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Manchu (Manchu:, ) is a critically
endangered An endangered species is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group ...
East Asian East Asia is the eastern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and ...
Tungusic language The Tungusic languages (also known as Manchu-Tungus and Tungus) form a language family spoken in Eastern Siberia and Manchuria by Tungusic peoples. Many Tungusic languages are endangered, and the long-term future of the family is uncertain. There ...
native to the historical region of
Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its populatio ...

Manchuria
in
Northeast China Northeast China () is a geographical region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth ...

Northeast China
. As the traditional native language of the
Manchus The Manchu (; ) are an officially recognized ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym and endonym, exonym for a historical and geographic region of Russia and China in Northeast Asia (mostly in N ...
, it was one of the official languages of the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Pr ...
(1636–1912) of China and in
Inner Asia Inner Asia refers to landlocked regions within East Asia and North Asia that are part of today's Western China, Mongolia Mongolia (, Mongolian language, Mongolian: , Mongolian script, Traditional Mongolian: ') is a landlocked country in ...
, though today the vast majority of Manchus now speak only
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic languages, Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of the phonology of Standard Chinese. Because Mandarin ...
. Now, several thousand can speak Manchu as a second language through governmental primary education or free classes for adults in classrooms or online. The Manchu language enjoys high historical value for historians of China, especially for the Qing dynasty. Manchu-language texts supply information that is unavailable in Chinese and when both Manchu and Chinese versions of a given text exist they provide controls for understanding the Chinese. Like most
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Northern Asia. Siberia has been Russian conquest of Siberia, part of modern Russia since the latter half of th ...

Siberia
n languages, Manchu is an
agglutinative language An agglutinative language is a type of synthetic language A synthetic language uses inflection In linguistic morphology, inflection (or inflexion) is a process of word formation, in which a word is modified to express different grammatica ...
that demonstrates limited
vowel harmony In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular language variety. At one ...
. It has been demonstrated that it is derived mainly from the
Jurchen language Jurchen language () was the Tungusic language of the Jurchen people of eastern Manchuria, the founders of the Jin Empire in northeastern China of the 12th–13th centuries. It is ancestral to Manchu. In 1635 Hong Taiji renamed the Jurchen peop ...
though there are many
loan words A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning ( ...
from
Mongolian Mongolian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Mongolia, a country in Asia * Mongolian people, or Mongols * Mongolia (1911–24), the government of Mongolia, 1911–1919 and 1921–1924 * Mongolian language * Mongolian alphabet * Mongo ...

Mongolian
and
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
. Its script is vertically written and taken from the
Mongolian script The classical or traditional Mongolian script, also known as the , was the first Mongolian alphabet, writing system created specifically for the Mongolian language, and was the most widespread until the introduction of Cyrillic script, Cyrillic ...
(which in turn derives from
Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long history, Aramaic went thr ...

Aramaic
via
UyghurUyghur may refer to: * Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia * Uyghur language, a Turkic language spoken primarily by the Uyghurs ** Uyghur alphabets, any of four systems used to write the language * Uyghur Khaganate, a T ...

Uyghur
and ). Although Manchu does not have the kind of
grammatical gender In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langua ...
found in European languages, some gendered words in Manchu are distinguished by different stem vowels (vowel inflection), as in ''ama'', "father" and ''eme'', "mother".


Names

The Qing dynasty referred to the Manchu language in various Chinese titles such as "Qingwen" , or "Qingyu" ("Qing language") and Guoyu ("national language"), which was used by previous non-Han dynasties to refer to their languages. The term "national" was also applied to the Manchu writing as in ''Guowen'' in addition to ''Guoyu'' . In the Manchu-language version of the
Treaty of Nerchinsk The Treaty of Nerchinsk () of 1689 was the first treaty between the Tsardom of Russia The Tsardom of Russia or Tsardom of Rus' (russian: Русское царство, ''Russkoye tsarstvo''; later changed to: , ''Rossiyskoye tsarstvo''), also c ...
, the term "Chinese language" (''Dulimbai gurun i bithe'') referred to all three Chinese, Manchu, and Mongol languages, not just one language. ''Guoyu'' now refers to
Standard Chinese Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca among the speakers of various Mandarin and other varieties of C ...
.


History and significance


Historical linguistics

Manchu is southern Tungusic. While Northern Tungus languages like Evenki retain traditional structure, the Chinese language is a source of major influence upon Manchu, altering its form and vocabulary. In 1635
Hong Taiji Hong Taiji (28 November 1592 – 21 September 1643), sometimes written as Huang Taiji and sometimes referred to as Abahai in Western literature, was the second khan of the Later Jin (reigned from 1626 to 1636) and the founding emperor of t ...

Hong Taiji
renamed the
Jurchen people Jurchen (Manchu The Manchu (; ) are an officially recognized ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym and endonym, exonym for a historical and geographic region of Russia and China in Northeas ...
and
Jurchen language Jurchen language () was the Tungusic language of the Jurchen people of eastern Manchuria, the founders of the Jin Empire in northeastern China of the 12th–13th centuries. It is ancestral to Manchu. In 1635 Hong Taiji renamed the Jurchen peop ...
as "Manchu". The Jurchen are the ancestors of the Manchu and ruled over the later
Jin dynasty (1115–1234) The Jin dynasty (, ; , JurchenJurchen may refer to: * Jurchen people, Tungusic people who inhabited the region of Manchuria until the 17th century ** Haixi Jurchens, a grouping of the Jurchens as identified by the Chinese of the Ming Dynasty ...
.


