Classical Chinese Punctuation

Classical Chinese Punctuation

I was pipped by 孙子兵法, wondering how the ancient scholars notated their text in the past. So I turned to Quora for answers:

How did ancient Chinese scholars denote questions in text?

I am reading Sun Tzu’s The Art of War (book) on Wikisource at the moment in Chinese. And in the first chapter, I read a portion:

曰:主孰有道?將孰有能?天地孰得?法令孰行?兵眾孰強?士卒孰練?賞罰孰明?

Now, how was this (and other questions as well) annotated in ancient Chinese? I am pretty sure that the usage of “?” is a Western influence.

The answer came pretty fast from André Müller:

Right, the example you gave would simple be written as:

曰主孰有道將孰有能天地孰得法令孰行兵眾孰強士卒孰練賞罰孰明

(in upward-down mode, of course)

So context helps here, and the parallelistic structures of Classical Chinese.

Read Quote of André Müller’s answer to Chinese (language): How did ancient Chinese scholars denote questions in text? on Quora

Interesting… Language evolves and I wonder what Chinese will be in the future.

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