Tuyuhun language

Tuyuhun (Chinese: 吐谷渾), also known as ‘Azha from Tibetan script,[1] is an extinct language once spoken by the Tuyuhun of northern China about 500 AD. The existence of the Tuyuhun, and consequently their language, is first attested in the Book of Song, compiled around 488 AD.[2]

Tuyuhun
Native toTuyuhun
RegionNorthern China
Para-Mongolic?
  • Tuyuhun
Language codes
ISO 639-3

ClassificationEdit

Alexander Vovin (2015) identifies the extinct Tuyuhun language as a Para-Mongolic language, meaning that Tuyuhun is related to the Mongolic languages as a sister clade but is not directly descended from the Proto-Mongolic language.[3] The Khitan language is also a Para-Mongolic language. Tuyuhun had previously been identified by Paul Pelliot (1921) as a Mongolic language.[4]

VocabularyEdit

Shimunek (2017) reconstructs some Tuyuhun words as:[5]

  • ‘second person singular pronoun (爾)’: *čʰɪ [處] (northern Early Middle Chinese **tśʰɨ); Vovin (2015) reconstructs *čʰo, a 2nd person singular pronoun, equivalent to Mongolic či. The correspondence between /o/ and /i/ is attested between Mongolic and Khitan, cf. Western Middle Mongolic taqiya vs. Khitan t[i].qo.a.[6]
  • ‘river (川)’: *qɔl [ལ་] (Old Tibetan *kʰol) ~ [ལ་] (Old Tibetan *kol)
  • ‘militant (武)’: *bu [戊] (Late Middle Chinese *mbu)
  • ‘elder brother (兄)’: *aqañ [阿干] (northern Early Middle Chinese **ɦakar̃)
  • ‘father (父)’ or ‘great’: *maʁa/*amaʁa [莫賀] (northern Early Middle Chinese *magɣa)
  • ‘great’: *maʁa [མ་ག] (Old Tibetan *maga < Indic)
  • ‘emperor, king’: *qʰaʁan [ཁ་གན་] (Old Tibetan *kʰagan) / **kʰaʁɣar̃ [可寒] ~ [可汗] (northern Early Middle Chinese **kʰaʁɣar̃)
  • ‘wife (妻) of the khaghan (可汗)’: *qʰaʁʦʊn [恪尊] (northern Early Middle Chinese **kʰagʦor̃)

Vovin (2015) also reconstructs several words using Early Middle Chinese readings of transcribed Tuyuhun lexical items.

MorphologyEdit

Tuyuhun suffixes:[5]

  • *-čin/*-čiñ [ན་] (Old Tibetan *ʧin) ‘having X (possessive)’
  • *-yin/*-yiñ [寅] (northern Early Middle Chinese **yir̃) ‘genitive-attributive suffix’

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Shimunek, Andrew E (2017). Languages of Ancient Southern Mongolia and North China: A Historical-Comparative Study of the Serbi or Xianbei Branch of the Serbi-Mongolic Language Family, with an Analysis of Northeastern Frontier Chinese and Old Tibetan Phonology.
  2. ^ Vovin, Alexander. 2015.Some notes on the Tuyuhun (吐谷渾) language: in the footsteps of Paul Pelliot
  3. ^ Vovin, Alexander. 2015. Some notes on the Tuyuhun (吐谷渾) language: in the footsteps of Paul Pelliot. In Journal of Sino-Western Communications, Volume 7, Issue 2 (December 2015).
  4. ^ Pelliot, Paul. 1921. "Note sur les Tou-yu-houen et les Sou-p'i." T'oung Pao, Second Series, Vol. 20, No. 5 (Dec. 1920 - Dec. 1921), pp.323-331.
  5. ^ a b Shimunek, Andrew (2017). Languages of Ancient Southern Mongolia and North China: a Historical-Comparative Study of the Serbi or Xianbei Branch of the Serbi-Mongolic Language Family, with an Analysis of Northeastern Frontier Chinese and Old Tibetan Phonology. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-10855-3. OCLC 993110372.
  6. ^ Vovin, Alexander. 2015. Some notes on the Tuyuhun (吐谷渾) language: in the footsteps of Paul Pelliot. In Journal of Sino-Western Communications, Volume 7, Issue 2 (December 2015).