<so nggiyan uliya aniya juwa emu biya oniohon inenggi>'yellow pig year, ten one month, nineteen day'
1. Jurchen oniohon 'nineteen' is unlike either Manchu juwan uyun 'ten nine' or Written Mongolian arban yisün 'ten nine'. It is a loan from some para-Mongolic language (presumably a nonstandard variety of Khitan) whose morpheme for '-teen' was something like *-hon (or *-kon if the Jurchen word was borrowed before the weakening of *-k- to -h- in Jurchen); yesterday's day number niuhun 'eighteen' has a high vowel harmonic variant of '-teen'. Janhunen (2003: 399) believes the Jurchen words for 'eighteen' and 'nineteen' have the same root before '-teen':
*o + nya(y)i.ku/n '? + eight-teen'
Could *o be related to Proto-Mongolic *onca 'unique'? If the root of unique is 'one', perhaps *o is 'one'.
What's not clear to me is why *a(y)i correspond to u and o in Jurchen. Did *a(y)i reduce to a single vowel that assimilated to surrounding vowels (the *u of '-teen' and *o- 'one')?
2. I got interested in Southern American English vowels
a year before I fell in love with Tangut in 1996. It's taken me 24
years to wonder if complex 'drawled' diphthongs like [æ̠ɛæ̠] in
Southern American English might have parallels in Tangut. If they do,
there would probably be no way to reconstruct them since no fine
phonetic notation for Tangut has survived. A simple-looking Tibetan
transcription of a Tangut rhyme like <e> might conceal something
like[æ̠ɛæ̠] or even ဇိုင်ဂူ <zuiṅ gū> Mon [ʌ ei̯a] (Diffloth 1984: 53¹, 226).
Southern American English [æ̠ɛæ̠] goes back to *æ (and before that, *a) and <zuiṅ gū> Mon [ʌei̯a] goes back to Proto-Monic *-iəw (Diffloth 1984: 226). So I presume that similarly complex Tangut vowels also had simpler origins. I still reconstruct only six vowels in pre-Tangut: *u *i *a *ə *e *o.
¹Diffloth (1984: 53) uses an underscore to
indicate "that portion of the vowel which is loudest", whereas I
presume the underscore inSouthern American English [æ̠ɛæ̠] is the IPA retraction symbol.
3. What kind of name is Onreitt? Onreitt Murtagh's name was so unlike those of her sisters Jean and Kate (the latter on the cover of Supertramp's Breakfast in America).
4. I just realized that methinks
only has third person singular forms (methink is a mistake)
the past form methought is presumably also third person singular even though any other person/number combination would be methought
never takes a subject (though me- is a built-in object no longer written separately)
doesn't seem to take any modals, so it has no future - no equivalent of 'it will seem to me'
Also found two other similar defective verbs: meseems and the pseudoarchaic (and obsolete) mehopes.
184.108.40.206:59: YELLOW PIG 11/18
<so nggiyan uliya aniya juwa emu biya niuhun inenggi>'yellow pig year, ten one month, eighteen day'
1. Tonight Stephen Colbert made a joke about the new Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin using the pseudo-Finnish phrase Okey Bøömer.
That phrase is so un-Finnish - even un-Scandinavian:
No language in Scandinavia uses <y> for [j]; <y> = [y]
but the joke is for English speakers, and most don't know that <j> = [j], so <y> was inevitable
No language in Scandinavia has both <ø> and <ö>, much less both together in the same word: e.g., Finnish only as <ö>
I doubt a more pseudo-Finnish Okej Buumer would have amused as many English speakers, though.
