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