These essays have been written over the years as part of my 'extra-mural' studies of the Chinese language and culture.
August, 2002 What is ?: Some comments on Translation
September, 2003 Some Thoughts on Translating Modern Chinese Poetry
May, 2005 The Origins of Xiqu, or Chinese opera
October, 2005 The Genesis of the Chinese Novel
May, 2006 What is the Chinese Garden?
August, 2006 The Appreciation of a Chinese Garden
October, 2007 The Translation of Classical Chinese Poetry

Tang Dynasty Pronunciation

The following tables are based on the Unicode Consortium's Unihan Database Revision 5.0.0 (7 July 2006).
  • Unified CJK ideographs [5.8MB], sorted by most common pinyin pronunciation, showing the characters with their Mandarin and Tang (if available) pronunciations. Where there is more than one Mandarin pronunciation, they are ordered by frequency of use. [The Tang pronunciations are derived from or consistent with _T'ang Poetic Vocabulary_ by Hugh M. Stimson, Far Eastern Publications, Yale Univ. 1976.]
  • Same as above, but displaying only those characters with a defined Tang pronunciation [1.5MB].

  • In both tables, each line consists of the character, its Unicode code value, its pinyin pronunciation(s) (using digits to represent tones). These are followed by one or more Tang dynasty pronunciations if they exist in the Stimson monograph. Note that a missing Tang pronunciation means only that the particular character was not analysed by Stimson. [It does not mean that the particular character did not exist in Tang times, nor that the Tang pronunciation was the same as current pronunciation.] The tones of the Tang pronunciation are represented by a grave accent for the departing tone, a caron accent for the rising tone, and no accent for the level or entering tones. The entering tones are distinguished by a final ending in k, t or p. The asterisk preceding some of the Tang pronunciations indicates that the particular pronunciation occurs at least four times in the texts analysed by Stimson.

    Tang Poetry Translations

    These are the collected translations of a selection of Tang dynasty jintishi ('recent style' poems) from the famous poet Du Fu.

    For each poem, the original traditional chinese text is provided, along with pinyin representation, the original Tang pronunciation of the last character of each line (to determine the rhyme), and the original tone of each character, where L represents the level tone, and the three deflected tones, namely rising, departing and entering, are represented by r, d, and e respectively. This is then followed by as many translations as I have been able to find. Note that some URL references are no longer valid. (Corrections, particularly the names of those translators named as anonymous or unknown, and/or further contributions are welcome to

  • WangYue "Gazing at Taishan" which is not strictly jintishi but is gushi. - 30 translations
  • YueYe "Moonlit Night" - 48 translations
  • ChunWang "Spring Outlook" - 56 translations
  • TianMoHuaiLiBai "Thinking of Li Bai at the Tip of the Sky" - 17 translations
  • YueYeYiSheDi "Thinking of My Brothers on a Moonlit Night" - 30 translations
  • KeZhi "An Unexpected Guest" - 25 translations
  • ChunYeXiYu "Welcome Rain on a Spring Night" - 28 translations
  • WenGuanJunShouHeNanHeBei "On Hearing Government Troops Recapture Henan and Hebei" - 28 translations
  • LvYeShuHuai "Night Thoughts While Traveling" - 43 translations
  • DengGao "Climbing High" - 48 translations
  • JiangNanFengLiGuiNian "Meeting Li Guinian South of the River" - 25 translations
  • Following is a list of the sources of all the translations contained above.

  • Bibliography of sources of translations
  • Finally, here are my translations of the Du Fu poems analysed above.

  • My Translations