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The Kitans established the Liao dynasty in northern China, which lasted for over two centuries (916-1125). In this survey the reader will find what is currently known about the Kitan language and scripts.
The language was very likely distantly related to Mongolian, with two quite different scripts in use. A few generations after their state was defeated, almost all trace of the Kitan spoken and written languages disappeared, except a few words in Chinese texts. Over the past few decades, however, inscriptions from the tombs of the Liao emperors and the Kitan aristocracy have been at least partially deciphered, resulting in a significant increase of our knowledge of the Kitan lexicon, morphology and syntax.
Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Ch. 2 Analysis of the Kitan small graphs 35
Ch. 3 English-Kitan glossary 83
Ch. 4 Morphology 131
Ch. 5 The Kitan large script 167
Ch. 6 Texts in the Kitan small script 185
Ch. 7 Liao Chinese 227
Index of graphs 301