LingDong-/wenyan-lang 文言文編程語言 A programming language for the ancient Chinese.

文言 wenyan-lang


文言文編程語言。A programming language for the ancient Chinese. Try it online.

之世,結繩而足治,屈指而足算。是時豈料百代之後,計算機械之巧,精於公輸木鳶,善於武侯流馬;程式語言之多,繁若《天官》之星宿,奇勝《山經》之走獸。,或以速稱。,各爭文采。方知鬼之所以夜哭,天之所以雨粟。然以文言編程者 ,似所未有。此誠非文脈之所以傳,文心之所以保。嗟予小子,遂有斯志。然則數寸之烏絲猶覆於頭,萬卷之素書未破於手;一身長羈於遠邦,兩耳久矌于雅言。然夫文章者吾之所宿好,程式者偶承時人之謬譽。故希孟不慚年少,莊生不望無涯。乃作斯言。誠未能嘔瀝長吉心血,亦庶幾免於義山流沫。既成之後,復學干將鑄劍而自飼,越王嚐糞而當先。自謂偶追《十書》之筆意,但恨少八家之淋漓。此子山所謂士衡抚掌而甘心,平子見陋而固宜。然則雖實覆甕之質,尚存斧正之望;雖乏呂相之金,易字之渴蓋同。此亦開源之大義,吾輩之所以勉勵也。一笑。




Equivalent JavaScript:

var n = 3;
for (var i = 0; i < n; i++) {



Punctuations and newlines are completely optional (just like they are in Classical Chinese), so the above code is equivalent to:


More sophisticated examples, such as the Sieve of Eratosthenes, Quicksort, Mandelbrot set, and Tower of Hanoi, can be found in the ./examples folder.



The Compiler

Clone the repo, (OR simply download ./build/wenyan.js and set its executable bit using the terminal command chmod +x wenyan.js). Then run ./build/wenyan.js to compile your wenyan souce code to target language. Calling the compiler without arguments prints the help message, reproduced below:

Usage: wenyan [options] [input files]

--eval    -e <string>  : Give a string instead of a file (default: `')
--exec    -x <boolean> : Execute output (default: `false')
--inspect -i <boolean> : Interactive REPL (default: `false')
--lang    -l <string>  : Language: js/py (default: `js')
--log        <string>  : Log file (default: `/dev/null')
--output  -o <string>  : Output file (default: `/dev/stdout')
--roman   -r <boolean> : Romanize identifiers (default: `true')

Try building the included examples first, e.g.:

./build/wenyan.js examples/helloworld.wy -o helloworld.js

Building platform-specific binaries

  • Clone the repo
  • npm install
  • npm run make_cmdline

The macOS, Windows and Linux binaries will be in the ./build folder.

The online IDE

Syntax Cheatsheet

A context-free grammar description is under construction. Meanwhile, please check the cheatsheet below, or look into src/parser.js to learn about the syntax. Be sure to check out the examples from the online IDE too!


wenyan JavaScript
吾有一數。曰三。名之曰「甲」。 var a = 3;
有數五十。名之曰「大衍」。 var dayan = 50;
昔之「甲」者。今「大衍」是矣。 a = dayan;
吾有一言。曰「「噫吁戲」」。名之曰「乙」。 var b = "alas!";
吾有一爻。曰陰。名之曰「丙」。 var c = false;
吾有一列。名之曰「丁」。 var d = [];
吾有三數。曰一。曰三。曰五。名之曰「甲」曰「乙」曰「丙」。 var a=1,b=3,c=5;


wenyan JavaScript
若三大於二者。乃得「「想當然耳」」也。 if (3>2){ return "of course"; }
若三不大於五者。乃得「「想當然耳」」。若非。乃得「「怪哉」」也。 if(3<=5){return "of course"}else{return "no way"}
為是百遍。⋯⋯ 云云。 for (var i = 0; i < 100; i++){ ... }
恆為是。⋯⋯ 云云。 while (true) { ... }
凡「天地」中之「人」。⋯⋯ 云云。 for (var human of world){ ... }
乃止。 break;


wenyan JavaScript
加一以二。 1+2
加一於二。 2+1
加一以二。乘其以三。 (1+2)*3
除十以三。所餘幾何。 10%3
減七百五十六以四百三十三。名之曰「甲」。 var a = 756-433;
夫「甲」「乙」中有陽乎。 a || b
夫「甲」「乙」中無陰乎。 a && b


Arrays are 1-indexed.

wenyan JavaScript
吾有一列。名之曰「甲」。充「甲」以四。以二。 var a = []; a.push(4, 2);
銜「甲」以「乙」。以「丙」 a.concat(b).concat(c);
夫「甲」之一。 a[0]
夫「甲」之其餘。 a.slice(1);
夫「玫瑰」之「「名」」。 rose["name"]
夫「寶劍」之長。 sword.length;


wenyan JavaScript
吾有一術。名之曰「吸星大法」。是術曰。⋯⋯是謂「吸星大法」之術也。 function f(){...}
吾有一術。名之曰「六脈神劍」。欲行是術。必先得六數。曰「甲」。曰「乙」。曰「丙」。曰「丁」。曰「戊」。曰「己」乃行是術曰。⋯⋯是謂「六脈神劍」之術也。 function f(a,b,c,d,e,f){...}
吾有一術。名之曰「翻倍」。欲行是術。必先得一數。曰「甲」。乃行是術曰。乘「甲」以二。名之曰「乙」。乃得「乙」。是謂「翻倍」之術也。 function double(a){var b = a * 2; return b;}
施「翻倍」於「大衍」。 double(dayan);
吾有一數。曰五。書之。 console.log(5);


src/render.js can render a wenyan program into an image that resembles pages from historical printed books. It can also parse the resultant SVG file back to the original program. Below is the rendering of the Universal Turing Machine written in wenyan:

Contributed Tools


Install Mochajs

npm install --global mocha

Go to src/test folder, run


Feature Requests

Before opening an Issue, please check if it belongs to the below categories:

Name Priority Help needed
Language Spec *****
Class / Object literals ***
Import statements ***
Standard library (Math/Bitwise ops/Random) *****
Test suite ****
Switch statements ***
Functional programming ***
Stricter compiler ****
Compiler for other languages **
Plugins for editors **
Convert js/py/anything back to wenyan *
Escaping/generating special characters ***
Alternative syntax for 「「」」 **
Alternative symbols for 。 **
Online IDE fonts and vertical text **
Rendering comment as small inline text **
More examples **

If you could help implement a feature with a under help needed, please feel free to submit a pull request. It would be very much appreciated! If you would like to help out on other features, please let me know too! Thanks.

Known bugs

Name Priority Help needed
hanzi2num conversion error *****
hanzi2num multi-character numbers not included ***