Manchu: A textbook for reading documents

1999-2002 language-learning lctl

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

View the updated 2nd edition, containing access to audio files.

As the first English-language Manchu textbook since Moellendorf's Manchu Grammar in 1892, this book offers students a tool to gain a good grounding in the Manchu language. Instead of having to depend on a formal Manchu class -- Manchu courses are only rarely taught at universities anywhere -- students will be able study Manchu at their speed and convenience. If studied in its entirety, the material in this book represents the approximate equivalent of a three-semester course (one year and a half).


Part I: Introduction
The purpose of this book
Why study Manchu?
Manchu sources

  • Bibliographies
  • Archival collections
  • Official publications
  • Non-official sources

The value of Manchu documents
Work to be done
About the Manchu language

  • History of the Manchu language
  • Alphabet
  • Romanization
  • Pronunciation
  • Language characteristics
  • Foreign language influence 

The Manchu script

  • Writing peculiarities
  • Tables of alphabet symbols
  • Reading exercise—Sample words

Part II: Reading Selections
How to use the texts
About the reading selections
A. Standard Manchu—Narratives from the Qianlong period

  • A–1 Veritable Records
  • A–2 Hošik
  • A–3 Husayn
  • A–4 Hasim
  • A–5 Abdurman
  • A–6 Ūdui

B. Official documents

  • B–1 Asking for administrative leave (1874)
  • B–2 Weather report from Mukden (1779)
  • B–3 Correspondence between Kangxi and his son (1696)
  • B–4 From Mampi to Fiyanggū (1697)
  • B–5 Fiyanggū reports on envoys from Galdan (1697)
  • B–6 Fiyanggū reports Galdan's death (1697)

C. Old Manchu—From the Old Manchu archives

  • C–1 On collective leadership (1622)
  • C–2 Manchu–Chinese cooperative living (1621–1622)
  • C–3 Manchu–Chinese inequality (1623)
  • C–4 On maintaining the Manchu heritage (1636)

D. Contemporary Sibe

  • D–1 Dead horses obstructing the road
  • D–2 Mr. Mouse moves

Part III: Study Aids
Historical background: The Qing Dzungar campaigns
Grammatical points
Miscellaneous information
Selected reference materials
Index of grammatical points

Tagged as 1999-2002 language-learning lctl