The Historical Legacies and Future of an Endangered Language : the Qapqal-Xibe, a Case Study

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Title: The Historical Legacies and Future of an Endangered Language : the Qapqal-Xibe, a Case Study
Author: Zhang, Dongning
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta, Maailman kulttuurien laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of World Cultures
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för världens kulturer
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2018
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: altaistiikka
Altaic Studies
Abstract: This thesis aimed to research the history of the Xibe language and to discuss about its future. By 2017 this language had less than 20,000 speakers and the number was still decreasing. Five chapters comprised this thesis. Chapter 1 introduced the Xibe people and their residence in Qapqal, as well as the former linguistic researches. Chapter 2 analyzed the history of the Xibe people based on historical study methods, revealed how their languages changes from a Proto-Mongolic to Tungusic. Chapter 3 analyzed the relationships between the Xibe and Manchu ethnic groups and their attitudes towards the languages of the each other. Chapters 4-5 used the methods of case study, in which Chapter 4 provided a portrait of Qapqal and a culture center in this county; Chapter 5 measured the present states of the Qapqal-Xibe language, discussed the future of the Qapqal-Xibe. The written materials were collected from the Chinese official history books and the previous researches in this field, while my interviews made in Qapqal SAS Culture Center also contributed this thesis. This thesis concluded that predictably at the beginning of the 22nd century only few of native speaker would be alive, matching the status of Qapqal-Xibe as ‘nearly extinct’. Linguists could help with digitalizing this language, but he future of the Qapqal-Xibe language was on their own hands of the members of the Xibe ethnic group.
Subject: Xibe
Language endangerment
History legacies
Manchu Studies

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