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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:52 am    Post subject: Pre-WWII Japanese, to include premodern Reply with quote
I'm throwing this out there for the group to start discussion, as this is an area I need to start working on:

For those of you who have studied premodern (meaning prior to the post-WWII language reform) Japanese, how have you done it? What books/resources can you recommend? Are there online resources (either English- or Japanese-based) for classical Japanese, Kambun, pre-Edo, etc.? What about for reading actual texts (as in written in calligraphy) vs. transcribed & printed texts?

For me, obviously, I want to start becoming more familiar with reading Sengoku, etc. period documents, as eventually that's what I need to be doing. I took half a semester of Classical Japanese at Hawaii before I had to drop it (was overloaded on classes, trying to write my thesis, and that was the one class I could drop and not have the Army question why). I have my textbook from that class, but we focused mostly on Heian poetry.

I don't want to limit the discussion just to Sengoku stuff though, because others may be trying to learn to read Edo-period, or Kamakura, or Nara, or whatever. So...ideas and thoughts?

Also, would anyone else be interested in a "premodern Japanese reading group"?
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
An Introduction to Kambun by Sydney Cracour
(It's a direct link to the PDF, it's 7.0 meg)

Tangorin.com Classical Japanese Online Dictionary

University of Washington's Kambun Resource Page

Haruo Shirane's Classical Japanese grammar, reader, and dictionary (sold as a 3-book set in the middle of the page). Thinking about buying this--anyone have any experience with it?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
A great review of Wixted's A Handbook to Classical Japanese.

Wixted's own homepage.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I've heard great stuff about Wixted's book, though I haven't paged through it myself at all.

I think it's probably better to work with transcribed (katsuji) texts first, to get a really good sense of the grammar, and the common terms that come up, so that when you do turn to reading calligraphy, you'll be able to recognize patterns and kanji and such more easily.

I'm not sure about too many online resources, but if I remember to do so, once I'm back in the office tomorrow I'll take a look at the books on my shelf and list them up for you - I have a few really thin, cheap guides to kanbun, classical grammar, and hentaigana that I've found very helpful.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
These books may be of help. I was pointed to them in case I ever got serious about trying to decipher actual texts.

http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/aw/d/4490103336/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?qid=1327079985&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/aw/d/449010331X/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1383027723&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ameth--for your comprehensive exams, are you reading anything in Japanese, or is all your reading in English? Just curious.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
No idea. Lists haven't been made up yet. But, now that you mention it, I hadn't even thought about it... I sincerely hope they're all in English.
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
In discussion with a certain someone, I was advised to work on my academic Japanese and to get as much reading done as I could before school. So I'm trying to put together reading lists like I would if I were at school and just work through them, but the comment about academic Japanese then made me think about if I'd have to have Japanese sources as part of my reading. Which, to be fair, is probably necessary for me to demonstrate familiarity with the state of the field.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I have the two books by Haruo Shirane: Classical Japanese: A Grammar and Classical Japanese Reader and Essential Dictionary. I think they are both very good, though I have not got very far working on my own. The reader has two base texts: An Account of a Ten foot square hut and The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (the first is chosen because “it contains almost every fundamental grammatical construction in classical Japanese in a style that is relatively easy to understand, the second is “an excellent introduction to classical grammar as well as to honorific forms” and fifteen short selections arranged by historical period – extracts from The Tales of Ise, Tale of Genji, Tales of the Heike, Essays in Idleness, Narrow Road to the Deep North, Tales of Moonlight and Rain and others. Each selection has furigana readings, vocabulary, grammar notes and annotated grammar (giving the name of each grammatical function in the text).

The Dictionary “provides the fundamental vocabulary for reading classical Japanese, based on words included in the text as well as essential items that do not occur in the readings”. The 600 most essential words are in bold face with asterisk, the next three hundred in bold face only.

A Grammar is very clearly set out and there are many examples from classical literature, taken from more than thirty different texts found in Nihon koten bungaku taikei, to illustrate each grammatical point.

I would be quite interested in taking part in a pre-modern reading group as looking at these two books again reminded me how fascinating they are.
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Heron--

Thank you very much for the descriptions. I'll be getting these for Christmas, and maybe we can post weekly readings or something here.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
That would be great - it would motivate me to get back to it.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
That would be great - it would motivate me to get back to it.


It's always easier to tackle something when you have someone to do it with you.

Since I'll get the Shirane books in December, I'd say let's start in January, but I'll be traveling for work all of January. Probably February would be the best time to start for me.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
February would be great - rainy season here so plenty of time to study.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I would be interested in participating. I love grammar--in fact I got interested in Japan because I wanted to learn some non Indo-European grammar.

About reading Sengoku material directly, I remember an interview on the forum with a scholar that said you should learn to read calligraphy or you would be limited to texts that had already been studied. I am afraid I have trouble with even modern letters. That is one reason I worked hard on deciphering the heraldry scroll on the forum a while back. But of course, there probably not that many unpublished Sengoku texts available.

