The pan-Sinospheric word for 'freedom' and 'liberty' is 自由, which could be interpreted as 'self-reason'. I don't know if Tangut, Jurchen, and Khitan had words for the concept.

Maybe such a word is in Kychanov and Arakawa's 2006 Tangut dictionary, but I can't search for Russian, English, or Chinese glosses. So the best I can do is calque the Sinospheric word in Tangut as

2səu 1ʔiew 'self-reason'

By coincidence, 2səu 1ʔiew is vaguely like *sɨ jɔ, the Old Vietnamese pronunciation of 自由, now tự do 'freedom'.

I don't know of any cognates for 2səu < *Cʌ-suH. There are two 2səu 'self' in Tangut which are derived from each other in the Precious Rhymes of the Tangraphic Sea:


2səu 'self' (Li Fanwen 2589) =

[left and right of] 2səu 'self' +

[right of] 2səu 'to plot, scheme, conspire'


2səu 'self' (Li Fanwen 2588) =

left and right of 2səu 'self' +

right of 2səu 'to plot, scheme, conspire'

The second analysis is strained, as the right side of 2səu 'to plot' (alphacode: jen) does not match the center of 2səu 'self' (alphacode: dax) which is apparently unique.

Perhaps 2səu 'to plot' is phonetic in both 'self' tangraphs and its abbreviation jen has been simplified in one of them to dax. But what are the functions of the 'water' element on the left (alphacode: cir) and the right-hand element (alphacode: dil)?

And what was the difference between the two 2səu meaning (?) 'self'?

The Precious Rhymes of the Tangraphic Sea defined LFW 2588 as 'Tangut person; we*' and LFW 2589 as 'acquiring profit' (i.e., 'self-interest'?).

Nishida (1966: 417) had no definition for LFW 2588 and defined LFW 2589 as 'dear person, husband, friend'.

Grinstead (1972: 136) also had no definition for LFW 2588 and defined LFW 2589 as '(lover)'.

Shi et al. (2000: 198) defined LFW 2588 as 'mutual assistance' and LFW 2589 as 'acquiring profit'. (The parts of speech are unclear.)

Kychanov and Arakawa (2006: 322) defined LFW 2588 as 'myself, my' and LFW 2589 as 'influence, authority'.

Li Fanwen (2008: 426) defined LFW 2588 as '(used before disyllabic verbs) self, oneself' (without any examples before a disyllabic verb) and LFW 2589 as 'self, I'.

I think 1ʔiew 'reason' could be a loan from Chinese 由 'id.' The analysis of its tangraph is circular:


1ʔiew 'reason' =

left of 2niee 'heart' +

left of 2ʔiew 'doubt' (phonetic) +

left of 1nɔ̃ɔ̃ 'reason'


1nɔ̃ɔ̃ 'reason' =

right of 1ʔiew 'reason' +

left and center of 1nɔ̃ɔ̃ 'after, beside, too, and' (phonetic)

Could 2ʔiew 'doubt' be from 1ʔiew 'reason' plus a suffix *-H that conditioned the 'rising' (i.e., 'second') tone? I, um, doubt it, though the English phrase reasonable doubt comes to mind.

anakv.com translated Chinese 自由 'freedom, liberty' as Manchu sulfan, and one could antiquate this as Jurchen *sulpan. Norman translated its root sulfa (< Jurchen *sulpa) as 'at leisure, leisurely, idle, free, at ease, without cares, loose'. I don't know how *sulpan would have been written in Jurchen, as I cannot find any <sul> or <pan> in Jin (1984). Perhaps those syllables were written with two of the hundred or so Jurchen characters with unknown readings.

As for Khitan, one could calque Written Mongolian erke cilüge (modern standard эрх чөлөө), literally 'power space'.

*1.26.17:52: Shi et al. (2000: 198) translated the third and fourth characters of the Precious Rhymes of the Tangraphic Sea definition (LFW 0385 and 2065) as 'know' and 'help' but Li Fanwen (2008: 426) interpreted the difficult-to-read third character as 5091; 5091 and 2065 together mean 'we' (inclusive; Gong 2003: 607). (I)OSÍJA

I wasn't sure if the first letter in the name of the subject of this icon was И <I> or Й <J>. David Boxenhorn found a site listing it as Иосия <Iosija>. One mystery solved; others remain:

- The page calls him Пророк Иосия <Prorok Iosija> 'Prophet Josiah' (not Hosea, contra Wikipedia!). But was Josiah a prophet?

- Is the second 'word' on the top left пророкъ <prorokŭ> 'prophet'? The two vertical lines on the left might be п <p>, the next г-like letters might be р <r>, the penultimate letter might be a tiny о <o>, and the last letter might be ъ <ŭ>. But those matches are weak and I don't see matches for the rest.

- Is the first 'word' on the top left (partly) a Cyrillic numeral? I see what might be a titlo atop the second and third characters. But ІИ (or ГИ?) don't make sense as Cyrillic numerals. 18 is ИІ (= 8 + 10), not ІИ (= 10 + 8), and ГИ is 3 next to 8, not 38 or 83. And what is the first character? А? Л? How does it relate to the following characters?

So apart from correcting the name <Iosija>, I'm still more or less where I was yesterday. ME-TATHES-I-S?

In "Balto-Slavic personal pronouns and their accentuation" (2012: 2), Frederik Kortlandt reconstructed Proto-Balto-Slavic (PBS) *ʔeʔźun 'I' corresponding to Sanskrit aham 'id.'

I was surprised by PBS medial *-ʔ-. Is it a metathesized reflex of Proto-Indo-European *H (an uncertain laryngeal)?

PIE *ʔeǵHom > PBS *ʔeʔźun

What is the evidence for this metathesis and for the continued presence of a laryngeal in PBS?

