William Rozycki included Manchu jugūn 'road' in his Mongol Elements in Manchu (1983: 171) - and rejected it as a Mongol element "on semantic grounds" since the corresponding Mongolian word jüg meant 'direction', not 'road'.

I would add two phonological arguments:

First, if Mongolian jüg (or some similar ancestor) were borrowed into Proto-Tungusic (or inherited from Proto-Altaic*), it should have had *i instead of u in languages that shifted to i**: e.g., Evenki *jiɣun instead of juɣu 'direction'. I agree with Rozycki (1983: 171): Tungusic juɣ-words meaning 'direction' "are recent borrowings from Mo[ngolian]". They cannot predate the to i shift and are not cognate to Manchu jugūn 'road'.

Second, the near-high (but not truly high) ū [ʊ] of Manchu jugūn [tʂuʁʊn] and the mid o of its Sibe cognate ǰoxon [tʂoʁon] 'id.' (Kim et al. 2008: 80) indicate that the word 'road' had nonhigh vowels, not high vowels like Mongolian jüg. I would expect Mongolian jüg to correspond to Manchu *jugun [tʂuɣun] and Sibe uxun [tʂuxun] with high vowels.

Their Jin Jurchen 'ancestor'***


'road' (Jin 1984: 30-31, 95, 167)

may have been pronounced [tʂʊɢʊ] and could be romanized as jūgū. *ʊ raised to high after Manchu j but not g and lowered to o in Sibe****. The Ming Jurchen word ju transcribed as 住 [tʂu] in the Sino-Jurchen vocabulary of the Bureau of Interpreters (Kane 1989: 162, #133) may have been [tʂʊ(ː)] or [tʂu(ː)]. There was no way to distinguish between [ʊ] and [u] or indicate long vowels in Ming Chinese transcription.

It is not clear whether earlier [ɢʊ] fused with the preceding vowel, possibly lengthening it, or was a suffix (as proposed by Jin 1984: 31) that was either lost or always absent in that dialect.

I am skeptical that [ɢʊ] was a suffix since I know of no Manchu suffix -gū -[ʁʊ].

Moreover, the transcription 住兀 [tʂuu] for

<jū.gū> 'road'

in the Bureau of Translator vocabulary (Grube 1896, #57) may point to a long vowel but it is possible that the Bureau of Interpreters dialect lost it. However, 住兀 [tʂuu] may have represented a Ming Jurchen [tʂʊʁʊ] with a [ʁ] without an exact equivalent in Ming Chinese.

* I do not think a Proto-Altaic language existed.

** According to a 1996 class handout by Sasha Vovin, Proto-Tungusic merged with *i in some languages like Evenki and merged with *u in others like Manchu.

*** Jin Jurchen may not be directly ancestral to Written Manchu and Sibe, but it is certainly very closely related to their ancestors.

**** At a glance, it seems that Written Manchu ū corresponds to Sibe o which is therefore the regular reflex of pre-Sibe [ʊ] (Kim et al. 2008: 52, 74, 107):

WMa akū [aqʰʊ] : S ako [aqo] 'not exist' (is the lack of aspiration a typo?)

WMa gūsin [qʊsin] : S gošun [koɻun] 'thirty'

WMa hūcinʊtɕʰin] : S xocinotɕʰin] 'well'

I am not entirely certain, as I have not yet investigated all Sibe cognates of Written Manchu ū [ʊ], and I found one exception (Kim et al. 2008: 79):

WM jakūn [tʂaqʰʊn] : S ǰakun [tʂaqʰun] 'eight' (instead of *jakon [tʂaqʰon])

I initially thought

WM juwen [tʂuwən] 'loan' : S ǰomjə [tʂomjə] 'to borrow' (instead of umjə [tʂumjə]; Kim et al. 2008: 80)

was an exception, but its o is a fusion of [uwə] also found in Sibe ǰ [tʂ] ~ [tʂo] 'two' (Kim et al. 2008: 81) corresponding to Written Manchu juwe [tʂuwə] and Ming Jurchen juwe [tʂuwə] transcribed as 拙 [tʂ] (Kane 1989: 362, #1110).

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