Grammar is first, but one thing I have hardly heard discussed is the problem of orthography. When dealing with literature, (minus the Manyoshu) it seems not to go much beyond the trivial old kanji forms and kana usage. However, when you get to reading actual letters and documents (komonjo 古文書), they often use orthography heavily influenced by Chinese, and this also takes practice to learn to read. For instance a letter of Hideyoshi to Uesugi 一人も不残可召連候 、自然不罷越族於在之者、速可被加成敗候
According to a book I have on komonjo, the Japanese order should be 一人も残らず召連れるべくそうろう, 自然 罷かり越さざる族、之(これ)あるに於いては、速やかに成敗を加えらるべくそうろうSomething like "Take all (your retainers) without exception with you (to Aizu). If there are some who will not go, they must be punished speedily."
One problem with classical Japanese is that at least my kanji henkan does not treat it well. For instance, I have not been able to make it register verbs ending in ふ.


Thank you for the Kambun link for Cracour's paper. I downloaded it and will try to look through it. Of course, most kanbun is about Chinese classics, but there is Sengoku-related kanbun around, as the Teppo-ki, an account of the Satsuma "Pacification" of Hyuga by the same author, and Hayashi's 関原. Maybe it would even be helpful in reading Chinese.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I used Wixted's book in undergrad. It was absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend it. Very easy to understand and his concept of "unpacking" classical grammar is a lifesaver.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
ltdomer98 wrote:
In discussion with a certain someone, I was advised to work on my academic Japanese and to get as much reading done as I could before school.


This becomes a separate list of resources, of course, but you will also need to consider how to improve your modern academic Japanese. There is a very good modern grammar dictionary that has everything you will stumble across. I will give you the link when I am back from my trip.

Reading difficult passages in small quantities is essential. Take a sentence from an academic volume and parse it and digest it. Learn the structure more than the words. You can look up words whenever, but having a solid grasp of the grammatical skeleton is important. You are obviously gonna want to learn the words eventually, of course...

Next, when that becomes easy, move on to a paragraph. And rinse and repeat.

Academic Japanese is very formulaic and you will soon have the necessary tool kit. But to do this, I advise you take your example sentences from academic books in your field.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Maybe it would even be helpful in reading Chinese.


Yes, to a certain extent. Understanding the basic grammatical structure, or word order, of Chinese, is something which certainly applies both in classical (kanbun) or in modern Chinese. However, having begun studying modern Chinese this quarter, I am already noticing some considerable differences in the meaning, or usage, of some pretty basic characters. So, while studying Classical Chinese or kanbun will be helpful towards reading modern Chinese (e.g. Chinese scholarship) in some ways, I think it will also be confusing or misleading in other ways.

For example:
之 (J: の) serves as a possessive particle in both Japanese and classical Chinese, but in modern Chinese, the character 的 (C: de) serves this function. As seen in the example above, this character can also be used in Japanese or classical Chinese to mean "this" (J: kore).

是 (J: これ、この, C: shì) means "this" in both Japanese and classical Chinese, but in modern Chinese is used, roughly, to mean "to be," as in 我是學生 (wŏ shì xué shēng), "I am [a] student." The character 這 (C: zhè), which I have never seen in either Japanese or the limited amounts of classical Chinese I've read, is used to mean "this" in modern Chinese.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
By the way, this is the grammar dictionary I was mentioning:
http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E8%AA%9E%E6%96%87%E5%9E%8B%E8%BE%9E%E5%85%B8-%E3%82%B0%E3%83%AB%E3%83%BC%E3%83%97%E3%82%B8%E3%83%A3%E3%83%9E%E3%82%B7%E3%82%A4/dp/4874241549/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383873600&sr=8-1&keywords=%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E8%AA%9E%E6%96%87%E5%9E%8B%E8%BE%9E%E5%85%B8
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks. I may be in Japan in May-ish, so I can order it and ship it to my local address then.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
As expected, Santa stopped by the house and dropped off copies of Shirane's Classical Japanese: A Grammar and Classical Japanese Reader and Essential Dictionary, along with the exercise answers and tables workbook.

Heron, as I said I'll probably be ready to start working through it in February, as I'll be gone the entire month of January for work. I'll be in Japan in February for a month for some language classes, so it will work out perfectly for me to start about the middle of the month. We can start with a chapter a week, and see how that does for us? Of course, anyone is welcome to join in--I'll post what I can of the reading texts, at least give the references, so people without the Shirane books can find it if they want.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The middle of February would be good. I just got the Wixted which looks very helpful too. I'm looking forward to it Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'm going to the UK for three weeks and after that April is a very busy month. How would May be for other people? Obviously February didn't work Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Mind if I join? I've had copies on the shelf for a while, and I should really get into it. It would be much easier if there were others to study with.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
May is fine with me. I haven't decided whether to get Shinane, but I can get hold of the text and Japanese grammar books.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I am in for May.
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