Zhou Yi has 64 verses which are most often called hexagrams because of the six-line symbols associated with each verse.
Each verse is made up of seven lines, the first line holds the overall description of the theme and the other six lines describe “progressing” aspects of the overall theme.
The text thus has 64 x 7 lines plus two extra lines in hexagram 1 and 2, in all 450 independant lines.
The text consists of 4933 characters (including numbers). It has 784 unique characters.
The language of the Zhou Yi is sometimes called Pre-classical Chinese. It is nearly the oldest written language in China only preceded by the writing inscribed on the so-called “oracle bones” of the Shang dynasty.
Classical Chinese was never a spoken language. It existed 1000 years before common era and was used up until 1911.
Although there have always been many dialects in China the written language has, to a surprisingly large degree, been the same. This was convenient for the emperor’s officials that only had to write one version of decrees and orders.
Translating the Zhou Yi the main problem is that ancient Chinese characters could function in several ways and could have many meanings, much more than in modern times. Therefore it is difficult to translate words without a broader context and short sentences can be very difficult to be certain about.
The translation of The Book of Changes – The Original Core of the I Ching is in every case based on a broader context. Furthermore, only relevant dictionaries have been consulted and comparisons have been made with numerous early texts. But most importantly, the inherent structure of the manual has been revealed and serves as a framework for the translation.