SABELLIAN.

When I was studying Indo-European, back in the Jurassic Era, “Sabellian” was considered to mean… well, I’ll quote Webster’s Third International: “one or all of a number of poorly known languages or dialects of ancient central Italy that are presumably closely related to Oscan and Umbrian.” A book I used a lot in my grad school days, W. B. Lockwood’s A Panorama of Indo-European Languages, has one mention of it, on p. 58: “A few early inscriptions characterised as Sabellian show that this dialect was closely akin to Oscan.” Now, having found myself confused by the Memiyawanzi post about Karin Tikkanen’s A Sabellian Case Grammar (Heidelberg, 2011)—how could you write a grammar about a minor dialect of which almost nothing is known?—I did a little googling and discovered that, as Wikipedia says under Osco-Umbrian languages, “Sabellic … was later used by Theodor Mommsen in his Unteritalische Dialekte to describe the pre-Roman dialects of central Italy which were neither Oscan nor Umbrian. Nowadays, it is used to describe the Osco-Umbrian languages as a whole.” I have several questions about this. First, when did it happen? Second, is there free variation between “Sabellic” and “Sabellian”? Third, and most importantly, why the hell? Why take an obscure term like “Sabellian” (or, if one prefers, “Sabellic”) and decide to use it instead of a well-known and transparent term like “Osco-Umbrian”? Since the Wikipedia article is called “Osco-Umbrian languages,” I assume the term isn’t actually obsolete; is it just fuddy-duddies like me who hang onto it, or are there warring camps, Osco-Umbrianists versus Sabellianists (and/or Sabellicians)? It seems pointless to me, as if people were to decide one fine day to replace the term “Balto-Slavic” with “Prussian.” The only thing gained seems to be confusion. But, as always, I welcome enlightenment from those who actually know something about it.
Two amusing bits from the Memiyawanzi post: a photo showing “Grammar” misspelled as “Grammer” on the spine—”ouch,” as the blogger says—and a remark about Jürgen Untermann’s Wörterbuch des Oskisch-Umbrischen (Heidelberg, 2000), “a fabulously exhaustive dictionary famously known for glossing just about everything as Bedeutung unbekannt [meaning unknown].” Borges would have loved that.

Comments

  1. The book is clearly based on the author’s 2009 dissertation, which has the much clearer title A Comparative Grammar of Latin and the Sabellian Languages: The System of Case Syntax. Alas, it’s not on line.
    Googling for “Sabellian” mostly brings up references to Sabellius, a third-century theologian of unknown provenance. According to his enemies, at least, he “confounded the persons”, teaching that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost were mere aspects of a single personality. Like most anti- or pseudo-trinitarian heresies, Sabellianism pops up repeatedly in later history: at least some Sabellians, like some small modern Christian churches, baptized in the name of Christ only rather than in the name of the Trinity. When orthodoxy itself claims to be beyond human understanding (“No, you must show me one man riding in three coaches, if you can”), some humans will believe that one of the various intelligible variants must instead be the truth.

  2. mollymooly says:

    Does it correlate with the deciphering of South Picene in the 1980s?

  3. Bathrobe says:

    Just to back up what you found, from the Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe:
    The term ‘Sabellian’ has been used in at least two different senses, both of them relating to subgroups of the * Italic languages. For some scholars, as for Peter Schrijver in this encyclopedia (see * Oscan, * Umbrian), it is synonymous with * Osco-Umbrian . Other scholars (including Coleman 1986) restrict it to a group of minor Osco-Umbrian languages, consisting of * Aequian, * Marrucinian, * Marsian, * Paelignian, * Sabine, * Vestinian and * Volscian. 1986. The central Italic languages in the period of Roman expansion. Transactions of the Philological Society 1986 : 100 – 31

  4. Ah, that’s just a game everyone loves: change the name to show who’s really an Initiate in the Fraternity of Whatever. You don’t have to speak Kʷakʷəkəw̓akʷ or Dzhudezmo or be from Chennai to play, but it helps.
    This is related to the phenomenon of doctors saying “sontimeter” and lawyers saying “defend ant.” Everyone is complicit in this, myself included.

  5. Etienne says:

    Here’s a piece of the puzzle, I think: when I took my one and only course on comparative Indo-European (A long time ago at a University far, far away…), our professor told us that Osco-Umbrian was a very misleading term to describe a dialect continuum which was certainly not split between an Oscan- versus an Umbrian-like group. A non-hyphenated term would be preferable, he concluded, but for now Osco-Umbrian is the accepted term. Evidently some scholars have proposed and are promoting a non-hyphenated term.
    Oh, and just to add to the confusion: apparently some Italian scholars use(d) “Italic” as a synonym for “Osco-Umbrian” (to the exclusion of Latin), whereas most scholars use Italic as the name of an alleged branch of Indo-European which includes Latin and Osco-Umbrian.
    *Sigh* People as a rule enter a field to make up for perceived weaknesses: hence doctors make the worst patients, biologists are obsessed with death, geographers get lost, and linguists can’t communicate.

  6. Ah, that’s just a game everyone loves: change the name to show who’s really an Initiate in the Fraternity of Whatever.
    There’s another variant of that in which you change the pronunciation of a word, and then get to paste gold stars into your achievement notebook depending on how many people imitate you.
    The first time I noticed this was on German TV in 1986, in the months following the Chernobyl reactor accident. Initially, announcers would say “CHER-no-bil” (or one of the other two variants, ultimately all three would be used but I can’t remember the order).
    After a week or two, some announcer pronounced the name as “cher-NO-bil”. Over the next few days, all the other announcers switched to that. Then, a few weeks later, another announcer started saying “cher-no-BIL”, and everybody followed.
    At the time, I speculated that those announcers behind whom the others trotted had some kind of special status, say a reputation for being in-the-know about furrin stuff.

  7. I’m smiling at that innocent phrase “a well-known term like Osco-Umbrian.”
    You guys really know your stuff.

  8. dearieme says:

    “It seems pointless to me, as if people were to decide one fine day to replace the term “Balto-Slavic” with “Prussian.” The only thing gained seems to be confusion”: ooooh! Prescriptivist!!!!

  9. dearieme, that’s not what “prescriptivist” means. Prescriptivism is like when you tell someone “that’s not what that word means”.

  10. mattitiahu says:

    As usual, Etienne gets to the bottom of it. More or less, the terminology for the Italic branch of IE languages is incredibly confused in the literature. Sabellic is frequently used in English and German literature for everything that isn’t Latin or Faliscan. Presumably Sabellic is related to the complex of words actually attested in those languages as safinús / Lat. Sabinus (i.e. Sabine), but in some different *-lo- derivative in the Caland system (and also Samnium / Samnite), all from some root *sabh-, but actually tracing how all of these are related to one another is an incredibly messy problem that no one has actually found a satisfactory solution to, as far as my understanding on the matter is.

  11. Also, Osco-Umbrian used to be more predominant as a piece of terminology before the 1980s when South Picene was deciphered and the area was realized to be more of a dialect continuum than two separate language areas, and as such, adopting a more general term for the whole like Sabellic/Sabine then sort of made more sense.
    Still largely arbitrary, sort of like the argument that Indo-European should probably be better called Celto-Tocharian (or, if you’re even more of a pedant, Lusitanian-Tocharian).

  12. Still largely arbitrary, sort of like the argument that Indo-European should probably be better called Celto-Tocharian
    Well, yeah, and that’s my point: no one is going to start using Celto-Tocharian or any other replacement, however brilliant and rational, because Indo-European is too well established. I would have thought Osco-Umbrian was, if not as well established as IE, at least enough so that it wouldn’t be cast overboard on a whim. I mean, what if Sabellian (or Sabellic) turns out to a misnomer, or somebody thinks up an even more rational term? It’s like the poor Central Asians having to switch alphabets every time somebody in the Kremlin had a bright idea. I don’t like it, I tell you! I protest!

  13. Bathrobe says:

    Prescriptivism is like when you tell someone “that’s not what that word means”
    Well, LH is running very close to this. Of course dearieme is being an old prescriptivist curmudgeon, but there seems to be a very fine line in distinguishing “That’s not what ‘disinterested’ means” from “That’s not what ‘Sabellian’ means”.

  14. Bathrobe says:

    I also protest at the imprecise use of the word ‘Jurassic’.

  15. Aren’t fine lines fun?
    But the ‘disinterested’ thing is about railing against natural drift, while Hat’s present complaint is about a deliberate coinage in a technical area. Also, the ‘disinterested’ thing carries a whiff of snobbery which is not an issue here.
    Funny, ‘present complaint’ sounds like an illness. And I kept typing ‘disenterested’. Hat, I hope you don’t have dysentery.

  16. ‘Sabellic’ is probably pretty safe, since it’s also validly applicable to Oscan. Not that that’s exactly a reason _to_ switch; but I don’t think Italic studies as launched itself into an endless whirl of fleeting names.
    Incidentally, as someone or other pointed out not that long ago, ‘Indo-European’ and the German ‘Indogermanisch’ are still both valid terms if one looks at north-south distributions in pre-modern times. The former being based on sub-continent, the latter on language branch. Not that there’s a need for these to be anything but conventional labels, but the ‘pedantic’ objections to them really aren’t worth much even taken on their own terms.
    (Actually, even looking east to west, I’m pretty sure Assamese is spoken further east than Tocharian A is attested, though I’m having trouble finding a map that has both Turfan and clearly marked lines of longitude. On the other end, Icelandic is certainly the westernmost pre-modern Indo-European language.)

  17. in a sense, our choice to switch to the cyrillic script was self determinant too, not all dictated by the soviets, it was perhaps a progressive step at that time, to abolish illiteracy, to try to develop the country, to bring it out the medieval stagnation, so that was a conscious choice of our political rulers at that time, that helped us to preserve our national language and culture, nobody would want to turn into moving the enlightened western academics in the airports ornamental script of non-existent anymore nation, people
    so subscribe to the SFR’s theory of motivations of the soviet linguists in the other thread

  18. Just to be clear, before anyone points out that Iberia extends further west than Iceland, there are runic inscriptions from Greenland (most famously the Kingiktorsoak/Kingittorsuaq runestone). I perhaps should have used the more general term ‘Old Norse’ rather than ‘Icelandic’.

  19. Bathrobe says:

    @ read The traditional Uighur script is often maligned for its difficulty. However, I think it did have its good points:
    * As I pointed out, it is not narrowly adapted to one dialect and is therefore (at least somewhat) better suited to cross-dialect usage.
    * Arguably the adoption of a narrow Khalkha representation has gone hand in hand with the adoption of a very narrow normative approach to Mongolian vocabulary. Even the largest Mongolian dictionaries deliberately exclude a considerable amount of broader Mongolian vocabulary in the interest of defining a narrow ‘standard Mongolian’. This is a great loss for Mongolian culture as a whole.
    * The usual arguments about the loss of ancient literature and culture (although since Mongolian does not have such an extensive and ancient literature, this is not as powerful an argument as it is in Chinese).
    * From what I have heard, it is very fast and easy to write (easy to take notes in), much more so than Cyrillic.
    The argument that the old script is simply too difficult for universal literacy is disproved by the fact that Inner Mongolia has achieved widespread literacy using it. (This is the same as the situation in Chinese. Despite the fact that they use more ‘difficult’ characters, Taiwan and Hong Kong have achieved literacy rates just as high as those in Mainland China, if not higher. The problem is not necessarily the difficulty of the script, it is equally a problem of education.)