Decline of use

Manchu began as a primary language of the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Pr ...
Imperial court, but as Manchu officials became increasingly sinicized, many started losing the language. Trying to preserve the Manchu identity, the imperial government instituted Manchu language classes and examinations for the bannermen, offering rewards to those who excelled in the language. Chinese classics and fiction were translated into Manchu, and a body of Manchu literature accumulated. As the
Yongzheng Emperor The Yongzheng Emperor (Yinzhen; 13 December 1678 – 8 October 1735) was the fourth of the , and the third Qing emperor to rule over . He reigned from 1722 to 1735. A hard-working ruler, the Yongzheng Emperor's main goal was to create an effect ...
(reigned 1722–1735) explained,
"If some special encouragement … is not offered, the ancestral language will not be passed on and learned."Edward J. M. Rhoads, ''Manchus & Han: Ethnic Relations and Political Power in Late Qing and Early Republican China, 1861–1928.'' University of Washington Press, 2000. Pages 52–54. . Partially availabl
on Google Books
/ref>
Still, the use of the language among the bannermen declined throughout the 1700s. Historical records report that as early as 1776, the
Qianlong Emperor The Qianlong Emperor (25 September 17117 February 1799) was the fifth Emperor of the Qing dynasty and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western write ...

Qianlong Emperor
was shocked to see a high Manchu official, Guo'ermin, not understand what the emperor was telling him in Manchu, despite coming from the Manchu stronghold of Shengjing (now
Shenyang Shenyang (, ; ; Mandarin pronunciation: ), formerly known as Fengtian () or by its Manchu name Mukden, is a major Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a ...

Shenyang
). By the 19th century even the imperial court had lost fluency in the language. The
Jiaqing Emperor The Jiaqing Emperor (13 November 1760 – 2 September 1820), personal name Yongyan, was the sixth emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or an ...
(reigned 1796–1820) complained that his officials were not proficient at understanding or writing Manchu. By the end of the 19th century the language was so moribund that even at the office of the Shengjing general, the only documents written in Manchu (rather than Chinese) would be the memorials wishing the emperor long life; at the same time period, the archives of the Hulan banner detachment in Heilongjiang show that only 1% of the bannermen could read Manchu, and no more than 0.2% could speak it. Nonetheless, as late as 1906–1907 Qing education and military officials insisted that schools teach Manchu language, and that the officials testing soldiers'
marksmanship A marksman is a person who is skilled in precision shooting Shooting is the act or process of discharging a projectile from a ranged weapon (such as a gun, bow and arrow, bow, crossbow, slingshot, or blowgun, blowpipe). Even the acts of lau ...

marksmanship
continue to conduct an oral examination in Manchu. The use of the language for the official documents declined throughout the Qing history as well. Especially at the beginning of the dynasty, some documents on sensitive political and military issues were submitted in Manchu but not in Chinese. Later on, some Imperial records in Manchu continued to be produced until the last years of the dynasty. In 1912 the Qing was overthrown, most Manchus could not speak their language, and the
Beijing dialect The Beijing dialect (), also known as Pekingese, is the prestige dialect of Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin spoken in the urban area of Beijing, China. It is the phonological basis of Standard Chinese, the official language in the China, People's Repub ...
replaced Manchu.


Use of Manchu

A large number of Manchu documents remain in the archives, important for the study of Qing-era China. Today, written Manchu can still be seen on architecture inside the
Forbidden City The Forbidden City () is a Chinese palace, palace complex in Dongcheng District, Beijing, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China, at the center of the Imperial City, Beijing, Imperial City of Beijing. It is surrounded by numerous opulent imperial g ...

Forbidden City
, whose historical signs are written in both
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...

Chinese
and Manchu. Another limited use of the language was for voice commands in the Qing army, attested as late as 1878. Bilingual Chinese-Manchu inscriptions appeared on many things.


Manchu studies during the Qing Dynasty

A
Jiangsu Jiangsu (; ; formerly romanized Kiangsu) is an eastern-central coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative regi ...

Jiangsu
Han Chinese named Shen Qiliang wrote books on Manchu grammar like (Guide to Qing Books, ''Manju bithe jy nan'') and (Great Qing Encyclopedia, ''Daicing gurun-i yooni bithe''). He was born to a father who was a naval officer for the Qing, and his grandfather was an official of the Ming dynasty, before rebels murdered him. Shen Qiliang himself fought against the as part of the Qing army. He then started learning Manchu and writing books on Manchu grammar from Bordered Yellow Manchu Bannermen in 1677 after relocating to Beijing. He translated the Hundred Family Names and
Thousand Character Classic The ''Thousand Character Classic'' (), also known as the ''Thousand Character Text'', is a Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It ...
into Manchu and spent 25 years on the Manchu language. Shen wrote: "I am a Han. But all my life I have made a hobby of Manchu." Shen never had to learn Manchu as part of his job because he was never an official so he seems to have studied it of his own will. Most Han people were not interested in learning non-Han languages so it is not known why Shen was doing it. A
Hangzhou Hangzhou (, , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese, in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a Mandarin Chinese#Subgrouping, dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franc ...

Hangzhou
Han Chinese, Cheng Mingyuan, helped edit the book (Introduction to the Qing language, ''Cing wen ki meng bithe''), which was co-written by a Manchu named Uge. Uge gave homeschooled Manchu language classes which were attended by his friend Cheng. Cheng arranged for its printing.


Hanlin

Han Chinese at the
Hanlin Academy The Hanlin Academy was an academic and administrative institution of higher learning founded in the eighth-century Tang China The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an in ...
studied the Manchu language in the Qing. The Han Chinese Hanlin graduate
Qi YunshiQi Yunshi (1751–1815) was a Chinese official and historian exiled to Central Asia between 1805 and 1809 who together with Wang Tingkai and Xu Song (Qing dynasty), Xu Song was prominent among the exiled officials employed by Songyun, the military go ...
knew the Manchu language and wrote a book in Chinese on the frontier regions of China by translating and using the
Grand Secretariat The Grand Secretariat (; Manchu: ''dorgi yamun'') was nominally a coordinating agency but ''de facto'' the highest institution in the imperial government of the Chinese Ming dynasty#REDIRECT Ming dynasty {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from m ...
's archives Manchu-language sources. Hanlin Academy in 1740 expelled the Han Chinese
Yuan Mei Yuan Mei (; 1716–1797) was a Chinese painter and poet of the Qing Dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English D ...

