Manchu/Lesson 11 - Grammar Summary

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The different sounds of the Manchu language[edit]

The Manchu script consists of 24 Manchu letters to write 25 native Manchu sounds, and 10 letters to write sounds found in Chinese (these 10 letters are k', g', h', ts', dz', zh', sy' cy', jy' xy' and are dealt with in lesson 12). The 24 native Manchu letters include:

6 vowels: a,e,i,o,u,v
18 consonants: n,k,g,h,b,p,s,x,t,d,l,m,c,j,y,r,f,w
...................................... ......................................

Vowels[edit]

Manchu has the 6 short vowels mentioned above, two long vowels, 7 diphthongs and 1 triphthong:

Short vowels: a,e,i,o,u,v
Long vowels: ii,oo
Diphthongs: ai,ei,oi,ui,io,ao,eo,
Triphthong: ioi
...................................... ......................................

Consonants[edit]

As for consonants, in addition to the 18 consonants mentioned above Manchu has one combined consonant ‘rs’ and two doubled consonants ‘tt’ and ‘xx’.

Notes:

  • Of the 18 consonants, the two that are not pronounced like in English are ‘x’ which sounds like ‘sh’ and ‘c’ which sounds like ‘ch’.
  • The phoneme ‘ng’ is also found in the Manchu language but is not a separate letter.
  • The Manchu script contains front and back versions of ‘k’, ‘g’, ‘h’, ‘d’, and ‘t’
  • In Manchu transliterations and online the vowel 'v' is also often written as 'ū'
  • In Manchu transliterations and online the consonant 'x' is also often written as 'sh' or 'š'
  • No Manchu words start with ‘r’ or two or more consonants.
  • As for endings, Manchu words end in either a vowel or ‘n’. Some loanwords do however end in ‘ng’ e.g. (wang – king). In this respect, it is close to being an open syllable language.
  • There are sometimes clusters of consonants between vowels such as in ‘abka’ (heaven) and ‘ilha’ (flower) but these are the final and initial consonants of two separate syllables. In most words however, vowels are separated by single consonants.

Syllable structure in Manchu[edit]

The Manchu language has the following syllable structures:

Manchu Syllable Structure Example
V ‘a-’ in a-ma (father)
VV ‘ai’ what
VC ‘am-‘ in am-ban (official)
VCC ‘axx-‘ in axxasun (verb)
CV ‘du-’ in du-ka (gate)
CVV ‘moo’ (wood)
CVVC ‘duin’ (four)
CVC ‘den’ (high)
CVCC ‘faxx-‘ in faxx-an (effort)
CVVV ‘elioi’ (吕 - a Chinese surname)

Out of the above syllable structures, CVVV is extremely rare as it can only occur with the triphthong ‘ioi’; and both VCC and CVCC are also quite rare as they can only occur with one of the two doubled consonants ‘tt’ or ‘xx’ or with the combined consonants ‘rs’.

Vowel harmony[edit]

The Manchu language is subject to the rules of vowel harmony. This means that only certain vowels can appear together in the same word and that the vowel in the first syllable of a word must be of the same type as the vowel in the second syllable. Note: vowel harmony in Manchu isn’t as strict as in Turkic or Mongolic languages. Manchu vowels fall into the following three categories:

  • Front vowels (阴性) e
  • Back vowels (阳性) a,o,v
  • Neutral vowels (中性) u,i

In theory, front and back vowels can not exist in the same word, although there are some examples of this (ajige - small). However, neutral vowels can exist with both front and back vowels. There are two forms of vowel harmony:


Vowel harmony within a stem[edit]

This form of vowel harmony involves the vowels within a particular stem (a word with no suffixes) harmonising. In general one word will only have the following combinations of vowels (the first vowel is the vowel in the first syllable):

................................................... ...................................................
‘a’ and one of ‘a’, ‘i’, ‘o’, ‘u’, ‘v’
‘e’ and one of ‘e’, ‘i’, ‘u’
‘i’ and one of ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘i’, ‘o’, ‘u’, ‘v’
‘o’ and one of ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘i’, ‘o’, ‘v’
‘u’ and one of ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘i’, ‘u’, ‘v’
‘v’ and one of ‘a’, ‘i’, ‘o’, ‘u’, ‘v’

Note: the vowel ‘o’ vary rarely exists in a word with other vowels, and if it does it is nearly always with ‘a’,’v’,’i’ or occasionally ‘e’, but basically never with ‘u’. The vowels ‘u’ and ‘i’ can go with all other vowels


Stem-suffix vowel harmony[edit]

Stem-suffix vowel harmony involves the vowels of a stem harmonising with the vowels of whatever suffix is attached to that stem. The rules are a bit different for stems with single, double or multiple syllables:


Single Syllable Stems

................................................... ...................................................
Stem Suffix
a a
o o
e e
i,u Usually 'e'
................................................... ...................................................


Double Syllable Stems

................................................... ...................................................
Stem Suffix
a-a, a-v, a-u, o-i, v-i, a-i, u-i, i-i a
o-o, a-o o
e-e, o-e, e-u, e-i, i-u, u-u e
................................................... ...................................................
  • Note: there are exceptions to the above rules for double syllable stems, but in most cases the above rules hold.


