69. Wow, it's been twelve days since my last entry in this series. It's hard to get enthusiastic about three random names for clans I know nothing about.

Tangraph number 341 342 343 344 345
Li Fanwen number 3566 2469 4590 2641 3094
My reconstructed pronunciation 2ləu 1tsã 1ʔɔ̃ 2məi 1khie
Tangraph gloss the surname Lu; first syllable of surnames; transcription tangraph to burst; to blast; transcription tangraph the surname On the surname Mi the surname Khe
Word the surname Lutsan? the surname Mikhe
Translation Lutsan, On, Mikhe,

Although I cannot find the surname Lutsan in Kychanov (2006) or Li Fanwen (2008), I assume the first two tangraphs (3566 and 2469) constitute a surname by analogy with other two-tangraph surnames in the Golden Guide. Also, 2469 is not a known one-tangraph surname and the phrase 'Lu bursts' makes no sense here (though it may be the source of the surname Lutsan).

341: 3566 (dexqui; analysis unknown) consists of dex 'person' plus the phonetic qui. All five qui-tangraphs have the reading 2lu:

1816 'to cut, sever' (with tux 'long')

(8.9.0:29: Kychanov 2006: 662 lists its reading as 2·ɪn, but this seems to be a mistake.)

3566 'the surname Lu' (with dex 'person'; why not pux 'surname'?)

3567 (transcription tangraph for 陸, 路, and even 農 despite *n- and final nasal vowel; 3566 also transcribed 農) (with jiu '?')

3604 'a kind of grass' (with gem 'grass')

4258 'calabash' (with box 'wood')

342: 2469 looks like dex 'person' plus jin 'evil' but means 'burst', not 'evil person'. Its analysis is part of a circular chain:


2469 1tsã 'to burst, blast' (dexjin) =

3132 1kwaʳ 'to suppress' (dexciadexfak) +

1340 1bɔ̣ 'to break through' (famdexjin; bursting is breaking through suppression?)


3132 1kwaʳ 'to suppress' (dexciadexfak) =

2469 1tsã 'to burst, blast' (dexjin) +

2914 1biẹ 'foolish, stupid' (ciadexfak; suppression is bursting stupidity?)


1340 1bɔ̣ 'to break through' (famdexjin) =

1074 1ləụ 'stone, rock' (famdaiher) +

2469 1tsã 'to burst, blast' (dexjin; breaking through is bursting through rock)

343: The analysis of 4590 is unknown. It contains jeu 'eight' plus pux 'surname', probably from 2888 2mə 'surname':


Is jeu an abbrevation of one of 38 other tangraphs, or does it represent something that the On family had eight of?

344: The analysis of 2641 (dexdil) is unknown. dex is 'person' but the function of dil is unknown. 2641 is phonetic in its homophones

3241 2məi 'dirty, filthy' (dexdilcim; cim = 'water')

3376 2məi 'to daub, plaster' (dexdil)

The dil of

2665 2məi 'beautiful (loan from Chn 美?), shining' (homophonous with 3241 'dirty, filthy'!) (dexjeudil)

may be an abbreviation of 2641 plus 3228 thioo 'beautiful, wonderful':


dex may also be an abbreviation of 2641 plus 4573 1bi 'light, ray':


No other dil-tangraphs have the reading 2məi.

345: The analysis of 3094 is part of a circular chain:


3094 1khie 'the surname Khe' (diadea) =

2439 1phəi 'the surname Phi' (diadeadex; an offshoot of the Khe?) +

1046 1khie 'ashen' (hinbur; not dea!)


1046 1khie 'ashen' (hinbur) =

0764 'horse' (hincin; semantic - referring to grey horses?) +

3094 1khie 'the surname Khe' (diadea; not bur!; phonetic)


2439 1phəi 'the surname Phi' (diadeadex) =

3094 1khie 'the surname Khe' (diadea; phonetic; related to the Phi?) +

2888 2mə 'surname' (dexpux; semantic) HỌC SINH HỌC SINH HỌC

This program that translated Ugaritic "assumes that the computer knows where one word begins and another ends". What if the computer doesn't know where word breaks are? Young children who can't read figure out where those breaks are just by listening. In "Vietnamese Word Segmentation" by Dinh et al., I found this Vietnamese sentence:

Học sinh học sinh học

What does it mean? Here are a couple of clues:

học: study

sinh: life; suffix in words for students

If those aren't enough, select the blank space below to see two more:

生學 sinh học 'biology'

學生 học sinh 'student'

The answer is on p. 6 of the paper by Dinh et al. Google Translate can't get it right as of this writing. WHO LEADS MOTHERS TO JOY?