Yuan Mei
for not succeeding in his Manchus studies. Injišan, and Ortai, both Manchus, funded his work. The Han Chinese Yan Changming had the ability to read
Tibetan Tibetan may mean: * of, from, or related to Tibet * Tibetan people, an ethnic group * Tibetan language: ** Classical Tibetan, the classical language used also as a contemporary written standard ** Standard Tibetan, the most widely used spoken dialec ...
, Oirat, and Mongolian. Han Chinese officials learned languages on the frontier regions and Manchu in order to be able to write and compile their writings on the region. A Manchu-language course over three years was required for the highest ranking Han degree holders from Hanlin but not all Han literati were required to study Manchu. Towards the end of the Qing it was pointed out that a lot of Bannermen themselves did not know Manchu anymore and that Manchu was not able to be forced upon the people and minister of the country at the beginning of the Qing dynasty.


Translation between Chinese and Manchu

Chinese fiction books were translated into Manchu. Bannermen wrote fiction in the Chinese language. had Chinese books translated into Manchu. Han Chinese and Manchus helped Jesuits write and translate books into Manchu and Chinese. Manchu books were published in
Beijing Beijing ( ), as Peking ( ), is the of the . It is the world's , with over 21 million residents within an of 16,410.5 km2 (6336 sq. mi.). It is located in , and is governed as a under the direct administration of the with .Figures ...

Beijing
. The
Qianlong Emperor The Qianlong Emperor (25 September 17117 February 1799) was the fifth Emperor of the Qing dynasty and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western write ...

Qianlong Emperor
commissioned projects such as new Manchu dictionaries, both monolingual and multilingual like the Pentaglot. Among his directives were to eliminate directly borrowed loanwords from Chinese and replace them with
calque In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the me ...

calque
translations which were put into new Manchu dictionaries. This showed in the titles of Manchu translations of Chinese works during his reign which were direct translations contrasted with Manchu books translated during the
Kangxi Emperor The Kangxi Emperor (Xuanye; 4 May 1654– 20 December 1722) was the third Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Wester ...

Kangxi Emperor
's reign which were Manchu transliterations of the Chinese characters. The Pentaglot was based on the ''Yuzhi Siti Qing Wenjian'' ("Imperially-Published Four-Script Textual Mirror of Qing"), with
UyghurUyghur may refer to: * Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia * Uyghur language, a Turkic language spoken primarily by the Uyghurs ** Uyghur alphabets, any of four systems used to write the language * Uyghur Khaganate, a T ...

Uyghur
added as fifth language. The four-language version of the dictionary with Tibetan was in turn based on an earlier three-language version with Manchu, Mongolian, and Chinese called the ("Imperially-Published Manchu Mongol Chinese Three pronunciation explanation mirror of Qing"), which was in turn based on the ("Imperially-Published Revised and Enlarged mirror of Qing") in Manchu and Chinese, which used both Manchu script to transcribe Chinese words and Chinese characters to transcribe Manchu words with
fanqie ''Fanqie'' ( zh, t= 反切, p=fǎnqiè) is a method in traditional Chinese dictionary, Chinese lexicography to indicate the pronunciation of a monosyllabic Chinese characters, character by using two other characters, one with the same initial conso ...
.


Studies by outsiders

A number of European scholars in the 18th century were frustrated by the difficulties in reading Chinese, with its "complicated"
writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communic ...

writing system
and
classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
writing style. They considered Manchu translations, or parallel Manchu versions, of many Chinese documents and literary works very helpful for understanding the original Chinese. de Moyriac de Mailla (1669–1748) benefited from the existence of the parallel Manchu text when translating the historical compendium ''Tongjian Gangmu'' (''Tung-chien Kang-mu''; ). Amiot (1718–1793) consulted Manchu translations of Chinese works as well, and wrote that the Manchu language "would open an easy entrance to penetrate … into the labyrinth of Chinese literature of all ages."Anonymous, "Considerations on the language of communication between the Chinese and European governments", in ''The Chinese Repository'', vol XIII, June 1844, no. 6, pp. 281–300
Available on Google Books
Modern reprint exists,
Study of the Manchu language by Russian sinologists started in the early 18th century, soon after the founding of the Russian Orthodox Mission in Beijing, to which most early Russian sinologists were connected.Liliya M. Gorelova, "Manchu Grammar." Brill, Leiden, 2002. Illarion Kalinovich Rossokhin (died 1761) translated a number of Manchu works, such as ''The history of Kangxi's conquest of the Khalkha and Oirat nomads of the Great Tartary, in five parts'' (История о завоевании китайским ханом Канхием калкаского и элетского народа, кочующего в Великой Татарии, состоящая в пяти частях), as well as some legal treatises and a Manchu–Chinese dictionary. In the late 1830s, Georgy M. Rozov translated from Manchu the ''History of the Jin (Jurchen) Dynasty''.''История золотой империи''. (''The History of the Jin (Jurchen) Dynasty'') Russian Academy of Sciences, Siberian Branch. Novosibirsk, 1998. 2
Editor's preface
A school to train Manchu language translators was started in
Irkutsk Irkutsk ( ; rus, Иркутск, p=ɪrˈkutsk; Buryat language, Buryat and mn, Эрхүү, ''Erhüü'') is the largest city and administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia. With a population of 617,473 as of the 2010 Census, Irkutsk is the ...