2. How is a violin like a prison?
Votre Nicolas est au violon de la ville
'Your Nicolas is at the violin [i.e., in the prison] of the town'
- Erckmann-Chatrian, Histoire d'un paysan, 1789-1815
3. Some interesting Cantonese characters:
3a. Cantonese me1 'to carry on the back'
has several spellings:
孭 = 子 <CHILD> + 貝 bui3
b-phonetics normally don't represent m-syllables
I would have made up something like 子 <CHILD> or 扌 <HAND> (cf. 揹 below) + 乜 me1
Tonight I realized this might be a simplification of 𡥼 (see below) facilitated by the vague phonetic similarity between me1 and 貝 bui3 (labial followed by rhyme with a palatal element)
𧴯 = 貝 bui3 + 子 <CHILD>
order of elements of 孭 reversed with 子 in the
𡥼 = 子 <CHILD> + 負 <CARRY>
graphically similar to 孭 which may be a simplification of 𡥼; is there philological evidence for 𡥼 being the oldest spelling?
揹 = 扌 <HAND> + 背 <BACK>
recycling of existing character for bui3, the Cantonese pronunciation of a character for Mandarin bēi 'to carry on the back' - in other words, native me1 is being written with a character for bēi, a rough translation equivalent in another language.
踎 = 足 <FOOT> + 否 <NOT> fau2
f-phonetics normally don't represent m-syllables
12.14.0:19: 否 is also read pei2; p- is a better phonetic match for m- than f-, but the rhyme -ei2 is a poor match for -au1
I would have made up something like 足 <FOOT> + 牟 mau4 or 某 mau5 (there is no phonetic mau1, though there is a 哞 mau1 with <MOUTH>)
220.127.116.11:59: YELLOW PIG 11/17
<so nggiyan uliya aniya juwa emu biya darhon inenggi>
'yellow pig year, ten one month, seventeen day'
1. Why isn't ambush embush?
2. Today I realized that Sanskrit and Okinawan represent two opposing approaches to mid vowel elimination:
Sanskrit neutralization: *e, *o > *a
Okinawan polarization: *e > i, *o > u
Sanskrit has neutralization in two senses:
a palatal and labial vowel became a neutral vowel.
a distinction between two vowel phonemes became neutralized
Okinawan vowels were polarized in the sense that they moved toward the points of the vowel triangle and away from the neutral center.
Both Sanskrit and Okinawan then developed new long vowels from vowel sequences:
*ai > eː
Sanskrit *aika- > eːka- 'one'
Okinawan *aite > eːti 'partner'
*au > oː
Okinawan *augi > oːji 'fan'
(Normally, length in Sanskrit e and o are left unmarked because those vowels are always long, but I have marked their length here and below for clarity.)
Even later, Pali and modern Okinawan developed short e and o:
Sanskrit jeːṣṭha- > Pali jeṭṭha- 'elder'
Sanskrit oːṣṭha- > Pali oṭṭha- 'lip'
Okinawan (y)eigo 'English' (borrowed from Japanese eigo 'id.')
Pali shortened long eː and oː in closed syllables to avoid overlong syllables (long vowels followed by codas).
Okinawan borrowed Japanese short e and o without modification in 'English'.
Some native Okinawan words seem to have Pali-style shortening of overlong syllables:
fensa < *feːnsa < *payambusa? 'peregrine falcon'
yonnaː ~ yoːnnaː 'slowly'
However, unlike Pali, Okinawan does permit overlong syllables: e.g., the yoːn- of 'slowly' above and yoːn 'lightly, gently, weakly'.
18.104.22.168:51: YELLOW PIG 11/16
I can't decide on a title, so I'm bringing back a generic Jurchen date title since 2019 is the 1000th anniversary of the Jurchen large script:
<so nggiyan uliya aniya juwa emu biya nilhun inenggi>
'yellow pig year, ten one month, sixteen day'
1. Yesterday I ran out of time to write about the ᠣᠯᠬᠣᠨᠣᠳ <ulqunut> Olqonud, the tribe of Genghis Khan's mother Höelün. The Mongolian Wikipedia article about that tribe is titled Олхонууд <Olxonuud> with a long vowelуу <uu>. ууд <uud> looks like a plural ending, so I suppose Olqonud is 'the Olqons'.
How far back does that long vowel go? Janhunen (2003: 5) writes,
In spite of claims made to the contrary, it has been impossible to establish any quantitative correlation for the Proto-Mongolic vowels. While virtually all the Modern Mongolic idioms have distinctive long (double) vowels, these are of a secondary contractive origin. Occasional instances of irregular lengthening are observed in most of the modern languages, and in a small number of cases there would seem to be a correspondence between two peripheral languages, notably Dagur and (Huzhu) Mongghul, as in Dagur mood ‘tree, wood’ = Mongghul moodi id. < *modu/n. In spite of the seemingly perfect match, such cases are too few and involve too many counterexamples to justify any diachronic conclusion other than that of accidental irregular convergence.
Having said that, Janhunen (2003: 45) goes on to reconstruct a long vowel in *-UUd from an even earlier *-U-d. *-U- (later *-UU-) is a linker vowel of unspecified 'phonological gender' inserted between a final consonant and the plural ending *-d. *-U- is *-u- after masculine vowel stems and *-ü- after feminine vowel stems: e.g. (examples added 12.12.2:03),
*nom-ud 'books' (Janhunen 2003: 12); now Khalkha номууд <nomuud>
*cerix-üd 'soldiers' (Janhunen 2003: 64); now Khalkha цэргүүд <cergüüd>
Why would a linker vowel become long?
There is another Written Mongolian plural suffix ᠨᠤᠭᠤᠳ /ᠨᠤᠭᠦᠳ <nughut>/<nugut> which Janhunen reconstructs as *-nUUd (not *-nUgUd!). I guess <gh>/<g> is an orthographic pseudoarchaism: the logic being '-UU- is a long vowel, and long vowels in speech often correspond to <VghV>/<VgV> in writing, so -UU- should be written as <VghV>/<VgV> too: e.g. (examples added 12.12.2:21),
<yaghan nughut> jaghan nugud 'elephants', now Khalkha заанууд <zaanuud>
<cacag nugut> ceceg nügüd 'flowers', now Khalkha цэцэгнүүд <cecegnüüd>
¹Manchu moo 'tree, wood' also has a long vowel. Loanword or cognate? But I digress.
2. On Monday it took me a moment to realize that 홋카이도 <h.o.s kh.a Ø.i t.o> Hotkhaido on a sign in Honolulu stood for 'Hokkaido'. That got me thinking about the many ways kana have been transcribed in hangul. Although Japanese and Korean are typologically similar in many ways and also share a large amount of vocabulary of Chinese origin, they have very different phonological systems: e.g.,
Japanese has a two-way distinction between voiceless and voiced obstruents: /k/ vs. /g/.
Korean has a three-way distinction between plain, aspirated, and reinforced obstruents: /k/ vs. /kʰ/ vs. /k͈/. Plain obstruents have voiced allophones after voiced segments: /k/ can be [g] (but there is no phoneme /g/).
One challenge for Korean transcribers of Japanese is distinguishing
between Japanese voiceless and voiced obstruents. Here are several
solutions to the problem from Wikipedia. I use /k/ and /g/ as examples:
|1986 South Korean standard
|2001 North Korean standard
|Japanese colonial standard
|Korean Language Society
|1948 South Korean standard||/k/
|1963 South Korean standard
|Chhoe Yŏng-ae and Kim Yong-ok
Japanese noninitial /k/ cannot be precisely replicated in Korean. The majority solution is to Koreanize it as /k/ even though Korean /k/ is voiced [g] in that position. The current South and North Korean standards Koreanize Japanese /k/ as voiceless /kʰ/ and /k͈/. Compare:
||/naka/ [naka] 'middle'
||/naga/ [naga] ~ [naŋa] 'long'
|South Korea (1986)
||/nakʰa/ [nakʰa]||/naka/ [naga]|
|North Korea (2001)
||/nak͈a/ [nak͈a]||/naka/ [naga]|
Japanese initial /g/ also cannot be precisely replicated in Korean.
The majority solution is to Koreanize it as /k/ [k].
The most interesting solution is the colonial one: Japanese /g/ is
transcribed as <k> with a circular diacritic. I presume
<°k> was to be read as [g] even in initial position. There are
two interesting things about that diacritic. First, <°> in
Japanese indicates a voiceless stop [p], not voiced obstruents. Second,
in Japanese is placed to the top right of kana, not the top left. I
suspect a circle was chosen because it was a shape that already existed
in hangul unlike the Japanese voicing diacritic ゛.
Japanese noninitial /g/ can also be pronounced as [ŋ], but that nasal variant is not reflected in any of the above Koreanizations, even though Korean does have /ŋ/ [ŋ] in noninitial position: e.g., Japanese [naŋa] 'long' sounds like Korean 낭아 <n.a.Ø Ø.a> /naŋa/ [naŋa].
22.214.171.124:35: ANOTHER EMPRESS XUANYI (PART 2)
The Japanese Wikipedia has yet other renderings of the name of Genghis Khan's mother Höelün Üjin 'Lady Hoelun', a.k.a. Empress 宣懿 Xuanyi:
ホエルン <hoerun> (the title of the article itself)
Old Mandarin 月也倫 *ɥe je lun (from 元史 Yuan shi [History of the Yuan Dynasty, 1370])
اولون فوجین <ʔwlʔwn fwjyn> (source unspecified)
The katakana spelling looks like a transliteration of Höelün sans diacritics.
The Old Mandarin spelling 月也倫 *ɥe je lun has front vowels unlike the Secret History spelling 訶額侖*o o lun. The first spelling seems to represent [øelyn], whereas the second spelling might represent [hoəlun]. Do the spellings represent two different Mongolian dialects: one with Turkic-style palatal harmony and another with height harmony?
|palatal harmony dialect
|height harmony dialect
The first character of the Yuan shi transcription is crucial: Old Mandarin 月*ɥe cannot stand for a simple [o] which would have been transcribed as Old Mandarin *o. And Mongolian vowel harmony dictates that vowels within a word must match in terms of 'gender': feminine [ø] must be followed by feminine [e] and [y]. Old Mandarin had no syllable *e, so 也 *je was the best available approximation of [e]. Old Mandarin had no syllable *lyn, so 倫 *lun was the best available approximation of [lyn].
The second character of the Secret History spelling訶額侖 is also crucial: Old Mandarin 額 *o cannot stand for a simple [e] which would have been transcribed as Old Mandarin *je. Old Mandarin had no syllable *ə, so 額 *o was the best available approximation of [ə]. In theory 額 *o could even represent [o] or [ø], but the Written Mongolian spelling <a> for this vowel rules out rounded vowels which would have been spelled as <ui>. The other characters are ambiguous out of context:
Old Mandarin 訶 *xo could represent [ho], [hø], or [hə].
But the Written Mongolian spelling <ui> for this syllable rules out a nonlabial vowel which would have been spelled as <a>.
Old Mandarin 侖 *lun could represent [lun], [lyn], or [lʊn].
But if the preceding two vowels are feminine, then the vowel of this syllable also has to be feminine, so [lʊn] with a masculine vowel can be ruled out, and the choice of [lun] or [lyn] depends on whether the name had height or palatal harmony.
The Arabic script transcription is ambiguous: <ʔwlʔwn> could represent either [øelyn] or [oəlun] - or even other possibilities that the Chinese and Mongolian spellings rule out: e.g., [ulun].
The Arabic script transcription <fwjyn> looks like a straightforward transcription of Old Mandarin 夫人 *fu žin 'lady' rather than the Mongolian borrowing of that Chinese word as üjin 'id.'
2. The English Wikipedia article on Höelün says
also had a nephew named Palchuk who married a sister of Genghis Khan (Temülün, whose name is misspelled as "Temulin")
The name Palchuk has an un-Mongolian initial p-. Earlier *p- became h- or zero in Mongolian. If Palchuk isn't Mongolian, what is it? It sounds Ukrainian. But seriously ...
The Japanese Wikipedia, on the other hand, says Genghis Khan's sister 帖木倫 Temülün married 不禿 Butu of the Ikires. Höelün was of the Olqonud, not the Ikires, so a nephew of Höelün would be likely to be of the Olqonud too.
