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Beginners' Guide to Learning Chinese History


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#1 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 07:21 AM

Hi CHF Members,

For all those who are new to chinese history, I would especially like to brief you on some tips and steps towards learning chinese history and getting yourself involved in this forum.

First of all, I would like to welcome you to a fascinating trip to learning and discussing chinese history.

It is a fact that China has one of the longest and most voluminous records of history classics, sources and traditions in the world. In fact, the work of chinese historians known as "Shi Guan", mainly those working in the chinese court, was to record what the chinese Emperor said daily and all the court activities. Usually, these logs and historical records were studied and used to compile a survey of the Emperor's reign. History was greatly studied and often used as mirrors to avoid mistakes to help the emperor rule his empire better.

In today's modern world, history debate and discussion has been common activities among the historians not only in China but also around the world. Historians not only study historical facts, interpret them, study the pattern, but also examine and check for its accuracy and truth etc, together with the help of archaeologists. The invention of internet forum (bulletin board system) such as the one we are using now, is transforming the way we share information across the internet and the world. It literally makes our discussion more fruitful as we are able to see different views and information from different people. It offer us an insight into how a simple fact can be interpreted differently by different people from different country, culture and languages.

The internet forum is a great tool especially for people who are studying and learning history. It works not only for novice but also for history professionals. The advantages of history forum discussion can be listed as follow:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> 1. History Answer
Get a history answer and discussion from different perspective, views from different people. It allows more insight into history discussion.

>> 2. Learning more and deeper
It allows you to get deeper and learn more. Often a question and discussion will lead to more question, which will prompt you to research for more information related to the discussion. So, generally speaking, you get to learn more.

>> 3. Memorise and remember better
Often, you have to input and type the history facts into the history forum discussion. If you can't remember the facts, you often have to refer to a book and put them down. As you type them, you are learning history in the process, because it allows you to better memorise and remember these history facts.

>> 4. Getting more help
Sometimes, you have difficulty searching for history information on the internet. Someone can help you and put you a link to the necessary website. This is a faster means of getting information what you want.

>> 5. Sharing of history sources
Share history sources from different countries and languages. It gives you a greater insight.
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I would like to briefly mention a few tips and steps, which you can follow when learning chinese history.


Beginner's Guide to Learning Chinese History


>> 1. Do not be afraid to participate and ask questions

For beginners in chinese history, you will sometimes feel 'afraid' to post any questions, because you might think your question is like 'an idiot' question and that you think people will laugh at you. Well, let me just say, CHF is not for experts only. It's also for beginners to learn chinese history. There is no such thing as a 'stupid question', so no-one will laugh at you. Thus, DO NOT BE AFRAID to ask question. Asking question is the only way in which you can clear your doubt and have a good understanding of chinese history. We have here a wide range of people ranging from youngster as young as 11 year old to older people around 70. We have many beginners like you. So, do not be afraid to speak up, just because you're new to chinese history.

>> 2. Doing self-study by reading up
For people who are completely new to chinese history, I would recommend you to do some readings up (if possible), not only on the discussion topics here, but also from books and other chinese history website.

The following links should get you familiarize with chinese history:

http://www.chinahist...hp?showtopic=53
http://www.chinahist...hp?showtopic=40
http://www.chinahist...?showtopic=3532
http://www.chinahist...p?showtopic=449

The recommended books will allow you to learn basic knowledge of chinese history and get you to participate and enjoy the history discussion here. It also prompts you to learn and inquire further.

>> 3. Ask your questions clearly
If you're posting a question, always post your questions clearly, so that you can invite people to answer them. While we very much wish that people can help with essay-type of question, please do not expect people to write an essay for your question (or for your homework). We can help you by pointing out some facts, points and arguments, but simply writing an essay for you defeats the purpose of you learning history. The homework still has to be done by you, but we can help with your research work by showing you the sources and the recommended books to read etc.

>> 4. Support your argument
When putting up with a debate, always backup your argument with facts and historical evidence. Do some examination of your logic, whether your writing is logical. If you are putting up a counter-argument against another forummer, please be polite and refrain from verbal attack. If you're pointing something written by a forummer that they are wrong, always point out why they are wrong, instead of just saying "you are completely wrong". Saying why they are wrong will prompt further discussion, convince the other forummers and make the debate more interesting.

>> 5. You do not need to know chinese to learn the basics of chinese history
There is a misconception to non-chinese speakers that chinese language is required if you're learning chinese history. While there is no doubt that majority of sources on chinese history are in chinese language, learning chinese language is not really necessary if you're learning chinese history at a basic or intermediate level. There are authoritive source of english books such as Cambridge History of China that provide detail (if not sometimes better) readings on chinese history. Learning chinese language is only necessary if you wish to advance to a higher level to be able to read chinese sources. Learning chinese language is generally encouraged esp. you're at a more advanced level, but is not necessary if you're at a beginner's level.