Multiple Syllable Stems

  • In general, stems terminating in 'a', 'e' or 'o' take the corresponding vowel in the suffix.
  • Stems with multiple syllables terminating in 'i' or 'u' and proceded by 'e' generally take 'e' in the suffix.
  • Stems with multiple syllables terminating in 'i' or 'u' and proceded by 'a', 'u' or 'v' generally take 'a' in the suffix.
  • Stems with multiple syllables with 'u' and 'v' generally take 'a' in the suffix.


Notes:

  • Some suffixes such as ‘de’ ‘-bu’ etc are fixed and do not change.
  • Some words use the vowels ‘a’ and ‘e’ to distinguish between masculine and feminine concepts, e.g. haha (man), hehe (woman).
  • There are two forms of the letters ‘k’, ‘g’, and ‘h’, a back form for the vowels ‘a’,’o’,’v’, and a front form for the vowels ‘e’,’u’,’i’.
  • There are also two forms of the letters ‘d’, and ‘t’, a back form for the letters ‘a’, ‘o’, ‘i’, and a front form for the letters ‘e’ and ‘u’.


Nouns[edit]

Manchu nouns have number and case but do not really have gender. Nouns can consist solely of a stem such as 'bithe' (book), be formed by adding suffixes to other words, or be formed by adding two nouns together such as 'ahvn deo' (brothers).


The most common suffixes that can be added to words to form nouns include:

............................................................ ............................................................
Suffixes used with verb stems Examples
-n tacin – Learning. From the verb stem tacimbi (to study)
-gan, -gen, -gon, -han, -hen, -hon nirugan – Drawing. From the verb stem nirumbi (to draw)
-ku, -kv anakv - Key. From the verb stem anambi (to push)
-cun buyecun - Love. From the verb stem buyembi (to love)
Suffixes used with nouns and verbs Examples
-si usisi – Farmer. From the noun usin (field)
-ci aduci - Herdsman. From the noun adun (herd)
-ji, -lji, -mji, -nju boigoji – Host. From the noun boigon (family)
............................................................ ............................................................


Note: of the above suffixes, the suffixes –ku,-kv are used for instruments, the suffix –cun is used for abstract concepts, and the suffixes –si, -ci, and –ji are used to denote people by what they do (Gorelova, M. P.198). When adding suffixes to nouns, the final ‘-n’ is often dropped.


Gender of Manchu Nouns[edit]

Nouns usually do not have gender, although some obviously masculine nouns have masculine vowels, while feminine nouns have feminine vowels, e.g. haha (man), hehe (woman), ama (father) and eme (mother).


Number:[edit]

There are several ways to express the plural in Manchu:

Through the use of the suffix -sa (-se, -so, -si)

  • E.g. manjusa - Manchus

Through use of one of the suffixes -ta, -te, -ri.

  • This is mostly used for family relationships (note final 'n' is often omitted).
  • E.g. amata - fathers
  • The suffix '-ri' is only used with a few words. E.g. mafari - grandfathers/ancestors

Through the use of adjectives

  • like geren (many/all), eiten (all), tumen (a myriad) or verbally with gemu (all)
  • E.g. tumen jaka - The myriad things (万物)


Case[edit]

Manchu has 5 different cases. Cases can be attached to the proceeding noun or written seperately:

Nominative (no suffix).

  • This is the natural case and has no suffix.
  • E.g. bithe - book

Genitive (-i, -ni after -ng).

  • This case is used to show the possessive. The suffix -i (-ni) can also be used for instrumental case which shows the means or cause of which something happens.
  • E.g. ere oci mini eme i bithe - This is my mother's book (Possessive)
  • E.g. mafa gurun i ilha - The fatherland's flowers (Possessive)
  • E.g. manju gisun i arambi - To write by means of Manchu (Insturmental)

Dative/Locative (-de).

  • This case is used to show location or direction (at/to).
  • E.g. Direction: Harbin de genehe - He went to Harbin (Dative)
  • E.g. Location: Harbin de manjusa labdu - There are many Manchus in Harbin (Locative)
  • E.g. Beijing de niyengniyeri isinaha - In Beijing spring has arrived

Accusative (-be).

  • This case is used to make a noun the direct object of an action.
  • E.g. i ere bithe be mini eme de buha - He gave this book to my mother
  • E.g. te mini eme inenggidari manju gisun be tacimbi - Now my mother studies Manchu everyday.
  • E.g. be mafa gurun be hairambi - We love the fatherland

Ablative (-ci).

  • This case is used to show point of departure or for comparison.
  • E.g. monggo gurun ci jihe niyalma - The people who came from Mongolia (Point of departure)
  • E.g. nikan gisun ci manju gisun ja - Manchu is easier than Chinese (Comparison)
  • E.g. emu inenggi ci emu inenggi halukan oho - Each day is hotter than the one before (Comparison)


Pronouns[edit]

Personal pronouns[edit]

As with nouns, personal pronouns in Manchu also have different cases. The normal form of Manchu personal pronouns is expressed by using the nominative case. See following table for list of all personal pronouns in the 5 different cases:

