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Dongba and Mandarin lessons

Written on: July 11, 2019

During our Chinese lessons, we often stay in our “classrooms” for the whole lesson time. But today, we got to go to the village market and complete our Chinese class assignments. It was interesting to compare the village market to the city market we visited in Lijiang the day before.

Yesterday afternoon, we went to visit one of the last people who is able to read and write Dongba. Throughout our homestay time here in Nanyao, we have learned that Dongba is both a pictographic script and a form of Buddhism. Our homestay families are able to speak the language; however, they are taught how to read and write Mandarin in school. Therefore, Dongba is quickly disintegrating and will soon be lost. With this teacher, we were able to have our names written in Dongba, which was very intricate and precise. We then learned how to do a traditional dance, and make the special paper that he writes on. Dongba is one of the last pictographic scripts, so it was very interesting to see a person who can read and write the language.