Irkutsk
in the 18th century, and existed for a fairly long period. An anonymous author remarked in 1844 that the transcription of Chinese words in Manchu alphabet, available in the contemporary Chinese–Manchu dictionaries, was more useful for learning the pronunciation of Chinese words than the inconsistent romanizations used at the time by the writers transcribing Chinese words in English or French books. In 1930, the German sinologist Eric Hauer argued forcibly that knowing Manchu allows the scholar to render Manchu personal and place names that have been "horribly mutilated" by their Chinese transliterations and to know the meanings of the names. He goes on that the Manchu translations of Chinese classics and fiction were done by experts familiar with their original meaning and with how best to express it in Manchu, such as in the Manchu translation of the '' Peiwen yunfu''. Because Manchu is not difficult to learn, it "enables the student of Sinology to use the Manchu versions of the classics in order to verify the meaning of the Chinese text".


Current situation

Currently, several thousand people can speak Manchu as a second language through primary education or free classes for adults offered in China. However very few native Manchu speakers remain. In what used to be
Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its populatio ...

Manchuria
virtually no one speaks the language, the entire area having been completely
sinicized Sinicization, sinofication, sinification, or sinonization (from the prefix , 'Chinese, relating to China') is the process by which non-Chinese societies come under the influence of Chinese culture, particularly Han-Chinese culture, language, so ...
. As of 2007, the last native speakers of the language were thought to be 18
octogenarian Ageing or aging (see spelling differences) is the process of becoming older. The term refers especially to human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable t ...
residents of the village of
Sanjiazi Sanjiazi (; (Manchu language, Manchu:, Transliterations of Manchu, Möllendorff: ilan boo) is a village or Ilanbotokso in Youyi Daur, Manchu, and Kirghiz Ethnic Township (), Fuyu County, Heilongjiang, Fuyu County, Heilongjiang, China.} The village i ...
(), in Fuyu County, in
Qiqihar Qiqihar () is the second-largest city in the Heilongjiang province of China, in the west central part of the province. The built-up (or metro) area made up of Longsha, Tiefeng and Jianhua districts had 959,787 inhabitants, while the total populat ...

Qiqihar
,
Heilongjiang Heilongjiang, Postal romanization, formerly romanized as Heilungkiang, is a Provinces of China, province in northeast China. It is the northernmost and easternmost province of the country. The province is bordered by Jilin to the south and Inne ...

Heilongjiang
Province. A few speakers also remain in Dawujia village in
Aihui District Aihui District (), formerly known as Aihui (), Aihun (), Aihu (), and Aihu (), is an administrative district A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by local government. Across the world, areas known ...
of
Heihe Heihe (; ; Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россиян ...

Heihe
Prefecture. The Xibe (or Sibe) are often considered to be the modern custodians of the written Manchu language. The Xibe live in
Qapqal Xibe Autonomous County Qapqal Xibe Autonomous County (; Xibe: , Cabcal Sibe beye dasangga siyan, also transliterated as ''Chapchal'', ug, چاپچال شىبە ئاپتونوم يېزىسى; kk, شاپشال سىبە اۆتونوميالى اۋدانى) in Ili Kazakh ...
near the
Ili Ili, ILI, Illi may refer to: Abbreviations * Irish Life International, part of Irish Life and Permanent * Intuitive Logical Introvert, a personality type in socionics * Influenza-like illness * Iran Language Institute, a state-owned, non-profit o ...
valley in
Xinjiang Xinjiang (),, SASM/GNC: ''Xinjang''; zh, c=, p=Xīnjiāng; alternately romanized as Sinkiang officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and formerly romanized as Sinkiang, is a landlocked autonomous region An autonomous ...

Xinjiang
, having been moved there by the
Qianlong Emperor The Qianlong Emperor (25 September 17117 February 1799) was the fifth Emperor of the Qing dynasty and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western write ...

Qianlong Emperor
in 1764. Modern written Xibe is very close to Manchu, although there are slight differences in the writing system which reflect distinctive Xibe pronunciation. More significant differences exist in morphological and syntactic structure of the spoken Xibe language. For one example among many, there is a "
converb In theoretical linguistics Theoretical linguistics is a term in linguistics which, like the related term general linguistics, can be understood in different ways. Both can be taken as a reference to theory of language Theory of language is a topic f ...
" ending, -''mak'', that is very common in modern spoken Xibe but unknown in Manchu.


Revitalization movements

Recently, there have been increased efforts to revive the Manchu language. Revival movements are linked to the reconstruction of ethnic Manchu identity in the Han-dominated country. The Manchus mainly lead the revival efforts, with support from the
PRC China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, East ...

PRC
state,
NGOs A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of ...
and international efforts. Revivalism began in the post-
Mao Mao Zedong pronounced ; also romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for st ...

Mao
era when non-Han ethnic expression was allowed. By the 1980s, Manchus had become the second largest minority group in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
. People began to reveal their ethnic identities that had been hidden due to 20th century unrests and the fall of the
Qing Empire The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University ...
. Language revival was one method the growing numbers of Manchus used in order to reconstruct their lost ethnic identity. Language represented them and set them apart from other minority groups in the " plurality of ethnic cultures within one united culture". Another reason for revivalism lay in the archives of the Qing Empire–a way to translate and resolve historical conflicts between the Manchus and the state. Lastly, the people wanted to regain their language for the rituals and communication to their ancestors–many shamans do not understand the words they use. Manchu associations can be found across the country, including
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong
, as well as abroad, in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
. Consisting of mostly Manchus and Mongols, they act as the link between the people, their ethnic leaders and the state. NGOs provide large support through "Manchu classes". Manchu is now taught in certain primary schools as well as in universities.
Heilongjiang University University of Heilongjiang () is a national university in the city of Harbin Harbin ( Manchu: ; ) is a sub-provincial city and the provincial capital of Heilongjiang province, People's Republic of China China, officially the Peo ...

Heilongjiang University
Manchu language research center in no.74, Xuefu Road,
Harbin Harbin (; ) is a sub-provincial city A sub-provincial division () in China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most ...

