Sanjiazi 06: Textbooks

Previous entries: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

After dressing up and taking pictures, Shi Junguang, the Manchu teacher, brought out the books he uses to teach the children in their Manchu language classes.

They are not professionally published, but rather printed out using a color printer.  I’m not sure who wrote these books, but I suspect they were written by Zhao Jinchun, who was the former Manchu teacher at the elementary school, and who now is the vice commissioner of Fuyu county.

The first book is called Manju gisun tacibure bithe 1 debtelin (Manchu language textbook, volume 1), and covers syllables formed from single vowels, and consonants combined with single vowels, with instructions in Manchu and Chinese.  There is also a section with example words.  There are color pictures throughout.  The whole thing is written by hand.  Click on the picture to go to a web album of the whole book, page by page.

Manchu Textbook 1

The second book is a simpler version of the same thing:   the same syllables, but no pictures.  It would be ideal for tracing.

Manchu Textbook 2

The third book is more interesting.  It has a Chinese name, 小学满语教材 (xiǎoxué mǎnyǔ jiàocái, Primary School Manchu Textbook), and a Manchu name, Ajige tacikv manju gisun i tacibure bithe ujui debtelin (Primary School Manchu Textbook, volume 1).

Manchu Textbook 3

It is filled with lessons covering basic conversation and vocabulary.  But the romanization is bastardized Chinese hanyu pinyin, which of course doesn’t match Manchu pronunciation.  If one were to use this as one’s only guide to Manchu pronunciation, one would lose a lot of clarity, just like one would if one used Chinese hanyu pinyin to represent English sounds.  Luckily Shi Junguang’s Manchu pronunciation is pretty good, having learned Manchu from his grandmother, one of the last surviving native speakers.

7 thoughts on “Sanjiazi 06: Textbooks”

  1. It seems that the link(s) to the textbook pictures is broken or the pictures aren’t available any more. Any chance they are available online or from you directly? I’m studying Manchu and would really like to see these textbooks.

  2. It’s interesting that they rely on self-printed textbooks – are there any textbooks available that have been published somewhere? Isn’t there government backing for Manchu tuition? Where I am, the local government has a scheme that provides local schoolchildren with fancy textbooks to study the local minority language/script. But that might just be one of the benefits that come with huge tourism revenues….

  3. There aren’t any suitable textbooks for kids, unless you count textbooks that were printed in Ili, in Xinjiang province — but those are Xibo, and I’m not sure that the Heilongjiang Manchu people would accept that (there’s kind of a “they’re not the same as us” feeling between the two, even though they are the same, basically.

    There is a slight amount of government backing from Fuyu county, otherwise the school itself wouldn’t exist, but not much. I want to go up there again and see if I can coordinate something with the Fuyu government to improve their learning situation.

    Your blog is awesome, by the way!

  4. 彼此彼此。。。

    Seriously, one of the motivating factors in my moving out here and liberating myself from the UK was reading this blog and getting heavy doses of blog/China-envy. So, thanks, I guess?

    Although the government has done quite a lot to promote minority culture in schools in recent years, I believe the real problem is the lack of incentive to learn these things. Why send a child to learn Manchu when they could be getting English tuition? Teaching in school isn’t really enough, it needs to go hand in hand with promotion of literature, newspapers, tv reports, all kinds of media, otherwise the language is preserved in a limited, artifical way.

  5. Wow! I’m blown away (in fact, all of us here at Echoes of Manchu are!). We never would have expected that this little geeky blog would have such an impression on someone that they would move halfway across the world!

    But I’m glad to hear that you did. And I’m jealous that you’re in such a picturesque warm place while I’m up here just north of the southernmost tip of Siberia!

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