>>6. Problems with Chinese Terms and Names
Many of you might have problems with chinese terms and names, if you are not a chinese speaker. You will encounter this when reading chinese history. What we suggest is use our recommended online chinese-english dictionary at http://www.chinahist...?showtopic=2150

If you're having problems with Wade-Giles/Pinyin conversion, refer to our link

http://www.chinahist...?showtopic=3292

Do visit our "Chinese Language Help and Discussion" forum, if you need help on chinese language
http://www.chinahist...hp?showforum=23

>> 7. Language and Translation
For those who knows chinese, it would be a bonus for you when learning chinese history, since many of the historical sources are from chinese. If you do not know chinese, never mind, there are also plenty of translation of these sources into English. This is an English-based forum, thus we require you to post in English most of the times. If you are a non-English speaker, we always welcome your participation here. Some CHF members do not speak English as their native language, but they try and improve their english through the participation here. If you have language problem, many of us will be able to help you.

>> 8. Learn from other more experienced members
Sometimes, learning from others how to debate will help you to be more skilled in debating. For more experienced members, please be humble and helpful. Do not 'mock' or 'laugh' at them. You can still learn alot from newcomers and even help them, and advance your knowledge by 'teaching' or helping them in chinese history.

>> 9. Emoticons
Sometimes, you can add emoticons to your posting to express the mood. It makes the discussion more fun and interesting.

>> 10. Images, Maps and Pictures
Images, maps and Pictures are a great way to explain your posting. There are many free remote image hosting sites where you can upload pictures (e.g. ImageShack). You need a scanner to scan pictures into computer and then upload to the site. Then in this forum, use the IMG bbcode to add the link to the image and it will display the image.

>> 11. Using QUOTE
Using a QUOTE is a great way to refer to someone's writing. To COPY someone's writing, simply highlight the person's writing by clicking the left mouse button and holding them down, then right click and press "Copy". Then on your posting, right click and press "paste". Then use the QUOTE IBFcode in this forum to refer to that post. Always type the name of the person's writing into the Quote, not only to refer to that person, but also to prevent plagiarism.

>> 12. Technical Help on use of the forum
You can visit our technical support forum at http://www.chinahist...hp?showforum=22 if you're having problems on the use of forum and need help. Simply post your question and someone will answer to that.

That's all I have to say.Enjoy the chinese history discussion here.

If you have anything you would like to contribute on "tips on posting", please put it down in this thread.

Thanks
GZ :unsure:
Posted ImagePosted Image

"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

#2 asiaconqueror

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 10:46 AM

Great Guide..GZ..I'm sure this will prove useful for us! Thanks for writing such informative thread. B)

#3 Liu Biao

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 02:23 AM

Oh nice website.I love chinese history. :) :P :D

#4 Guest_Kandie_*

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 03:51 PM

Academic resources for reasearching on Chinese History


http://www.google.ca...nG=Search&hl=en
http://www.google.ca...nG=Search&meta=
http://acc6.its.broo...ll/chinbib.html
Chinese Cultural Studies:
Bibliographical Guide
http://sun.sino.uni-...cs/igbiblio.htm
Online Bibliographies for Chinese Studies
http://www.sscnet.uc...elman/ClassBib/
CLASSICAL HISTORIOGRAPHY FOR CHINESE HISTORY
http://www.unive.it/.../vl/biblio.html
ONLINE BIBLIOGRAPHIES
FOR CHINESE STUDIES
http://www.academici.../chinahist.html
Academic Info
Chinese History - Directory of Online Resources on the History of China
http://newton.uor.ed...ina-biblio.html
Research & Bibliographic Resources for Chinese Studies
http://staff.hum.ku....ittrup/rwcs.htm
Reference Works for Chinese Studies
http://ccat.sas.upen...vin/nakbib.html
SELECTED, ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY OF

THE HISTORY OF CHINESE SCIENCE AND MEDICINE

SOURCES IN WESTERN LANGUAGES
http://www.asu.edu/l...ect/chinese.htm
Chinese Studies for Undergraduate Students
http://www.academici.../chinameta.html
China Studies > General Links
http://hua.umf.maine...na/bibtxt3.html
Chinese History and Culture
http://hua.umf.maine...China/econ.html
Economics in Chinese History
http://www-personal....al/asiastud.htm
Web Resources for East Asian Studies
http://www.lib.unime...iResources.html
East Asian Collection

The Internet and Chinese Studies Resources
http://orpheus.ucsd....ry/bibqing.html
Modern Chinese History: A Basic Bibliography
http://venus.unive.i...s/01_intro.html
1. INTRODUCTORY ORIENTATIONS
http://www.lib.pdx.e...ww/history.html
Chinese Cultural Studies: Bibliographical Guide
http://www.glaadh.ac...iblio Craig.htm
The Economy of Images: Visual Culture in China 1400-1700