126.96.36.199:46: ANOTHER EMPRESS XUANYI (PART 1)
When I refer to "Empress 宣懿 Xuanyi" on this blog, I refer to 蕭觀音 Xiao Guanyin (r. 1055-1075) of the First Khitan Empire.
But it turns out there are two other Empress Xuanyis:
Today the spelling of Höelün Üjin 'Lady Hoelun' in a 1908 edition of the Secret History of the Mongols caught my eye:
Old Mandarin *o o lun u tʂin
Where's the Old Mandarin *x- that should correspond to Middle Mongolian (MM) h-? 阿 *o looks like an error for 訶 *xo.
If the Secret History were all that remained of Mongolian, we might have to assume Höelün was Xoolun. How do we know Xoolun stood for Höelun? Even if we didn't have modern Mongolian Өэлүн <Öelün>, we could still get closer to the original via the Written Mongolian (WM) spelling ᠥᠭᠡᠯᠦᠨ <uikalun>:
WM has zero corresponding to MM h-
WM <ui> could stand for either ü or ö, but the Chinese spelling rules out a high vowel
WM <k> could stand for either k or g, but a g is more likely to lenite intervocalically to the zero of MM (but isn't WM g : MM Ø irregular?)
WM <a> could stand for either a or e out of context, but if preceded by <ui>, it must stand for e
WM <u> could stand for u, ü, o, or ö out of context, but if preceded by <ui>, it must stand for ü or ö, and the Chinese spelling rules out a mid vowel
Putting the MM and WM evidence together, I could reconstruct a Proto-Mongolic name *Högelün. (There is no 'Old Mongol'.) *h- goes back to an even earlier *p-.
The word üjin (WM <uijin>) 'lady' is a borrowing from Late Middle Chinese or Liao Chinese 夫人 *fuʐin 'id.' That word was also borrowed into Khitan as
I'm surprised Chinese *f- wasn't similarly borrowed into pre-MM as *p- which would have become MM h-, not zero. Was *fuʐin borrowed into pre-MM as üjin without any initial consonant?
188.8.131.52:56: THÁNH GIÓNG (PART 2)
1. How was the name 揀 Gióng pronounced in earlier Vietnamese? The vowel *ɔ is certain. The rest is not:
gi- could be from *kj-, *CVc-, or *pl-
-ng could be from *-ŋ or *-n
Nom spelling variants of Gióng might be able to narrow down the possibilities:
𢫝 with phonetic 冬, presumably here an abbreviation of 終 (Sino-Vietnamese chung < *c-) rather than 冬 (Sino-Vietnamese đông)
𢫝 also represents đong 'to measure' and in that case, the phonetic 冬 must be 冬 đông and not short for 終 chung
𢶢 with phonetic 衆 (and graphic variants; Sino-Vietnamese chúng < *c-)
All three types of variants share the semantic element 扌 <HAND> since gióng means 'to beat (a drum'. So does the name Gióng mean 'The Drumbeater', or is it an unrelated homophone written with characters originally devised for gióng 'to beat (a drum)'? (No, see below.)
1a. The initial of Gióng
The Sino-Vietnamese reading of 揀 is giản < *kj-
But 𢫝 and 𢶢 have ch- < *c-phonetics which would seem to point to *CVc-
The absence of spellings with labial phonetics might rule out *pl-. Compare the spellings of Gióng with those of giai ~ trai < *pl- 'male' which have both labial and velar phonetics:
𪩭 < 巴 ba + 來 lai, the most conservative and hence the oldest spelling in this list. Wish I had manuscript dates to back up that claim, though.
this spelling must postdate *kj- > gi- and *pl- > gi-: i.e., it presumably must be newer than 𪩭
佳 giai 'good' (recycled for giai 'male')
another spelling presumably newer than 𪩭
𪟦 < 男 <MAN> + 佳 giai
I assume 隹 is derived from 佳, as 隹 chuy doesn't sound like giai
I wonder if 扶董 <HELP SUPERVISOR> Phù Đổng, another name
of Gióng, might be a phonetic transcription of an older sesquisyllabic
or disyllabic labial-initial form. The transcription might only loosely
resemble the original if the transcription characters were chosen to be
meaningful at the expense of phonetic fidelity.
