文言

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Mandarin[edit]

simpl. and trad.
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Noun[edit]

文言 (traditional and simplified, Pinyin wényán)

  1. Literary Chinese; literary language used from the fall of the Han dynasty (220 CE) to the early 20th century.
  2. Classical Chinese; literary language used in old China

Usage notes[edit]

Careful usage distinguishes between 文言 (literary writing, used from the fall of the Han dynasty (220 CE) to the early 20th century) on the one hand, and 古文 (Ancient Writing) or, formally, 古典漢語 (Classical Chinese) (Classical Chinese, used from the Zhou Dynasty (1045 BCE) (especially the Spring and Autumn Period), through to the end of the Han Dynasty (220 CE)) on the other. However, the terms are often conflated.

Related terms[edit]