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Ancient China Tongue Dying

March 17, 1985|Associated Press

PEKING — The native tongue of northeast China's Manchu people, the group that established the Ching Dynasty and ruled from 1644 to 1911, is almost extinct, an official New China News Agency report said Friday.

"Fewer and fewer people have a command of Manchu," said Jin Baosen, director of a Manchu school set up in Peking to rescue the language, the agency said.

Jin said that "1.5 million files of Manchu archive documents await translation and editing with only 20 experts working on them."

Most Manchurians became assimilated with the Chinese by the early 18th Century, and even Ching emperors didn't speak their ancestral language, although it was used for government records.

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