SANSKRIT TRAILOKYA IN THE TANGUT INSCRIPTION AT JUYONGGUAN
Five years ago I rediscovered 村田治郎 Murata Jirō's 1957 book on the inscriptions of the Cloud Platform at 居庸關 Juyongguan¹ in the University of Hawaii library. I had last borrowed it around 1996. Of course my attention was drawn to the Tangut inscription. But, I confess, not for long. Soon after that I dove into the world of Tangut's distant relative Pyu. And I've been there for four years.
Then yesterday Andrew West reawakened my interest in the Juyongguan inscriptions.
Today I was looking at the Tangut inscription at Juyongguan, and
the Tangut transcription
5300 3639 2770 4620
1ty4 2rer4 2lo1 1ka4
of Sanskrit trailokya 'three worlds' jumped out at me. I've used Trailokya as part of my long pen name for maybe twenty-five years now.
A few words on the transcription characters:
𘎤 5300 1ty4: The only consonant clusters possible in native Tangut words had -w- as their second element. So one strategy for transcribing Sanskrit consonant clusters was to break them up into CyC-sequences. Tangut y was a neutral vowel, and in Grade IV (indicated by my -4) it was something like [ɨ] or [ɯ].
𗣀 3639 2rer4: Tangut had no
[aj]. Guillaume Jacques (2014: 206) does not even reconstruct *-aj
at the pre-Tangut level. I am guessing pre-pre-Tangut *-aj
became pre-Tangut *-ej (which Guillaume does reconstruct) and
then Tangut -e.
Here's a possible example:
(I finished the rest of the entry on 5.4.15:39, added a footnote on 5.6.19:06, and then failed to save the finished page. What follows is a new second half from 5.6.19:39.)
𗥹 2770 2lo1: For a long time, I used to think that Tangut tones might actually be phonations: tone 1 was the default phonation and tone 2 was the marked (creaky or breathy?) phonation. But the phonation hypothesis predicts that Sanskrit would be transcribed solely using Tangut characters for syllables with tone 1. There would be no reason to transcribe Sanskrit with Tangut characters for syllables with tone 2: i.e., a phonation that did not exist in Sanskrit. However, most Sanskrit Co-syllables⁴ were transcribed with Tangut characters for syllables with tone 2 (Arakawa 1999: 111).
|pho, bo, mo
Why was tone 2 favored for Sanskrit Co-syllables?
Conversely, why was ko transcribed with a Tangut character for a syllable with tone 1?
And was there a reason to transcribe the remaining Sanskrit
syllables with Tangut characters for syllables with both tones? For
instance, was there something about the -lo- of trailokya
that necessitated tone 2, whereas the lo in some other word was
somehow different to Tangut ears and required the tone 1 character 𗓽 4710 1lo1?
𗡝 4620 1ka4: This character
transcribed both Sanskrit ka and kya. Why not
transcribe Sanskrit kya as ky ya (cf. 1ty4 2rer4
for trai above) or as a fanqie character for kya
combining part of a kV-character with part of a ya-character?
Perhaps 1ka4 was something like [kja]. But if Grade IV (written
here as -4) was characterized by [j], why could 1ka4
also represent Sanskrit ka? Was there no simple [ka] in Tangut?
Were Grade I and II ka something other than [ka]: e.g., [qɑˁ]
and [qɑʶ] like Middle Chinese *1ka1 and *1ka2? Why was
there no Grade III ka?
Chinese and Tangut grades seem to be similar. So if the Middle Chinese transcription of Sanskrit ka was 迦 *1ka3, I would expect the Tangut transcription to be 1ka3 - a syllable that does not exist in Tangut!
To complicate matters, Grinstead (1972: 144) says 4620 could
represent Sanskrit ke. 1ka4 must have sounded like Sanskrit ke
as well as ka and kya. Maybe it had a front vowel:
¹This name was built into Windows 10's pinyin IME. It's interesting to see what's in and out of the IME.
Sometimes more annoying than interesting. For instance, the common
character 家 jia 'house' isn't listed as a choice for jia. I've
been typing 家族 jiazu 'family' and deleting the second character
to type 家 jia.
At least 波 bo 'wave' is included as a choice for bo now. I recall having to type the wrong reading po to make it display in some older version of the Windows Mandarin IME. I just noticed that the bopomofo IME accepts both bo and po for 波 bo 'wave'.
²(Pre-)pre-Tangut *S- conditioned Tangut -q
(my symbol for vowel tension) and pre-)pre-Tangut *-ɯ- (perhaps
a front or back high vowel like *-i- or *-u- in
pre-pre-Tangut) conditioned Grade IV.
³Matisoff (2003: 262) does not gloss the Jingpho and Boro forms.
⁴Many Sanskrit Co-syllables are absent from
Arakawa's data: e.g., kho, gho, cho, jho, ṭo, etc.
⁵Arakawa (1999: 111) accidentally omitted the rhyme
and first tone of 𗓽 4710 1lo1,
the other Tangut transcription character for Sanskrit lo in his