Harbin
, listed Manchu as an
academic major An academic major is the academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real wor ...
. It is taught there as a tool for reading Qing-dynasty archival documents. In 2009 ''
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The Wall Street Journal
'' reported that the language is offered (as an elective) in one university, one public middle school, and a few private schools. There are also other Manchu volunteers in many places of China who freely teach Manchu in the desire to rescue the language. Thousands of non-Manchu speakers have learned the language through these measures. Despite the efforts of NGOs, they tend to lack support from high-level government and politics. The state also runs programs to revive minority cultures and languages.
Deng Xiaoping Deng Xiaoping (22 August 1904 – 19 February 1997), also known by his courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in ...

Deng Xiaoping
promoted bilingual education. However, many programs are not suited to the ethnic culture or to passing knowledge to the younger generations. If the programs were created via "top-down political processes" the locals tend to look at them with distrust. But if they were formed via specialized governmental organizations, they fare better. According to Katarzyna Golik:
In
Mukden Shenyang (, ; ; Mandarin pronunciation: ), formerly known as Fengtian () or by its Manchu The Manchu (; ) are an officially recognized ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym and endonym, ...

Mukden
, the historical Manchurian capital, there is a Shenyang Manchu Association () which is active in promoting Manchurian culture. The Association publishes books about Manchurian folklore and history and its activities are run independently from the local government. Among the various classes of the Manchurian language and calligraphy some turned out to be a success. Beijing has the biggest and most wealthy Beijing Daxing Regency Manchu Association (). (pp100-101)
Other support can be found internationally and on the Internet. Post-Cultural Revolution reform allowed for international studies to be done in China. The dying language and ethnic culture of Manchus gained attention, providing local support. Websites facilitate communication of language classes or articles. Younger generations also spread and promote their unique identity through popular Internet media. Despite the increased efforts to revive the Manchu language, there are many obstacles standing in the way. Even with increased awareness, many Manchus choose to give up their language, some opting to learn Mongolian instead. Manchu language is still thought of as a foreign language in a Han-dominated Chinese speaking country. Obstacles are also found when gaining recognition from the state. Resistance through censorship prevented the performing of Banjin festivals, a festival in recognition of a new reconstructed Manchu identity, in Beijing.


Dialects

Dialects of Manchu include a variety of its historical and remaining spoken forms throughout
Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its populatio ...

Manchuria
, and the city of Peking (the capital). Notable historical Manchu dialects include Peking, Ningguta, Acheng District, Alcuka and
Mukden Shenyang (, ; ; Mandarin pronunciation: ), formerly known as Fengtian () or by its Manchu The Manchu (; ) are an officially recognized ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym and endonym, ...

Mukden
dialects.


Peking Manchu dialect

The Beijing dialect, Chinese Northern Mandarin dialect spoken in Peking had a major influence on the phonology of the dialect of Manchu spoken in that city, and because Manchu phonology was transcribed into Chinese and European sources based on the sinicized pronunciation of Manchus from Peking, the original authentic Manchu pronunciation is unknown to scholars. The Manchus of Peking (Beijing) were influenced by the Chinese dialect spoken in the area to the point where pronouncing Manchu sounds was hard for them, and they pronounced Manchu according to Chinese phonetics, whereas the Manchus of Aigun (in Heilongjiang) could both pronounce Manchu sounds properly and mimic the sinicized pronunciation of Manchus in Peking (Beijing), because they learned the Pekinese (Beijing) pronunciation from either studying in Peking or from officials sent to Aigun from Beijing, and they could tell them apart, using the Chinese influenced Pekinese pronunciation when demonstrating that they were better educated or their superior stature in society.


Changes in vowels

Phonetically, there are some characteristics that differentiate the Peking accent from the standard spelling form of Manchu. * There are some occasional vowel changes in a word. For example (''cimari'' /t͡ʃʰimari/) is pronounced [t͡ʃʰumari], (''ojorakū'' /ot͡ʃoraqʰʊ/) is pronounced [ot͡ɕiraqʰʊ], and (''gisun'' /kisun/) is pronounced [kysun]. ** In particular, when the vowel /o/ or diphthong /oi/ appears at the beginning of a word, it is frequently pronounced [ə] and [əi] respectively in Peking accent. For example, (''onggolo'' /oŋŋolo/) is pronounced [əŋŋolo], (''oilo'' /oilo/) is pronounced [əilo]. * Diphthongization of vowels. /ə/ becomes /əi/ (such as ''dehi'' /təxi/ pronounced [təixi]), /a/ becomes [ai] (such as ''dagilambi'' /takilampi/ pronounced [taikilami]), and /i/ becomes [iu] (such as ''niru'' /niru/ pronounced [niuru], and ''nicuhe'' /nit͡ʃʰuxə/ pronounced [niut͡ʃʰuxə]). * /oi/ becomes [uai], especially after /q/ (g). For example, ''goimbi'' /koimpi/ becomes [kuaimi]. * Loss of vowels under certain conditions. The vowel /i/ following consonant /t͡ʃʰ/ (c) or /t͡ʃ/ (j) usually disappears. For example, ''ecike'' /ət͡ʃʰikʰə/ is pronounced [ət͡ʃʰkʰə], and ''hojihon'' /χot͡ʃiχon/ is pronounced [χot͡ʃχon]. There are also other cases where a vowel disappears in Peking accent. For example, ''ekšembi'' /əkʰʃəmpi/ is pronounced [əkʰʃmi], and ''burulambi'' /purulampi/ is pronounced [purlami].


