Chinese idioms were originated from the ancient Chinese historical and philosophical works, crystallizing the wisdom of Chinese culture through thousands of years. They have become familiar daily language of today spoken by ordinary Chinese people in daily life. Being able to use them adroitly will lend vividness, authenticity, humor and refinement to your conversation and writing. The language in the Chinese idiom stories studied in this course encompasses the realms of politics, literature, military, philosophy and culture, which will enrich your Chinese vocabulary in all fields. This course particularly emphasizes the link of Chinese idiom stories with the four greatest indigenous classical Chinese philosophies. For example, you will study the idioms coming from Confucius’ Analects, that embody the Confucian ideas of benevolent rule, importance of study, the relationship between monarch and ministers; you will study the idioms coming from Taoist philosopher Lao Zi ‘s Tao Te Ching and Zhuang Zi’s Complete Works of Zhuang Zi, which exemplify Taoist ideas of the opposition of cosmic and human knowledge, the omniscient perspective from the sky achieved through self-emptiness, the Taoist conception of intuitive wisdom versus acquired learning, Taoist idea of making no distinction, and opposition to Confucian ethical order, Taoist dialectics in which the opposites are transformable into each other; you will also learn the Pacifist idea of Mohism, its advocacy of universal love and opposition to war, and its strikingly ingenious use of analogy in winning arguments over rivals with much greater worldly power; you will also study the forceful measure of army and law advocated by Legalism, its idea of highly unified and centralized power consolidated by war and forceful state machine, its demand of uniformity and consistency, which are in sharp contrast to the Pacifist idea of Mohism. All these central values of different schools of philosophies are learned through riveting, compelling idiom stories with ingenious arguments different from the typical methods of argument in the Western tradition. These stories give flesh and blood and humor to these profound philosophies.
For each idiom story, there are three lectures, the first lecture is text practice of the idiom stories: I will lead you to learn the vocabulary, explain to you sentence by sentence the text, and lead you to read the text twice, and ask you questions about the texts; the second lecture will teach you how to use the idioms in sentences, both grammatically and meaningfully. The source stories of these idioms all carry each school’s philosophical implication where they come from, but evolves into more generic meaning in which the philosophical implication is receded. The third lecture will be my talk-head video speaking these stories, so that you can review them and understand them without the text.
Chinese idioms are living fossils of language that are still extremely popular in daily conversation today, and will definitely lend humor, refinement, vividness and authenticity in your communication with Chinese people. You will find your Chinese acquire a new height with this course.
I am an award-winning professor of Chinese, director of "Hong Zeng's Chinese Language and Culture". I have taught Mandarin Chinese at all levels in prestigious American colleges altogether for 16 years. I have taught nine years as a tenure-track professor of Chinese at Carleton College, ranked No. 1 in undergraduate teaching in all liberal arts colleges in America, and have directed the Chinese program for two years at Hamline University (the first university in Minnesota). In both my second year coming to Carleton and Hamline, I more than doubled their Beginning Chinese Class enrollment. I have also taught at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I have two PhDs, one in Chinese and comparative literature from UNC, Chapel Hill, the other in second language education, literary translation and English literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University. I have published five books in America (including two from Macmillan) on Chinese and comparative literature, film study, language study and language philosophy that are well-endorsed by world-renowned experts and book review journals in my field. I have earned 30000 dollars large grant from Asian Network in Chinese study.