In "From Kinh Dương Vương to Bảo Đai", I mentioned the sinographs 陞 'ascend' (a variant of 升/昇) and 勝 'be victorious'.

The latter belongs to an unusual Old Chinese lateral series with *-ŋ ~ *-k ~ *-n ~ *-m coda variation:

灷 893a-b *ləŋs 'servant'

朕 893f-i *rləmʔ 'I', *rlənʔ 'seam'

栚 893j *rlənʔ 'horizontal pieces in a frame for silk words'

塍 893n-o *mləŋ 'raised path between fields'

勝 893p *hləŋ 'equal to', *hləŋs 'vanquish, overcome'

滕 893q *ləŋ < *Cʌ-ləŋ 'to gush up (as water)'

螣 893u *ləŋ < *Cʌ-ləŋ 'fabulous flying snake' (< 'one that rises'?), *lək < *Cʌ-lək 'insect eating the leaves of grain plants'

騰 893v *ləŋ < *Cʌ-ləŋ 'mount, rise, ascend'; 'overcome, oppress' (cf. 893p above)

cognate to 乘 895a *mləŋ 'mount, ride, ascend'

There is another Old Chinese word for 'ascend' written with a *t-series sinograph:

登 883a-d *təŋ < *Cʌ-təŋ 'ascend'

鄧 883l *dəŋs < ?*Nʌ-təŋ (a place name and surname)

澄 883m *rdəŋ, *rdaŋ < ?*r-N-tVŋ 'clear'

the emphasis in *rdaŋ is due to the low vowel *a

證 883n *təŋs 'testify, prove'

could the latter two be cognate to

貞 834g *rteŋ 'correct'

正 833j *teŋs 'correct'

眞 375a *tin < ?*tiŋ 'true'

升/昇/陞 897a-d 'ascend' was Middle Chinese *ɕɨŋ, which could be from

OC *hləŋ < *s-ləŋ (cognate to 騰 893q *ləŋ < *Cʌ-ləŋ 'mount, rise, ascend')

or OC*s-təŋ (cognate to 登 883a-d *təŋ < *Cʌ-təŋ 'ascend')

Did 升/昇/陞 have a *l- or *t-root in Old Chinese? The answer might be clear if series 897 had more than a few sinographs. The only other member of 897 in Grammata Serica Recensa is

抍 897e MC *ɕɨŋ, *tɕɨŋʔ 'lift up'

which could be from

OC *hləŋ < *s-ləŋ, *t-ləŋ-ʔ

or OC *s-təŋ, *təŋ-ʔ

Is there any decisive evidence that points either way? Schuessler (2007:185) reconstructed 升 with *hl- whereas Starostin reconstructed it with *t-, citing affricate forms from Min for a homophone meaning 'a measure of capacity'

Xiamen tsin (with a final alveolar nasal; confirmed at 台文/華文線頂辭典)

Fuzhou tsiŋ

that are absent from Hanyu fangyin zihui (1962: 248) which has

Xiamen sɪŋ

Chaozhou seŋ

Fuzhou siŋ

presumably for 'ascend'.  (Forms added 8.17.4:07.)

But the Min affricates could reflect a prefixed nonemphatic lateral: *t-l- > ts-.

I briefly considered uniting the two types of roots for 'ascend' by reinterpreting the *t-root as a prefixed *l-root:

騰 893q *ləŋ < *Cʌ-ləŋ 'mount, rise, ascend' (unchanged)

登 883a-d *təŋ < *Cʌ-t-ləŋ 'ascend' (instead of *Cʌ-təŋ)

However, series 883 lacks any lateral characteristics beyond this possible word family link. Moreover, 證 883n could be cognate to *t-words, so 883 is probably a *t-series rather than a *tl-series. So for now I reconstruct two rhyming roots for 'ascend' in Old Chinese -

*ləŋ: 塍勝 滕螣騰乘

*təŋ: 登

See Schuessler 2007: 185 for further dental stop-initial cognates of 登:

丞 896g*dəŋ < *N-təŋ 'to lift'

承 896c *dəŋ < *N-təŋ 'to lift'

拯 896i *təŋ-ʔ 'to lift'

