Manchu Language Courses
Instructor: Professor T. Kam 甘德星教授
Manchu Documents (Elementary)
This is the first half of a year-long course that helps you read Manchu documents. In this semester, we will focus on documents written in the pointed script.
From weeks 1-3, you will learn the basics of the language, including writing and pronunciation. From weeks 3-6 we will study the postpositions and suffixes through basic sentence patterns, simple conversations and short texts. The remaining 6-7 weeks will be devoted to reading historical documents, including the Tongki fuqa sindaxa hergen-i dangse, known commonly as the Man-wen lao-tang; archival materials such as edicts and memorials; and other kinds of writings that you may find interesting to read (folk epics, shamanistic prayers, Buddhist sutras, St. Mark’s Gospel, phrase books, works on anatomy, musical lyrics etc.)
There is no prerequisite for the course. A good command of both Chinese and English is, however, presumed. You are reminded that a reading knowledge of a language typologically similar to Manchu such as Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Uighur or Tibetan , though not essential, would help you understand the Manchu syntax and morphology better. Upon request, we might use, besides Manchu-Chinese materials, some other bilingual (Manchu-Japanese, Manchu-Korean, Manchu-Mongolian, Manchu-Tibetan) or multi-lingual texts in class to bring home certain grammatical features peculiar to the Manchu language.
Manchu Documents (Advanced)
This course is a continuation of “Manchu Documents (Elementary).” The focus is on Manchu texts written in the unpointed script, including the Tongki fuqa aqô hergen-i dangse, stele inscriptions, and newly discovered documents written in Old Manchu. You will also learn how to use native Manchu dictionaries and will be introduced to reference works essential to deciphering unregistered vocables that might crop up from time to time in the texts.
Though not a prerequisite, a reading knowledge of French, German and Russian would be helpful in using some of the reference works introduced in the course.