Wall Mystery Solved!

I went to Wulajie again earlier this week.  A fellow school headmaster had arranged a trip there for his school so the students could learn about Manchu culture and spend part of the afternoon drawing.  His school is an art school, and he said he chose Wulajie partly because he was inspired by my interest in Manchu language and culture, and also that it makes sense for kids to know more about Manchu culture since this area (Northeast China) used to be their country.

He filled up two tour busses and hired two tour guides, one for each bus.  The tour guides talked about the usual things — Manchu people don’t eat dog meat, their chimneys run under their beds to provide a heated surface to sleep on, they are great archers, etc.  Not much linguistic stuff outside of the fact that there is only a handful of mother-tongue speakers left.

Our first stop was the same government outpost that I mentioned in an earlier post, where I saw a strange word in Manchu script on an outside wall.  The word is strange because it spells “kisi”, which is not in any Manchu dictionary that’s available to me.  So what is this word? Continue reading Wall Mystery Solved!

Breaking Ground

Seeing as I live up here in Manchuria, all the hubbub about Manchu stirred up my wanderlust instinct and I was chomping at the bit to go poke around in 三家子 (sānjiāzi) or someplace.  On the map, I noticed that there were some Manchu villages nearby, so I heeded the call.

I met with my friend Alice and caught the 08:15 bus to 乌拉街  (Wūlājiē  ). It took about an hour and twenty minutes to get there. During the ride, we asked some other passengers and the 车长 (chēzhǎng  , conductor) if anybody could speak Manchu there. Everybody said that they didn’t know anyone who could speak, but they thought there still might be some old people who could. The 车长 said that she thought they taught Manchu in the area primary school, so that’s where we headed when we got off the bus.