  20. since it’s still up, i was saying (i) subscribe to the SFR’s theory
    i don’t argue that it was not a great loss for our culture, i argue it was just the soviet policy followed blindly, that it was a hard but our own choice to choose between winning a chance of building independent country and getting rid of illiteracy in the shortest period possible or clinging to the past for the sake of a greater Mongol Unity
    our Choibalsan even though he was a mini-Stalin himself, don’t get much reproach in that how he negotiated the whole getting independency policy, even though it was nominally so,
    the independence, at the time, he was a nationalist as everybody else of the political elite at that time so his statue is still erect in UB, if he was less that, compliant, he could end up as Sukhbaatar or
    the prime-ministers Amar or Bodoo and many others, all were repressed for fighting hard for this or other our policy point to
    not succumb to the soviet pressure but in a sense they were all the successors of each other with one ultimate goal to achieve restoring our lost statehood and they succeeded in
    that, what would have been the point for us to preserve the
    old script and be in the similar position as Inner Mongolia or
    Tibet now, so thank you very much for your concern but we
    chose what we have chosen and it was our own very difficult but willing choice!
    about the non-existent extensive lit, who knows what was lost, my grandma would tell us how they would go to the mountains to bury the trunkful of their sutras and thangkas,
    just for one family if it was so, one can imagine how was the
    scale of destruction

  21. i should give up commenting on the phone, too weird formatting

  22. I find that grammer for grammar is quite a common misspelling among native English speakers complaining about its “proper” use.

  23. David Eddyshaw says:

    Another problem with “Celto-Tocharian” is that the name “Tocharian” is itself a time-honoured error, like “Hittite.”

  24. ‘Tocharian’ is indeed a ‘baseless’ name for those languages (since we no longer think the Τόχαροι were the speakers of ‘Tocharian’), but it’s not exactly like ‘Hittite’ in this respect. It’s true that ‘Hittite’ is not the absolutely most precise term available, but (despite what gets said a lot) it’s not a wholesale error either. Theo van den Hout puts it so:
    ‘Early Hittite scholarship tried to introduce the term “Nesite”, but the earlier association with the Biblical Hittites proved too strong, and “Nessite” never caught on. On the other hand, the Hittites did call themselves “men of Ḫatti”, borrowing the name of the indigenous Hattians, so our designation is not a complete misnomer.’
    -The Elements of Hittite, p. 2
    It’s certainly less inappropriate than calling the language of Homer or ancient Athens ‘Greek’ (and I really hope no one makes a concerted effort to change that term!).

  25. SFReader says:

    —although since Mongolian does not have such an extensive and ancient literature
    I think it’s rather unfair to make comparisons with Chinese literature, since no other literature in the world could beat it (maybe with exception of Greek)
    More adequate would be comparison with, say, Russian literature. I would argue that Mongolian literature up to early 20 century was more extensive than Russian literature up to the 18 century.
    Granted, it consisted mostly of translated works, but it was extensive and numerous beyond belief.
    Just Mongolian translation of Tibetan Buddhist Canon alone contains 4,569 works amounting to 73 million words on astonishing range of subjects.

  26. SFReader says:

    Unfortunately very little exists in English on Classical Mongolian Literature which is probably the reason for popular misconception about lack of literary tradition among Mongols.
    But if you can read Russian, here is a good summary of the history of Mongolian literature (from XIIIth to the beginning of XX century).
    http://minus.com/mOildVJiu/

  27. Bathrobe says:

    SFReader, I’m aware that it’s unfair to compare any literary traditions with the Chinese, and I wasn’t disparaging Mongolian tradition, merely pointing out that changing the script isn’t quite so traumatic as it would be for the Chinese. But I’ll admit that I’m not especially well informed about Mongolia’s literary tradition, so thanks for setting me right and putting up that link. I don’t read Russian but I’ll have a look at the article and run it through Google translate.
    I think one problem is that, for various reasons, the Mongolians’ literary past does not seem to be so alive in the present as I guess I hoped it would be (subjective judgement, I know).
    The Chinese set great store by literacy and by their own tradition. Their bookshops (at the least the big ones that are left after the advent of online bookselling) are chock-a-block with all kinds of works ancient and modern, and they are also full of people. Even if most Chinese don’t actually read the old works on a daily basis, the old tradition seems to form an important part of their identity (liberating, stultifying, or otherwise), and if you took away their ancient literature and traditions I think most Chinese would feel severely diminished.
    On the other hand, my impression is that their own literary tradition does not seem to be quite so alive for modern-day Mongolians, and certainly doesn’t seem to be so essential to their national identity. I’m not sure if this impression is correct, and I’m also not sure of the reason for it. I understand that much was destroyed with the destruction of the monasteries. The reform of the script and other rapid linguistic changes in the modern era have probably also severed access to the old tradition for most people. The turmoil of the 20th century and precariousness of Mongolia’s independence, which they have been hanging on to by the skin of their teeth (literally saved from total absorption into China by the Russians) might also have something to do with it. At any rate, I’ll very willingly revise my glib judgements about Mongolia’s literary traditions. I now have even more reason to try and bring my Mongolian up to scratch!

  28. And anyway Mongolia’s literary heritage would survive better a script change than China’s would.

  29. SFReader says:

    The problem with Mongolian literary heritage 16-18 centuries was that it consisted mainly of scientific works on Buddhist philosophy and related subjects requiring highly skilled readers with classical education background. Any Mongolian readers who could possibly manage to read it by default would have to be highly educated persons with knowledge of classical languages – Tibetan and Sanskrit and they could read these works in original. So I am afraid it would have remained a rather restricted reading in any case.
    Another problem arose with Tibetanisation of Mongolian culture. Hundreds of Mongolian authors, the very best ones at that, having graduated Tibetan universities knew Tibetan literature and culture better than their own and continued after graduation write in Tibetan, not Mongolian.
    This Mongolian-Tibetan literature was even more extensive and was mainly concerned with extremely abstract topics of Buddhist philosophy. Obviously, average Mongolian reader of the time could not read them at all since this would require extensive education lasting decades of study.
    Common Mongolians had deep respect for these scholars and they continued to give their sons to lamas for study. Half of Mongolia’s male population were lamas and lama’s students, absolute majority of them did not advance much in their education, but such extensive enrollment gave opportunity to choose the best and most promising. Hence, out of hundreds of thousands starting study, only hundreds (or perhaps just dozens at any time) would reach the very top.
    For these scholars, Mongolian literature and culture was just a part of what they regarded as their own culture – immense classical Indian and Tibetan literature (Chinese was also not unknown to them, but played less role).
    Could all of this survived into the 20th century in any form? Judging from, say, Turkish experience (where I am told, Turks today can’t read their classical Ottoman works due to change in script and heavy language reform), probably no…

  30. The original of the said literature is in a very incomprehensible kind of Tibetan as well.

  31. SFReader says:

    –On the other hand, my impression is that their own literary tradition does not seem to be quite so alive for modern-day Mongolians, and certainly doesn’t seem to be so essential to their national identity.
    It depends. Some parts of Mongol literary tradition are very much alive. In fact, I would argue that the earliest Mongolian literature work – “Secret History of Mongols”(writen in 1240) is indeed an essential part of Mongolian national identity.

  32. SFReader says:

    –The original of the said literature is in a very incomprehensible kind of Tibetan as well.
    I fancy myself as a future Tibetan scholar. Alas, I started learning Tibetan several times in the last few years and I am afraid did not advance much yet. But my respect for those who fared better grew even more…

  33. Nice! I just can’t imagine how anyone can become functional in Tibetan. If you want to read something, you have either the classical language of schoolmen, whose subject isn’t very comprehensible to uncultured brutes like me, or the modern language of culturo-political polemics and new poetry, whose share of Chinese calques are not documented anywhere and not very guessable for a speaker of Chinese itself.

  34. Ah, I forgot the folktales, which are in fact quite easy to read, but does not help much in the decipherment of the other two kinds of texts.

  35. SFReader says:

    Yeah, I know. But learning is never easy, right?
    I also have similar on and off relationship with Sanskrit. It appears to be somewhat easier than Tibetan. Maybe if I learned Sanskrit first, this would help to learn classical Tibetan.

  36. Yeah… And I have no excuse to remain the uncultured brute I am, living in the same city as Matthew Kapstein.

  37. SFReader says:

    I had even more spectacular fiasco with Arabic. I learned the script first and grammar was not very difficult. But then I was told that in order to read classical Arabic I’ll have to master Quran.
    Text itself was not too difficult, but it was very boring and frankly did not make much sense (neither in original nor in translation). I got stuck in the middle of Surah Al-Imran and did not finish…
    Maybe there’ll be more luck with Persian. I do like poetry

  38. great, two Tibetan scholars to ask questions! and a very impressive set of languages to learn, very like envy inducing / kidding, i can’t learn our own old script and the Japanese kanjis to the functional reading level, what to even think about other languages and scripts, must be one should possess a really good visual memory to learn “exotic”, or just any other language
    why don’t you try to translate short mantras, i always was curious whether our monks recite them in correct Tibetan and what does work there, the combination of the sounds, the words meanings or something else to calm, for example, a sick child, children can’t know and be biased about these things, yet it seems it works according to many believers
    it seems so like a very blind faith, not knowing the language of the religious proceedings attribute to the scripts some healing power
    for example, what these words mean emehe umaha pani pani suukhaa, it is believed to work to calm one after having a nightmare dream?

  39. SFReader says:

    —emehe umaha pani pani suukhaa
    It’s actually a Sanskrit mantra.
    I recognize “E Ma Ho”, it’s an exclamation meaning “Wondeful!”.
    “Pani” means “hand”.
    I am not sure about Umaha, but this could be “Maha” – “great”
    Svaha (suukha in Tibetan and Mongolian pronunciation) means “blessed”.
    I would guess this means something like
    “How wonderful! Your great hand be blessed!”
    But I could be wrong…

  40. Maybe there’ll be more luck with Persian. I do like poetry
    I gave up on Arabic at an earlier stage than you (and am beginning to accept I probably won’t have another go at it—languages are many and life is short), but I found Persian relatively easy and quite rewarding, especially the poetry. I encourage you to give it a go.

  41. thanks! so it’s: wonderful great hand hand be blessed
    are you sure pani is hand, not dream or mind or thought?
    must be it works to calm just as counting to ten, to gather one’s thoughts, bc usually it is repeated 21 times and the mantra could be used in any dangerous situations they say, i mean my mother, for example, so learnt from her mother i guess and would teach us to say the mantra if i would ever feel some danger
    or could be the wonderful great blessed those auspicious words could have some protective meaning and it works like any other prayer to sooth one’s mind
    there is another one um dari duri dudaari duri suukhaa, i think it is said to bless one’s new year morning, sorry to ask again, what if if one doesn’t know the meaning of the mantra, the more is one’s belief in it though, just curious

  42. Sounds like Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Svāhā, a mantra of Tārā.

  43. The name of this thread faintly echoes that of an epic and numinous thread of January, 2007.

  44. Bathrobe says:

    In fact, I would argue that the earliest Mongolian literature work – “Secret History of Mongols”(writen in 1240) is indeed an essential part of Mongolian national identity.
    Yes, but that is only one book (which they actually lost; it had to be reconstituted from Chinese sources); it’s very meagre stuff compared with Chinese pre-modern literature. (I actually have the Secret History, along with a copy of the Epic of Jangar. I would like to get hold of a bit more, but as you say, not much has been translated into English).