Prof Craig Clunas, Sussex University
http://www.indiana.e...raphy/china.htm
CHINA
Primary Texts
http://history.berke...n/h280Gsyl.html
History 280G - Frederic Wakeman


----------------------------


http://www.google.ca...nG=Search&hl=en
"politics of china" bibliography
http://orpheus.ucsd....ory/bibprc.html
Modern Chinese History: A Basic Bibliography
http://newton.uor.ed...na-history.html
China flagChina: History
http://www.seas.ac.u...ina_Links.shtml
China Links
http://library.kcc.hawaii.edu/asdp/
Asian Studies Development Program
http://www-chaos.umd...references.html
References for History of China
http://hua.umf.maine.../politicsm.html
Politics

Modernization and the International Stage




Return to

China Page and Main Menu

Bibliography Index

#5 tuanoo1

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 07:58 PM

What about China the Beautiful? :g:

#6 pump

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 11:55 PM

Oh nice website.I love chinese history. :) :P :D

ya,a very nice website to learn about chinese history.i'm a history teacher living in china.of course i teach my students chinese history.but i know to learn chinese history is not easy for my students.they always complain that it's very hard to keep the history events in minds....
i'd like to exchange my idea about chinese history to those who love chinese history.

#7 pinto

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 05:49 AM

Dear Administrator and all Forum members,

I have a special interest in Gastronomy and Culinary history. Would you be so kind to consider providing me some reliable sources of information for CHINA? I usually find this subject scattered within few episodes in the History of China. Is there a good compilation of this issue?

Kind regards, Jose

#8 Yun

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 06:04 AM

Pinto, would you like to ask this question on our Chinese Food subforum to get more responses from members?
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.

#9 Ashura

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 06:05 AM

Dear Administrator and all Forum members,

I have a special interest in Gastronomy and Culinary history. Would you be so kind to consider providing me some reliable sources of information for CHINA? I usually find this subject scattered within few episodes in the History of China. Is there a good compilation of this issue?

Kind regards, Jose

http://www.chinahist...hp?showforum=59

see if that helps.
人間五十年、下天のうちをくらぶれば、夢幻の如くなり。

#10 fat dragon

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 11:30 PM

Hello. I am new here and this is my first post. I found this site by accident in my quest to learn history, but found this site to be so impressive I had to register! :icon15: :notworthy:

The original search that landed me here is in regards to China's role in WWI, its position as a foe of Japan and also its alliance with the western allies against the Central Powers. I am interested also in China's role and participatation at Versailles. Would anyone be able to provide information and/or provide links regarding these matters?

I would also like to learn more about the different Pinyin(sp?) methods, as I am confused. Is Cantonese "pinyin" no longer accepted? And how does one discern the difference? I cannot read Chinese, but was fortunate enough to grow up in San Francisco and befriended many Cantonese speaking friends who taught me enough to be somewhat fluent in the spoken form. I am curious if there is a "quick" way to learn to writings. It is tough to a Gweilo who can speak Cantonese but not Mandarin and can read only a few dozen characters.

Thanks in advance for any inputs.

#11 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 12:31 AM

I would also like to learn more about the different Pinyin(sp?) methods, as I am confused. Is Cantonese "pinyin" no longer accepted? And how does one discern the difference? I cannot read Chinese, but was fortunate enough to grow up in San Francisco and befriended many Cantonese speaking friends who taught me enough to be somewhat fluent in the spoken form. I am curious if there is a "quick" way to learn to writings. It is tough to a Gweilo who can speak Cantonese but not Mandarin and can read only a few dozen characters.

Thanks in advance for any inputs.


Pinyin is only applicable for mandarin. Romanization of cantonese takes another form. Refer to http://www.chinahist...?showtopic=4015 for sites on learning chinese.

If you're interested in learning chinese character, I would suggest http://www.zhongwen.com
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"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

#12 abolhuis

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 04:37 AM

Hi,

Not sure if this is the right place to ask, but would anybody know about any beginner courses/studies in Chinese History/Culture here in Singapore? NUS offers a full bachelor/master program, but that's a bit too ambitious for me as I don't speak Chinese for starters ;-)

The Institute of South East Asia Studies (http://www.iseas.edu.sg/) looks promising, but it's a bit too ad hoc. I would be interested in signing up for a 6 month course and can spend some eight hours a week attending classes or lectures (two week day evenings or the Saturday).

I have no ulterior motive or any kind of goal; I'm just curious to learn more about Chinese culture & history of which I know almost nothing ;-(

Hope you can help!


Arjan Bolhuis

#13 gelanbag

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 04:38 AM

Oh nice post.I love chinese history

#14 Loong

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 10:03 AM

I guess the best place to ask around are people from the chinese language/history/arts clubs in NUS which may direct you to one of the more open minded lecturers. There may be discussion groups which meet up once a week to sort of talk about more "general" issues on chinese history for non chinese (or Mandarin) speakers.

#15 ScottLeger

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 06:19 AM

Thanks

Visit For Books Online





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