The Book of the Nishan Shaman 04

Previous instalments: 1, 2, 3.

geli gisureki seci angga juwame muterakv, jain jabufi gisureme banjinarakv oho

geli [more]
gisureki seci [(he) wanted to say]
angga [mouth]
juwame muterakv [couldn’t open]
jain [joint of the jaws] dict. form: jayan
jabufi [stiffened and]
gisureme [speaking, words]
banjinarakv oho [didn’t appear]

He wanted to say something more, but he couldn’t open his mouth. His jaws stiffened and no more words appeared. Continue reading The Book of the Nishan Shaman 04

The Book of the Nishan Shaman 03

This is the third installment of The Book of the Nisan Shaman (Nixan saman-i bithe). You can find the previous parts here: part 01, part 02. Thanks to Randy for correcting my English.  All suggestions kindly welcomed.

Geren aba i urse morin be dabkiyame yaburengge, hvdun hahi ofi dartai endende  gebungge aba abalara alin de isinafi.

geren [each]
aba-i urse [ hunters], aba-i [hunt] gen, urse [people]
morin-be [horses] acc
dabkiyame [whipping] dict. form: dabkime
yaburengge [riding]
hvdun [fast, quick]
hahi ofi [increased (the speed) rapidly]
dartai endende [at the moment, suddenly] dict. form: andande
gebungge [famous]
aba [hunt]
abalara [hunters]
alin-de [mountain]
isinafi [reached]

All the hunters rode fast whipping their horses to increase speed, and in no time they reached the mountain, which is famous among hunters. Continue reading The Book of the Nishan Shaman 03

The Book of the Nishan Shaman 02

This is the second part of Nixan saman-i bithe (the first part is here), and, at the same time, my first installment as an official author of the blog. After discussion with Randy I decided to change some things.  We minimalized grammatical explanations and gave more accurate glosses, similarly to what Randy did in his installment on Möllendorff.

And here is a couple of links:

Here you can find complete digital version of the manuscript, written by a Manchu called Dekdengge for Prof. Grebenshchikov in Vladivostok in 1913. Uploaded by Bucin (ambula baniha, Bucin agu!)

Here is  full text in romanization with Japanese glosses.

For those who can read Russian, here is a Russian translation. Continue reading The Book of the Nishan Shaman 02

The Book of the Nishan Shaman 01

The book of the Nisan Shaman, or nixan saman i bithe, is one of Shamanism’s most important documents.  It is the story of a shaman who brings a person back from the dead.

The following guest post is the first installment of a translation by Paweł Manowski, from Poland (“p” from comments on earlier posts).  I have only edited it slightly for consistency.

Continue reading The Book of the Nishan Shaman 01

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 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. Continue reading Sanjiazi 06: Textbooks

Manchu books from Taiwan

I’m in Taiwan attending a conference on English language teaching and testing.  My friend the eminent linguist Geoff Pullum gave a mind-blowingly sharp plenary lecture on grammar in the afternoon, and later there was a panel discussion about the design and use of small corpora (or Tiny Little Corpora, as I have called them here).

A couple days ago I went to the National Palace Museum library and met a Manchu scholar, 莊吉發, who has been quite prolific in producing published Manchu materials.  He gave me the address of a publishing company that he uses, and the next day I went to go find it.  Continue reading Manchu books from Taiwan

A Dream of Tartary

Some correspondence from the bulging Echoes of Manchu mailbag:

Michael Rank, a journalist and translator and Chinese graduate based in London, writes:

A few weeks ago I came across an interesting book entitled A Dream of Tartary by Henry McAleavy (1963), in almost new condition, in an Oxfam shop in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

It’s subtitled The Origins and Misfortunes of Henry P’u Yi, and is a lively if not terribly scholarly account of the fall of the Qing dynasty and the sad fate of its last emperor. It’s mainly based on Chinese and Japanese sources, I don’t think the author knew Manchu though he does devote a few paragraphs to the language. He says: Continue reading A Dream of Tartary