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Yuyan wenzi 語言文字, p. 273. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

October 14, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail