An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Xiyu tongwen zhi 西域同文志

Oct 6, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

(Qinding) Xiyu tongwen zhi (欽定)西域同文志 "(Imperially endorsed) Dictionary of languages in the Western Territories" is a dictionary of languages used in the "Western Territories" (an old name for Eastern Turkestan or Xinjiang), Qinghai and Tibet compiled on imperial order under the supervision of Fuheng 傅恒 (1720-1770), and presented to the throne in 1763.

The 24-juan long book is arranged thematically and divided into the four parts geography, mountains, rivers and human affairs. It is divided into 15 chapters and included 3,111 entries. Each entry is headed by the Manchurian word, followed by the Chinese translation, the transcription according to the sanhe qieyin 三合切音 system ("unified cut-sound system for the languages Chinese, Manchu and Monglian") that operates with Chinese characters that are used phonetically, partially in syllables, and partially in lexemes: U[l+u]mu[tɕ+i] 烏[嚕+烏]穆[緀+伊], like the fanqie system, then the Mongolian, Tibetan, "Tangutan" (Tuote 托忒, i.e. the local tongue of Mongolian in the western regions) and Turki (today known as Uyghurian).

For each of these languages, a phonetic transcription into Manchurian is provided. This text can be called a preliminary study to the "Five-Fold Mirror of Languages" Wuti qingwen jian 五體清文鑒. It is included in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and was reprinted in 1962 in Japan as part of the series Tōyō bunko sōkan 東洋文庫叢刊.

The entry or lemma "Ürümqi (Urumchi)". It begins (to the right side) with the name of the city written in Manchu language, then in Chinese. The mu 木 in Wulumuqi 烏魯木齊 is written smaller to signify that the vowel [u] is not pronounced. Then follows an explanation about the city and its history, beginning with the Han-period site Pulei 蒲類. The next transcription is the sanhe qieyin 三合切音 system: U[l+u]mu[tɕ+i] 烏[嚕+烏]穆[緀+伊]. Then follow the Monglian, the Tibetan, the Tangutan (i.e. Western Mongolian), and finally the Uyghurian transcription.
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Gao Wende 高文德, ed. (1995). Zhongguo shaoshu minzu da cidian 中國少數民族史大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin jiaoyu chubanshe), 1430.
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