/ E.P. Lebedeva and L.M. Gorelova, Sidi Kur: Sibinskaja versija "Voßebnogo nertveca, teksty v zapisi V. V. Radlov. A Sibe-Manchu Version of the "Bewitched Corpse" Cycle Transcribed by V. V. Radlov

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The Sibe Manchu language, generally considered to be a Manchu dialect, is of great importance for linguists doing research on the Tungusic languages since Sibe represents the only member of the southern subgroup of Tungusic (including also Jurchen and Manchu proper) which has so far not become extinct. In addition, Sibe exhibits some striking phonological and morphological features (e.g. the existence of a high, front, round vowel phoneme /y/ and case system which is believed to differ slightly from Written Manchu[1]) which are caused by intense language contacts within a linguistic area in which not only Chinese and various Turkic languages, but also Daghur (a Mongolian language) and Solon (a Tungusic language close to Evenki) are spoken. As was pointed out by several other authors (e.g. by myself in a review of Jin Ning's Sibe-English Conversations published in Saksaha 3, 1998, pp. 46-47) when speaking of the "Sibe (Manchu) language" one should discriminate between the written language which in fact does not differ much from Classical Manchu, and the spoken language which differs in many ways from its well-studied extinct cognate. For this reason specialists dealing with Tungusic languages all around the world will welcome the publication of this extensive text in spoken Sibe which is a version of the well-known "Bewitched Corpse" cycle (being supplemented by a re-edition of the Sibe version of a Kirghiz story published previously by A. O. Ivanovskij in his Man'čžurskaja chrestomatija, vyp. 2., St. Peterburg 1895).

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1. This refers to the analysis of the Sibe case system provided by J. Norman in his paper, "A Sketch of

Sibe Morphology", Central Asiatic Journal 18 (1974), pp. 159-174. Note that in contrast to Norman's results the

case system exhibited by Radlov's texts matches that of Written Manchu, cf pp. 50-51 of the book under review.return to text