..................................................... ................................. ................................. ................................. ................................. .................................
Personal Pronoun Nominative Genitive Dative/Loctv Accusative Ablative
Singular
1st Person bi mini minde mimbe minci
2nd Person si sini sinde simbe sinci
3rd Person i ini inde imbe inci
Plural
1st Person (incl.) muse musei musede musebe museci
1st Person (excl.) be meni mende membe menci
2nd Person suwe suweni suwende suwembe suwenci
3rd Person ce ceni cende cembe cenci
..................................................... ................................. ................................. ................................. ................................. .................................
  • The personal pronoun in the nominative case is the ordinary form of the pronoun, e.g. bi = I, si = you, i = he/she/it, be = we (excl.), muse = we (incl.), suwe = you (plural), ce = they/them
  • For the singular first personal pronoun "I" the different forms are: nominative bi "I"; genitive mini "my"; dative/locative minde "to/at me"; accusative mimbe "me"; ablative minci "from me". All the other personal pronouns follow the same pattern.
  • As with Chinese, Manchu has two versions of the 1st plural personal pronoun: an exclusive version ‘be’, and an inclusive version ‘muse’.
  • To express the idea of oneself, you would use the genitive form of the personal pronoun and follow it with the word ‘beye’ (body). E.g. mini beye (myself), sini beye (yourself).
  • The possessive pronoun is formed by adding the suffix ‘-ngge’ after the genitive form of the personal pronoun. E.g. mini-ngge (mine). Ere bithe miningge (this book is mine).
  • The suffix '-ngge' is a possessive suffix which does not change with the rules of vowel harmony. When written it is proceeded by the genetive case and therefore becomes one of '-ingge' or '-ningge'. In the case of use with personal pronouns, it is already proceeded by the genitive form of the pronoun so remains '-ngge'. It can be translated as belong to, and is often written separately from the noun. E.g. ejen ningge - belonging to the master.

Now for some examples of the different cases:

Nominative

  • bi manju gisun be tacimbi - I study the Manchu language
  • i oci manju niyalma - He is Manchu

Genitive

  • mini gucu oci manju niyalma - My friend is Manchu
  • meni eme oci mafa gurun - Our mother is the fatherland

Dative/Locative

  • sinde ai baita bi? - What issue do you (at) have?
  • tere emu debtelin (mw for book) bithe be minde buki (to give imp) - Can you please give (to) me this book

Accusative

  • mafa gurun membe ujime hvwaxabuha - The fatherland raised us (object)
  • bi cembe emu biya onggolo takaha - I met him (object) one month ago

Ablative

  • i minci juwe se ajige - He is two years younger than me
  • si minci tulgiyen we takambi? - Apart from me who do you know?


Demonstrative pronouns[edit]

The demonstrative pronouns in Manchu are:

............................................ ................................. ................................. ................................. .................................
Case This These That Those
Nominative ere ese tere tese
Genitive erei (ereni) esei terei tesei
Dative/locative erede (ede) esede terede (tede) tesede
Accusative erebe esebe terebe tesebe
Ablative ereci eseci tereci teseci
............................................ ................................. ................................. ................................. .................................


Interrogative pronouns[edit]

The main interrogative pronouns in Manchu are (note the cases):

................................. ................................. ................................. .................................
Manchu English Manchu English
we Who aibide, yabade At/to what place
ai What adarame How
ya What, who aici What type
ainu Why udu How many
aibi, yaba What place/where aba Where
................................. ................................. ................................. .................................

Numerals[edit]

Manchu cardinal numerals[edit]

The cardinal numbers in Manchu are:

...................................... ...................................... ...................................... ......................................
emu (emke) 1 juwan jakvn 18
juwe 2 juwan uyun 19
ilan 3 orin 20
duin 4 orin emu 21
sunja 5 gvsin 30
ninggun 6 dehu 40
nadan 7 susai 50
jakvn 8 ninju 60
uyun 9 nadanju 70
juwan 10 jakvnju 80
juwan emu 11 uyunju 90
juwan juwe 12 tanggv 100
juwan ilan 13 juwe tanggv susai emu 251
juwan duin 14 minggan 1,000
tofohon 15 tumen 10,000
juwan ninggun 16 juwan tumen 100,000
juwan nadan 17 tanggv tumen 1,000,000
...................................... ...................................... ...................................... ......................................

Note: the number for 15 is irregular


Manchu ordinal numerals[edit]

Ordinal numbers in Manchu are formed by adding ‘-ci’ to the end of the cardinal form of the number. In the case of numbers that end in an ‘n’, the final n is dropped (except for in the case of juwan and tumen). E.g:

  • emuci (First)
  • juwe tanggv susai emuci (251st)
  • ningguci (Sixth)
  • minggaci (One thousandth)
  • juwanci (Tenth)
  • tumenci (Ten thousandth)
  • juwan duici (Fourteenth)


Manchu distributive numerals[edit]

Distributive numerals can be formed by adding the suffix ‘-ta’, ‘-te’ or ‘-to’ depending on the rules of vowel harmony. E.g.:

  • ilata (one of three)
  • tofohoto (one of 15)
  • emte (one each).


Manchu multiplicative numerals[edit]

As for multiplicative numerals, one can either use the word ‘ubu’ (times), or use one of the postpositions such as ‘mudan’ (time), ‘jergi’ (time). E.g.:

  • juwe ubu (twice)
  • juwe mudan (twice)
  • juwe jergi (twice)


Manchu fractions[edit]

Fractional numerals can be formed by either using the genitive or ablative case, or by using the dative/locative case in combination with the word ‘ubu’ (times). E.g

  • sunja i emu (1/5)
  • sunja ci emu (1/5)
  • sunja ubu de emu ubu (1/5).

