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Ruan-ruan (Chinese: 蠕蠕; also called Rouran) is an unclassified extinct language of Mongolia and northern China, spoken in the Rouran Khaganate from the 4th to the 6th centuries CE.

Ruan-ruan
Native toRouran Khaganate
RegionMongolia and northern China
Era4th century CE – 6th century CE
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
GlottologNone

Peter A. Boodberg claimed in 1935 that the Ruan-ruan language was Mongolic by analysing Chinese transcriptions of Ruan-ruan names.[1] Alexander Vovin noted that Old Turkic had borrowed some words from an unknown non-Altaic language that may have been Ruan-ruan.[2] arguing the If so, the language would be non-Altaic language, unrelated to its neighbours and possibly a language isolate, though evidence was scant.[1] He had previously suggested Ruan-ruan could be related to the Yeniseian languages.[3][failed verification][4] In 2019, with the emergence of new evidence through the analysis of the Brāhmī Bugut and Khüis Tolgoi, Vovin changed his view, suggesting Ruan-ruan was, in fact a Mongolic language, close but not identical to Middle Mongolian.[5] Pamela Kyle Crossley (2019) The Rouran language itself has remained a puzzle, and leading linguists consider it a possible isolate.[6]

PhonologyEdit

Features of Ruan-ruan included:[1]

  • no mid vowels
  • initial l-
  • final consonantal cluster -nd

MorphologyEdit

Ruan-ruan had the feminine gender suffix -tu-.[1]

LexiconEdit

Ruan-ruan vocabulary included:[1]

  • küskü – 'rat'
  • ud – 'ox'
  • luu – 'dragon' < Middle Chinese luŋ – 'dragon'
  • yund – 'horse'
  • laγzïn – 'pig'
  • qaγan – 'emperor'
  • qan – 'khan'
  • qaγatun – 'empress'
  • qatun – 'khan's wife'
  • aq – 'dung'
  • and – 'oath'

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Vovin, Alexander (3–5 December 2010). "Once Again on the Ruan-ruan Language". Ötüken’den İstanbul’a Türkçenin 1290 Yılı (720–2010) Sempozyumu From Ötüken to Istanbul, 1290 Years of Turkish (720–2010).CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  2. ^ Vovin, Alexander (2004). "Some thoughts on the origins of the old Turkic 12-year animal cycle". Central Asiatic Journal. 48 (1): 118–132. ISSN 0008-9192.
  3. ^ Vovin, Alexander (2000). "Did the Xiongnu speak a Yeniseian language?". Central Asiatic Journal. 44 (1): 87–104. ISSN 0008-9192.
  4. ^ Vajda, Edward J. (2013). Yeniseian Peoples and Languages: A History of Yeniseian Studies with an Annotated Bibliography and a Source Guide. Oxford/New York: Routledge.
  5. ^ Vovin, Alexander (2019). "A Sketch of the Earliest Mongolic Language: the Brāhmī Bugut and Khüis Tolgoi Inscriptions". International Journal of Eurasian Linguistics. 1 (1): 162–197. ISSN 2589-8825.
  6. ^ Crossley, Pamela Kyle (2019). Hammer and Anvil: Nomad Rulers at the Forge of the Modern World. p. 49.