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Manchu language

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The royal seal of the Ryûkyû Kingdom during the Qing Dynasty, showing Chinese (琉球國王之印) in seal script on the right, and an inscription in the Manchu language on the left. As reproduced in Ryûkyû kokuô sappô no zu, handscroll, date unknown, University of Hawaii Collection.

The Manchu language was one of the two official languages of China's Qing Dynasty, being used alongside Chinese on most, if not all, official documents.

The language evolved as a purely oral language, only first becoming a written language in 1599, when the Mongolian script was adopted. Written vertically, the Mongolian script, devised in 1269, was based on the Uighur language (also written vertically), which derived from Sogdian (written horizontally), which in turn came originally out of Aramaic. Thus, while Manchu and Mongolian both are, of course, quite far removed from Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, and other European & Middle Eastern languages which also share Aramaic roots, Manchu and Mongolian can nevertheless be said to be all but completely unrelated to Chinese.

References

  • Albert M. Craig, The Heritage of Chinese Civilization, Third Edition, Prentice Hall (2011), 116.
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