  45. i think one can’t just compare the literary output of the two cultures just so as if like mechanistically, counting how many works, then let’s start counting maybe the populations etc, that is of course meaningless
    SFR says he couldn’t finish reading in Arabic Koran, everything is of course very subjective
    i, for example, couldn’t finish Genji monogatari, reading it of course not in Japanese, that’s beyond my Japanese proficiency, the translation of the same translator who translated our Secret history too, so it seemed to me as if like just description of the endless visits of the prince of some this or other ladies chambers, what’s so interesting in that, like, feeling was there, and surely what my unlearned opinion should mean of course reading the classical work praised by the whole nation and international scholars
    the Chinese ancient lit also seemed like consisting of mostly the novels of such amorous or erotic and other high culture content what the simple and less, that, ‘decadent’, minds of our ancestors would have considered frivolous and not deserving one’s attention, time and efforts, and they perhaps just rejected those, while the religious buddhists scripts from Tibetan and Sanskrit were copied and recopied, i just always wondered why not translated then, maybe it was not necessary then, as if like the same situation with the Latin in the medieval Europe i guess, and it’s after converting into buddhism, before that must be the nomadic lifestyle wouldn’t allow much to be accumulated too, just the most necessary things, then the everyday struggle with nature wouldn’t allow one’s preoccupation with one’s bodily functions, physiology whatever except if it was not some kind of sickness, so our traditional medicine got to be and is considered of some comparable level to the Chinese or Tibetan, everything what could develop could develop just in the very limited practical sense perhaps..
    else, what if some other, the same quality as the Secret history, works existed too but got lost too in the endless internal wars and raids
    otoh our oral literary tradition, folk songs etc is pretty extensive and comparable it seems to me to any other nations’ heritage, just the difference is that the authors were to be all unknown, that seems very natural too, that could have been pretty easy to put one’s name and date and have an extensive literature dating back ages, alas, such unambitious were those anonymous folk artists and buddhist monks back then to not write down their work and patent them in leather, i feel that frustration with them too, i guess
    this is all of course just my subjective opinion and i didn’t start it, just when people start saying meagre and stuff, i thought i should say something

  46. No, I think you’re right, and it’s a pity that the composers of “folk” songs and poetry aren’t known — not so much for their personal glory but because, as you say, that would provide a clear history rather than a mass of anonymous works that don’t get taken as seriously.

  47. Bathrobe says:

    read, my point was not that the Secret History is ‘meagre’ or that Mongolian literature is ‘meagre’, rather that the Secret History is a slender work to hang Mongolia’s national identity on. After his description of the richness of Mongolia’s literature, I was slightly crestfallen when SFReader trotted out the Secret History. I was hoping for better. It’s as if the Kojiki (古事記) was regarded as “essential to the Japanese identity” (which it was at one time, I guess), when the Kojiki is just one work, and like the Secret History was actually ‘lost’ until they learnt how to read it again.
    In my own humble opinion, the great fanfare around the Secret History is to a considerable extent a function of modern Mongolian nationalism. The Secret History is basically a foundation story for modern Mongolians to rally around. It can’t have been that important to the Mongols of the time if they managed to lose it. I am much more interested in what was built up over time, e.g., the folk tradition you refer to, and in the products of Mongolia’s greatest minds under the influence of Tibetan culture that SFReader refers to.

  48. Bathrobe says:

    SFReader’s comment that “For these scholars, Mongolian literature and culture was just a part of what they regarded as their own culture – immense classical Indian and Tibetan literature” reminds me of the Japanese situation.
    I think that Japanese intellectuals in the past regarded Japanese literature and culture as part of what they regarded as their own culture – the immense Chinese cultural tradition. It was only later that the Japanese attempted to look for the Japanese spirit and winnow out the parts that were uniquely “Japanese” (Motoori Norinaga played a big role in this). Apart from its major implications for the way Japanese saw their history and culture, one of the casualties of this way of thinking was the kanshi (漢詩 – Chinese-language poetry), a rather large body of work that Japanese had built up over a thousand years. To the people writing it, it was obviously culturally important, but when the focus in early modern times shifted to what was uniquely Japanese, kanshi came to be largely neglected. The way things are seen in modern times is not necessarily anything like they way they were seen by the actual participants.

  49. Bathrobe says:

    Of course, the other reason was a momentous decision to jettison China as a model and adopt the West instead.

  50. “a function of modern Mongolian nationalism”, i don’t think so, it’s not just nowadays phenomenon, it goes through the whole history, the distrust and hatred, mutual, and no wonder, if, doesn’t matter the whatever dynasty was ruling in China at the time, the steppe people would always suffer raids from them which were even like some seasonal planned campaigns for the Chinese emperors not so much to obtain slave labor, but just to prevent our growth and unity, hunting even for the small kids, boys would have been castrated then so that no progeny, the famous admiral Zeng He was one of them, for example, during the more recent Ming, and they were careful to destroy everything on their way, surely the written literature, history especially perhaps, anyways that is how our national memory works and how it is taught in the history classes too
    you think the Chinese were so benevolent to preserve the Secret history in kanjis, don’t you think somebody knowing both languages would write the work phonetically, most probably the Chinese wouldn’t have learnt our language to that extent, most probably one of the enslaved such persons would write it secretly underground that’s why it’s secret perhaps too, and all the wars our ancestors purported to escalate and grieve the poor Chinese were always some sort of taking revenge for the previous assaults from them, all the internal wars were also due to some or other outside intrigue
    sorry, but the memories of such genocide like actions don’t go away easily and surely, to cry genocide from us, the biggest monsters in history, could also be perceived like that, absurd, but what was first and what it brought next, should be considered fairly too it seems to me
    the people who would scold me now for the nationalism unbecoming for the 21st century’s reader, one could maybe draw analogies with the Holocaust and nazis, just the Jewish as if being us, and the process going on through centuries, then perhaps people won’t be so shocked by what i am saying
    and i don’t consider myself a nationalist, I always defend Chinese before my compatriots saying unreasonable stuff about them, just everything should be at least tried to be treated fair, history too
    about the Secret history, as far as poetry goes, its verses are beautiful and perfect, rhyming, wordplays etc. at least to our ears

  51. I think that Japanese intellectuals in the past regarded Japanese literature and culture as part of what they regarded as their own culture – the immense Chinese cultural tradition.
    This is true of the Vietnamese as well; in fact, the Vietnamese “national epic,” The Tale of Kieu, is set in China (it’s based on a Chinese work), and its worldview is thoroughly Chinese.

  52. Bathrobe says:

    read, I am in no way defending the Chinese or putting down the Mongolians! My point was that the big place given to the Secret History of the Mongols and not much else in between is a construction of modern nationalism.
    There is a lot more to Mongolian literature than just the Secret History, and I, for one, feel it a pity that what seems to be a modern emphasis on the Secret History throws all the rest into the shade.

  53. Bathrobe says:

    a modern emphasis on the Secret History throws all the rest into the shade.
    Actually, this is probably not true, but I don’t wish to continue making qualifications of qualifications and explanations of explanations, so I’ll leave it at that.

  54. SFReader says:

    —um dari duri dudaari duri suukhaa
    I know this one! It’s Sanskrit too.

    “Tare” is the vocative form of Tara, so it means “O Tara!”
    “Tu” is an exclamation that can mean “pray! I beg, do, now, then,” and so “tuttare” could mean something like “I entreat you, O Tara” or “I beg you, O Tara.”
    “Ture” is probably the vocative form of “tura,” which means “quick, willing, prompt,” and so it would mean something like “O swift one!”
    So the mantra could be rendered as “OM! O Tara! I entreat you, O Tara! O swift one! Hail!

    http://www.wildmind.org/mantras/figures/greentara

  55. SFReader says:

    Name Tara also has a meaning. It’s “star”.
    Resemblance to English word “star” is not a coincidence, they are Indo-european cognates.
    Moreover, there is a Mongolian(and Buryat too) cognate as well.

    Eurasiatic: *HVzwVrV
    Meaning: star, luminary
    Borean: Borean
    Indo-European: *Haster-
    Proto-IE: *(a)ster-
    Nostratic etymology: Nostratic etymology
    Meaning: star
    Hittite: haster- c. ‘Stern’ (Tischler 204ff); astira- c. ‘Stern?’ (Tischler 86)
    Tokharian: A śre (pl. śreñ), B śćirye (PT *śćäriye) ‘star’ (Adams 640)
    Old Indian: pl. nom. str̥ṇas, tāras, gen. str̥ṇām, instr. stŕ̥bhiṣ m. `star’; tarā f. Stern }
    Avestan: acc. stā̆rǝm, gen. stārō, pl. staras-ča, stārō, acc. strǝ̄us, gen. strǝ̄n, dat. stǝrǝbyō ‘Stern’
    Armenian: astɫ, gen. asteɫ `Stern, Gestirn’
    Old Greek: astḗr, -éros, pl. ástra `Stern’; asteropǟ́ f. `Blitz’, steropǟ́, astrapǟ́ `id.’
    Germanic: *stir-n-a- m., *stir-n-ōn- f., -an- m.; *stirr-ōn- f., -an- m.
    Proto-Germanic: *stirna-z, *stirnōn, -ēn; *stirrōn, -ēn
    Meaning: star
    IE etymology: IE etymology
    Gothic: stɛrnō f. (n) `star’, CrimGot *stern `stella’
    Old Norse: stjarna f. `Stern’
    Norwegian: stjerna
    Swedish: stjärna
    Danish: stjerne
    Old English: steorra, -an m. `star’
    English: star
    Old Frisian: stēra
    Old Saxon: sterro
    Middle Dutch: sterre, starre, sterne, steerne f., m.
    Dutch: ster, star f., dial. steern
    Middle Low German: stērne m., f., stērn m.; sterre
    Old High German: sterno (8.Jh.); { stern }; sterro (8.Jh.)
    Middle High German: stërne, stërre wk. m., stërn st. m. ‘stern’
    German: Stern m.
    Latin: stēlla f. `Stern’
    Celtic: Bret sterenn, Corn sterenn (pl. steyr), Cymr seren `Stern’
    Russ. meaning: звезда
    References: WP II 635 f
    Altaic: *zēra
    Proto-Altaic: *zēra
    Nostratic: Nostratic
    Meaning: light; moon, moon cycle (year)
    Russian meaning: свет, светлый; луна
    Turkic: *jar-
    Mongolian: *sara
    Proto-Mongolian: *sara
    Altaic etymology: Altaic etymology
    Meaning: moon
    Russian meaning: луна
    Written Mongolian: sara(n) (L 674)
    Middle Mongolian: sara (HY 1, SH), ṣarā, saran (IM), sara (MA)
    Khalkha: sar
    Buriat: hara
    Kalmuck: sarǝ
    Ordos: sara(n)
    Dongxian: sara
    Baoan: sare, sera
    Dagur: sarūl ‘moon’, sar ‘month’ (Тод. Даг. 162), sare ‘month’, sareule ‘moon’ (MD 206)
    Shary-Yoghur: sara
    Monguor: sara (SM 326)

  56. SFReader says:


    the Chinese ancient lit also seemed like consisting of mostly the novels of such amorous or erotic and other high culture content what the simple and less, that, ‘decadent’, minds of our ancestors would have considered frivolous and not deserving one’s attention, time and efforts, and they perhaps just rejected those, while the religious buddhists scripts from Tibetan and Sanskrit were copied and recopied, i just always wondered why not translated then, maybe it was not necessary then
    Actually there were 19th century translations of Chinese classical novels, popular particularly in Inner Mongolia.
    Famous Mongolian novelist Injinnash actually wrote a couple of novels (The Chamber of Red Tears (Улаанаа Ухилах танхим (Ulaanaa Ukhilakh Tankhim) and One-Storey Pavilion (Нэгэн Давхар Асар) based on Chinese classical literary tradition.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanchinbalyn_Injinash
    His fate was tragic. Tens of thousands of Mongols were massacred by Chinese settlers in the 1891 revolt (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jindandao_Incident )
    Injinash lost all his property, was forced to flee and died next year.