Changes in Consonants

This section is primarily based upon Aisin Gioro Yingsheng's ''Miscellaneous Knowledge of Manchu'' (满语杂识). * Systemic merger of /q/ and /χ/ into [ʁ], and /k/ and /x/ into [ɣ] between voiced phonemes. For example, (''sargan'' /sɑrqɑn/) is pronounced as [sɑrʁɑn], and (''urgun'' /urkun/) is pronounced as [urɣun]. * Conversely, /χ/ may be pronounced as [qʰ] at the beginning of a word. For example, (''hamimbi'' /χɑmimpi/) is pronounced as [qʰamimi]. * Assmilation of alveolar and postalveolar stops after /n/. For example, (''banjimbi'' /pɑnt͡ʃimpi/) is pronounced as [pɑnnimi], and (''hendumbi'' /xəntumpi/) is pronounced as [xənnumi]. * /si/ is pronounced as [ʃɨ] in the middle of a word. For example, (''usiha'' /usiχɑ/) is pronounced as [uʃɨʁɑ].


Grammar


Syntax

Manchu phrases are all head-final. This means that the head-word of a phrase (e.g. the noun of a noun phrase, or the verb of a verb phrase) always falls at the end of the phrase. Thus, adjectives and adjectival phrases always precede the noun they modify, and the arguments to the verb always precede the verb. As a result, Manchu sentence structure is subject–object–verb (SOV). Manchu uses a small number of case-marking particles that are similar to those found in Korean language, Korean, but also has a separate class of true postpositions. Case-markers and postpositions can be used together, as in the following sentence: In this example, the postposition , "with", requires its nominal argument to have the genitive case, and so we have the genitive case-marker between the noun and the postposition. Manchu also makes extensive use of
converb In theoretical linguistics Theoretical linguistics is a term in linguistics which, like the related term general linguistics, can be understood in different ways. Both can be taken as a reference to theory of language Theory of language is a topic f ...
structures, and has an inventory of converbial suffixes that indicate the relationship between the subordinate verb and the finite verb that follows it. For example, given the following two sentences (which have finite verbs): These two sentences can be combined into a single sentence using converbs, which will relate the first action to the second. For example:


Cases

Manchu has five Grammatical case, cases. The cases are marked by particles that can be written either with the noun to which they apply or separately. The particles do not obey the rule of vowel harmony, yet they are also not truly postpositions.


nominative case, nominative

one of the principal syntactic cases; used for the subject of a sentence, no overt marking


accusative case, accusative

(''be'') – one of the principal syntactic cases; indicate participants/direct object of a sentence. Direct objects can sometimes also take the nominative. It is commonly felt that the marked accusative has a definite sense, like using a definite article in English. Written separate from the word it follows. Accusative can be used in the following ways: * nominative-accusative strategy – indicates opposition between syntactic roles (subject = nominative; object – accusative) * transitive verbs * transitive verb (negative form) * indicate when agent is caused to perform an action * indicate motion that is happening


genitive case, genitive

(''i'' or ''ni'') – one of the principal syntactic cases; used to indicate possession or means by which something is accomplished. Its primary function is to indicate the possessive one. e.g. possessor of an object e.g. persons relationships Other functions of genitive are: * attributive – nouns followed by genitive marker indicates attributives; also used for participles and verbs * adverb – the noun is repeated with the addition of the genitive marker (i)


dative case, dative-locative case, locative

(''de'')– used to indicate location, time, place, or indirect object. The primary function is to indicate semantic role of recipient: Other functions: * agent of a passive verb * indicate person who is in possession of something * indicate sources of something * indicate instrument of action (verbs in past tense, talking about other's)


ablative case, ablative

(''ci'') – used to indicate the origin of an action or the basis for a comparison. e.g. starting point in space or time e.g. comparison of objects ''deri''-form – used in Classical Manchu; different scholars have specified different meanings: * in the place of ''ci'' * comparisons


Less used cases

* initiative case, initiative – used to indicate the starting point of an action. suffix ''-deri'' * terminative case, terminative – used to indicate the ending point of an action. suffix ''-tala''/''-tele''/''-tolo'' * indefinite allative case, indef. allative – used to indicate 'to a place, to a situation' when it is unknown whether the action reaches exactly to the place/situation or around/near it. suffix ''-si'' * indefinite locative case, indef. locative – used to indicate 'at a place, in a situation' when it is unknown whether the action happens exactly at the place/situation or around/near it. suffix ''-la''/''-le''/''-lo'' * indefinite ablative case, indef. ablative – used to indicate 'from a place, from a situation' when it is unknown whether the action is really from the exact place/situation or around/near it. suffix ''-tin'' * distributive case, distributive – used to indicate every one of something. suffix ''-dari'' * Essive-formal case, formal – used to indicate a simile ("as/like"). suffix ''-gese'' * identical case, identical – used to indicate that something is the same as something else. suffix ''-ali''/''-eli''/''-oli'' (apparently derived from the word ''adali'', meaning "same") * orientative case, orientative – used to indicate "facing/toward" (something/an action), showing only position and tendency, not movement in. suffix ''-ru'' * revertive case, revertive – used to indicate "backward" or "against (something)". From the root 'ca' (see ''cargi'', ''coro'', ''cashu-n'', etc.) suffix ''-ca''/''-ce''/''-co'' * translative case, translative – used to indicate change in the quality/form of something. suffix ''-ri'' * indefinite accusative case, in. accusative – used to indicate that the touch of the verb on the object is not surely complete. suffix ''-a''/''-e''/''-o''/''-ya''/''-ye''/''-yo'' In addition, there were some suffixes, such as the primarily adjective-forming suffix ''-ngga''/''-ngge''/''-nggo'', that appear to have originally been case markers (in the case of ''-ngga'', a genitive case marker), but which had already lost their productivity and become fossilized in certain lexemes by the time of the earliest written records of the Manchu language: e.g. ''agangga'' "pertaining to rain" as in ''agangga sara'' (an umbrella), derived from Manchu ''aga'' (rain).


