Manchu-Mongolian-Chinese textbook from 1909-1910

The Manju monggo nikan ilan acangga šu i tuktan jergi den jergi ajige tacikūi tanggin / 满蒙汉合璧教科书 is a very interesting resource, highlighting the changes that were taking place at the very end of the Qing dynasty. This work, as stated in the foreword (dated 1909), was intended to become the textbook used in schools for children.

The lessons are at first very simple, being short lists of words, but they gradually increase in length and complexity. The content is resolutely modern in tone, with lessons devoted for instance to describing the five continents (1) and to the Qing empire.

Eight fascicles have been pusblished in facsimile (2), each fascicle contains sixty lessons and was intended to cover a semester. The introduction states that 18 fascicles were planned thus providing a complete course for 9 years of schooling, from 8 year old to 16 year old (3). Since the 8th fascicle is dated 1910, it may be that the publication was interrupted due to the end of the Qing dynasty.

I find this work fascinating (even if I only read a few lessons) because of its trilingual nature (4) and its status as a witness of the very last moments of the Qing dynasty and the efforts made at the time to modernize the education system. On the more practical side of things, this textbook offers a wealth of graded readings that could be very useful to modern students of Manchu.

Fascicle 1

ujui tacibure kicen. abka. na. šun. biya. alin. muke. boihon. moo.

Lesson 1. Heaven, earth, sun, moon, moutain, water, soil, tree.

jai tacibure kicen. ama. eme. jui. sargan jui. hūcin. boigon. usin. hūwa.

Lesson 2. Father, mother, son, daughter, well, household, field, yard.

Fascicle 6

susai ningguci tacibure kicen. hutu akū.

(…) seibeni yoo guwang antaha be tanggin de sarilahade. emu antaha gaitai nimekulefi bi. goidatala yebe ohakū ofi. yoo guwang fonjiha de. antaha jabume. onggolo nure buhe be alire de. hūntahan i dolo meihe bisire be sabufi. mujilen de ubiyambihe. omiha manggi. nimeku fukdereke sefi. yoo guwang fajiran i ninggude uihe i beri bisire be gūninafi. hūntahan i dolo i meihe. uthai beri i helmen kai. uthai dahūme daci ba de nure dagilafi. antaha de alame fonjime. hūntahan i dolo dahūme saburengge bio. antaha hendume. saburengge nenehe i adali sefi. uthai turgun be alaha de. antaha gaitai gūnin subufi. nimerengge aimaka ufaraha gese:

Lesson 56. No ghost.

(…) Some time ago, when Yoo Guwang was banqueting with some guests in his hall, one of the guests suddenly started to feel unwell. When, after some time, he did not get better, Yoo Guwang asked him [what had happened] and the guest answered “Earlier when taking the cup of wine you gave me, I saw a snake in it and my heart was troubled. After drinking it, I felt unwell.” Yoo Guwang, realizing that there was a horn-bow on the wall, [said] “The snake inside the cup, that was the reflection of the bow!”. Then he put wine at the same place as before and asked the guest “Do you again see [a snake] in the cup?” The guest said “I see the same thing as before.” Upon telling this, the guest suddenly felt relieved, as if his illness had ended.

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(1) Named ya si ya, o lo ba, ya fei li giya, ya mei lii giya, hai yang (fasc. 6, lesson 1).

(2) Vol. 724-725 of the 故宫珍本丛刊 series published by 海南出版社.

(3) tuktan jergi ajige tacikūi tanggin ci den jergi ajige tacikūi tanggin de isitala. bodoci uyun aniyai erinde. bithe juwan jakūn debtelin be arame bahafi. erei nadan jakūn se ci tofohon juwan ninggun se de isitala baitalara de acabumbi.

(4) Fascicle 8 ends on the following words: gehungge yoso i jai aniya šanyan indahūn bolori uju biyade. abkai imiyangga goloi monggo bithei tacikūi tanggin i gebu algingga tuwame kadalara hafan. tojin i funggala meiren i janggin jergi. nenehe monggo gūsai da amban žungde gingguleme ubaliyambuha. If this is indeed the name of the translator of the entire work (and not just of the last piece in the 8th fascicle), as it seems reasonable to suppose, this would be another testimony to the large part Mongols played in the production of Manchu texts.

 

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