Tungusic Languages Under Threat: Statistics, Research Projects, Strategies for Protection

Following a conference on the dire straits of Tungusic languages in China — virtually all of which are under threat — four very informative articles have just appeared on the Institute of Ethnic Literature site.  Since they are in Chinese, I hope to summarize the best parts later, but for now, I site some basic statistics here, and follow with a brief description of the articles and list their URLs.

Tungusic languages in China: Hezhen, Evenki, Elunchun (Oroqen), Manchu and Xibe

Distribution: Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang

Populations (2010 census): 10.6 million total, of which 10,387,958 Manchu; 190,481 Xibe; 30,875 Evenki; 8,679 Elunchun; and 5,354 Hezhen

Used as mother tongue: 30,000 persons

大经费投入培养后背高层次人才(赵阿平)

  • Proposals for measures such as bilingual education and establishment of a “linguistic and cultural eco-protection zone” for threatened Tungusic tongues.

不放过田野记忆中任何一个原始符号(朝克)

探访满语“活化石”:黑龙江三家子村考察记(曾红、郝欣)

  • History of field research in San Jia Village since the 1960s, famous for its population of native — but aging — Manchu speakers.

抢救临危语言就是抢救人类文化(郝欣、曾红)

  • Details of discussion at the conference by experts in various Tungusic languages, including up-to-date assessments of the state of each of the major languages, and proposals on how to address the threat of extinction.

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