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Zograph I. Mongolian Borrowings in Documents of Yuan Chancellery // Manuscripta Orientalia. Vol. 8, No 2, June 2002. P. 29-35.


Scholars studying Chinese literature of the Yuan (i.e. Mongol) period often stress the point that Baihua (the written language of that time) is strongly influenced by Mongolian, the fact, which, in their opinion, is responsible for great difficulties in reading and understanding the Yuan texts. Some sinologists believe that Chinese transcriptions of loanwords, including many administrative and technical terms (often corrupted beyond any recognition), are to be found not only in the Yuan official documents, but also in plays and novels of the period. They also consider it rather interesting for historical linguists to collect and to study this lexical material in order (i) to trace the origins of numerous “barbarisms” in Baihua, and (ii) to estimate the effect they have had on the present-day Chinese language. To answer these questions, two groups of Yuan texts — Chinese translations from Mongolian and original Chinese writings — can be drawn on.

The present research is based on a collection of inscriptions which was published by Cai Meibiao in 1955. Since only a few of them were published earlier most inscriptions have become open to public for the first time. The bulk of these inscriptions (engravings) are official documents translated from Mongolian. Their contents is reproduced from the prints of original Chinese stelae. Some of the prints have been produced directly from the stelae still available. However, the overall number of surviving stelae is very small, so the rest of the prints have to be looked for in different libraries or storehouses. From the linguistic viewpoint, the documents are of primary interest to the study of languages in contact, although the sphere of their linguistic investigation may be much broader…

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Keywords


Baihua
Manuscripta Orientalia, selected papers
Mongolian influence
Yuan

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