Measures of unmeasured texts: Teaching advanced classical Chinese via diagrams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In order to facilitate the understanding of text structures and to highlight the different parts of a text and the relation of the different parts to one another, texts have often been translated into graphic charts in teaching and preaching contexts. This spatial representation of diagrams is the topic of this paper which deals with diagrammatic representations of texts as a didactic approach to teach classical Chinese.
After a short discussion of some basic European diagram traditions the paper compares these with Chinese traditional examples. Diagrams designed by my students over more than a decade differ greatly from these medieval traditions. Worldview, modes of thinking as well as the visual repertoire and production techniques have changed so fundamentally that even the notion of what a text and what a diagram is and what it does differ. Homework collected over the last 15 years in Germany (Heidelberg), Great Britain (Edinburgh and Cambridge), Switzerland (Zurich) and Belgium (Leuven) has brought forth a collection of over 250 student diagrams a selection of which will be presented and analysed in the paper. Diagrams will be discussed as a method of teaching advanced Classical Chinese. A reflection on the different contexts and modes of diagram production in Medieval Europe, Song China and modern Europe concludes the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching Classical Chinese, Zum Unterricht des Klassischen Chinesischen, 文言文教學
EditorsWen 文 Li 李, Ralph Kauz
Place of PublicationGossenberg
PublisherOstasien Verlag
Number of pages38
ISBN (Print)9783946114727
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Measures of unmeasured texts: Teaching advanced classical Chinese via diagrams'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this