烝 896h *təŋ 'to offer (gift, sacrifice)' < ?'to give upward' < ?'to lift'

稱 894g *thəŋ*s-təŋ 'to lift'

- and remain agnostic about 升/昇/陞, which could contain either root. FROM KINH DƯƠNG VƯƠNG TO BẢO ĐẠI

When I used nomfoundation.org last night to find all graphs listed with the reading Việt for this entry, I discovered that a table of Vietnamese imperial reigns had been added to the site. The table has not been fully translated, so I will supply some missing English equivalents for the first and last pages, which are the ones that interest me the most:

漢喃 Hán-Nôm 'Sino-Vietography' (this term leaves open the question of whether any given graph represents a borrowed Chinese morpheme or is a phonetic symbol for a native Vietnamese syllable; more on this below)

năm 'year'

ở ngôi X năm 'on the throne for X years'

cộng X năm 'a total of X years'

đặt niên hiệu 1 lần 'established an era name [only] once' (unlike other rulers who changed era names at least once during their reigns)

TCN = trước 公元 Công Nguyên 'before the Common Origin' (i.e., BCE)

It's not clear whether the names of the early mythological rulers contain native Vietnamese names filtered through Chinese translations and transcriptions as well as Sino-Vietnamese borrowings: e.g.,
涇陽王 Kinh Dương Vương 'King of Kinh Dương'

涇 'flow through' could be a transcription of the native Vietnamese autonym Kinh (now transcribed in Chinese as 京 'capital city').

Dương 'yang principle' and 王 Vương 'king' are definitely of Chinese origin.

貉龍君 Lạc Long Quân 'Lac Dragon Lord', son of Kinh Dương Vương

Again, the last two graphs represent Chinese borrowings.

Lạc is definitely indigenous, as it is spelled with various homophonous but not synonymous sinographs sharing the phonetic 各 'each' (Old Chinese *klak):

貉 'badger'

駱 'white horse with black mane'; later first syllable of 駱駝 'camel'

雒 'kind of bird'

雄王 Hùng Vương 'Male King', son of Lạc Long Quân

雄 has connotations of power and could be loosely translated as 'mighty', etc. It could be

- a Chinese loan

- a Chinese translation of a native Vietnamese name meaning 'powerful', etc.

- a Chinese transcription of a native Vietnamese name

I'd love to see someone untangle what is real and imaginary and what is Vietnamese and what is Chinese. The mixture of the two cultures is embodied in the royal bloodline, as Kinh Dương Vương is the grandson of 炎帝神農 Viêm Đế Thần Nong (Md Yandi Shennong, 'Flame Emperor God Farmer'). See Appendix A of Keith Taylor's The Birth of Vietnam for more details.

The last monarch of Vietnam was 保大 Bảo Đại 'Preserving Greatness' (1913-1997) of the 阮 Nguyễn Dynasty. His name was on Vietnam's last cash coins.

After his passing, he was succeeded by his sons 保隆 Bảo Long 'Preserving Prosperity' (1936-2007) and保陞 Bảo Thắng 'Preserving Ascent' (1943-) as the head of the Nguyễn family.

(I am puzzled by the reading Thắng [homophonous with 勝 'victory'] for 陞 which should be read as Thăng 'ascent' according to nomfoundation.org.) VIETNAMESE IN THE VIRTUOUS DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC (where?*)

Although I've spent a lot of time lately on Kra and not enough - in fact, almost zero time - on Tangut, I still have other interests elsewhere in the world. Tonight I found a site on language, culture, and ethnicity in Europe that I've only barely begun to explore.

Here's a tantalizing little article on a group whose existence I should have guessed - the Vietnamese in what used to be East Germany:

It all started in the 1970s, when East Germany made agreements with other socialist countries to invite contract workers for three-four years each. Workers came not only from Vietnam, but also from Poland, Algeria, Cuba, Mozambique, Mongolia and China. By 1989, there were 60 000 Vietnamese working in East German factories.

I've long wondered what it is like for Vietnamese to learn Russian, a heavily inflected language so unlike theirs. German would have some of the same difficulties plus some others: e.g., the presence of definite and indefinite articles absent in Russian and Vietnamese, unpredictable plural endings and gender, etc. Of course, German is easier in some ways: e.g., fewer cases.

