/ The Sibe Language

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In 1911 the Nationalist Revolution overthrew the Qing dynasty, and as a result Manchu lost its status as the national [dynastic] language. At the present time, except for a very small number of Manchus who still know a bit of the everyday vernacular and a number of Manchu scholars who are able to read Manchu, Manchu no longer exists as the everyday language of any ethnic group.

The decline of Manchu, in a certain sense, is one of the conditions for the formation of Sibe. In the Qing dynasty an independent Sibe language did not exist. Although in areas where the Sibe were concentrated there were numerous vivid words and expressions which were not found in Manchu, and despite the fact that such words and expressions were reflected in translations of novels and historical romances made by Sibes, such Sibe forms were never recognized as an integral part of the written language but were regarded merely as vernacular or dialectal elements. After 1911 as society progressed and science and transportation became more developed, relations among the various ethnic groups in China became more frequent and numerous. In the area in Xinjiang where the Sibe were concentrated, the modern Sibe written language gradually took shape.

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