My last post dealt with the Tangut character element called 'dau' in David Boxenhorn's naming system. 'Dau' sounds like Mandarin 道 dao 'road', also romanized as tao, as in Daoism or Taoism. This character is phonetic in 導 dao 'to lead'. Beneath 道 'road' in 導 'to lead' is a drawing of a hand* 寸. One can think of 'to lead' as to guide someone down a road with one's hand. The two dao ('road' and 'to lead') are cognates. The verb is derived from the noun.

In turn, 導 'to lead' is a phonetic symbol in Mandarin 導樂 daole. le 'joy' is pronounced 'luh', not 'lay'. 導樂daole is a disguised Greek word. Can you guess what that word is? Click here for the answer.

Although Mandarin has a better match du for the first syllable, I presume dao was chosen to make daole meaningful. It's also possible that whoever coined daole thought that the first syllable of its presumably English basis sounded like the dou- of doubt.

*寸 is a hand with a thumb indicated by a dot. 寸 used to mean 'thumb' but represents a hand in compounds and now refers to a unit of length equivalent to "the width of a person's thumb at the knuckle". TANGRAPHIC RADICALS 11: A REAL DAU-NER

In recent posts, I mentioned three tangraphs with dau. The analyses of the first two imply that 5480 predates them:


0863 1ʔo (second half of 'moon') (feadau)

2826 2lɨẽ (second half of 'sun') (ciadexdau)

5480 2zeʳw (first half of 'east') (haefaldau; haefal is phonetic)

The analysis of 5480 is unknown. Oddly, 5480 appears in the analysis of 4918 which implies that dau and the more common fak may be equivalent:


4918 1miəʳ 'livestock; domestic animal' (biohaefalfak) =

4762 1tʃhɨe 'to go' (biobesdexdim; besdexdim is unique to 4762) +

5480 2zeʳw (first half of 'east') (haefaldau, not haefaldak!)

Why wasn't one of the 45 other fak-tangraphs in the analysis of 4918? Although fak appears in the tangraphs for some animals ('bear', 'crane', and three tangraphs for 'dog'), none of those animals are livestock.

Did livestock go eastward? The second half of 'east' is a partial mirror image of the first except for the dau on the right:

2zeʳw-2ləi 'east'

This word appears only in dictionaries and may be the Odic Tangut equivalent of Standard Tangut

5725 2vɨə 'east'

which has a radical on the right (pak) resembling dau. pak appears in 66 tangraphs and is 13 times more common than dau.

The analyses of the tangraphs of 2zeʳw-2ləi are unknown, but their left two-thirds are probably derived from the homophones

5768 2zeʳw 'panther'

1477 2ləi 'tiger'

Was 'leopard [and] tiger' a code phrase for 'east'?

The shared hae on the left of 5768, 5480, and 5725 suggests the order of derivation was:


Was an Odic tangraph really devised before its regular equivalent?

There is only one more tangraph with dau. One is derived from 2826:


5918 1siə 'to die' (curdoedau) =

5846 1ɣɛʳ 'to die' (curjax) +

2753 2lheew 'to have, exist' (gerdoecin) +

2826 2lɨẽ (second half of 'sun') (ciadexdau)

What do possession and the sun have to do with death? NOT A PER-SUN

I ended my previous entry with the tangraph 'doubt' derived from cia 'not' plus 'trust':


cia is also on the left of 2826, the second tangraph for Odic Tangut 'sun':


One might think that 2826 consists of cia 'not' plus a tangraph dexdau, but there is no indepedent tangraph dexdau. dexdau is unique to 2826. The analysis of 2826 derives dex and dau from different tangraphs:


2826 2lɨẽ (second half of 'sun') (ciadexdau) =

2911 1miẹ 'morning, dawn' (ciabaxbiacin) +

5319 1tiẽ (first half of 'sun') (vumdex; see this post; why abbreviate this as dex 'person', the most common tangraphic element of all?) +

5480 2zeʳw (first half of 'east') (haefaldau; haefal is phonetic; I'll discuss dau later)

One might then think that 2911 consists of 'not' plus a tangraph baxbiacin, but there is no independent tangraph baxbiacin. baxbiacin is only in two tangraphs, 2911 and its homophone

4077 1miẹ 'cold, frigid' (coebaxbiacin)

Could the cia of 2911 be an abbreviation of

1918 1mi 'not' (ciadiocok)

serving as a phonetic? The analysis of 2911 has a very different source for cia:


2911 1miẹ 'morning, dawn' (ciabaxbiacin) =

3491 1riuʳ (second half of 'morning star') (ciapik; looks like 'not' + 'hand'!*) +

4077 1miẹ 'cold, frigid' (coebaxbiacin)

