What do they have to do with 金剛雷神 वज्रस् Vajras - or vajras? I'd like to know, because the Tangraphic Sea analyzes the tangraph for ɣɨ 'stone', the first half of 'vajra'*, as


top of ləị 'burn' (Li Fanwen 1997: 4 and Shi et al. 2000: 294) or 'basin' (Li Fanwen 1997: 23) +

bottom of ɣɨ̣ 'rumor'

'Rumor' is obviously phonetic because it is homophonous with 'vajra'.

The functions of 工 and the 'horned hat' on the tops of 'burn/basin' and 'rumor' are unknown. Nishida (1966: 241) has no gloss for either 工 or the 'horned hat'. Moreover, 'vajra' has nothing to do with 'burn' or 'basin'.

*The Tangut word for 'vajra' (diamond) is literally

ɣɨ̣ nie

'stone king' SEVEN RAINS

I've been rediscovering the Hong Kong comics that fueled my interest in Chinese back at Berkeley almost 20 years ago. One of my old favorites was 邱福龍 Khoo Fuk Lung's 鐵將縱橫 Iron General Zongheng, imported to the US as Iron Marshal. It involved a martial arts style called


'Thunderbolt Divine Kung Fu'

(雷 is 'thunder', and 雷霆 and 霹靂 both mean 'thunderbolt')

The name contains four 雨 rains. The seventh form of the Thunderbolt style - and the title of the second issue of Iron General Zongheng - is


'Thunderbolt Shakes Rain [and] Fog'

(with 霹靂 and 雷霆, both 'thunderbolt', in reverse order)

(inadequately translated in the English edition as 'Ultimate Thunderbolt Blast' or simply 'Thunderbolt'!)

And the name of the eighth form - and the title of the seventh issue of Iron General Zongheng - is


'Spiritual Mist Rainbow Lightning Tyrannizes the Clouds in the Sky'

(inadequately translated in the English edition as 'Electric Blood Conqueror'!)

Both names contain seven 雨 rains. They came to mind yesterday which was the birthday of


Vajras the thunder god

The Chinese translation of Sanskrit वज्रस् vajram* 'thunderbolt; diamond' doesn't contain 雨 rain at all. 金剛 is literally 'metal-hard' and refers to the hardness of a diamond.

Vajras the indestructible and Amritas the immortal were meant to be together. And we are again!

*Vajram is neuter but Vajras is a male name. The Wikipedia entry for vajra leaves out these endings. MƏ GIA MIAA, MƏ WƏƏI NƗƗ BƐƐ RER!

Today is also the birthday of

mə gia miaa

'heaven army wife'

(4.9.3:18: Here's a better Tangut translation.)

known to modern people as airforcewife of SpouseBUZZ. So once again ...

mə wəəi nɨɨ bɛɛ reʳ! ɣƗ̣ NIE DII SI, MƏ WƏƏI NƗƗ BƐƐ RER!

My friend

ɣɨ̣ nie dii si


Vajras the thunder god

first appeared on this planet 38 years ago.

I wish him

mə wəəi nɨɨ bɛɛ reʳ!


a happy birthday! IS SADNESS HEARTLESS?

Old Chinese 悲 *rpəj 'grieve; sad' (later 'compassion' < 'feeling sad for others?') is a combination of 非 *pəj 'not be' (phonetic) atop 心*səm 'heart' (semantic). Could 'sad' (an emotion associated with absence?) be cognate to 'not be'? I was initially tempted to derive 'sad' from 'not be' plus a prefix *r-. Although this makes phonological sense, this derivation has at least two problems.

First, the semantic link between 'sad' and 'not be' is tenuous as best and has no known parallels in other languages.

Second, there are no similar etymologies involving an Old Chinese prefix *r- (or an equivalent infix *-r- in Sagart's 1999 reconstruction): e.g., 'possess' + r-affix = 'content' (because one possesses what one wants).

Schuessler (2007: 159) regarded the etymology of 悲 *rpəj 'sad' as "not clear". He regarded 非 *pəj 'not be' (> by extension, 'be wrong') as a contraction of the phrase 不維 *pə wi 'not be'. (One is sad when things go wrong, but I doubt that 'sad' is derived from 'wrong'.) He listed 誹 *pəj-s 'slander' (with 言 *ŋan 'words' on the left) as an exoactive/transitive derivative of 非 (presumably in the sense of 'be wrong'). (Oddly, the modern Mandarin reading of 誹 is fěi implying *pəj-ʔ with a different suffix not associated with transitivity and Karlgren listed another reading of 誹 which would be *pəj in my reconstruction.)