What happened to the children of the Vietnamese workers in East Germany? And what about the refugees from Vietnam in Germany? This article offers answers:

As refugees, they are not afraid to speak out about political issues in Vietnam and to hold demonstrations. For the former contract workers, it’s a different story. Many of them fought for the independence of Vietnam and they can’t say that what they where fighting for was wrong. So they keep quiet, explains Hai.

The former contract workers also have fewer contacts with the German society. "They only learn German for their work, and most of them have no German friends. Then they sit around and talk about how beautiful it is in Vietnam" ...

They [two children of contract workers] also have two languages. Vietnamese for things related to their former home country. German for discussions about going out and other issues relating to their "German" life.

I bet the children know some English, too.

A son of a contract worker on apolitical divisions among the Vietnamese in Germany:

The newly immigrated think that the others are "German wannabes" because they are more integrated and don’t promote their origin more. "I'm kind of in the middle", says Viet.

I wonder what his name would be in sinography. My guess is 越 Việt 'exceed'. I doubt it's 粤 Việt 'Cantonese'! Perhaps he was named after 越南 Việt Nam.

*The Vietnamese name for the DDR is 共和民主德 Cộng hòa Dân chủ Đức, literally 'Republic Democratic German' with the elements in reverse order.

Đức 'German' is the Sino-Vietnamese reading of 德 'virtue', originally a Chinese name for Germany (presumably on the basis of Cantonese tak rather than Mandarin de [tɤ]). Unlike some Vietified Chinese names such as 西班牙 Tây Ban Nha < ?Md Xibanya [ɕipanja] < España, it still sounds and looks something like the foreign original. DID PROTO-KRA HAVE RETROFLEX INITIALS? (PART 11: FROM *N TO *Z)

(This is a reconstruction of a post that I had nearly finished before KompoZer crashed on me. Fortuantely, this rewritten version is superior to the original.)

I meant part 10 of this series to be its finale. But I have two new proposals which I will cover in this post and its sequel.

Earlier *CV-n- became Qiaoshang z- and Paha ð-. See part 7 for examples. I don't know of any other language in which a medial alveolar nasal became a voiced fricative. However, I do know of a similar change involving a lenited labial nasal in Irish:

Pre-Old Irish Old Irish Modern Irish
*b [v] bh [v]
*m [ṽ] mh [v] (denasalized)

No language in UPSID has a nasalized fricative, but I did find two languages (Konyagi in Senegal and Paya in Honduras) which have a nasalized labial glide [w̃] and one language (Hindi) with a nasalized flap [ɽ̃] (an allophone of the retroflex nasal /ɳ/ according to Shapiro 2003).

With these precedents in mind, I propose the following changes:

Pre-Qiaoshang Voicing Spirantization Qiaoshang
*CV-t- *CV-d- *CV-ð- z-
*CV-n- *CV-n- *CV-z̃-
*CV-ts- *CV-dz- *CV-z-
(*CV-)r- *(CV-)r- *(CV-)ʐ- ʐ-
*hr- *hr- *ʂ- ʂ-

-z̃- is very exotic. Perhaps it should be rewritten as an *-nz- that merged with *-dz- and weakened to *-z-.

Note that *r- merged with the lenited alveolars in Paha but not in Qiaoshang. Perhaps pre-Qiaoshang r was retroflex *[ɽ] rather than alveolar *[r].

Pre-Paha Voicing Rhotacization Paha
*CV-t- *CV-d- *CV-d- *CV-ð- ð-
*CV-n- *CV-n- *CV-r̃- *CV-z-
*(CV)-r- *(CV-)r- *(CV-)r-
*CV-s- ?[sʰ] *CV-z- ?[zʰ] *CV-z- ?[zʰ] *CV-ðh- ðh-

An *r- > z- shift occurred in northern Vietnamese, though this is obscured by the spelling which retains etymological r [z].