Adjectives[edit]

Adjectives can be divided into:

  • Original Adjectives(性质形容词)
  • Adjectives formed from other words (派生形容词)


Original adjectives[edit]

Original adjectives are adjectives that are not formed from other types of words. Original adjectives can be divided into:

Adjectives describing special features of a person or an object.

For example:

  • amba (big)
  • ajige (small)
  • golmin (long)

Adjectives describing the character (nature) of a person or object.

For example:

  • sain (good)
  • ice (new)
  • fe (old)

Adjectives describing the action or change of state of a person or object.

For example:

  • hanci (near)
  • labdu (many)
  • goro (far away)


Adjectives formed from other words[edit]

These are adjectives that are formed by adding suffixes (subject to the rules of vowel harmony) to nouns, verbs, or original adjectives. Adjectives formed from other words can be divided into:

Adjectives formed from nouns

These adjectives are formed by adding the suffix ‘-ngge’, ‘-ngga’, or ‘-nggo’ to the end of a noun. This suffix is similar in many ways to Chinese 的 (except it is not a true possessive suffix). For example, enduri (spirit/神) --> enduri-ngge (holy/神圣的) and can basically be translated as "to possess the quality of....".

The suffix '-ngge' but not '-ngga' or '-nggo' later became a proper possessive suffix (like Chinese 的). When written it is proceeded by the genetive case and therefore becomes one of '-ingge' or '-ningge'. In the case of use with personal pronouns, it is already proceeded by the genitive form of the pronoun so remains '-ngge'. It can be translated as 'belongging to', and is often written separately from the noun. E.g. ejen ningge - belonging to the master.

Adjectives formed from verbs

These can be divided into three types:

  • Adjectives that can be formed from verbs by adding the suffix ‘-cuka’, ‘-cuke’.
  • Adjectives that can be formed from verbs by adding the suffix (these are also occasionally used to form adjectives from nouns) ‘-shvn’, ‘-shun’ ‘-hvn’, ‘-hun’.
  • Adjectives that can be formed from verbs by adding the suffix ‘-su’, ‘-be’, ‘-ba’.

Adjectives formed from original adjectives

These adjectives are formed by adding the suffix ‘-linggv’, ‘-linggu’ to the end of original adjectives. Note: adjectives that end in an ‘n’ drop the ‘n’ when adding the suffix ‘-linggu’, or ‘-linggv’. The suffix ‘-linggu’ can be translated as ‘very’. E.g. if you add ‘-lingu’ to the adjective amba (big) you get ambalinggu (huge).


These suffixes are summarised in this table:

........................................................ ........................................................ ........................................................ ........................................................
Original word is a: Suffix Example Translation
Noun -ngge, -ngga, -nggo orho (grass) orhonggo (grassy)
Verb (1) -cuke, -cuka gelembi (to fear) gelecuke (scary)
Verb (2) -shvn, -shun, -hun, -hvn ekiyembi (to reduce) ekiyehun (insufficient)
Verb (3) -su, -be, -ba kicembi (to be diligent) kicebe (diligently)
Original Adjctive -linggv, -linggu amba (big) ambalinggu (huge)
........................................................ ........................................................ ........................................................ ........................................................

Forms of Manchu adjectives[edit]

Manchu adjectives have three different forms (级):

The normal form (原级)

This is the normal form of the adjective and does not include any suffixes. E.g:

  • den alin (high mountain)
  • ice bithe (new book)

The comparative form (比较级)

This form only applies to original adjectives, and involves a comparison, i.e. bigger, smaller etc. To form the comparative form a suffix is added to the end of the adjective to change its meaning. The main suffixes are:

  • -kan (-ken, -kon, -gan, -gen, -cen)
  • -liyan (-liyen), -meliyan
  • -shun, -shvn
  • -si
  • -linggv (-linggu) (see 5.2)

With these suffixes the final ‘n’ of the adjective stem is dropped when the suffix is added. E.g. ‘den’ (high) + -ken becomes ‘deken’ (higher, comparatively high). Examples of the use of these suffixes include:

........................................................ ........................................................ ........................................................
Suffix Meaning Example
-kan, (-ken, -kon, -gan, -gen, -cen) Rather, somewhat ambakan (somewhat bigger)
-liyan (-liyen), -meliyan A bit, somewhat adaliliyan (a bit similar)
-linggv (-linggu) Very ambalinggv (huge, very big)
-shvn (-shun) Rather aibishvn (rather swollen)
-si Rather ajigesi (rather small)
........................................................ ........................................................ ........................................................