Phonology

Written Manchu was close to being called an "open syllable" language because the only consonant that came regularly at the end of native words was , similar to Beijing dialect, Beijing Mandarin, Northeastern Mandarin, Jilu Mandarin and Japanese language, Japanese. This resulted in almost all native words ending in a vowel. In some words, there were vowels that were separated by consonant clusters, as in the words ''ilha'' ('flower') and ''abka'' ('heaven'); however, in most words, the vowels were separated from one another by only single consonants. This open syllable structure might not have been found in all varieties of spoken Manchu, but it was certainly found in the southern dialect that became the basis for the written language. It is also apparent that the open-syllable tendency of the Manchu language had been growing ever stronger for the several hundred years since written records of Manchu were first produced: consonant clusters that had appeared in older forms, such as ''abka'' and ''abtara-mbi'' ('to yell'), were gradually simplified, and the words began to be written as ''aga'' or ''aha'' (in this form meaning 'rain') and ''atara-mbi'' ('to cause a commotion').


Consonants

Manchu has twenty consonants, shown in the table using each phoneme's representation in the International Phonetic Alphabet, IPA, followed by its romanization in italics. was rare and found mostly in loanwords and onomatopoeiae, such as ''pak pik'' ('pow pow'). Historically, appears to have been common, but sound change, changed over time to . was also found mostly in loanwords and onomatopoeiae and there was no single letter in the Manchu alphabet to represent it, but rather a digraph of the letters for and . is usually transcribed with a digraph ''ni'', and has thus often been considered a sequence of phonemes rather than a phoneme of its own, though work in Tungusic historical linguistics suggests that the Manchu palatal nasal has a very long history as a single segment (linguistics), segment, and so it is shown here as phonemic. Early Western descriptions of Manchu phonology labeled Manchu ''b'' as "soft p", Manchu ''d'' as "soft t", and Manchu ''g'' as "soft k", whereas Manchu ''p'' was "hard p", ''t'' was "hard t", and ''k'' was "hard k". This suggests that the phonological contrast between the so-called Voice (phonetics), voiced series (''b, d, j, g'') and the voiceless series (''p, t, c, k'') in Manchu as it was spoken during the early modern era was actually one of Aspirated consonant, aspiration (as shown here) or tenseness, as in Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin. was affricated to in some or all contexts. , , and together with were palatalized before /i/ or /y/ to , , and , respectively. and were backed before /a/, /ɔ/, or /ʊ/ to and , respectively. Some scholars analyse these uvular realizations as belonging to phonemes separate from and , and they were distinguished in the Manchu alphabet, but are not distinguished in the romanization.


Vowels

In this vowel system, the "neutral" vowels (''i'' and ''u'') were free to occur in a word with any other vowel or vowels. The lone front vowel (''e'', but generally pronounced like Standard Chinese, Mandarin [ɤ] ) never occurred in a word with either of the regular back vowels (''o'' and ''a''), but because the rules of
vowel harmony In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular language variety. At one ...
are not perceptible with diphthongs, the diphthong ''eo'' occurs in some words, i.e. ''deo'', "younger brother", ''geo'', "a mare", ''jeo'', "department", ''leole'', "to discuss", ''leose'', "building", and ''šeole'', "to embroider", "to collect". ''e'' is pronounced as /e/ after ''y'', as in niyengniyeri /ɲeŋɲeri/. Between ''n'' and ''y'', ''i'' is absorbed into both consonants as /ɲ/. The relatively rare vowel transcribed ''ū'' (pronounced ) was usually found as a back vowel; however, in some cases, it was found occurring along with the front vowel ''e''. Much disputation exists over the exact pronunciation of ''ū''. :de:Erich Hauer, Erich Hauer, a German sinologist and Manchurist, proposes that it was pronounced as a front rounded vowel initially, but a back unrounded vowel medially. William Austin suggests that it was a mid-central rounded vowel. The modern Xibe language, Xibe pronounce it identically to ''u''.


Diphthongs

There are altogether eighteen diphthongs and six triphthongs. The diphthongs are ''ai'', ''ao'', ''ei'', ''eo'', ''ia'', ''ie'', ''ii'', ''io'', ''iu'', ''oi'', ''oo'', ''ua'', ''ue'', ''ui'', ''uo'', ''ūa'', ''ūe'', ''ūi'', and ''ūo''. The triphthongs are ''ioa'', ''ioo'' (which is pronounced as ), ''io(w)an'', ''io(w)en'', ''ioi'' (), and ''i(y)ao'', and they exist in Chinese loanwords. The diphthong ''oo'' is pronounced as , and the diphthong ''eo'' is pronounced as .


Loanwords

Manchu absorbed a large number of non-native sounds into the language from Chinese. There were special symbols used to represent the vowels of Chinese loanwords. These sounds are believed to have been pronounced as such, as they never occurred in native words. Among these, was the symbol for the high unrounded vowel (customarily romanized with a ''y'', /ɨ/) found in words such as ''sy'' (Buddhist temple) and ''Sycuwan'' (Sichuan); and the triphthong ''ioi'' which is used for the Chinese ''ü'' sound. Chinese Affricate consonant, affricates were also represented with consonant symbols that were only used with loanwords such as in the case of ''dzengse'' (orange) (Chinese: ''chéngzi'') and ''tsun'' (inch) (Chinese: ''cùn''). In addition to the vocabulary that was borrowed from Chinese, the Manchu language also had a large amount of loanwords from other languages such as
Mongolian Mongolian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Mongolia, a country in Asia * Mongolian people, or Mongols * Mongolia (1911–24), the government of Mongolia, 1911–1919 and 1921–1924 * Mongolian language * Mongolian alphabet * Mongo ...

Mongolian
, for example the words ''morin'' (horse) and ''temen'' (camel).