A *z- to ðh- shift is unusual since sibilant dental fricatives are rare in the world's languages and I assume that aspirated ðh- is even rarer. However, this change is parallel to Ostapirat's (2000: 181) *s- to θ- change in Paha. (Similar changes occurred in Buyang and Burmese.) The aspiration of ðh- may go back to pre-Paha *-s- which could have been aspirated [sʰ].

Ostapirat's (2000: 182)

*ns- > *nth- > Paha dh-

is strange because *s did not harden elsewhere in Paha. Perhaps *s- became *θ- even after *n- and then voiced and hardened to assimilate to the preceding nasal stop:

*ns- [nsʰ] > *nθh- > *nðh- > *ndh- > Paha dh- IS NORWEGIAN THE EASIEST LANGUAGE FOR ENGLISH SPEAKERS TO LEARN?

I used to think Afrikaans was until my blogfather James Hudnall sent me a link to Mithridates*. Having known someone who rapidly picked up Norwegian after only a year there, I don't think Norwegian is terribly difficult, but I am not sure that it is easier than Afrikaans**. The US military considers Afrikaans and Norwegian to be easy 'Group I' languages.

8.14.0:06: I consider Afrikaans to be the easiest of the Group I languages for Anglophones, with Haitian Creole coming in second place.

*8.14.2:18: His Korean name is 데이빛 Deibit, a pun on David and daylight (since 빛 bit means 'light' in Korean).

**Learn Afrikaans through Ecclesiastes! WERE KRA WORDS FOR 'CHOPSTICKS' BORROWED FROM CHINESE?

In part 9 of my series on retroflexes in Proto-Kra, I wrote,

PWK [Proto-Western Kra] *rV-dz- fused into pre-Lachi*dʐ- which then partly devoiced to become Lachi tɕɦ- (whereas PWK *dz- became Lachi tɦ- [or did it?; I'll explain my doubts later])

There's nothing inherently improbable about fortition of *dz- to tɦ- in isolation. However, such a change has no parallels in the rest of the Lachi consonant system (Ostapirat 2000: 146):

Proto-Western Kra Lachi
*d- tɦ-
*s- s-
*ts- tɕ-

If PWK *dz- hardened to a stop, I would expect other sibilants to harden: e.g., PWK *ts- > Lachi t-. But in fact two affricates (*tʃ-, *dʒ-) and one stop (*ɟ-) lenited to fricatives. So I would expect PWK *dz- to have become ʑɦ-.

Ostapirat (2000: 231) reconstructed only one Proto-Kra word with *dz-, *dzaɯ B/C 'chopsticks'. I would revise this as *dzaɯh/ʔ with final glottals. This would have remained unchanged in PWK as *dzaɯh/ɯʔ. The non-Gelao Kra languages (Lachi and Laha in Southern Kra and Paha and Pubiao in Central-Eastern Kra) have a stop-initial word for 'chopsticks' rather than an affricate-initial word. (8.13.0:10: *dz- is the only sibilant in these languages that hardened to an alveolar stop in Ostapirat's reconstruction.)

Pages of Ostapirat's Proto-Kra (2000) Ostapirat's Proto-Kra Southwestern Kra Central-Eastern Kra
Gelao Western Southern Central Eastern
Qiaoshang Laozhai Wanzi Lachi Laha Paha Pubiao
110, 231 *dzaɯ B/C tso C2 dzɑu C2 tsəɯ C2 tɦjo B2 dɔ A2 daau B1 ʔdaau B1

Chinese has a etymon for 'chopsticks'

箸 Old Chinese *rdaks > Middle Chinese *ɖɨah

with both affricate and stop-initial versions in modern southern languages: e.g.,

Cantonese tɕy

Meixian Hakka tsu

Xiamen and Chaozhou tu

Fujian ty

Vietnamese đũa, possibly a loan from a southern late Old Chinese ́*dɨah without *r-, if not an early attempt to imitate Middle Chinese *ɖɨah; in either case, borrowing predated the development of the diphthong *ɨa in Vietnamese