As you may have guessed from the topic of this post, there was too much 'door dog water' yesterday.

*ruts 'tears' is a combination of 氵 'water' (semantic) plus 戾 *ret(s) 'do violence (and many other meanings)'. The choice of an -ets phonetic for an -uts graph is unusual due to the mismatch of vowels.

*ret(s) is a combination of 戶 *gaʔ 'door' atop 犬 *khwirʔ 'dog'. Both elements are semantic - but how? Does (an intruder being attacked by) a dog (guarding) a door symbolize violence?

Schuessler linked 戾 *ret(s) to 厲 *rets 'oppressive' and in turn to Proto-Tai *trai 'die' "[i]n spite of the difficulty in reconciling PTai and OC rimes". I reject his external etymology because of that difficulty plus the semantic distance. I am puzzled by the structure of 厲 which appears to be a combination of 厂 *hŋanʔ(s) 'cliff' and 萬 *mans 'scorpion' (now used to write a homophone 'ten thousand'). Karlgren (1957: 100) suggested that 厲 may have once been "the primary graph" for 蠣 *rets 'a stinging insect'. I wonder if 厂 was arbitralily added to differentiate 厲 *rets from 萬 *mans 'scorpion'. THE THREAD OF WINTER*

binds a chapter of my life as it comes to a close.

*終 Old Chinese *tuŋ 'end' is written as 糸 'thread' plus 冬 OC *tuŋ ?[tˁʊŋ] 'winter'. 'Winter' may be derived from 'end' via a low-vowelled prefix conditioning emphatic harmony:

*Cˁʌ-tuŋ > *Cˁʌ-tˁʊŋ > *tˁʊŋ > Late OC *touŋ BELLY HILL (logonotes*)

James Hudnall brought this to my attention at the beginning of the month, but somehow "the most important archaeological site in the world" fell off my mental post queue. Oops! The absence of writing didn't help:

The monoliths are decorated with carved relief of animals or of abstract pictograms. These signs cannot be classed as writing, but may represent commonly understood sacred symbols, as known from Neolithic cave paintings elsewhere ... Whether their creators wanted to portray simply the local fauna or perhaps mythical beings remains unknown. The meaning of the pictograms is equally unclear.

The site is nonetheless interesting, but is it what it's hyped to be? In the comments for the Daily Mail story, Rhoda wrote:

It is interesting how many assumptions are made on so little evidence ... Archeologists can only dig up a small fraction of things that existed 10,000 years ago. I think if it were possible to see the true picture and all the facts, conclusions would be radically different. But then again, to dub your find and life's work as the true Garden of Eden, or something just as lofty is a sure way to gain government grants, private funding, fame and prestige, not to mention a vehicle by which authors can sell books.

I do not want to fall into that trap with Tangut. Although the Tangut script continues to fascinate me, I cannot claim that Tangut civilization is equal to a real-life Garden of Eden or Noah's Ark.

*The title is a literal translation of the Turkish name of the site:

Göbekli < göbek 'belly' + -li (adjectival suffix)

Tepe 'hill'

I cringe at the thought of someone writing a story in which the inhabitants of that site 12,000 years ago call it 'Göbekli Tepe', as if Turkish were their language. CAMACUKIRUTAM


is the Tamil for 'Sanskrit' according to Wikipedia. Fabricius lists



Both are barely recognizable. This shows how different Tamil is from saṃskṛtam 'Sanskrit':

Tamil has no native initial s-, so Sanskrit s- has been become Tamil c-, pronounced [tʃ] 'ch'.

Tamil does not permit many consonant clusters, so Sanskrit -ṃsk- has become Tamil -macuki- or -makki-. Tamil medial -c- is [s].

Tamil has no syllabic (does any modern language of India have it?), so Sanskrit has become Tamil -ru- or -ra-.

Tamil is totally alien to me except for Indic loanwords. It was comforting to see paarttacaarati (< Skt paarthasarathi) after having to look up native Tamil koyil 'temple' and the components of Triplicane and Puducherry. Wikipedia has an article devoted to Indic loanwords and how they have been Tamilized.

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