The comparative can also be formed by placing the word ‘majige’ (a bit) before the adjective. E.g majige amba (a bit big). When creating comparative constructions, the ablative case marker is used:

  • E.g. nikan gisun ci manju gisun ja - Manchu is easier than Chinese
  • E.g. emu inenggi ci emu inenggi halukan oho - Each day is hotter than the one before


The superlative form (最高级)

The superlative form of the Manchu can be formed by placing an adverb before the adjective. For example:

  • ‘jaci’ - jaci amba – very big
  • ‘umesi’ – umesi sain – very good

It can also be formed by using the comparative construction, or by use of the genetive case. For example:

  • geren ci amba - bigger than all (the biggest)
  • ujui uju oyonggo baita - the first of the first important thing (the most important thing)


Verbs[edit]

Introduction[edit]

Manchu verbs (except for three non-changing verbs) all consist of a stem and a final. The dictionary form of a Manchu verb is the present tense form, which includes the verb stem and the suffix ‘-mbi’. E.g.: Arambi (to write) consists of ara + -mbi. All changes for mood or tense in Manchu verbs are done by removing the suffix ‘-mbi’ and by adding another suffix to indicate the tense or mood of the verb (more on this later).

Manchu verbs can be divided into:

  • Original verbs (固有动词) – These are verbs that are not derived from nouns, adjectives or other verbs and include verbs such as ‘arambi’ (to write) etc.
  • Verbs derived from other words (派生动词) – These are verbs that are derived from either nouns, adjectives or other verbs (see voice of Manchu verbs).

Verbs derived from nouns and adjectives are usually formed by adding one of the following suffixes (see table for list of common suffixes) to the end of a noun or an adjective (note the final ‘n’ of the noun or adjective being turned into a verb is usually dropped):

......................................... ......................................... .........................................
Suffix Noun or adjective Verb formed by adding suffix
‘-ta’ (te, to) dasan (politics, management) dasatambi (to put in order)
‘-da’ (de, do) jali (crafy) jalidambi (to cheat)
‘-na’ (ne, no) acan (a union) acanambi (to meet)
‘-la’ (le) aba (a hunt) abalambi (to hunt)
‘-ra’ (re, ro) gisun (language) gisurembi (to speak)
‘-xa’ (xe, xo) adali (similar) adalixambi (to be similar)
......................................... ......................................... .........................................

Regular, irregular and non-changing verbs[edit]

Verbs can also be divided into three categories depending on the change in the verb suffix:

Regular verbs – These are verbs that follow regular suffix change patterns.

Irregular verbs – These are verbs that don’t follow regular suffix change patterns (see irregular verb table 8.3 for full list).

Non-changing verbs – These are three verbs that only have one fixed form. These verbs consist of only a verb stem, although grammatically, they feature all the same properties as regular and irregular verbs. The three non-changing verbs are:

  • ‘bi’ – To have (有).
  • ‘akv’ – To not have (没有).
  • ‘joo’ – To forget about it, not worry about it (算了)


Tense (时) in Manchu verbs[edit]

Unlike say French, the conjugation of Manchu verbs is constant regardless of the person doing the action. I.e. the conjugation for you went and I went would both be 'genehe'. This means only one suffix has to be learnt for each of the tenses. It is convenient to split Manchu tenses into simple tenses (of which there are three) and complex tenses all of which are formed from the simple tenses with the addition of either converbs (such as -me or -fi) or auxiliary verbs (such as bi). See table:

......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................
Tense (时) Suffix Example Translation
Simple Tenses
Present/Future -mbi arambi I write / I shall write
Present/Future -ra (-re, -ro) arara I shall write / I write
Past -ha (-he, -ho, -ka, -ke, -ko) araha I wrote
Past tenses
Indefinite Past -habi (-hebi, -hobi) arahabi I have written
Pluperfect -ha bihe, -ha bihebi araha bihe I had written
Imperfect 1 -mbihe, -mbihebi arambihe I was writing
Imperfect 2 -me bihe, -me bihebi arame bihebi I was writing
Present tenses
Present Continuous 1 -me bi, -me bimbi arame bi I am writing
Present Continuous 2 -me ilihabi arame ilihabi I am writing
Present Continuous 3 -mahabi aramahabi I am writing
Present Continuous 4 -me bisire + noun obome bisire jui The child who is washing
Present Continuous 5 -me bisire + postpostn obome bisire de While in the process of washing
Past Continuous 1 -ha bi araha bi Still writing (仍然在写)
Past Continuous 2 -fi bi arafi bi Still writing (还在写)
Past Continuous 3 -hai bi (-hei bi, hoi bi) arahai bi I’ve been continuously writing 一直写
......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................

Some examples of the different tenses include:

Present/future tense 1

  • bi niyengniyeri forgon be cihalambi - I love spring
  • te absi genembi? - Where are you going now?
  • suwayan bira mederi de eyeme dosimbi - The yellow river flows into the sea

Present/future tense 2

  • mini ama Harbin de ere manju gisun tacire bithe be udaha - In Harbin my father bought this book to learn Manchu
  • cimari ilire ilirakv be sarkv - I don't know if we can stop tomorrow or not

Past tense

  • Beijing de niyengniyeri isinaha - In Beijing spring has arrived
  • birai juhe emgeri weme deribuha - The river ice has already started to melt
  • ilha yafan de hacin hacin i ilha gemu ilaka - In the gardens all types of flowers are flowering

Indefinite past

  • sini hendurengge inu, mini mujilen de inu uttu gvnihabi - What you said is true, in my heart I had thought that too

Pluperfect

Imperfect

Present Continuous

  • bi te manju gisun be tacime ilihabi - I am currently studying Manchu

Past Continuous


Voice (态) in Manchu verbs[edit]

Manchu verbs have seven different voices (态). The first voice is the subjective voice, which is the normal verb form. All other voices are formed by adding a suffix between the stem of the verb and the final ‘-mbi’. This forms a new verb. For example: taci-mbi (to study), taci-bu-mbi (to teach). Tacibumbi is the active form of the verb tacimbi and therefore has a completely different meaning. Note: suffixes for tense and mood can be added to the end of the new form of the verb as the suffixes for voice are part of the verb stem. E.g. tacibuha (I taught), tacibura (I will teach) etc.