Sino-Vietnamese trợ, borrowed long after đũa

Note that the stop-initial Kra words are in languages spoken in Vietnam (Laha), near the Vietnamese border (Lachi), on both sides of the Sino-Vietnamese border (Pubiao), or in southern Yunnan (Paha). Affricate-initial words appear to be unique to the Gelao languages which are mostly spoken in Guizhou with the exceptions of Laozhai and Ban Ma Che on opposite sides of the Sino-Vietnamese border. (8.13.00:52: I assume that Ban Ma Che also has an affricate-initial word for 'chopsticks'.) I wonder if Proto-Gelao borrowed a *dz-word for 'chopsticks' from one Chinese language while the rest of Kra borrowed *d-forms from other Chinese languages. If I am correct, PG *dz- is not reconstructible, and the anomalous change of *dz- to alveolar stops never occurred in non-Gelao Kra languages. Unfortunately, the rhymes of the Kra and Chinese words do not quite match.

8.13.00:28: The variation of tone classes in the Kra forms (A in Laha, B in Lachi, Paha, and Pubiao, and C in Gelao) may be due to borrowing from multiple Chinese sources.

8.13.00:48: 箸 ends in *-aɣs in Pulleyblank's Old Chinese reconstruction. This is not far from Ostapirat's *-aɯ B which I interpret as *-aɯh. However, the evidence for *-ɣ (or Gong's *-g) in this very common OC rhyme is not very strong.

8.13.1:03: If there are instances of the correspondence

Gelao alveolar affricate : non-Gelao Kra alveolar stop

in etyma other than 'chopsticks', then I will have to reconsider the possibility of reconstructing a PK *dz- that independently became a stop in at least three branches of Kra (Lachi, Laha, and Central-Eastern) even though *(t)s- did not become a stop in any of those branches. That still sounds highly implausible to me. PROTO-KRA PRESYLLABLES AND CLUSTERS WITH LABIAL STOPS

I made a major mistake in my series on retroflexes in Proto-Kra. I iniitally assumed that all presyllables conditioned voiced fricatives in Qiaoshang and Paha. However, as I wrote part 10, I realized that I was wrong, and that reflexes of *PV-l- were quite unlike those of *TV-l- and *KV-l-. Compare the following table with the table in part 10. (Blank spaces indicate the absence of cognates.)

Pages of Ostapirat (2000) Example etyma Ostapirat's Proto-Kra This site's Proto-Kra Southwestern Kra Central-Eastern Kra
Gelao Western Southern Central Eastern
Qiaoshang Laozhai Wanzi Lachi Laha Paha Buyang Pubiao
116, 213 blood *pl- *pl- pl- (before nonrounded vowel) pl- (before non-u vowel) pl- (before nonrounded vowels) pj- pl- (before nonrounded vowel) p-
116, 238 alive in Western Kra only? p- (before -u) l-
116, 220 boil (n.) *pl- p- (before rounded vowels) pl- (before non-u vowel) p-
116, 232 liquor p- (before rounded vowels) p- (before rounded vowels)
117, 141, 245 ten *pwl- *CV-pl- vl- p- v- p-
116, 227 peach *m-pl- *pl- pl- pl- b-
238 bark (v.) pl- (before nonrounded vowel) ʔb-
215, 225 fish *p-l- *pV-l- l- l- bl- (before nonrounded vowel) pj- pj- pj-
190, 215, 238 afraid l- m̩ (sic!) l-
120, 213, 224 duck *bl- in Gelao only? pl- bl-
237 sour *bwl- *CV-bl- vl- ʔd- (sic!) bj-

Although the picture is quite complex, one thing is clear: Qiaoshang z- and Paha ð- are nowhere in sight. Why would *-l- become QS z- and Paha ð- after Proto-Kra *KV- and *TV- but not *PV-? If the presyllabic vowel conditioned the change of *-l- to a fricative in both languages, the vowel of PK *PV- should have had the same effect as the vowels of PK *KV- and *TV-.

