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The World of Lao Kidai: Travels, Trades and Spoken Chinese Described in the Chinese Textbook during Mongol Period

Thu, Apr 11, 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Ballantine 004

This lecture will examine the actual situations of travels, trades, and spoken Chinese during Mongol Period by means of introducing the contents of Lao Kidai (『老乞大』; Yuan Chinese: Lau K’itai; Modern Korean: No Goeldae; Modern Mandarin: Lao Qida). This is one of the Chinese textbooks used in the official school of the Joseon 朝鮮 Dynasty (1392-1910) and supposed to have been edited during the Goryeo 高麗 Dynasty (918-1392) under the rule of the Mongol Empire in the fourteenth century. This textbook describes Korean merchants’ travels and trades in the Imperial capital Daidu 大都 by vivid dialogues and also includes a feature of a guidebook for travels, trades and daily lives in China proper. Thus, we can see its significance as a historical source about its economy and commerce history during Mongol Period. The language of this textbook also has a unique feature since its linguistic elements are similar to those of a literal translation style” (Zhiyiti) — i.e. a style of Chinese language metaphrased from Mongolian — which was mainly used in official documents translated from Mongolian during Mongol Period. In this way, this lecture will discuss the relations between the two linguistic styles.

Yoshiyuki Funada is an assistant professor of Faculty of Humanities at Kyushu University. He is currently a visiting scholar in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at IU Bloomington. His research interests include the history of the Mongol Empire including the Yuan Dynasty, and he primarily focuses on ethnic categories, the administration systems, the language contact between Mongolian and Chinese, and the relationships between Mongol rulers and Chinese societies.