The seven voices (note the two directional voices count as one voice) are:

1) 主动 Subjective

This is the normal voice of the verb and does not take any suffix. E.g.

  • tacimbi - To study

2) 使动 Active (-bu-, -(m)bu-)

This voice shows that you are doing the action to something or someone. You would usually use the case marker ‘be’ to show what you are doing the action to. E.g.

  • bi simbe manju gisun tacibuha - I taught you Manchu
  • bi imbe genebuhe - I let him go

3) 被动 Passive (-bu-, -(m)bu-)

This voice shows that the action is being done to you. You would usually use the case marker ‘de’ to indicate the direction of the action. E.g.

  • bi tere de tantabuha - I was bashed up by him

4) 方向去 Dir (to) (-na-, -ne-, -no-)

This voice shows the direction of an action and is similar to English ‘to go’. E.g.

  • bithe hvlanambi - To go and read
  • si bithe udanaci - If you go and buy books

5) 方向来 Dir (fr) (-ji-, -(n)ji-)

This voice shows the direction of an action and is similar to English ‘to come’.E.g.

  • bithe hvlajimbi - To come and read
  • Xiao Wang ya erinde isinjimbi? - When does xiao Wang arrive?

6) 齐动 Cooperative (-ca-, -ce-, -co-)

This voice indicates that an action is being done by a group. It is similar to the English word ‘together’. E.g.

  • tese tacikv de eficembi - They are playing together at school
  • eten i forgon de urgulecehe - Together we celebrate in victory

7) 互动 Reciprocal (-nu-, -ndu-)

This voice is used to indicate reciprocal action. It is similar to the English word ‘each other’. E.g.

  • nadan gurun adandume nakarakv - The seven kingdoms fought each other without end
  • niyalmasa ishunde aisilandumbi - The people help eachother out

8) 连续 Continuous (-da-,-de-;-ta-,-te-;-xa-,-xe-,-xo-; -ca-,-ce-,-co-; -ja-,-je-, -jo-)

This voice is used to indicate the continuous nature of an action and is like English ‘always’, or ‘often’

  • bi simbe aisilatambi - I often/always help you

Forms (式) of the Manchu verb[edit]

The Manchu verb has 6 basic forms:


1) Affirmative

This is the normal form of the verb. E.g.

  • bi te manju gisun be tacime ilihabi - I am currently studying Manchu
  • boode mini ama bi - My father is at home
  • bi abalara de indahvn gamambi - I take dogs when I go hunting


2) Negative

This form is the negative form of the verb. Manchu unlike English forms the negative form of a verb by adding suffixes to the verb stem. The two negative forms of Manchu verbs are:

......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................
Present negative -rakv ararakv Don’t write
Past negative -hakv (-hekv, -hokv) arahakv Didn’t write
......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................

Some further examples of the negative form are:

  • bi harbin de genehekv - I did not go to Harbin
  • bi manju gisun be gisurerakv - I don't speak Manchu


3) Interrogative

This is the question form of the verb. The interrogative form has both a positive and a negative form. The negative form is then further divided into a present and past negative interrogative form. The negative interrogative from is basically formed by adding -n to the end of the negative form of the verb (see table):

......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................
Interrogative -o ararao? Are you writing?
Negative Interrogative (present) -rakvn ararakvn? Are you not writing?
Negative Interrogative (past) -hakvn(-hekvn, -hokvn) arahakvn? Did you not write?
......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................

Some further examples of the interrogative form are:

  • si abalara de indahvn gamambio? - Do you take dogs when you go hunting?
  • si xiao wang be tuwarakvn? - Do you not see Xiao Wang?
  • si harbin de genehekvn? - Haven't you been to Harbin?


4) Imperative

The imperative form is the form of the verb that is used when you want to tell somebody to do (or not do) something. In Manchu there is a polite imperative form, a negative imperative form and a normal imperative form (see table):

......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................
Imperative ara Write!
Imperative (negative) ume ……. -ra (-re, -ro) ume arara Don’t write
Imperative (pol 1) -rao (-reo, -roo) ararao Write please
Imperative (pol 1) -ki buki Please give
......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................

Some further examples of the imperative form are:

  • tuwa (look!)
  • inde ume tuwara - Don't look at him
  • si gala be oburoo - Wash your hands please
  • minde tere bithe be buki - Can you please give me that book


5) Optative

The optative form is where you want another person to do something. There are three different optative forms in Manchu (see table):

......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................
Optative 1 -kini arakini May he write
Optative 2 -cina aracina I hope you will write
Optative 3 -kini sembi marakini sembi I want you to return
......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................