Now I think that vowels were not as relevant as I had previously thought, and that chain shifts occurred in Qiaoshang and Paha:


1. PK *kl- became *kw- (via *kɫ-) and PK *tl- became ɬ-. If *dl- existed, it might have become l-.

2. PK *kV-l- became a new *kl- and PK *dVl- became (a new?) *dl-.

3. These two pre-Qiaoshang clusters merged and became z- in Qiaoshang:

Proto-Kra Pre-Qiaoshang Qiaoshang
*kV-l- *kl- *tl- *θ- *ð- z-
*dV-l- *dl- *dl- *ð-

or (added 8.12.0:45)

Proto-Kra Pre-Qiaoshang Qiaoshang
*kV-l- *kl- *tl- *dl- *ɮ- z-
*dV-l- *dl- *dl-

whereas the similar cluster *pl- and *bl- became pl- (instead of v- or β- - why?).


1. PK *(N-)Cl-clusters were reduced to single segments. *tl- (and PK *kl-?) became *q-. See this table. *pl- and *N-pl- became p- and b-.

2. PK *CV-l- sequences became new *Cl-clusters.

3. Two of these pre-Paha clusters merged and became ð- in Paha whereas the third cluster became pj-:

Proto-Kra Pre-Paha Paha
*kV-l- *kl- *tl- *θ- ð-
*dV-l- *dl- *dl- *ð-
*pV-l- *pl- *pl- *pl- or *pj- pj-

I would have expected *pl- to become a fricative ɸ- like *kl- and *dl-.

Notes on various words:

'ten' and 'sour': I've never seen anything like Ostapirat's PK clusters *pwl- and *bwl- in a living language, so I have replaced them with *CV-pl- and *CV-bl-. The presyllabic vowel conditioned the lenition of *-p- and *-b- to v- in Qiaoshang, Wanzi, and Paha.

'peach' and 'bark': A nasal *N- (or some other voiced preinitial) is needed to account for the voiced initial of Paha.

(Pubiao ʔb- in 'bark' is unexpected, since Pubiao p- in 'peach' is the regular reflex of PK *p(l)-. Could pre-Pubiao have had a voiced nonnasal prefix in 'bark' that fused with *pl- to become ʔb-: e.g.,

*C-pl- > *Cbl- > *bb- > ʔb-

Cf. my derivation of Buyang ʔd- from PK ?*tV-bl- below.)

I am unaware of any trace of a voiced preinitial in the Southwestern Kra languages, so I regard *N- in these etyma as a Central-Eastern Kra or a Paha innovation.

'alive': I do not reconstruct this as a Proto-Kra etymon since I have not found it outisde the Western Kra languages (Laozhai and Lachi). Lachi has l- instead of pj- for this etymon, implying that the Proto-Western-Kra form might have had initial *pV-l-.

'duck': I do not reconstruct this as a Proto-Kra etymon since I have not found it outisde the Gelao languages (Qiaoshang and Wanzi).

Notes on various languages:

(8.12.0:44: Rounded vowels that conditioned *-l-loss in several languages may be primary or secondary. Original labiality may have been lost: e.g.,

'ten': PK *CV-plot > *plot > *pɫot > *pwot > *pot > Ta Mit Laha pət

Nonlabial PK vowels sometimes later became labial: e.g.,

'boil': PK *plaɯ > *plo > *pɫo > *pwo > Qiaoshang po)

Qiaoshang and Wanzi: PK *-l- was lost before rounded vowels. It may have shifted to *-w- before disappearing.

Laozhai: PK *-l- was lost before u (but not o, unlike Qiaoshang).

Lachi: 'afraid' implies pre-Lachi *mu < PK *ma, not PK *pV-la. Perhaps pre-Lachi added a nasal prefix:

PK *pV-la > *N-pla > *mplu > *mu >

Laha: As in Qiaoshang, PK *-l- was lost before rounded vowels.

Original *pl- may have phonetically been [pl̥] with a voiceless -l- after voiceless p-, whereas *pV-l- had a voiced [l] in intervocalic position. When *pV-l- contracted to *pl- [pl], p- then assimilated to voiced [l] by becoming b- for greater contrast with [pl̥]:

*pl- [pl̥] > p(l)-

*pVl- [pVl] > *[pl] > bl-

Buyang: 'fish' and 'afraid' exemplify two paths of change for presyllables:

'fish' (presyllable-initial fusion): PK *pV-la > *pla > pjaa

'afraid' (presyllabic loss): PK *pV-la > *la > laa

The unusual preglottalized alveolar stop and the series 1 tone of 'sour' could reflect an intermediate stage with a complex cluster and a voiceless alveolar-initial presyllable:

