Manchu: a Text for Reading Documentsby Gertraude Roth Li. Honolulu, University of Hawai'i Press, 2000. viii + 408pp. ISBN 0-8248-2206-4
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This book is the first adequate text for the teaching of Manchu written in English. It is actually more than a simple introduction to the language, as the subtitle "a Text for Reading Documents" makes clear. While it will undoubtedly serve as a good introduction to learning the basics of the language, it will be especially useful to anyone wishing to develop an ability to read Manchu documentary materials, since it contains much valuable information about the nature and structure of Manchu documents.
The introduction contains information on the value of studying Manchu, Manchu historical sources and the value of Manchu documents. There is also an introductory section on the language itself — its history, writing system, romanization, pronunciation, general characteristics and foreign influences. This is followed by a detailed description of the Manchu script. The introduction provides much essential information for anyone undertaking the study of Manchu.
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