Daur – An endangered Chinese language

Various diseases which commonly affected the Daur people have now been done away with. This community has embraced modern development and has seen the benefit of taking their children to school and using modern technologies. This is reflected in the various townships that the Daur currently live in. Daurs are believed to be the descendants of Khitan, which is an ancient nomad tribe. They are mainly engaged in agriculture, hunting and livestock breeding. The Daurs are good dancers and singers and they enjoy sporting activities such as wrestling and horse riding. The biggest festival of the year is the Anie festival in spring. As a way of celebration, a lot of food is prepared and entertainment takes place during the festival. Friends and family also spend the time together. Other names that are used to describe the Daur language include Daguor, Dawo’er, Tahur and Dagur.

Daur is a minority language that is spoken in China. Daurs live in inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Heilongjian. The number of Daur speakers is significantly low. With a population of 132,394 people in 2000, the UNESCO classifies it as an an endangered language. Most Daurs died as a result of disease, war and assimilation by other cultures such as Mongolian and Chinese culture. This has resulted in most Daurs switching to Chinese, Mongolian, Ewenki, Kazar and Uigur languages, even though there are a few Daurs who can still speak their native language. There are 3 dialects of Daur. These are Qiqihar, Buteh and Xinjiang There is no written form for Daur even though Machu is sometimes used as a written form by some Daur speakers.

The Daur have led a seclusive life in most of their history. This has resulted in them preserving their customs and traditions. The favorite dishes of the Daurs consists of millet. Soybeans, fish, pork and beef are also a favorite. In regards to religion, most Daurs are Shammaists while a few are Lamaists. Women normally wear long gowns which are blue in color. Trousers are worn during hot seasons. These are normally worn together with embroidered shoes while during winter they wear leather boots.