“Last Quarter of the Moon”: Evenki Place Names behind the Hànzì

I grew up in places with names like “Winnetka” and “Sewickley,” spellings no doubt based on mangled transliterations of old, even ancient Native American words. I vaguely recall that Sewickley meant “sweet water,” but no one seemed sure. How many cities, mountains and rivers in China, I wondered, hide their non-Han origins? Evenki Mountain Name … Continue reading “Last Quarter of the Moon”: Evenki Place Names behind the Hànzì

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

Tibetan, Daur, Evenki and Oroqen Databases Appraised by Experts

According to China’s Ministry of Education (数据库), several minority language projects underway during the current 12th Five-year Plan (2011-15) have been appraised and approved by experts. They are: Database of Modern Tibetan Grammar Research (现代藏语语法信息辞典数据库研究) Database of Daur, Evenki and Oroqen Voice Acoustic Parameters (达斡尔、鄂温克和鄂伦春语语音声学参数数据库) Undertaken by the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology under the … Continue reading Tibetan, Daur, Evenki and Oroqen Databases Appraised by Experts