Via this Log post by Victor Mair about a 2004 Chinese novel called Yīnggélìshì 英格力士 (the title is a Chinese rendering of “English”; it’s about a guy named Love Liu who grows up in Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution, studies English, and “becomes enamored of this new language and attracted to his teacher”), I discovered Bruce Humes’s blog Altaic Storytelling: Tales from Istanbul to Heilongjiang, which is well worth checking out. Humes is now in Istanbul studying Turkish:
The goal would be to get enough modern Turkish under my belt so I could move onto Ottoman Turkish. Eventually, I’d like to be able to carry out research into the history of translation between Turkic languages and Chinese, or even better, re: the current topic of my newly christened blog: Altaic storytelling, particularly the role of itinerant aşık. I don’t know much about it, but it really appeals. The older I get, the more interested I am in oral transmission as opposed to written literature.
A post that particularly intrigued me is about “Evenki Place Names behind the Hànzì” in Chi Zijian’s novel Last Quarter of the Moon (额尔古纳河右岸).