Manchu/Lesson 5 - Adjectives

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Dialogue[edit]

Dialogue 1 Dialogue 1
Beijing de niyengniyeri isinaha. emu inenggi ci emu inenggi halukan oho. In Beijing spring has arrived. Each day is hotter than the one before
birai juhe emgeri weme deribuha The river ice has already started to melt
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.
bi niyengniyeri forgon be cihalambi I love spring
birai nimaha labdu bime amba The fish in the river are many and they are big
ilha yafan de hacin hacin i ilha gemu ilaka In the gardens all types of flowers are flowering
.............................................................................................................................................. ..............................................................................................................................................

Vocab[edit]

............................................................ ............................................................ ............................................................ ............................................................
Manchu Vocabulary English Translation Manchu Vocabulary English Translation
aga Rain bime and…
bira River cihalambi To like
deribumbi To start edun Wind
emgeri Already forgon Season
gemu All hacin Type
hacin hacin All different types halukan Warm
ilambi To flower ilha Flower
ilha yafan Garden isinaha To have arrived (past tense of isinambi)
juhe Ice muke Water
nimaha Fish niyengniyeri Spring
wembi To melt weme deribuha To have started to melt
yafan Courtyard, garden

Grammar[edit]

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)


Lesson 4 (Numerals) ---- Contents ---- Lesson 6 (Verbs 1)