2911 in turn is phonetic in 4077 according to its analysis:


4077 1miẹ 'cold, frigid' (coebaxbiacin) =

4051 1kieʳw 'cold, frigid' (coepaxcin; coe = 'ice') +

2911 1miẹ 'morning, dawn' (ciabaxbiacin)

One or both of these analyses cannot be correct. 2911 must have been devised before 4077 or vice versa

*The analysis of 3491 doesn't contain 'not':


3491 1riuʳ (second half of 'morning star') (ciapik) =

2913 2lɨạ 'to drag; to pierce' (ciabaxbelcin; baxbelcin is not an independent tangraph) +

4557 2ziuʳ 'torch' (qeuzau; zau = qeu 'fire' + zau < fex 'top' + pik 'hand') WHAT GRASPS THE HEART?

In my last entry, I translated the title of Bosch Fawstin's upcoming graphic novel as

Je-me-mer 'faith-lack-er'
or in more precise phonetic notation, 2dʒɛ-1mie-2mieʳ.

'Faith' is analyzed in the Tangraphic Sea as


3744 2dʒɛ 'faith, trust' (qaltas) =

2518 1niee 'heart' (dexqal) +

4420 1niee (first half of 1niee-2zõ 'faith, trust') (boxqaltas)

4420 appears to be derived from 3744 rather than the other way around. The Tangraphic Sea confirms that:


4420 1niee (first half of 1niee-2zõ 'faith, trust') (boxqaltas) =

4401 2zõ 'to hold, grasp' (boxfalbaefal) +

3744 2dʒɛ 'faith, trust' (qaltas)

Note that

1niee-2zõ 'faith, trust' (why is box 'wood' atop both tangraphs?)

is homophonous with two words I have already mentioned:

2518 1niee 'heart'

4401 2zõ 'to hold, grasp' (why is box 'wood' on top?)

and may have originated as 'grasping the heart'.

Li Fanwen (2008: 700, 702) only listed dictionary attestations for 1niee-2zõ 'faith'. Hence it may be an Odic Tangut synonym for Standard Tangut 2dʒɛ 'faith' which occurs outside dictionaries. This is one case of a potential Odic word having a Standard etymology. Are there others? Can 1niee-2zõ 'faith' be found in the odes, ideally with 2dʒɛ 'faith' as a Standard translation?

The analysis of the second half of 1niee-2zõ 'faith, trust' is unknown, but I presume it is


4403 2zó̃ (second half of 1niee-2zõ 'faith, trust') (boxfalqal) =

4401 2zõ 'to hold, grasp' (boxfalbaefal; phonetic) +

2518 1niee 'heart' (dexqal; semantic)

4401 in turn may have 4400, the first half of

2zõ-2zwiẹ 'to extol' (only in dictionaries? Odic Tangut?)

as a phonetic. Li Fanwen (2008: 699) derived 2zõ from Chn 頌. If this etymology is correct, the borrowing must have occurred before the initial *z- of 頌 devoiced to *s-. 2zwiẹ cannot occur by itself and may be a partial (initial-only) reduplication of 2zõ.

If the right side of 3744 (tas) is not from a derivative of 3744, it must be from some other tas-tangraph. Yet I have not found any tas-tangraphs which have readings or meanings similar to those of 3744. The function of tas is a mystery. Few tangraphs are as transparent as 3501 2ʔiew 'doubt, suspicion' (analysis unknown) which consists of 刂 'not' plus 3744 2dʒɛ 'faith, trust':


I wish

Bo-shy Hew-sy-ten


my-vi ny be-rer

lit. 'birth day happy'

in the extinct Tangut language.

Each Tangut character represents a syllable. Tangut syllables cannot end in -sch, so I split Bosch into Bo and shy (roughly pronounced like Albanian shë, not English shy). Tangut has no f-, aw, -st-, or tin, so Hew-sy-ten was the closest Tangut approximation of Fawstin. sy is roughly like Albanian së, not English sigh.

Each Tangut character also has a meaning, and its components may also have known meanings:

Tangut character Pronunciation Meaning Known character components
bo to brood, hatch 'bird' on left + 'know' in center
shy to go 'motion' on top
hew first half of hewhen, the name of a Tangut musical instrument 'high' on right
sy clean, spotless 'water' on left + 'light' on right
ten bright, intelligent 'know' on left + phonetic symbol for ten on right

The functions of the character components not listed above have yet to be fully understood.

Bo-shy's signature character would be known as

Va-dzwo 'Pig-man'

in Tangut. Va-dzwo will appear in Bo-shy's graphic novel

Je-me-mer 'faith-lack-er'

which is coming soon.

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