Manchu in Beijing
Today I came across an article about efforts to save the Manchu language in China. There are currently around 10 million ethnic Manchus in China, but fewer than 100 of them speak Manchu and they are almost all elderly.
Recently a bloke called Wang Shuo, a construction designer in Beijing, started teaching Manchu language classes for free at weekends, after having taught himself the language using this website – a forum in Chinese and Manchu that includes Manchu language lessons.
Most of the students at Wang Shuo’s classes are ethnic Manchus who want to rediscover their historical identity through the language. One the these students also mentions that he would like to teach his children to speak Manchu. There are also two Han Chinese students who are learning the language out of intellectual curiosity.
The image on the right is the Manchu phrase ‘eldenjire be urgunjeme okdombi’, which means ‘welcome’, in the Manchu alphabet. It was sent to me by a Chinese friend who is trying to teach himself Manchu.