  57. SFReader says:

    —It can’t have been that important to the Mongols of the time if they managed to lose it.
    “Secret History of Mongols” is called secret for a reason.
    It was supposed to be kept secret – read only by descendants of Genghis and elite, because it contained many facts which official version of history omitted.
    Jamukha, for example, is an authentic Mongol hero in “Secret History”, who just happened to be on the wrong side. While in official version he is portrayed as villain, etc.

  58. SFReader says:

    –I found Persian relatively easy and quite rewarding, especially the poetry. I encourage you to give it a go.
    Persian poetry is very accessible if it’s presented this way http://franklang.ru/downloadfree/Hayyam_M.pdf

  59. SFReader says:

    –are you sure pani is hand, not dream or mind or thought?
    I think it also could refer to Vajrapāṇi (Ochirvaani or Bazarvaani in Mongolian).

  60. Also, the ‘disinterested’ thing carries a whiff of snobbery which is not an issue here.
    Where’s the snobbery come in, Empty, if one is just disagreeing about the use of a word ?
    (Does using “one”, above, also carry “a whiff of nsobbery”?).

  61. Paul, I don’t know which use of “one” you are referring to, but I certainly didn’t mean that using a word in a certain way marks anyone as a snob. I meant that I think that prescriptivism has some of its roots in a “we’re better than they are” outlook.
    Let’s put it this way: I think that there is a snobbish element in the irritation that I feel (but don’t entirely approve of) when I find “disinterested” used in the sense of “uninterested”. I think that for many of us it’s easy to feel that some people don’t use the language as well as we do, with an emphasis on “us versus them”. As far as I’m concerned, having preferences about how the language is used is good, but the us-versus-them aspect is bad.

  62. thanks for the translations of the mantras! Ochirvaani or Bazarvaani in Mongolian
    another mantra i recall is bazarvaani khum pad (suukhaa)
    I know it’s used mostly as if like humorously in everyday talk reduced only to bazarvaani, but can be said sincerely too of course, meaning something like “god forbid us from (something)”, no?

  63. Empty: I was using “one” in the (perhaps slightly old-fashioned) general sense of “anybody”, rather than saying :”If I am just disagreeing about the use of a word.”
    I don’t have an us-vs-them feeling, in the snobbish sense, as in many respects I feel inferior to the people I am opposing on the subject on this blog !

  64. Paul, I correctly guessed what kind of use of “one” you meant, but I inexplicably failed to see that the example you were referring to was in your own post; I thought you were referring to something earlier.
    I hope I have not offended you in any way. Again, I am not at all saying that there is anything “wrong” or otherwise “snobbish” about using words in some particular way.
    I suppose we all feel superior some of the time and inferior at other times. I think it is salutary to remember that when people “misuse” words out of “ignorance” it would be more accurate to say that they talk that way because that’s the way they learned to talk, and to remember that the way they learned to talk is, overall, neither more nor less capable of making fine distinctions than the way one has learned to talk.

  65. SFReader says:

    —bazarvaani khum pad (suukhaa)
    Wajra – thunderbolt-diamond (ochir in Mongolian)
    Pani – hand
    So Bazarvaani means “holder of ochir”
    Khum phat- I think it’s an exclamation, used to scare away demons.
    So, the meaning of this mantra would be something like “O, Wajrapani(holder of thunderbolt), scare away demons!”

  66. so, the mantras’ pronunciation is almost the same, not much corrupted and pretty decipherable, huh?
    there should be another maani(tarni? i don’t know what’s the difference) to say when one wants to improve relations, to remove obstacles between people understanding each other, but i can’t recall it exactly, something like um baramzaa darjaakhai khum
    this one is for feeling as if like cleansing, purifying one’s spirit and mind
    um eremdi aa sumya bizya suukhaa
    well, i’m afraid that’s all what i know the mantras

  67. Bathrobe says:

    Famous Mongolian novelist Injinnash actually wrote a couple of novels (The Chamber of Red Tears (Улаанаа Ухилах танхим (Ulaanaa Ukhilakh Tankhim) and One-Storey Pavilion (Нэгэн Давхар Асар) based on Chinese classical literary tradition.
    My interest is piqued. Do you have any idea where I could get hold of these novels?

  68. SFReader says:

    Any Mongolian library would have them, I guess.
    There is an online translation into Russian of “Улаанаа Ухилах танхим”
    magz.elibraries.eu/magz/Байкал/Байкал_1992-03.pdf
    magz.elibraries.eu/magz/Байкал/Байкал_1992-04.pdf

  69. SFReader says:

    —um eremdi aa sumya bizya suukhaa
    Saumya means “pleasing”, bija means “seed”, svaha – “blessed”
    The rest I don’t recognize

  70. Bathrobe says:

    Thanks :) Bathrobe actually lives in Khanbaliq, so the nearest place for Mongolian books would have to be Хөххот… I’ll see if I can get hold of a copy, but I doubt I can get Cyrillic. The Uighur script, lovely as it is, is very tough to read!

  71. Bathrobe says:

    LH: Red alert! Russian translation of late 19th century Chinese-influenced Mongolian novel is available on line! See two posts back.

  72. thank you, SFR!
    there were a few translations of Injinashi and his brothers
    http://gunumagazine.blogspot.com/2008/10/sunvaidanzan-gunnachug-injinashi.htm

  73. sorry the l*ink was invalid
    Injinashi l*ink

  74. SFReader says:

    I haven’t figured out how to make links on this site. Can you tell me?

  75. Bathrobe says:

    Standard HTML.
    <a href="xxxx.html">Whatever content you want</a>

  76. Bathrobe says:

    While this is still open for comments, I should mention that I’ve been prompted by the earlier thread on Buryat to do a blog entry on Days of the Week in Mongolian and Buryat. Unfortunately I was defeated in an attempt to tie it all together from the surface evidence. Buryat is especially puzzling.

  77. we use officially the other namings
    from Tibetan and Sanskrit weekdays
    and informally the naming you wrote

  78. SFReader says:

    Traditionally Russians (and Christians in general) started week with Sunday and ended it on Saturday, because that’s what it says in Bible.
    I am not sure when and why did it change in Russian (because currently they regard Monday as start of the week and Mongolian numbering reflects this later practice, while Buryat numbering seems remnant of older Russian tradition)

  79. @Bathrobe: Could the Buryat practice be based on the Perso-Turkic habit to count with ekshambas and doshambas?

  80. That sounds like a good guess to me.

  81. marie-lucie says:

    Traditionally Russians (and Christians in general) started week with Sunday and ended it on Saturday, because that’s what it says in Bible.
    English calendars also start the week on Sunday, while French calendars start the week on Monday.
    In Genesis it says that God worked for six days creating the world, and rested on the seventh day, but it does not give names for those days. Where does it specify the days? And why was the day of rest changed from Saturday to Sunday? if humans are supposed to follow God’s example, they should not start the week with a day of rest!

  82. marie-lucie says:

    Adapted from a Portuguese blog: Portuguese is unusual among European languages in numbering the days of the week (except Saturday and Sunday which have names):
    Sunday domingo (from Lat dominicus,
    from
    dominus “Lord”)
    Monday segunda-feira (lit ‘second feast’)
    Tuesday terça-feira ( “”" ‘third feast’)
    Wednesday quarta-feira (“”" ‘fourth feast’)
    Thursday quinta-feira (“”" ‘fifth feast’)
    Friday sexta-feira (“”" ‘sixth feast’)
    Saturday sábado (‘the Sabbath day’)
    The names for Saturday and Sunday are the same as in Spanish, and related to the names in other Romance languages, but Portuguese is the only one that does not have specific names for the other days but refers to them by numerals. Sunday must be considered the “first feast”, since Monday is the second one, but “first feast” is not used.
    I read somewhere that the reason is that in Portugal the church succeeded in imposing those words in order to break the link with the names of pre-Christian pagan divinities, which are still more or less recognizable in the names in French, Italian, English, German, and many other languages in Europe. However, the vast majority of people uses all those names without ever thinking of the old religious link.

  83. Bathrobe says:

    @marie-lucie
    I haven’t looked into it for a long time, but it appears that Christians came to give greater prominence to Sunday because it was the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Sunday was thus the Lord’s Day (dimanche, domingo, etc.)
    Apparently (again speaking from memory) it was Constantine who officially made Sunday the Lord’s Day. However, there is controversy about this because there are doubts about the sincerity of his conversion to Christianity. It is quite possible that he made Sunday the Lord’s day not because of the Resurrection but because it was the day of Sol Invictus, the official Sun god of the later Roman empire.
    At any rate, having the Sabbath on Sunday rather than Saturday fitted in with the day of the Resurrection.

  84. Bathrobe says:

    @minus
    Any attempt to link to ancient practices must show how that link remained viable over a long period of time. Many cultures in Central Asia and the Orient were familiar with the planetary names for the days of the week, but they were mostly astrological. The week as we know it (including Sunday as a day of rest and a day of Christian worship) was an import from the West in the 19th century. The problem that bothers me is that we need to show some route of transmission that would keep this alive until the 19th century. We know with the Japanese that they borrowed them from Chinese and kept them alive in various ways — not very substantial, but substantial enough that they were available for use when the Japanese adopted the seven-day week in the late nineteenth century.
    For the Buryats, we don’t seem to have anything to show how the 19th century Buryats would have adopted ekshambas and doshambas in naming the days of the week. (The problem, of course, is that I wouldn’t even know where or how to look for such evidence!) If a link back to the ancient Perso-Turkic custom could be proved, then it’s quite possible that the Buryats grafted that onto the names of the days of the week in the 19th century. Since we know so little about the process of formation, it might even be possible that the Buryats started the numbering system, and it was adopted by the Mongolians, who then fitted it to the Chinese system! Anything is possible….

  85. Bathrobe says:

    Sorry, lack of clarity. We know how the Japanese kept the planetary names alive till the 19th century. But I’m not sure how (or whether) the Buryats kept the ekshambas and doshambas alive until the 19th century. But since the Buryats would probably have got their Christianity and their days of the week from the Russians, and since that would have been earlier than the 19th century, it is possible that there is some kind of link there.

  86. marie-lucie says:

    Bathrobe, then perhaps Spanish and Portuguese sábado for Saturday preserve a naming practice antedating that of Constantine (Saturday is still the Sabbath for Jews, at least).
    Sunday = the day of resurrection: is that what the Russian word for Sunday means? (I forget what it is, it starts with the sound v). And I guess most of the Russian names of the week are derived from numbers too?
    Constantine’s changing the Lord’s Day from Saturday to Sunday, a meaningful day to the pagans, may not be at all an indication of his lack of sincerity. It is more probable that he (in accord with church officials) was trying to promote the Christian faith by assimilating its rituals with Roman traditions. This happened many, many times in the early church: traditional festivals were renamed to coincide with Christian beliefs, and traditional popular rituals could then continue with the church’s blessings: yes, your ancestors thought of god or goddess X on such a date, but you didn’t know you were already celebrating Christ, or His Blessed Mother, etc. Examples are Halloween (renamed Day of the Dead, ocurring as nature appears to be dying), St John’s Day (on June 24, just after the summer solstice), Christmas (on December 25, just after the winter solstice), and Easter (a festival of nature’s resurrection), as well as many lesser dates.

