Manchu: A textbook for reading documents (second edition)

2006-2010 lctl language-learning

“...a welcome event in the field of Manchu studies.”
--Journal of the American Oriental Society 130.4 (2010)

Read the January 2016 NYTimes article on this language in peril.

View the table of contents.

This is an update of the 1st edition, with the addition of access to audio files.

This book offers students a tool to gain a basic grounding in the Manchu language. The reading selections provided in this volume represent various types of documents, ranging from examples of the very earliest Manchu writing (17th century) to samples of contemporary Sibe (Xibo), a language that may be considered a modern version of Manchu. Since Manchu courses are only rarely taught at universities anywhere, this second edition includes audio recordings to assist students with the pronunciation of the texts.

Audio files:

Manchu Introduction: Sample Words (10.87 MB)
Manchu Reading Selection A-1 (12.84 MB)
Manchu Reading Selection A-2 (34.98 MB)


Manchu: A vanishing rainbow
by Chang Ming

Learning to read these unfamiliar symbols
My soul is lighter than a flower awaking to spring,
Lighter than a seagull winging to ocean,
Lighter than a rainbow arching to sky.
    I find my long lost rainbow.

Trying to write these unfamiliar symbols
My heart lies heavier than mountains on earth,
Heavier than a volcano on lava,
Heavier than a tree on roots
    I stand by my long lost root.

Dedicated to Dr. Gertraude Roth Li
Honolulu, 2004

Tagged as 2006-2010 lctl language-learning