PK *tV-blat > *tbl- > *dbl- > *dl- > *dd- > ʔdaat

Cf. the initials of 'leaf', 'crow', and 'raw' (discussed in part 6 of my series on PK retroflexes):

PK *CV-d- > *Cd- > *dd- > ʔd-

Pubiao: Presyllables have left no traces in 'ten', 'peach', and 'sour'. 'fish' has a fused presyllable, as in Buyang:

PK *pV-la > *pla > pɦjaa

The *p- of the presyllable had no effect on the tone which is series 2 with -ɦ- conditioned by voiced *-l-.

There may have been a chain shift in Pubiao:

Stage 1 Stage 2 Pubiao
*pl- *p- p-

Ostapirat (2000) reconstructed two Proto-Kra etyma with retroflex-initial presyllables. Forms implying a lost presyllable are in bold.

Pages of Ostapirat (2000) Gloss Ostapirat's Proto-Kra This site's Proto-Kra Southwestern Kra Central-Eastern Kra
Gelao Western Southern Central Eastern
Qiaoshang Laozhai Wanzi Lachi Laha Paha Buyang
117, 166, 190-191, 221 fingernail *ʈ-lep D *klep (no cognates) ʔlæ kle lɛ kləp ɣap lip
135, 174 188, 228 vegetable *ɖ-loŋ A *(k/tV-)loŋ luŋ lɦũ kloŋ (A1!) ðuŋ (no cognate)

Qiaoshang is crucial for determining the presence of earlier presyllables (Ostapirat's *retroflexes) but unfortunately it lacks these etyma.

Underlining in Lachi represents "a glottal closure at the end (which usually constricts the vowels)" (Ostapirat 2000: 82). (How is such a closure different from a final glottal stop?)

I don't think a Proto-Kra presyllable for 'fingernail' can be reconstructed, and I am uncertain if one is necessary for 'vegetable'. (Note that "can be reconstructed" does not mean 'cannot exist'. It's possible that early PK *kV-l- or *tV-l- collapsed into late PK *kl- in 'fingernail' but not in other words. Variable rates of presyllabic collapse complicate the task of reconstruction.)

To explain my reasoning, I need to show how the above correspondences in the larger context of Kra l-correspondences. Forms with presyllables or implying presyllables are in bold. (Ostapirat's C- notation for presyllables is equivalent to my CV-. Aspiration associated with tones has been ignored.)

Pages of Ostapirat (2000) Ostapirat's Proto-Kra This site's Proto-Kra Southwestern Kra Central-Eastern Kra
Gelao Western Southern Central Eastern
Qiaoshang Laozhai Wanzi Lachi Laha Paha Buyang Pubiao
111, 147, 163, 188 *l- *l- l- l- l- l- l- l- l- l-
114, 147, 167, 188 *d-l- *dV-l- z- kl- ð-
125, 190, 215 *k-l- *kV-l- q-
135, 174 188, 228 *ɖ-l- *(k/tV)-l- (?) (?) (?)
117, 166, 190-191, 221 *ʈ-l- *kl- ʔl- kl- ɣ- l-
117, 148, 166, 233, 243 *kl- kw- (?) ʔ-, θ- z-
119, 148, 166, 190 *t-l- *tl- ɬ- ɬ- q- l- ɬ-

I only reconstruct Proto-Kra velar or dental-initial presyllables before *l- if Qiaoshang (representing Southwestern Kra) has z- and Paha (representing Central-Eastern Kra) has voiced fricatives. If only one of the major Kra branches has a diagnostic initial, then that initial may indicate a prefix added in that branch rather than a retention from PK. Hence I cannot reconstruct a PK presyllable for 'fingernail' or 'vegetable' without a Qiaoshang form.

Here's what I think happened in each language:

Qiaoshang: Intervocalic *-l- shifted to -z- after presyllables. *kl- became kw- via *kɫ- with velarized *-ɫ-. *tl- fused to ɬ-.

Laozhai: *KV/TV-type presyllables were lost without a trace before *-l-. *kl- became ʔl-. *tl- fused to ɬ-, as in Qiaoshang.