  87. Note to read: If you want to make civil, sensible comments, I will be delighted to have you join the conversation. If you stick with your paranoid bullshit, I will continue to delete it (and would request everyone else to ignore it until I get to it). The choice is yours.

  88. Bathrobe says:

    One old naming in Greek (post-planetary, pre-modern) was:
    μία σαββάτων or κυριακή mía sabbátōn or kuriakḗ
    δευτέρα σαββάτου deutéra sabbátou
    τρίτη σαββάτου trítē sabbátou
    τετάρτη σαββάτου tetártē sabbátou
    πέμπτη σαββάτου pémptē sabbátou
    παρασκευή paraskeuḗ
    σάββατον sábbaton
    From geonames -Days of the Week

  89. Bathrobe says:

    minus’s guess was a guess, but a guess worth considering. Did the peoples of Siberia get the Western-style week from the Russians? Or was the old Middle-Eastern week already there before the Russians arrived? I suspect that more information is likely to be found in Russian sources than anywhere else.

  90. Marie-Lucie:
    The days of the week in Hebrew don’t have names, just numbers, except for the Sabbath (Saturday), which was originally the name of the full-moon festival, as still remembered in 2 Kings 4 (KJV):
    And she [the "great woman" of Shunem] called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God [the prophet Elisha], and come again. And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.
    The names of the days were assigned on the following principle:
    Starting on Saturday at midnight, label each of the 24 hours of the day with the name of a traditional planet in reverse order of distance from the Earth (which was well understood even in geocentric times): Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars. Now we are back to the midnight hour of the next day, Sun, so this is Sunday. Continuing the cycle of hours will takes us to Moonday, Marsday, Mercuryday, Jupiterday, and Venusday, the last four of which (by the interpretatio romana) became in the Germanic languages Tiw’s day, Woden’s day, Thor’s day, and Freya’s day.
    This equivalence was probably worked out by the Babylonians using their own god-names, but the pattern is the same in all languages that use day names based on planet names (in turn based on god names).

  91. Bathrobe says:

    @JC
    I can follow anything but mathematics and astronomy. Thanks to JC for setting it all down in comprehensible form!

  92. @Bathrobe: In fact, I was not thinking about the Buryats “keeping an old custom” or something. My hunch is, Buryats are in closer contact, in modern times, with Muslim Turkic peoples than other Mongolic peoples: Kazakhs, Kirghizes, you know what, and quite probably Kazan Tatars who are really everywhere. So there’s no need to ponder the possibility of the maintenance of an old way (which might not be that old anyway, didn’t the Turkic people get their names from the Persians?) if they have a ready source to import it in any time.

  93. Bathrobe says:

    Yes, I admit I haven’t looked closely enough at that area and I intend to check it out ce soir.

  94. marie-lucie says:

    JC, thank you for clarifying the reason for the planetary names of the week, this is faceinating.
    I don’t quite understand about the Sabbath and full moon: the husband says “it is neither new moon nor sabbath”, so the sabbath cannot be the moon festival?

  95. J.W. Brewer says:

    I’m not sure when the Slavs adopted the Monday-is-day-one system, but I expect that it’s much further back than when one might have expected Russian usage to be calqued into Buryat, so the fact that Buryat is NOT consistent with Russian (i.e. it treats Sunday-as-day-one) suggests to me a different source.
    The “new moon” referenced by the Shunammite woman is not a day of the week but rather a monthly religious observance (Rosh Chodesh), as the Sabbath is a weekly religious observance. The point is that she is trying to communicate with the prophet on a day of no particular religious significance, which her interlocutor seems to find odd.
    Finally, Constantine did not make Sunday the “Lord’s Day” in the sense of imposing it on the Church; he made it a civil day of rest for the Empire. Exactly why and when (and it was not the same everywhere) Sunday became the primary Christian day of worship in lieu of the Jewish Sabbath is perhaps still not entirely understood, but I think most scholars accept that that transition had occurred substantially prior to the 4th century. Obviously, the use of “Lord’s Day” to mean Sunday in the standard lexicon of Latin and its daughter languages (like the Greek “Kyriaki”) required prior Chistianization of the speech communities at issue, and I don’t know by what century that transition had been completed.

  96. marie-lucie says:

    JWB: The “new moon” … is … a monthly religious observance (Rosh Chodesh), as the Sabbath is a weekly religious observance.
    That is what I understood, but JC’s comment seemed to imply that “Sabbath” was originally about the full moon, and quoted this line in support of this interpretation. But perhaps I misunderstood you, JC?

  97. Bathrobe says:

    @minus273, you are right, the Persian naming goes right across Central Asia. E.g. Uzbek
    yakshanba якшанба
    dushanba душанба
    seshanba сешанба
    chorshanba чоршанба
    payshanba пайшанба
    juma жума
    shanba шанба
    It breaks down around Friday, but the counting from Sunday as day one is all that is needed. If there was influence from these peoples, there would be a motivation to bring the original numbering into line.
    Unfortunately, Buryatia is not surrounded by people who start with Sunday as day one. Tuvan starts from Monday as day one. But the modern-day Turkic peoples definitely use a numbering from Sunday, which could be the source of the Buryat numbering without needing to go back almost a millennium.
    Thanks!

  98. without needing to go back almost a millennium.
    why wouldn’t you want to go a millenium back when it comes to our calendar, nestorian christians don’t count as christians i suppose then, buriad clans were present during that times too
    so we have to just get enlightened in the 19th century either from Turkic or Russians according to your guess, why can’t we become that a little earlier

  99. @Bathrobe: I was geographically wrong, as you pointed out: Buryats aren’t closer to Muslim Turks than Mongols of Mongolia. There are quite a bit of Kazan Tatars in Buryatia, though, which would explain the source of the Buryat numbering. Kazan Tatars are conversant in Persian civilization, and early initiators of Western education in Russian Empire and China, so they are likely to know what the yäkşämbe, düşämbe things mean.
    The Wikipedia article on the demographic of Mongolia does not say anything about Kazan Tatars. They’re likely subsumed under the “Russian nationals” category (then it’s needed to explain why they didn’t influence the Mongolia-Mongol system), or didn’t really exist in Mongolia (problem solved!).

  100. If one think harder about this, there’s actually a nice way to know if there are any Kazan Tatar linguistic influence in Buryat. Now that depends on the situation that Buryat borrowed an Arabic word from Turkic. If luckily any such word is found, and that it contains the consonant ʿayn, then the origin of the word should be clear. If it is borrowed from the Kazan Tatars, the reflex would be a velar-uvular fricative (same as ghayn); if it is borrowed from Central Asian heartland of Uzbekistan-Tajikistan, the reflex would be a glottal stop or nothing (same as a hamza). I don’t know a jot of Buryat, nor really too much Turkic to undertake the investigation, but for those interested it could be feasible.

  101. marie-lucie says:

    minus273: excellent demonstration of how one can infer the origin of a word depending on known correspondences (both genetic and areal) between languages.

  102. if it’s not about only the christian style calendar, people talk about the calendar including the planetary names, then we counted the days our own way with the 12 animal days and colours
    which would sound like today for example “zunu exen sarun shiniin 9, xoxogchin mogoi odor” – the 9th day of the first month of the summer, the bluish snake day

  103. Kazan Tatars could have been deported to Buryatia during the Stalin times, not settled there earlier, the name “Kazan” could point out to that, this is of course just a guess

  104. If luckily any such word is found, and that it contains the consonant ʿayn, then the origin of the word should be clear.
    just like that? it should be that easy to prove something like a guess based theory?

  105. just like that? it should be that easy to prove something like a guess based theory?
    You were not really reading what I said. I didn’t say that there are Arabic words in Buryat. I don’t know if there are. I said that if they do exist, one can know if it comes from Kazan Tatar or not.

  106. no, you said if a word could be found “If luckily any such word is found”
    one word could be found and it would prove something? let me see, i’ll try to recall words ending on -ayn, and you’ll all diagnose what and which origin, calendar related such words don’t come easily to mind, but i’ll be trying to remember

  107. ʿayns don’t have much to do with words ending with -ayn, sadly. And all depends on the condition that Buryat do have words from Arabic. Quite possibly, Buryat don’t have many Arabic words, and someone who don’t know Buryat or don’t know Arabic/Persian/Turkic (you) would not be able to point them out.

  108. J.W. Brewer says:

    One of bathrobe’s points was that the divergence in numbering approach between Buryat and the two varieties of Mongolian is puzzling/unexplained, given the other similarities in the structure/etymology of the names of the days. For all of these groups, one can think of several different vectors of outside influence (assuming the basic notion of a 7-day-week was not an independent creation, which seems unlikely just b/c it isn’t usually thought to have been anywhere else): Perso-Turkic; Russian; Chinese; and Tibetan. The 7-day-week concept may have come from the Tibetans (who presumably got it from India), but the Tibetan day names are planetary, in the same sequence as in English, which I suppose might explain why Buryat went one way and Mongolian the other if they both decided later on to abandon planetary names in favor of numerical names. What the relative balances of Russian/Chinese/Perso-Turkic influence might have been to result in different outcomes, with Buryat lining up with the Perso-Turkic pattern and Mongolian with the Russian+Chinese pattern, seems difficult to sort out and it could have been highly random/contingent. W/o knowing what’s in the documentary record (which I suppose might show that at least in Mongolian the Tibetan-pattern planetary names were still used as of such-and-such century), I will agree with read that there’s no a priori reason to think that these naming patterns couldn’t be much older than the 19th century. Read is also right that there were some Nestorians floating around that part of the world way back when – I assume w/o having double-checked that Syriac day names followed Hebrew and were thus in perfect synch with the Perso-Turkic ones.

  109. J.W. Brewer says:

    Just as an example of how complicated these multiple vectors of influence can be: early Christians would perhaps have been sufficiently motivated to use a seven-day week because of the Jewish matrix from which Christianity arose. But early Christianity was also formed within the matrix of the pagan Roman Empire which as luck happened was in the process of abandoning its old 8-day cycle in favor of the seven-day-week along Babylonian lines (prob mediated through Egypt?) in the first century or two after Christ, when Christians were a persecuted minority and Jews certainly not seen by the pagan Roman establishment as much of a role model for anything. So when the Empire became Christian beginning in the fourth century, there was more or less by coincidence no clash between Christianity and the ancien regime over the basic seven-day-week concept, only differing views on how to name the days, which ultimately led to a variety of different outcomes in the languages of Christian Europe, with, say, English at one extreme and Greek at the other. How and when it was that the Slavic languages got their numbering out of synch with e.g. Greek/Hebrew/Portuguese is not a question I know the answer to.

  110. English can’t even make up its mind whether it is Sunday-based (as most printed calendars suggest, at least in the U.S.) or Monday-based (as the word “weekend” suggests).
    For that matter, English can’t make up its mind how to number the fingers either: thumb-first-second-third-fourth (as my wife does) or thumb-second-third-fourth-fifth (as I do). To be sure, I was once a piano player, and it may be that I picked up that convention from piano scores. It’s deeply embedded now, though: when I see references to a wedding ring on the third finger, I always look at my middle finger in some confusion.

