The Manchu Language at Court and in the Bureaucracy under the Qianlong Emperor


This is the first book-length study of the roles played by the Manchu language at the center of the Qing empire at the height of its power in the eighteenth century.
It presents a revisionist account of Manchu not as a language in decline, but as extensively and consciously used language in a variety of areas.
It treats the use, discussion, regulation, and philological study of Manchu at the court of an emperor who cared deeply for the maintenance and history of the language of his dynasty.

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Mårten Söderblom Saarela, Ph.D. (2015), is an Asia specialist at Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller. He previously worked as an associate research fellow at the Institute of Modern History at Academia Sinica in Taiwan. He is a student of the cultural and political history of language in China.
List of Figures and Illustration

 1 The How and Why of Manchu
 2 Manchu Documents, Books, and Three Reasons for Writing this Study

1 Background: The Manchu Language from the Seventeenth Century to the Qianlong Period
 1 The Early History of Written Manchu
 2 The Manchu Language in China Proper
 3 Scholarly Efforts to Describe the Manchu Language and Qianlong’s Project to Change it

2 Public Inscriptions and Manchu Language Reform in the Early Qianlong Reign
 1 Background: Manchu Steles and Public Inscriptions
 2 Public Inscriptions and Qianlong-era Language Reform
 3 The Names for Temples, Altars, and Gates
 4 The Inscription at Fragrance of the Teaching Temple
 5 Conclusion

3 Linguistic Compartmentalization and the Palace Memorial System
 1 Manchu and Chinese Linguistic Regimes
 2 Linguistic Compartmentalization and the Palace Memorial System
 3 The Experiment of Bilingual Palace Memorials
 4 Language Choice and Secrecy
 5 The Limits of Linguistic Compartmentalization: Lateral Communications
 6 Conclusion

4 Reading Manchu Palace Memorials Against the Idea of Manchu Decline
 1 The Idea of Manchu Decline
 2 Palace Memorials from Letters to Bureaucratic Summaries
 3 How did Qianlong Understand Authorship? The Examples of Kuilin, Kinglin, and Guncukdar
 4 Problems Related to the Composite Nature of Memorials
 5 Conclusion

5 Imperial Corrections of Language Errors in Manchu Palace Memorials
 1 Corrections before Qianlong
 2 Qianlong’s Corrections of Manchu Usage
 3 Criticism of Language and of the Writer
 4 Reprimands for Mistakes in Languages other than Manchu
 5 Conclusion

6 Philological Scholarship in Manchu: Linguistic Studies on the Pre-conquest Archive
 1 What was “Evidential Learning”?
 2 Manchu “Evidential Learning”
 3 Manchu Philology before Qianlong: The Translation of Confucian Literature
 4 The Pre-conquest Archive and the Early Veritable Records
 5 The Book of Characters Without Dots and Circles
 6 The Book of Old Manchu Phrases Lifted from the Veritable Records

7 Footnotes to Early Qing History: The Grand Secretariat Copy of the Old Manchu Archive
 1 Editing the Old Archive
 2 The Yellow Sticky Notes
 3 The Philology of Manchu before Manchu: Multilingual Historical Glossaries
 4 Conclusion

Conclusion: Manchu after Qianlong
 1 Manchu as a Language of Court Scholarship
 2 Statistics on Manchu Document Production
 3 A New Role for Manchu?
 4 Survival as an Administrative Language in Multilingual Contexts
 5 Socio-political Change and Linguistic Change
 6 Manchu’s Survival as a Vernacular Language
 7 Limited use of Manchu as a Spoken Language in Nineteenth-century Beijing
 8 The Decline of Manchu
 Archives and Databases Used
 Works Cited
Historians of Qing China, linguists working on China and Northeast Asia, and historians of language and empire in the early modern world.
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