Trần Quốc Vương's "The Legend of Ông Dóng from the Text to the Field" (1995) has made me rethink everything I just wrote above. Here's what I think happened now:
The original name was something like *pVtɔ́ŋ (with *-t-, even though I hadn't even considered that as a possibility when I started this post!)
name was approximated in Sino-Vietnamese as 扶董 Phù Đổng, a spelling
whose first known attestation is as a village name in 安南志略 An Nam chí lược (Abbreviated Records of Annam; 1333). It's unclear whether the village is named after the man or vice versa.
I suspect the spelling 扶董 may go back centuries to a period when it was pronounced with an initial unaspirated stop and a *sắc tone on the second syllable: *buətɔ́ŋ (as an approximation of an early Vietnamese *pətɔ́ŋ? - there was no early Sino-Vietnamese syllable *bə or *pə)
*-t- lenited intervocalically to *-d-. Later the preceding syllable was lost, and *d- weakened to *ð- and shifted to [z] in the north where the Gióng legend originated.
In northern Vietnamese, d-, gi-, and r- all merged into [z] (though the distinction remains in spelling which is largely etymological).
The name [záwŋ͡m] was spelled as Gióng because the young Gióng was "put [...] in a hammock tied to a gióng tre, the trunk of a bamboo [tre]." (p. 18)
But a more etymological spelling would be Dóng with a d- < *pVt- (in this case; other instances of etymological d- are from *CVt-, *CVd-, and *j-).
Trần and Cao Huy Đỉnh (1967) think Dóng is related to dông 'storm', but the vowels and tones do not match, so I think the words are unrelated. I can't find any Vietnamese word dóng other than the name, but I wonder if the name might have cognates in other Vietic languages.
1b. The coda of Gióng
The oldest spelling 扶董 points to *-ŋ. So do 𢫝𢶢. 揀 has an -n-phonetic, but is overruled by 扶董; it must be a later spelling created by someone speaking a nonnorthern dialect in which *-n shifted to [ŋ].
(Note that -on and -ong have not become homophonous in any dialect as far as I know: the distinction between the two in nonsouthern dialects is [ɔŋ] vs. [awŋ͡m] corresponding to [ɔn] vs. [awŋ͡m] in the north.)
1c. A chronology of spellings of Gióng:
𢫝𢶢: *c-phonetic spellings postdating the merger of gi- < *CVc- and d- < *pVt-
揀: *kj- and -n-phonetic spelling postdating the merger of *gi- < *kj- and d- < *pVt- and reflecting a nonnorthern dialect in which *-n and *-ŋ merged as [ŋ]; the spelling most divergent from the original pronunciation and hence perhaps the newest
Trần (1995: 27) "would like to conclude that the impact of Indra [of the Cham] on the portrayal of Phù Đổng is undeniable. In other words, Phù Đổng Thiên Vương [Heaven King] is, in fact, the Vietnamese metamorphosis of Indra."
I'd like to read an article on the Cham element in Vietnamese culture. Unfortunately recovering similar substratal elements in the Korean and Japanese cultures would seem to be more difficult given the extinction of other cultures on the peninsula and in the islands; we can't say belief or practice X is from Y if we don't even know what Y is like.
Sino-Vietnamese 天 Thiên 'heaven' in 扶董天王 Phù Đổng Thiên Vương 'Heaven King Phù Đổng' sounds like pʰatʰɛ̂ːn 'sky' in the Vietic language Thavung which unlike Vietnamese doesn't have an enormous number of Chinese borrowings. It took me almost three hours to realize that pʰatʰɛ̂ːn is a borrowing from Lao ຟ້າແຖນ [fȃː tʰɛ̆ːn] 'sky' (poetic), a synonym compound of native Lao [fȃː] 'sky' and [tʰɛ̆ːn], a Lao borrowing from Chinese. Were all Thavung words of Chinese origin borrowed recently through Lao?