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Nüzhen script

Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


Also known as ‘Jurchen’, ‘Ju-čen’ and ‘Niu-chih’, the Nüzhen language is of Tungusic (Altaic) stock, and is now extinct. For a short period (1122–1234 ce ) the Nüzhen, who called their dynasty the Chin (Golden), ruled over China. Excepting the Manchu, they are the only Tungus people who possessed a writing system of their own. It was derived in dynastic times from the Chinese script and used for the Nüzhen language until the mid seventeenth century when it was superseded by the manchu script . However, the Nüzhen script never gained wide currency and extant text material is very limited ( figure 9 ). Similar in its outer form to Chinese, with characters written in vertical columns shifting from right to left, the script is structurally very different. The system is basically syllabic with a prevailing pattern of one character per syllable, although some characters represent two or even three different syllables. In addition, some logograms are used for Chinese loan words. Reading Grube 1896. Figure 9 Specimen of Nüzhen writing with transliteration and translation ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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