  111. @Brewer: The Syriac day-names do coincide with the other Christian systems.
    À propos, anyone knows where the Persian system comes from?

  112. J.W. Brewer says:

    If you ask English-speaking schoolchilden to recite the days of the week, will any of them start on Monday? I suppose there’s the “Monday’s child is fair of face” and “Stormy Monday” sort of thing. And there’s a way in which for many purposes including but not limited to Christian theology Sunday is both the beginning and the end. So if you’re sophisticated you can think of it as both first and eighth (compare musical scales where you need to hit the octave and thus “repeat” the name you started with in order for it not to sound funny), but that can I suppose be collapsed in different ways.
    Perhaps I’ve overlooked something, but I can’t even recall coming across a reference to e.g. “third finger” that I had to try to interpret. English has a perfectly unambiguous set of non-numerical names for the human fingers, so I can’t see why there would be any sufficient motive to converge on a single alternative numerical set. Similarly, in what circumstances would one want or need to say “third day of the week” where context did not sufficiently clarify whether Tuesday or Wednesday was intended? Why not just say “Tuesday” or “Wednesday”?

  113. Sunday is both the beginning and the end. So if you’re sophisticated you can think of it as both first and eighth (compare musical scales where you need to hit the octave and thus “repeat” the name you started with in order for it not to sound funny…)
    Or the 12 hour/24 hour clock, as alluded to by Nerval in his sonnet Artémis:
    La Treizième revient… C’est encor la première;
    Et c’est toujours la seule, — ou c’est le seul moment;
    Car es-tu reine, ô toi! la première ou dernière?
    Es-tu roi, toi le seul ou le dernier amant?…

  114. since i couldn’t recall any buriad words on -ayn
    here is buriad wiki
    one can browse and find hopefully at least one word ending so

  115. marie-lucie says:

    minus273: ʿayns don’t have much to do with words ending with -ayn
    It may not be obvious to everyone that ‘ayn (not ayn – the apostrophe is important) is not the ending of a word but the name of a letter of the Arabic alphabet. The sound of this letter is not in found in very many languages. A simplified way to describe it is “pronounced deep in the throat”.
    In borrowing Arabic words which include this letter/sound, speakers of different languages which do not have the sound (that means most languages) will either ignore it (as most European languages do) or replace it by something more familiar to them. In this particular case, the Kazan Tatars would replace the Arabic sound with what is usually written kh (“X” in Russian), which would not be the same as the Arabic sound but the closest to it, but speakers of other languages which do not have “X” would probably just ignore the sound when pronouncing the word. If the word was borrowed in turn into yet another language, which did have “X”, the lack of this sound in the borrowed word would show that it could not have been borrowed directly from Arabic. This is why it would be possible to trace the route taken by an Arabic word ending up in Central or Eastern Asia – IF of course there was such a borrowed word and IF it originally had the relevant consonant.

  116. read: I am trying to train you. I am deleting your paranoid outbursts about censorship and leaving comments in which you actually say something useful/interesting. You can either adapt or find somewhere else to hang out. I am not obliged to pamper you and your annoying derails.

  117. Bathrobe says:

    JWBrewer is correct. The multiple vectors of influence can be very complicated.
    In East Asia, the week has been through several incarnations:
    Introduction to China was via:
    1) Manichaeism (source in 759), with emphasis on Sunday.
    2) Buddhism, but as part of an astrological system (8th century).
    3) Jesuits as part of Catholicism (16th century).
    4) Western missionaries (19th century).
    5) Western secular calendar (officially adopted in 1912 after the fall of the Qing). Just for reference, this was one year after Mongolia broke away from China in 1911.
    Different naming systems were introduced each time.
    * With the Manichaeans, it was a planetary system with the names: Mir, Maq, Wnqan, Tir, Wrmzt, Naqit, Kewan.
    * With the Buddhists it was the system currently used in Japan 日曜日, 月曜日, etc. (also planetary).
    * I have no information on what the Jesuits used, although there is a Catholic system of numbered names in Chinese, counting from Sunday, that is no longer in use.
    * The current names arose popularly and were a response to missionary Christianity. 礼拜天 lǐbàitiān is the ‘day of worship’, and the days are then counted off from Monday (礼拜一, 礼拜二, etc.). The Russians started mission work in China in 1715. Protestant churches began entering China in 1807. A dictionary of Cantonese dialect indicates that 礼拜 ‘worship’ was in use to mean ‘week’ from as early as 1828. (The Cantonese origin tends to discount the possibility that the name arose out of contact with Russian missionaries.)
    * 星期 xingqi as a replacement for 礼拜 was much later (earliest record of xingqi meaning ‘week’ was 1889). This was the naming officially adopted in 1912.
    (The Inner Mongolian naming is based on the xingqi sequence, since гарагийн өдөр is obviously based on 星期天 xīngqītiān ‘day of the week’, not 礼拜天 lǐbàitiān ‘day of worship’.)
    In Japan, the Western calendar was officially introduced in 1876. The Japanese adopted the astrological names that they had borrowed from the Chinese back in the 8th century.
    The question is how the ‘week’ entered Mongolia.
    Several sources are possible:
    1) Via Nestorianism, Manichaeism, etc. — no information, no apparent influence on current names.
    2) Via Turkic peoples (Muslims) — current naming doesn’t seem to support this (although possible influence on Buryat).
    3) Via Tibetan — this naming is shared by all Mongols, but probably originally astrological in purpose.
    4) Via the Russians — does not appear to have had any influence outside of adoption by the Buryats.
    5) Via the Chinese — seen in Inner Mongolian numbered names.
    6) As part of ‘modernisation’, i.e., adoption of the secular week — no information.
    * For Inner Mongolia, we know that the Tibetan names (using гараг ‘planet’) were the original names (etymologically, at least — it’s conceivable that the Mongols, like the Japanese, simply applied old planetary names to the new secular week). The numbered names completely reflect Chinese usage, using the word гараг as an equivalent to xīngqī (‘week’). Гараг obviously derives from the earlier Tibetan names.
    * For Mongolia itself, the Tibetan names are still in use (as in all Mongolian-speaking areas, theoretically speaking). Numbering is used only for days of the week. The numbering arguably has the same origins as the Inner Mongolian numbering, although that is a bit of a guess. The numbering system does not use the word гараг. The two weekend days refer to ‘half day of rest’ and ‘full day of rest’.
    * For Buryatia, the Tibetan names are still (apparently) in use. Russian is also used. There is a numbering system using the word гараг (like Inner Mongolian a reference to the Tibetan names). The numbering system differs from Chinese and Russian, being similar to that used by Turkic-speaking peoples.
    * For the Kalmyks, the Tibetan names are in use. However, there are three days where alternative names are substituted for the Tibetan names. These are: the native Mongolian word for ‘Sun’ and ‘Moon’ for Sunday and Monday, and an alternative name for the planet Mercury at Wednesday. The Kalmyks arrived in their current location in about 1630, so there are some big questions about 1) how they came to adopt the week (from the Russians?) and 2) how they came to use the Tibetan names for the days of the week (considering that the Tibetan names were academic and not central to their lifestyle)! The Kalmyks are Buddhists.
    Relevant dating for the Mongolian names:
    1) The Tibetan system would have been known from very early on among the Mongols.
    2) The Inner Mongolian numbered names in their current form (imitating the Chinese names) could go back no earlier than the second half of the 19th century.
    3) No information to date the Mongolian numbered names.
    4) No information to date the Buryat numbered names, but Persian-Turkic are very old.
    5) Even though it is clear that the Mongols knew the Tibetan names from their exposure to lamaism, there is no information on when they adopted the week for either religious (Christian?) or secular purposes.
    6) If the Inner Mongolian names are regarded as basic (which the use of гараг in parallel with Chinese usage suggests), then the tentative direction was from Inner Mongolia to Outer Mongolia to Buryatia, starting in late 19th-early 20th century.
    7) Other possibilities i) Buryats came up with the гараг names first and passed them to the Mongolians, who then modified the numbering. But it’s hard to justify why and how the Buryats would have independently developed a hybrid system based on гараг (from Tibetan planetary names) and Turkic-Persian. ii) numbered гараг names first arose independently amongst the Mongolians, and were then adapted to fully parallel Chinese usage in Inner Mongolia, and to reflect Turkic-Persian numbering in Buryatia. That would remove the late-nineteenth century upper limit on the numbered naming.
    If we remove that upper limit, then literally anything is possible!

  118. @m-l: Maintenent je commence à voir ce que je n’écris pas clairement.[*] In fact I meant that the Kazan Tatar reflex is voiced [ʁ] (dunno if [ɣ] is available in front environments, but probable). I was supposing too much on the part of the reader, that they already know ghayn always mean /ʁ~ɣ/ in languages that borrow it, and the mentioned conflation should resolve the voicedness. Next time I’d try to phrase my words in a clearer way.
    [*] Sorry for the French. Just had a class on clause complements and nominalization when I mistakenly thought French ce que was a gapless clausal nominalization (same ilk as que but more nominal), when people corrected me that ce que is more like the extent that. Hope this time it’s correct :)

  119. marie-lucie says:

    minus273: Thank you for the precisions. To put my comment in context, I was not looking for the exact phonetics but for a way of describing the problem (of how to tell how a borrowed word travelled through which languages) to people unfamiliar with phonetic terminology and symbols.
    Maintenant je commence à voir ce que je n’écris pas clairement.
    Ce que means literally ‘that which’, or in English ‘what’ (in a non-interrogative sense). Your sentence means “now I begin to see what I am not writing clearly’.
    If you mean “the extent that I am not writing …” you should say
    Je commence à voir à quel point je n’écris pas clairement (lit. “… up to what point …”)

  120. marie-lucie says:

    My main language of specialization is an aboriginal language in British Columbia (Canada). Names for days of the week in this language and its closest relatives were created by Protestant missionaries coming from England in the later part of the 19th century.
    Monday is known as ‘first day’.
    Saturday and Sunday have names describing the activities typical of those days. The words use a combination of prefixes together meaning ‘for [doing] – on’, (as in the word for ‘chair’ meaning ‘for sitting on’). For the day names the prefix for ‘on’ is clearly a calque of English as it is normally used to indicate position, not time:
    - Saturday is ‘for distributing on’: on that day, money was collected by the church for redistribution to poor people;
    - Sunday is ‘for resting on’ (the “official” name) or alternately ‘for dressing up on’.
    Names for the remaining days may have been created later. They are phrases in which the word meaning ‘day’ is preceded by a complex word also starting with the ‘for – on’ prefixes, which are followed by the relevant number word. These are strange, hybrid formstions, as would be English phrases such as ‘for-twoing-on of day’, but they have become part of the language.
    Similar processes were typical of missionary efforts to create the needed new words, often long before they knew the languages well. On the other hand, the months (based on the moon cycle) already had local names based on natural phenomena and resource gathering.

  121. Bathrobe says:

    My apologies, there was a mistake in what I posted just above.
    The date for the introduction of the modern secular week is:
    a. Inner Mongolia – theoretically 1912, although implementation may have taken more time.
    b. Mongolia – I have no information.
    c. Buryatia – presumably ever since being part of Russian territory. It is quite possible (just speculation, of course) that the Russian names came first, and the Buryat names came later as an attempt to ‘nativise’ the naming.

  122. marie-lucie says:

    minus273: I mistakenly thought French ce que was a gapless clausal nominalization
    You were right. The others were wrong.

