Manchu: A textbook for reading documents

    Li, Gertraude Roth

    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