Vowel harmony

The
vowel harmony In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular language variety. At one ...
found in the Manchu language was traditionally described in terms of the philosophy of the ''I Ching''. Syllables with front vowels were described as being as "Yin and yang, yin" syllables whereas syllables with back vowels were called "Yin and yang, yang" syllables. The reasoning behind this was that the language had a kind of sound symbolism where front vowels represented feminine objects or ideas and the back vowels represented masculine objects or ideas. As a result, there were a number of word pairs in the language in which changing the vowels also changed the gender of the word. For example, the difference between the words ''hehe'' (woman) and ''haha'' (man) or ''eme'' (mother) and ''ama'' (father) was essentially a contrast between the front vowel, [e], of the feminine and the back vowel, [a], of the masculine counterpart.


Writing system

The Manchu language uses the Manchu alphabet, Manchu script, which was derived from the traditional Mongolian writing systems, Mongol script, which in turn was based on the vertically written pre-Islamic Old Uyghur alphabet, Uyghur script. Manchu is usually Romanization, romanized according to the system devised by Paul Georg von Möllendorff in his book on Manchu grammar. Its ancestor, Jurchen language, Jurchen, used the Jurchen script, which is derived from the Khitan large script, Khitan script, which in turn was derived from Chinese characters. There is no relation between the Jurchen script and the Manchu alphabet, Manchu script. Chinese characters can also be used to Transcription into Chinese characters, transliterate Manchu. All the Manchu vowels and the syllables commencing with a consonant are represented by single Chinese characters as are also the syllables terminating in ''i, n, ng'' and ''o''; but those ending in ''r, k, s, t, p, I, m'' are expressed by the union of the sounds of two characters, there being no Mandarin syllables terminating with these consonants. Thus the Manchu syllable ''am'' is expressed by the Chinese characters ''a-muh'' (8084, 7800) (, ''a mù'') and the word ''Manchu'' is, in the Kangxi Dictionary, spelled in the following manner: ''Ma'' (7467) ''-a'' (8084) ''gan'' (2834) (, ''mǎ ā ān'') —Man; ''—choo'' (1303) ''a'' (11767) (, ''zhū wū'') ''chu''; —Manchu.


Teaching

Mongols learned their script as a syllabary, dividing the syllables into twelve different classes, based on the final phonemes of the syllables, all of which ended in vowels. The Manchus followed the same syllabic method when learning Manchu script, also with syllables divided into twelve different classes based on the finals phonemes of the syllables. Today, the opinion on whether it is alphabet or syllabic in nature is still split between different experts. In China, it is considered syllabic and Manchu is still taught in this manner. The alphabetic approach is used mainly by foreigners who want to learn the language. Studying Manchu script as a syllabary takes a longer time.() Despite the alphabetic nature of its script, Manchu was not taught phoneme per letter like western languages are; Manchu children were taught to memorize all the syllables in the Manchu language separately as they learned to write, like Chinese characters. To paraphrase Meadows 1849,
Manchus when learning, instead of saying l, a—la; l, o—lo; &c., were taught at once to say la, lo, &c. Many more syllables than are contained in their syllabary might have been formed with their letters, but they were not accustomed to arrange them otherwise. They made, for instance, no such use of the consonants l, m, n, and r, as westerners do; hence if the Manchu letters s, m, a, r, t, are joined in that order a Manchu would not able to pronounce them as English speaking people pronounce the word 'smart'.
However this was in 1849, and more research should be done on the current teaching methods used in the PRC.


Further reading

Learning texts of historical interest * * * For readers of Chinese * * * Literature * * * * *


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * Haenisch, Erich. 1961. ''Mandschu-Grammatik''. Leipzig: Veb Verlag Enzyklopädie  * * * Erling von Mende. 2015. "In Defence of Nian Gengyao, Or: What to Do About Sources on Manchu Language Incompetence?". Central Asiatic Journal 58 (1-2). Harrassowitz Verlag: 59–87. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.13173/centasiaj.58.1-2.0059. * Möllendorff, Paul Georg von. 1892. Shanghai. * Jerry Norman (sinologist), Norman, Jerry. 1974. "Structure of Sibe Morphology", ''Central Asian Journal''. * Norman, Jerry. 1978. ''A Concise Manchu–English Lexicon'', University of Washington Press, Seattle. * Norman, Jerry. 2013. ''A Comprehensive Manchu–English Dictionary'', Harvard University Press (Asia Center), Cambridge . * Ramsey, S. Robert. 1987. ''The Languages of China.'' Princeton University Press, Princeton New Jersey * Tulisow, Jerzy. 2000. ''Język mandżurski'' (« The Manchu language »), coll. « Języki Azjii i Afryki » (« The languages of Asia and Africa »), Dialog, Warsaw, 192 p.   * Kane, Daniel. 1997. "Language Death and Language Revivalism the Case of Manchu". Central Asiatic Journal 41 (2). Harrassowitz Verlag: 231–49. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41928113. *


External links

* Wiktionary:Appendix:Altaic Swadesh lists, Manchu Swadesh vocabulary list of basic words (from Wiktionary's Wiktionary:Appendix:Swadesh lists, Swadesh-list appendix)
Abkai — Unicode Manchu/Sibe/Daur Fonts and Keyboards

Manchu language Gospel of Mark


at Omniglot


Manchu–Chinese–English Lexicon

online Manchu–Chinese, Manchu–Japanese lexicon

Anaku Manchu Script Creator

A Dying Language

Contrast In Manchu Vowel Systems

Manchu Word Of The Day, Open Source Manchu–English dictionary

Manju Nikan Inggiri Gisun i Buleku Bithe (Manchu–Chinese–English dictionary)

Manchu language guide

The Manchu Studies Group

Tawney, Brian. "Reading Jakdan's Poetry: An Exploration of Literary Manchu Phonology". AM Thesis (Harvard, RSEA)


{{DEFAULTSORT:Manchu Language Manchu language, Agglutinative languages Endangered languages Languages of China Tungusic languages Subject–object–verb languages Manchuria Vowel-harmony languages