  123. SFReader says:

    Brief historical note on Buryats.
    Buryats are traditionally divided into Western Buryats and Eastern Buryats (east of lake Baikal, hence they are also known as Transbaikal Buryats). When Russians conquered western Buryat lands in 17 century, they were Shamanists.
    Western Buryats adopted Orthodox Christianity in 18 century (while retaining many elements of Shamanism). At the same time, Eastern Buryats adopted Tibetan Buddhism from Mongolia (even though they were politically under Russian control just like Western Buryats).
    In addition, there were Russian Cossack settlers in Eastern Buryat lands. Moreover, these Transbaikal Cossacks heavily intermarried with Buryats, becoming in the process a racially mixed ethnic group closely related to Buryats (and often bilingual).
    Hence, in 18-19 centuries, there were very large groups of Buryats and Buryat-speaking Cossacks who were Orthodox Christians accustomed to using Christian week.
    I would venture a guess that any Buryat name for the week would logically come from these people

  124. @marie-lucie: So one cay say Ce qu’il a écrit un livre m’a beaucoup étonné for Le fait qu’il a écrit un livre m’a beaucoup étonné? (Now I know it’s also possible to say Qu’il ait écrit un livre m’a beaucoup étonné.)
    Thanks for all those French lessons :)

  125. Bathrobe says:

    That’s nice background detail! Ultimately, in the absence of actual historical sources, we can obviously only speculate.
    My first hunch would be that the Orthodox Christians and the Cossacks used the Russian names, not the гараг names, which have two problems: 1) they are linguistically based on the names of the days of the Tibetan planetary week, 2) they don’t mark Sunday clearly apart from the rest of the week.
    The second thing is that the Buryats come very late in the time-frame of Buddhism. Neither a formative role in developing the numbered names nor an early date for the Buryat names seems very likely (although not, of course, impossible).

  126. marie-lucie says:

    minus: So one cay say “Ce qu’il a écrit un livre m’a beaucoup étonné” for “Le fait qu’il a écrit un livre m’a beaucoup étonné”? (Now I know it’s also possible to say “Qu’il ait écrit un livre m’a beaucoup étonné”.)

    *Ce qu’il a écrit un livre m’a beaucoup étonné.

    This is as wrong as “*What he wrote/*That which he wrote a book greatly surprised me.”
    The que here is a relative pronoun attached to the NP represented by the demonstrative ce. It is the Object of the verb, so you can’t have another Object in the sentence.
    (However, Ce qu’il a écrit m’a beaucoup étonné. would be right for “What he wrote surprised me greatly”).

    Le fait qu’il a écrit un livre m’a beaucoup étonné

    “The fact that he wrote a book greatly surprised me”. It would be more traditional to use the subjunctive : …qu’il ait écrit …

    It’s also possible to say Qu’il ait écrit un livre m’a beaucoup étonné.

    Yes, this is grammatical, and this structure is increasing in use in written French, I think through exposure to English sentences of this type, left intact in translations.
    More idiomatic sentences would be

    J’ai été très étonné qu’il ait écrit un livre

    Qu’il ait écrit un livre, ça m’a beaucoup étonné.

    (here both que‘s are subordinating conjunctions)
    or with different emphasis

    Ce qui m’a (le plus) étonné, c’est qu’il ait écrit un livre

    “What (most) surprised me was that he wrote a book”. Here again, the word after ce is a relative pronom, here a Subject pronoun. But in the second half of the sentence, the que after c’est is the subordinating conjunction.

  127. J.W. Brewer says:

    Bathrobe, do you know if the Christian(ized) Buryats use the same rapar names when talking among themselves in Buryat, either in general or when discussing specifically churchy subjects? Or do they use loanwords/calques from Russian if they need to talk about Sunday in at least some contexts?
    I just spent a few minutes googling w/o success for day-names in Alaskan languages that might or might not reflect the Russian numbering system. It turns out to be easier to find the Aleut for “my hovercraft is full of eels” than the Aleut for “Tuesday.”

  128. Bathrobe says:

    JW, I know zilch about actual Buryat usage (as opposed to what websites or dictionaries give as being ‘Buryat’) so it would be better to ask SFReader. I have heard here and elsewhere that Buryat is in decline because of the spread of Russian and that Buryat speakers aren’t always ‘very good’ at their own language (vague statement, I know).
    Put it this way: most of the limited sources I have seem to indicate that the Russian names are strongly entrenched in Buryat usage, probably even more so than the so-called Buryat names. Given that the Russian names are so strongly entrenched, it’s a cinch to say that Christianised usage is probably based on the Russian names (especially in the west). Given the very late penetration of Buddhism (and only in the east), it is hard to imagine that the гараг usage is likely to have become so widespread and firmly established as to displace the Russian names, especially in a Christian religious setting (since it obviously hasn’t elsewhere).
    With Buryat on the defensive in its own linguistic heartland, my personal and purely speculative view is that the Buryat names are partly there as a ‘gesture’, as if to say ‘yes, yes, we have our own Buryat words for this and we should use them’. (This is similar in some ways to what I found in Mongolia, where the Mongolian words exist for certain objects and everyone knows them, but the Russian name is the term that is actually in common use.)

  129. Bathrobe says:

    Two examples that spring to mind of this Russian/Mongolian thing are the words for ‘tomato’ (помидор from Russian, улаан лооль the native word) and ‘television set’ (тэлэвиз from Russian, зурагт the native word). While Mongolian-language textbooks give the Mongolian word, the Russian word is at least as common if not more so. (Although apparently the native Mongolian terms have made a comeback since Mongolia became ‘independent’ at the start of the 1990s.)
    So extrapolating from this, I assume that a similar or possibly even more extreme situation exists among Buryat speakers.

  130. How “native” can a word for ‘tomato’ be? Tomatoes are a New World vegetable, so the word must have been borrowed, calqued, or created ex nihilo some time in the last 500 years.

  131. SFReader says:

    Judging from Internet usage, Buryats tend to use them with clarifications like Дабаа гараг (гарагай хоёр), Бимба гарагай (субботын) үдэр, with Buryat numbered days and Russian names for days of week being most familiar.

  132. SFReader says:

    I think I might have found the source. There were several translations of the Bible into Mongolian (Buryats used classic Mongolian as a literary language before 1917) in the 19th century.
    One of the early ones was done by Scottish missionaries in Selenginsk, from “original tongues” apparently. And following is told about their views on days of week…
    “In February of 1821, William Swan and Robert Yuille with his wife arrived in Selenginsk. Yuille was inexorable in his pursuit of righteousness, and seemed to have been unsubtle in his dealings with the Buryat. He was a very strict Sabbatarian, who insisted that the Buryat, for whom Sunday had no special significance, should observe the day as conscientiously as he did. He tells us how he enforced Sunday observance on an unconverted Buryat boy. After searching for a year or so for a young Buryat who could read and write his own language, and who would be suitable to take on as copyist, Robert Yuille finally got on the track of a candidate. This was Rintsin, who was 18 years old at the time. He was one of a number of brothers, all of whom could read Mongol, something quite unusual at the time. Rintsin had talent and ambition, and would have been quite a catch for the mission. He had visited Robert once or twice already to borrow Russian books, and when he came, on this particular occasion, Robert had made him a present of the Gospels in Mongolian, and had lent him the Gospels in Russian on condition that he brought the book back a day early, and unfortunately this happened to be a Sunday. He told Yuille that he had to go to see his parents the next day, and had come on the Sabbath so as not to overstep the period of the loan. He also said that he would like to come and work for Robert Yuille if there was any way he could be useful. Yuille refused to have anything to do with either piece of business, telling Rintsin that he neither borrowed nor lent on the Sabbath, and would not make any bargains either, as God would be angry with him if he did, and Rintsin was sent away. ”
    http://www.teol.uu.se/digitalAssets/6/6179_SMT1_05.pdf

  133. Bathrobe says:

    @JC
    You are right, of course, and ‘native’ is not the correct term. If the word ‘pomodoro’ started being widely used in the English-speaking world at the expense of ‘tomato’, I think people would regard it as displacing the ‘original English word for tomato’ (not the ‘native English word for tomato’). Is there a term for words like ‘tomato’ that are not native but are regarded as being the right and proper and original term as opposed to a foreign borrowing?

  134. marie-lucie says:

    Bathrobe: Is there a term for words like ‘tomato’ that are not native but are regarded as being the right and proper and original term as opposed to a foreign borrowing?
    I would use “nativized” for such a word, which is no longer perceived as really foreign, any more than the thing it refers to.

  135. SFReader says:

    —words for ‘tomato’ (помидор from Russian, улаан лооль the native word)
    Лооль doesn’t sound very Mongolian. The only possibly related word is лууль (type of grass or weed, called in English lamb’s quarters, goosefoot and fat-hen).
    Since Mongolian vegetable names are full of borrowings from Chinese (notably лууван “carrot” from Chinese 胡蘿蔔 Luóbo ‘radish’, possibly via Chinese 胡蘿蔔 Húluóbo ‘carrot’), it might of Chinese origin as well.

  136. SFReader says:

    I note that there is also a Mongolian word томат, which also means tomato.
    It is one of the several loanwords in Mongolian from Nahuatl language of Mexico which include какао from cacahuatl, чили (sauce)from chīlli, шоколад from xocolātl

  137. SFReader says:

    Potato, another New World import, has native word төмс in Mongolian.
    It was originally used to describe Mongolian lily flower – Төмсний улаан, цагаан төмс, Сараана, etc (Lilium pumilum in Latin)

  138. Bathrobe says:

    I’ve always been uncomfortable with this “loanwords from Nahuatl” kind of formulation. It’s not as though a bunch of Mongolians hotfooted it to Mexico in the 19th century and breathlessly brought these words back with them. I suspect that it is more accurate to say that these words are loans from Russian (mostly), which in turn borrowed them from German or French or international vocabulary, which in turn borrowed them from Spanish, which in turn borrowed them from Nahuatl. (The trail usually goes dead with Nahuatl or whatever the immediate Mesoamerican source was).

  139. Bathrobe says:

    I’ve never seen томат in a Mongolian context. There are actually many words available to Mongolian, but they aren’t necessarily used. The Inner Mongolian word for a ‘tomato’ is Төвд хааш.

  140. yes, vegetables names are almost all perhaps from chinese, what to have against them, i remember in my childhood the chinese old men wearing all blue clothes and caps would go around the summer houses and cry out juutsai! baitsai avaarai! (scallions, cabbages), then i guess most all of them were sent out to China, cz just disappeared around 1978-79, that’s too bad of course, they looked mostly kind and hard working men smelling vegetables
    i was against saying that our most generic words, like bich – to write (the same kind of the most basic words that make up the basic vocabulary of a language i guess, like yari, bod, unt, unsh- talk, think, sleep, read) is from Chinese and the explanation was as if like pretty far fetched to me, a kanji pronunciation, i doubted who knows how it read back
    thousand years, maybe not piti, maybe something different, has anyone heard it to be absolutely sure, but if a non- pronouncable syllable in a non- existing word is enough to
    prove a guess making it into an acceptable theory in linguistic, everything is possible of course
    when i suggested to explain unsh – read origins as a word in a pair, i was told i am incapable of any critical thinking, that’s mr. languagehat’s words – examplary civil of him engaging in a argument
    so mr. SFR, you seem pretty that, versed in my language, i don’t know about your chinese, please, convince me explaining that word’s origins, when mr censor is not yet around and didn’t start training me yet
    but i hear he prohibited anyone responding to me, how very authoritarian of him, and politeness of course would oblige you to oblige him and not answer me, i understand and that’s okay

  141. we say tomat to name the canned type, i don’t know what to add so that to make this sentence illegal too
    cz i can’t separate me nice and acceptable for mr. languagehat adding as they say value to the thread from the rest of me

  142. SFReader says:

    Mongolian names for other American plants.
    Maize (corn) – эрдэнэ шиш, calque translation from Chinese (玉黍蜀 Yù shǔ shǔ) literally meaning ‘precious grain’.
    Both words happen to be loanwords. First word эрдэнэ “precious” is a loanword from Sanskrit रत्न (rátna, “jewel, gem”). Second word шиш is a loanword from Chinese 黍蜀 shǔ shǔ “Sichuan millet” meaning “grain”.
    Тамхи (tobacco) – international word, thought to come originally from language of Arawak (Taino) Indians. Change of second consonant from “b” to “m” probably indicates that the word came via Turkic languages, specifically compare with Kazakh темекі and Uzbek тамаки.

