In my last entry, I reconstructed uvulars for

鱟 MC *ʔœk < OC *qrok 'horseshoe crab'

蟹 MC *ɣɛʔ < OC *m-qreʔ 'crab'

sharing a root *qrVK on the basis of Sagart's (2007) uvular hypothesis. Sagart distinguishes between

- 'pure velar phonetic series with Middle Chinese *k- *kh- *g- *ɣ- (< *g-)

- 'mixed' velar phonetic series with any of the above initials plus MC *x- and/or glottal *ʔ-

He reconstructs 'pure' series with Old Chinese velars and 'mixed' series with Old Chinese uvulars.

The phonetic series for 鱟 'horseshoe crab' (GSR 1038 學) is mixed, so it must have originally been uvular according to Sagart's hypothesis. However, the phonetic series for 蟹 'crab' (GSR 861 解) is not mixed, so why do I reconstruct it as uvular? The key lies with another mixed series (GSR 112 后):

GSR phonetic # Schuessler 2009 phonetic # Phonetic Middle Chinese initials of phonetic series; initials unambiguously of Old Chinese uvular origin in bold Old Chinese archetype
1038 14-3 *k-, *kh-, *ɣ-, *ʔ- *Qruk
861 7-7 *k, *ɣ- (but no *x- or *ʔ-!) *QreH
112 10-5 *k-, *kh-, *ɣ-, *x- *QoH

('Archetypes' are formulae representing the common denominator of readings in a phonetic series.)

The word 邂逅 'carefree', reconstructed by Schuessler (2007: 313) as Old Chinese *grêh-g(r)ôh with two velars, is a reduplicated derivative of 解 'careless', which in turn is a derivative of 解 'loosen' (Schuessler 2007: 313). If GSR 112 is uvular, then 逅 must have had a uvular initial, and be a reduplication of 邂 with a uvular initial. Here's how I reconstruct this word family:

解 'loosen': MC *kɛʔ < OC *Cʌ-qreʔ

解 'careless': MC *ɣɛʔ < OC *N-qreʔ

邂逅 'carefree': MC *ɣɛʔ-ɣəwʔ < OC *N-qreʔ-N-qroʔ

Although the root of 解 'loosen'/'careless' (OC *qreʔ) is homophonous with the root of 蟹 'crab' (OC *qreʔ), the two roots are unrelated.

解 'loosen' and 'careless' may be the same word with or without a presyllabic vowel: OC *N(ʌ)-qreʔ. A STUDIOUS FISH

I forgot to mention last night that the Tangut characters

4803 2lɨi 'to see'

0046 2le 'to see'

are as related as the words they represent. I presume graph 4803 is derived from graph 0046* which in turn may be based on Chinese 見 'see' (but with 目 turned 90 degrees).

Adding an abbreviated form of 學 'study' to 見 'see' results in 覺 'wake up', and replacing the 見 of 覺 with 魚 'fish' results in 鱟 'horseshoe crab'.

鱟 'horseshoe crab' is not attested before Middle Chinese. Jiyun lists four fanqie for 鱟 implying the Middle Chinese readings

下遘切 *ɣəwh

訏候切 *xəwh

莫候切 *məwh

乙角切 *ʔœk

The first three rhyme, but the third and fourth have nonvelar initials and the fourth doesn't rhyme with the others, though it does rhyme with the phonetic

*ɣœk < Old Chinese *ɢruk 'study, learn'

endopassive of 覺 *kœk < Old Chinese *Cʌ-qruk 'wake up, get insight'

Are the four readings of 鱟 'horseshoe crab' two or more unrelated words? I think it's possible to reconcile the four readings by deriving them from different affixes attached to an Old Chinese root *qrok:

下遘切 MC *ɣəwh < OC *m-qrok-s

fusion of *m-q- into *ɢ- > *ʁ- > *ɣ-

the prefix could be some other nasal, but I reconstruct m- since

- Sagart (1999: 85) reconstructed an m- prefix in "names of small animals" (but a horseshoe crab is not small!)

- there is an m-variant for 'horseshoe crab' (see below)

fusion of *-k-s into *-x > *-h

訏候切 MC *xəwh < OC *s-qrok-s

fusion of *s-q- into *qh- > *χ- > *x-

莫候切 MC *məwh < OC *m-qrok-s

alternative fusion of *m-q- into *m- instead of *ɢ- > *ɣ- (different dialect?)

for another language in which two different fusion processes applied to the same cluster, see Table 1 ("two paths of cluster simplification in Nha Heun") in Sagart (1999: 17; after Ferlus 1971)

乙角切 MC *ʔœk < OC *qrok

bare root

Could 鱟 MC *ʔœk < OC *qrok 'horseshoe crab' be related to 蟹 MC *ɣɛʔ < OC *ɢreʔ 'crab'? At first glance, they only share emphasis (underlining) and *-r-. However,

- OC *ɢ- may be from *m-q- (with *m- being the small animal prefix again)

- OC *e and *o may alternate (see Schuessler 2007 )

- OC *-k and *-ʔ may alternate (see Sagart 1999: 134 and Schuessler 2007: 31)

Of course, horseshoe crabs and crabs are not closely biologically related in spite of their English names. Horseshoe crabs are chelicrates, not crustaceans like true crabs.

*1.20.00:36: Precious Rhymes of the Tangraphic Sea has a circular derivation for 0046:


0046 2le 'to see' =

2258 2khy 'to examine' +

4803 2lɨi 'to see'

2258 is obviously derived from 0046, not the other way around.

If I am correct about 0046 being derived from Chinese 見, then 4803 is 'horned hat' atop an abbreviation of 0046. DOES ANYONE SEE THIS SITE ANYMORE?

I haven't posted anything in the last two weeks, though I did write one entry ten days ago. (A whole week went by without me blogging! Oops!) I switched computers recently and haven't figured out how to upload entries from this machine. I'll find out - that is, struggle - tonight.

The title refers to these Tangut words for 'see' which are paired together twice in Homophones (49A68, 52A61):

4803 2lɨi 'to see'

0046 2le 'to see'

On Friday, I realized that these words might be related to Written Tibetan lta 'to see' and Old Chinese 睹 *taʔ. (Gong linked the latter two in his 1995 "The System of Finals in Proto-Sino-Tibetan".)

Tangut l- can either be from *l- or from a lenited dental stop (*CV-T-). So it's possible that the proto-Tangut word for 'to see' was *CV-taH (with an *-H representing the segmental source of tone 2). The vowel of the presyllable may have conditioned different degrees of fronting and raising in the main syllable:

*CV1-taH > 2lɨi (there is no 2li in Tangut)

*CV2-taH > 2le

For more on vowel fronting and raising ('brightening') in Tangut, see Matisoff (2004).

For other pairs of -i ~ -e (R10/11 ~ R36/37) verbs, see example sets o and q in Gong's "The Phonological Reconstruction of Tangut".

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