Some further examples of the optative form are:

  • si ere buda be jacina - I hope you will eat this food
  • bi simbe harbin hoton de genekini sembi - I want you to go to Harbin


6) Desiderative

The desiderative form is where you want to do something. It corresponds to English I want to, or I will. Note the -ki form of the desiderative can also be used as a polite imperative. There are two different desiderative forms in Manchu (see table):

......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................
Desiderative 1 -ki araki I will write
Desiderative 2 -ki sembi taciki sembi I want to study
......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................

Some further examples of the desiderative form are:

  • bi sinde majige okto buki - I will give you some medicine
  • bi amgaki sembi - I want to sleep


Converbs (副动词)[edit]

The main converbs in Manchu are:


1) Coordinative -me

This converb modifies the following verb and can be used to link several verbs. It also expresses simultaneous action, or can be used to start a quote. E.g.

  • ai baita be arame genembi? (what are you going to do)
  • yacin gvlmahvn sakda niman i boode efime genehe (the black rabbit went to the old mountain goat's house to play.)
  • suwe ai erinde gurime jihengge? (when did you move here?)
  • ajige xanyan gvlmahvn jabume:... (the small white rabbit said:....)


2) Subordinative -fi

Refers to a sequence of actions where one action is completed before another one begins. It is like English 'then', and also a bit like 'because' E.g.

  • bi genefi tuwaki (I will go and (then) have a look)
  • ajige yacin gvlmahvn lafu sogi be gaifi, hendume:"yeyede baniha!" (the small black rabbit took the bok choi and then said: thank you grandfather)
  • yacin gvlmahvn ningge jetere jaka akv ofi, geli sakda niman i boode sogi baime genehe (As the small black rabit had nothing to eat, he then went to the old mountain goat's house to ask for more vegetables)


3) Conditional -ci

This is the conditional converb and is similar to English 'if'. E.g.

  • bi tuwaci (if I look)
  • jalan de suwe akvci ergen de jurgan akv ni (If this world did not have you all, then life would have no meaning)
  • si Harbin de geneci (if you go to Harbin)


4) Durative -hai (-hei, -hoi)

This converb is used to express that an action occurs or continues at the same time as another action is performed. E.g.

  • necimbihei yabumbi (to continuously invade)


5) Terminative -tala (-tele, -tolo)

This converb is used to show that an action occurs up to a certain time.

  • aratala (until he writes)
  • tetele (till now)


6) Instrumental -tai (-tei, -toi)

This converb is used to show that an action is being forced

  • bucetei daharakv (I will not submit even if I die)


7) Preparative -nggala (-nggele, -nggolo)

This converb is like English ‘before’

  • utala inenggi onggolo (several days ago)


8) Concessive -cibe

This converb is like Enlgish ‘although’

  • tuttu bicibe (although it is like that)


9) Alternative -ralame (-relame, -rolame)

This converb is used to show that two actions are being performed at the same time

  • bi yaburalame tuwambi (looking as I’m going along)


10) Simultaneous -mbime

This converb is used to show that one action is occurring (or not) while another action takes place

  • si baita be sambi sembime, ainu takarakv (while you say you know about the matter, how come you don’t?)

auxiliary verbs (助动词)[edit]

Three important auxiliary verbs in Manchu are:

  • sembi – sembi means ‘to say’
  • ombi – ‘ombi’ can be translated as ‘to become’, ‘to be’, ‘to act as’,
  • bimbi – ‘bimbi’ can be translated as ‘to be or ‘is’.


Irregular verbs (table)[edit]

This table is a list of all the irregular Manchu verbs and their irregular forms. Note a blank space indicates that this form of the verb is regular. Note verbs where the suffix ‘-fi’ becomes ‘-pi’ or ‘-mpi’ are not included.

............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ...............................................
Dictionary form Meaning Past tense Future Tense Imperative
gerembi Dawn gereke gerendere
guwembi To avoid guwengke guwendere
colgorombi To be complete colgoroko
ombi To become, can ojoro oso
gvmbi To bite furiously gvndere
gvwaliyambi To change gvwaliyaka
jimbi To come jidere jio
wasimbi To desced, be defeated wasika (wasiha) wasinu
jembi To eat jeke (jengke) jetere (jendere) jefu
tucimbi To exit, to set out, to come out tucike (tucihe) tucinu
sumbi To explain, to get rid of suhe (sungke)
jailambi To flee, hide jailara (jailandara)
ukambi To flee, hide ukaha (ukaka)
bahambi To get baha
xahvrambi To get a cold xahvraka
yombi To go yoro (yondoro)
bimbi To have / at bisire bisu
xumbi To know copletely xungke
baimbi To look for baisu
wembi To melt into wengke were (wendere)
juwambi To open, open one's mounth jawangka (juwaka)
hafumbi To pass through hafuka hafundara
jombi To raise jongko jondoro
wesimbi To raise wesike wesina
teyembi To rest teyere (teyendere)
eldembi To shine on eldeke
xambi To stare xaha (xangka)
gajimbi To take back gaju
gombi To take back gondoro
gaimbi To take, to want gaisu
fumbi To wipe fungke
............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ...............................................

Adverbs[edit]

Adverbs are words that modify other words except for nouns. Adverbs usually express the time, place or degree of an action and typically answer questions such as how?, when? why? or where? Manchu adverbs can be primitive adverbs which are indeclinable words such as ‘inu’ (yes) or they can be formed by adding suffixes (usually case markers) to the end of nouns, or pronouns. Most numerals can also be used as adverbs.