Also, did initial *ʔe(ʔ)- (which was accented unlike Sanskrit a-) regularly break to Proto-Slavic *ja-? (I am reminded of how Korean *e broke to yə, though this change was not confined to initial position: e.g., Sino-Korean 西 *se 'west' became 셔 syə [now 서 sŏ].)

Kortlandt's PBS oblique plural stem *noʔs- 'us' is also puzzling since it has a glottal stop corresponding to nothing in PIE *n(o)s-. Its second person counterpart PBS *woʔs- also has an unexpected glottal stop absent from PIE *u(o)s-. *-ʔ- in *woʔs- could be influenced by the glottal stop in *juʔs 'you' (nom. pl.), but there is no glottal stop in *mes 'we' (nom. pl.) to serve as a model for a glottal stop in *noʔs-. Maybe the glottal stops spread from the dual forms which have laryngeals in Kortlandt's PBS and PIE reconstructions, but I would expect duals to be remodeled after more common plurals rather than the reverse.

No, wait, I see that Kortlandt reconstructed intermediate stages *iʔnsme and *uʔsme for the PBS first and second person plural accusatives (later replaced by the genitives which became the forms in the previous paragraph). I would have expected PBS *ʔinsme and *ʔusme from PIE *nsme and *usme. More metathesis?

Was Kortlandt proposing tonogenesis here?

Since the acute of *noʔs and *woʔs [...] originated from the initial zero grade of *nsme and *usme [which became *iʔnsme and *uʔsme with secondary glottal stops; see above] while the acute of *tuʔ, *juʔs, dual *weʔ, *juʔ, *noʔ, *woʔ is of laryngeal origin

He seemed to be deriving acute accent from both primary and secondary glottal stops. The Vietnamese sắc tone (which happens to be written with an acute accent!) arose in syllables with voiceless initials and final glottal stops. (J)OSÍJA

Why does this 18th century Russian icon of Hosea have ЙОСИЯ <JОСÍJA> with <J> if his Russian name - at least today - is Осия <Osija> and the original name was הושע <hwš`> without any <y>? Was the acute intended to represent the stress in Russian Оси́я?

I've been puzzled by the text beneath his name since Sunday. I think I've finally figured it out:

Се Богъ 'Behold God' (with the о inside the Б)

нашъ 'our'

и не прі 'and not will-be-ap-

ложітся '-pended'

I have normalized the capitalization. I don't understand the function of the accent marks which I have left out of my transcription. I assume the two dots on Ї are decorative and have nothing to do with the Ukrainian letter ї <ji>.

After Googling, I would expect the illegible text at the bottom to correspond to

инъ къ Нему 'other to Him'

so the whole phrase means something like

'Behold our God, and no other will be appended to Him.'

cf. the King James Bible, Baruch 3:35:

This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of him

but it doesn't look like it. It has two words with three and five letters, not three words with three, two, and four letters.  And I still can't make out the text at the top left. _IPPORAH AND _ION

I wondered if the voiced -zz- in English Nebuchadnezzar was due to an intervocalic [z] pronunciation of Latin -s- in Latin Nabuchodonosor, but David Boxenhorn mentioned a counterexample: Zipporah from Hebrew צפורה <pwrh>. Initial ṣ- is obviously not intervocalic. The Z- has no precedent in Latin Seffora or Greek Sepphōra. Dutch and German Zippora also have Z- (though I presume the Dutch Z is [z] whereas the German Z is [ts]).

On Monday I found another example of this z : צ <ṣ> correspondence. Years ago I was surprised to learn that 'Zion' was Shion in Japanese. Now I know that the original was ציון <ywn> with a voiceless initial consonant. The OED lists S-forms in English up to the 18th century when S- and Z-forms coexist; Zion dominates thereafter. Zion is in the King James Bible of 1611.

According to Wikipedia,

The commonly used form [I presume this refers to Zion] is based on German orthography, where z is always pronounced [t͡s]

Is that true? A footnote leads to Dixon (1853: 132) which does not mention German:

Whether from a wish to be unlike the [Catholic] church, which they had abandoned, even in this slight matter, or from an anxiety to exhibit their acquaintance with the Hebrew text, the first Reformers, in their translations of the bible, rejected the established orthography of the scripture names, substituting for it another, which was modelled upon the Masoretic reading of the Hebrew text. Hence has arisen such a frequent discrepancy between Catholic and Protestant bibles - and of course between Catholic and Protestant writers - in the spelling of these names. The Catholic will say Elias, Eliseus, Sion, whilst the Protestant, following his bible, will say Elijah, Elisha, Zion, and so of a vast number of names of persons and places [...] However, James [...] had still sense enough to perceive that if the principle of the Reformers, in this particular, were fully carried out, it would make their translation ridiculous in the eyes of the people, who, perhaps, would be even provoked to laughter at hearing of the five books of Mosheh, the strength of Shimshon, or the wisdom of Shelomoh. Now the translators, as far as the principle, which guided them in this matter, was concerned, had just the same right, and no more, to change Elias into Elijah, and Josaphat into Jehosaphat, that they had to change Moses into Mosheh, Samson into Shimsohn [sic], or Solomon into Shelomoh : but the reader now understands why James thought fit to limit the operation of their principle.

So it seems that only less common names were changed to be closer to Hebrew. But I still don't know if the choice of z for צ <ṣ> was due to German influence. (How old is the affricate pronunciation of צ <ṣ>?)

Are Dutch and Danish (but not Norwegian or Swedish) Zion due to German influence even though z is not [ts] in those languages? (Danish also has Sion like its sister Scandinavian languages.)

Is 'Zion' really Zion in Haitian Creole even though it is Sion in French?

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