Let’s study Möllendorff! 01

By “Möllendorff”, I mean A Manchu Grammar with Analysed Texts, by P.G. von Möllendorff, Shanghai, 1892.  It is the first English language Manchu grammar textbook.  Since then, there has only been one other one published (actually not a textbook, but a reference grammar), in 2002 by Liliya Gorelova, but it’s very expensive, and according to the one review of it on Amazon, contains many typos and other errors.  It’s too expensive for me to buy it myself to make my own judgement.  Möllendorff is reasonably well written, even considering that it’s more than 100 years old.  And it’s free!

Gertraude Roth Li’s (GRL) book, Manchu: a textbook for reading documents (MTRD), is excellent, but it does not purport to be a grammar textbook.  It is designed primarily to help historians to be able to read Manchu documents, so although it is permeated with wonderful grammatical notes, it (deliberately) doesn’t explore syntax in a very complete way.

So exploring the texts in Möllendorff may be a good foothold and introduction to Manchu grammar.  In this series of posts, I will go through the texts in Möllendorff and explain the grammar in light of all the resources I have at my disposal, and provide a fresh translation.  I warmly welcome comments and corrections from readers. Continue reading Let’s study Möllendorff! 01

Sanjiazi 01: An Unexpected Party

On Thursday, October 9th, I took my computer to a shop to get it fixed (my fan wasn’t on right, causing the CPU to heat up, in turn causing the C drive to crash, apparently).  I had brought my copy of Gertraude Roth Li’s wonderful book Manchu: a Textbook for Reading Documents along so I could study while I was waiting, and since it looked like it would take a while, I took a cab over to the local Manchu Association to ask the Manchu language teacher there about his opinion on the meanings of some of the phrases and sentences in the first reading lesson of the book.  Little did I know that this would lead into a trip to Sanjiazi, a place that still has living Manchu native language speakers. Continue reading Sanjiazi 01: An Unexpected Party