Some common Manchu adverbs include:

................................... ................................... ................................... ...................................
Manchu English Manchu English
Absi Where Gaitai Suddenly
Adarame How Gemu All
Aifini Already Gubci All
Ainu Why Heni a bit
Ambula Big, many Ishunde Each other
Ani Normally Jaci Extremely
Asuru Very Jing In the process of (正)
Atanggi What time Juken At least
Beri beri Each one Kemuni Still
Biretei All Majige A bit
Cohotoi Especially Meni meni Each one
Da ani As before Mujakv Extremely
Daci From the beginning Naranggi Finally
Dade In the beginning Ne / te Now
Dembei Very Nokai The most
Dule Originally Siraduhai Afterwards
Ele More Teni Just thn
Elei More Tuktan First tim, start
Elekei Almost Umesi Very
Emgeri Already Ume Don't, can't
Enteheme Forever Unde Still haven't
Esa Very Urui Certainly
Yooni All Urunakv Certainly
................................... ................................... ................................... ...................................


Some locational adverbs (with their noun form) include:

................................... ................................... ................................... ...................................
Meaning Noun Locative (where) Directional (where to)
-la/-le/-lo -rgi -si
East Dele Dergi (wesihun)
West Wala Wargi (wasihvn)
South (Juleri) Julergi Julesi
North Amala Amargi Amasi
Middle Dulin Dulimbade
In front (Juleri) Julergi Julesi
Behind Amala Amargi Amasi
Left Hashv Hashv ergi
Right Ici Ici ergi
Above Dele,ninggu Dergi ,ninggude wesihun
Below Fejile ,wala Fejergi,wargi wasihvn
Inside Dolo Dorgi Dosi
Outside Tule (tuleri) Tulergi Tulesi
On top Oilo Oilorgi
Here Ebele Ebergi Ebsi
There Cala Cargi Casi
................................... ................................... ................................... ...................................


Postpositions[edit]

Some of the more commonly used Manchu postpositons are:

......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................
adali The same as jakade Because of, when
baru To jalin Because
canggi Only manggi After
dahame Because of this nerginde When
ebsi Since ninggude On top of
emde Together with onggolo Before
emgi Together with saka And then
ergide At … direction sidende When
fonde When songkoi In accordance with
haran Because of tetendere Since…
ici To, right tulgiyen Apart from this..
ishvn To, across from turgunde Because of
jaka Just then
......................................... ......................................... ......................................... .........................................


Linking Words[edit]

Some of the more commonly used Manchu linking words are:

.................................................................. .................................................................. .................................................................. ..................................................................
jai… …and… bime… … and at the same time …
emu derei ......emu derei...... …on the one hand…. And on the other… ememu ....... ememu ......    … on the one hand …. And on the other…
ememungge ...... ememungge .....  … on the one hand …. And on the other… eici ........ eici ........... Either…..or……
embici........... embici..........  Either…..or…… ........teile akv......... Inu/geli  Not only….. But also….
.........dade, geli Not only….. But also… .............sere anggala.............Inu/geli Not only….. But also…
tuttu ofi, uttu ofi, tuttu Therefore… ….jakade Because
…turgunde Because …ofi Because (after becoming)
…ohode Because of (when it became) teni… Then …
…seme Because of... aika .......... oci If…then…
aikabade ......... oci If…then… unenggi .............oci If…then…
..................oci If…then .............. ohode , teni ................. If…then… (more for only if A then B)
udu.............. seme Although… udu ............ bicibe , inu ................  Although… also…
udu ............ (verb-)cibe   Although… udu ............ ocibe , inu.................. Although… also…
udu .................secibe , inu .............. Although… also… uthai ............. ocibe  Even though…
uthai ................. seme   Even though… uthai ................ okini Even though…
damu But... only… tuttu oci… In that case…
uttu oci… In this case… tuttu bime… Yet/however…
uttu bime… Yet/however… uttu seme… Yet/however…
tuttu secibe… Yet/however… neneme… On the contrary
.................................................................. .................................................................. .................................................................. ..................................................................


Information on Linking words was taken from the Manchu Sky website (满洲天空网站). More specifically from a post by Baksi titled: 满洲族语的连词 (see link below)

满洲天空网站-满洲族语的连词


Now for some examples of the different linking words

  • si ere nikan i bithe be tacirengge, eici sini cihai tacimbio? (eici) sini ama eniye taci sembio? - Did you study Chinese because you like it or because your parents told you to study it?
  • uttu oci sain kai - (In this case) that is good
  • ajige xanyan gvlmahvn jai ajige yacin gvlmahvn - A small white rabbit and a small black rabbit
  • ajige yacin gvlmahvn ningge jetere jaka akv ofi, geli sakda niman i boode sogi baime genehe - As the small black rabit had nothing to eat, he then went to the old mountain goat's house to ask for more vegetables
  • Beijing ni niyengniyeri forgon de edun amba, damu aga muke komso - In spring in Beijing the wind is strong, but there isn't much rain.
  • gebu adali akv bicibe , daci gemu emu hala - Although the name is not the same, they originally have the same surname
  • mini beye udu bucecibe , jui bikai - Although I will die, I have sons


Lesson 10 (Postpositions) ---- Contents ---- Lesson 12 (The Manchu Script)