ᡤᡳᠰᡠᠨ, manju gisun) is a critically endangered East Asian Tungusic language native to the historical region of Manchuria in Northeast China. As the traditional native language of the Manchus, it was one of the official languages of the Qing dynasty (1636–1912) of China and in Inner Asia, though today the vast majority of Manchus now speak only Mandarin Chinese. Now, several thousand can speak Manchu as a second language through governmental primary education or free classes for adults in classrooms or online.
|Ethnicity||10.7 million Manchus|
|20 native speakers (2007)|
There are thousands of second language speakers
Official language in
Manchu-designated autonomous areas
The Manchu language enjoys high historical value for historians of China, especially for the Qing dynasty. Manchu-language texts supply information that is unavailable in Chinese and when both Manchu and Chinese versions of a given text exist they provide controls for understanding the Chinese.
Like most Siberian languages, Manchu is an agglutinative language that demonstrates limited vowel harmony. It has been demonstrated that it is derived mainly from the Jurchen language though there are many loan words from Mongolian and Chinese. Its script is vertically written and taken from the Mongolian script (which in turn derives from Aramaic via Uyghur and Sogdian). Although Manchu does not have the kind of grammatical gender found in European languages, some gendered words in Manchu are distinguished by different stem vowels (vowel inflection), as in ama, "father" and eme, "mother".