Wanzi: *KV/TV-type presyllables were lost without a trace. *kl- and *tl- merged into kl-.

Lachi: *KV/TV-type presyllables were lost without a trace. *kl- and *tl- conditioned series 1 (*voiceless initial) tones and then simplified to l-.

Laha: *KV/TV-type presyllables lost their vowels and merged with original clusters which then merged into kl-:

Proto-Kra Pre-Laha Laha
Tones conditioned by initial voicing Initial devoicing; tonal distinctions conditioned by initial devoicing become phonemic
*kV-l- *kl- *kl- kl-
*dV-l- *dl- *tl-
*tl- *tl-

The chart ignores Laha tones whose series was conditioned by the voicing of the original presyllable or cluster initial: e.g., although klaaŋ 'hawk' now has an initial voiceless k-, it has tone C2 implying an earlier voiced initial *d-.

Laha has an unexpected series 1 tone for kloŋ 'vegetable' implying earlier *kV-l- or *tV-l-, whereas Paha has a series 2 tone implying *gV-l- or *dV-l-. Perhaps pre-Laha and pre-Paha independently added different prefixes to a common PK root *loŋ. Pre-Paha *gV-l- or *dV-l- could also be from PK *kV-l- or *tV-l- plus a nasal prefix:

Proto-Kra Pre-Paha Paha
Addition of nasal prefix Fusion of nasal prefix *-l- > *-ð-
*kV-l- *N-kV-l- *gV-l- *gV-ð- ð-
*tV-l- *N-tV-l- *dV-l- *dV-ð-

Paha: Intervocalic *-l- shifted to -ð- after *KV/TV-type presyllables. Similarly, intervocalic *-k- shifted to -ɣ- after presyllables (Ostapirat 2000: 208). Since Paha ɣap 'fingernail' has ɣ- rather than ð-, I reconstruct pre-Paha *CV-kl- with an innovative prefix absent from PK. I predict that the unknown Paha reflex of PK *kl- would be q-:


Pre-Paha Paha
Merger of *kl- and *tl-; voicing after presyllable Loss of *-l- Medial lenition
*k *k- *k- *k- q-
*kl- *kl-
*CV-kl- *CV-gl- *CV-g- *CV-ɣ- ɣ-

Reconstructing root-initial *kl- in 'fingernail' results in a reconstruction that resembles the Old Chinese word for 'shell, (finger)nail, armor' (def. from Schuessler 2007: 301):

PK *klep : 甲 OC *krap

(8.10.21:08: Could the PK word be a borrowing from a southern late Old Chinese form like *klæp? OC *ra became Late Old Chinese [which raised even further to in some dialects]. Since PK had no low or mid-low front vowel, PK *e would be the closest available equivalent.)

The development of *-l- in Eastern Kra is uncertain because of unknown and strange reflexes:

Buyang: *KV/TV-type presyllables were lost without a trace. *tl- simplified to l-. *kl- has two odd reflexes with only one example each:

PK *klal > BY ʔaan 'grandchild'

PK *klut > BY θoot 'take off'

(8.10.20:52: cf. Old Chinese 脫 *hlot 'take off'; could OC *hl- < *kʌ-l-?)

Pubiao: zaan 'grandchild' is suspicious since it is the only z-initial Pubiao word I can find in Ostapirat (2000), which does not explictly state that *kl- > Pubiao z-. I wonder if its initial is a typo. I would expect its initial to be q- if Pubiao merged presyllable-initial sequences with clusters:

Proto-Kra Pre-Pubiao Pubiao
*k- *k- q-
*kV-l- *kl-
(*tV-l-) *tl- ɬ-
*dV-l- *dl- l-

PK *tV-l- and *dl- are in parentheses since they are not (yet) reconstructible.

8.10.20:40: If Pubiao z- (< PK *kl-) is not a typo, it is reminiscent of Vietnamese [z] from *kj-. I briefly wondered if

PK *kl- > *kj- > Pubiao z-

but pre-Pubiao *kj- became Pubiao q- (Ostapirat 2000: 191).

Next: What about PK *PV-type presyllables?

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