  143. SFReader says:

    Mongolian names for other American plants.
    Maize (corn) – эрдэнэ шиш, calque translation from Chinese (玉黍蜀 Yù shǔ shǔ) literally meaning ‘precious grain’.
    Both words happen to be loanwords. First word эрдэнэ “precious” is a loanword from Sanskrit रत्न (rátna, “jewel, gem”). Second word шиш is a loanword from Chinese 黍蜀 shǔ shǔ “Sichuan millet” meaning “grain”.
    Тамхи (tobacco) – international word, thought to come originally from language of Arawak (Taino) Indians. Change of second consonant from “b” to “m” probably indicates that the word came via Turkic languages, specifically compare with Kazakh темекі and Uzbek тамаки.

  144. SFReader says:

    —baitsai
    From Chinese 白菜 báicài. Interestingly, there is now an English cognate as well – “bok choy” via Cantonese pronunciation of same word.

  145. temeki, could it be by any chance, they borrowed it from our tamkhi, sorry, mr. censor, that’s improbable of course
    geographically perhaps others are closer to the ports
    maybe people want to show me that all the salad if the borrowed words doesn’t make my language any less authentic, i would believe to people’s such intention if it was not constantly just one way going examples, the impression is everybody trying to show my language owes everything to some other languages through borrowings, yet doesn’t fit into any larger language families except own mongolic cz all of them are like remember rejected as doubtful
    with which i am totally cool, our own language family unrelated to altaic, uralic, not sinitic

  146. SFReader says:

    —bich – to write
    There is a less controversial and possibly related recent loanword – бийр from Chinese 筆 Bǐ – pen.
    Anna Dybo claims that bichig is also derived from same word:

    *bitig ‘письмо’, чув pǝtμ , см. Федотов 429. Обычно возводят к ср-кит. pit : 筆 совр. кит. bi 3, ср.-кит. pit , др.-кит. prət ‘кисть для письма, инструмент для письма’ [позднее Чжоу]. Karlgren 0502 d . Датировка: Переход pr- > p- окончательно проходит в раннем постклассическом древнекитайском, т.е. к началу III века, верхняя граница – среднекитайский (отпадение смычных терминалей, до VII в.)

  147. SFReader says:

    — explain unsh – read origins as a word in a pair
    Proto-Altaic: *ū́nŋe
    Meaning: sound, voice
    Russian meaning: звук, голос
    Turkic: *ǖn
    Proto-Turkic: *ǖn
    Altaic etymology: Altaic etymology
    Meaning: sound, voice
    Russian meaning: звук, голос
    Old Turkic: ün (OUygh.)
    Karakhanid: ün (MK)
    Turkish: ün
    Middle Turkic: ün (Бор. Бад., Pav. C.)
    Uzbek: un
    Uighur: ün
    Azerbaidzhan: ün
    Turkmen: ǖn
    Khakassian: ün
    Oyrat: ün
    Tuva: ün
    Kirghiz: ün
    Kazakh: ün
    Noghai: ün
    Balkar: ün
    Karaim: ün
    Karakalpak: ün
    Salar: un
    Comments: EDT 167, ЭСТЯ 1, 625-626.
    Mongolian: *uŋ-si-
    Proto-Mongolian: *uŋ-si-
    Altaic etymology: Altaic etymology
    Meaning: to read, recite; to pray
    Russian meaning: читать, декламировать; молиться
    Written Mongolian: uŋsi- (L 877), omsi- (SM)
    Middle Mongolian: oŋši- (HY 35), uŋši- ‘to shout’ (SH), homš- (IM), ūngši- ‘to read’ (LH)
    Khalkha: unši-
    Buriat: unša-
    Kalmuck: umšǝ- (КРС)
    Ordos: omši-
    Dongxian: uanšǝ-
    Baoan: oŋše- (Тод. Бн.), mǝši-
    Dagur: onši-
    Shary-Yoghur: onši-
    Monguor: mošǝ- (SM 242), moši-
    Mogol: ɔmši-, umši- ‘to read, to sing’ (Weiers)
    Comments: MGCD 676.
    Tungus-Manchu: *uŋ-
    Proto-Tungus-Manchu: *uŋ-
    Altaic etymology: Altaic etymology
    Meaning: 1 to cry, weep 2 to sing
    Russian meaning: 1 плакать, рыдать 2 петь
    Evenki: uŋa- 2, uŋkī- 1
    Even: ụŋ́ǟ-ụŋ́ǟ 1 (onom.)
    Nanai: uŋgu- ‘to say, tell’ (Он.)
    Comments: ТМС 2, 278, 279.
    Comments: An expressive Western isogloss.

  148. yes, i suggested at the time of the discussion that biir is indeed a loan word, when bich is write, bichikh to write, bichig – writing, then i was explained it’s from other turkic word, i forgot which now, turkuc, chinese whuchever only not mongolic, and if it’s from turkic, it totally can’t be the other way around, so the impression is it’s just decided so, by the linguistics allahs that it should be that way, the end of discussion and if i’ll say i am not convinced, i need training in cultured behaviour, of course

  149. thank you, SFR! good night

  150. SFReader says:

    —if it’s from turkic, it totally can’t be the other way around
    I am inclined to agree with you on this one. There is such an unfortunate tendency even though the opposite is just as likely.
    For example, even if we accept the theory that bitchig is derived from Chinese, there is no particular reason why we should assume that Mongolian borrowed this word from Turkic and not directly from Chinese.
    Peter Boodberg have long ago showed in “The Language of the T’o-Pa Wei” that Toba people who founded the Tuoba Wei state in northern China (386-534 AD) were proto-Mongolic speakers. There are few words which survived from their language, one of these is very familiar word “Pi-te-chen”, direct ancestor of Mongolian word bitdkcin or *pitikcjin-” meaning “scribe”.
    That’s 5th century AD, sufficiently old enough for Turkic people to borrow this word.

  151. Bathrobe says:

    From Scheussler’s ABC Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese
    bǐ 筆 (Middle Chinese or Qieyun pjet) Later Han Chinese pɨt, Minimal Old Chinese *prut, Old Chinese (Baxter) *prjut
    ‘Writing brush’ (Li).
    Transcriptions: Early Ming Standard Reading pi (入); Menggu ziyun bue (入); [puɛ]; Old Northwest Chinese pit
    Etymology: Shuowen Jiezi Gulin: 1271 says that bǐ is a word from the region of Qín (northwest), and that in Chǔ the word is yù 聿 (jiuet) Old Northwest iuit (?), in Wú: bù-lù 不聿 (pjǝu-ljuǝt) Old Northwest Chinese pu-luit, and in Yan (northeast) fú 弗 (pjuǝt) Old Northwest Chinese put (discussed by Sagart ICSTLL 1990:7). The word has been borrowed by Middle Korean (pwut), Old Japanese (pude), and Vietnamese (bút) (pre-Sino-Viet.) (Miyake 1997: 189, 192). All these data point to an initial cluster *pr- or *pl- and an Old Chinese rhyme *-ut. If derived from lǐ (里, 理) (ljɨB) ‘lines’ (cognate to Written Tibetan bri-ba, bris ‘to draw, write’) as is sometimes proposed, one needs to assume the loss of proto-Chinese medial *w in the latter items. Benedict compares bǐ with proto-Austronesian *bulut ‘fibre’ (STC p. 178f). Written Tibetan bir ‘writing brush’ is a Middle Chinese loan (Middle Chinese final -t > Written Tibetan -r).
    (I’ve had to expand and simplify a bit because the information is so dense.)
    Note that Mongolian бийр is similar to Written Tibetan bir….

  152. Bathrobe says:

    “bok choy” via Cantonese pronunciation of same word
    If you subscribe to the notion that these are ‘the same word pronounced differently according to dialect’ and not cognate words in related languages.
    Besides which, my understanding is that bak choy and báicài refer to different vegetables.

  153. “I am inclined to agree with you on this one. There is such an unfortunate tendency even though the opposite is just as likely.”
    thank you, thank you, thank you!
    i think they borrowed the word from us bc the root word bich is ours, the noun bichig becomes adding -g when the turkic word i got an impression is the whole word bitig, but could be of course there is a smaller root word in there
    “my understanding is that bak choy and báicài refer to different vegetables.”
    bock choy is xyatad baitsai(chinese cabbage), a leafy vegetable, when baitsai is the round regular cabbage

  154. SFReader says:

    No, biti- is a very productive root very similar to Mongolian bichi-
    See here
    Old Turkic Dictionary

  155. SFReader says:

    —If you subscribe to the notion that these are ‘the same word pronounced differently according to dialect’ and not cognate words in related languages.
    I meant to say that they are same characters 白菜, just different pronunciation.
    Of course, they still can be cognate words in related languages

  156. SFReader says:

    —It’s not as though a bunch of Mongolians hotfooted it to Mexico in the 19th century
    Wouldn’t surprise me at all.
    Mexican silver dollar was main currency in Mongolia throughout the 19th century, you know.
    And I am pretty sure there had to be some Mongolians among those poor Chinese who were transported to Mexico on Manila galeons…

  157. SFReader says:

    —everybody trying to show my language owes everything to some other languages through borrowings
    English is much worse in this regard. Native English words are less than 30% of English vocabulary – the rest are primarily borrowings from Latin and Romance languages.

  158. and english recognized then as a part of a larger language family, which includes latin and romance languages, ours if similarly almost half of the words are borrowings, why it still can not belong to a related language family, altaic but if it’s disputable, then mongoloturkic or turkomongolic family then, all the syr-bor (for me) started in the other thread when the altaic family was dismissed

  159. marie-lucie says:

    Words for tomatoes, etc in Mongolian: when did these foods become common? Who (from what country) imported them into Mongolia? It is not as if ships can sail from Mexico to Mongolia.
    SFR … those poor Chinese who were transported to Mexico on Manila galeons
    What period are you referring to? did those poor people earn a fortune in Mexico and go back to China, having learned words for tomatoes, chocolate, etc and importing the foodstuffs and their names into China and other Asian countries? Your scenario is most implausible.
    Even if “Mexican silver dollars” were used as currency in parts of Asia, this is not a proof of direct contact, since metal coins are a very easy type of thing to circulate far and wide, through national borders. The word “dollar” itself comes from “thaler”, originally an Austrian coin. Does this mean that poor Austrian immigrants who might have brought some coins to the US were so powerful as to impose their money there and in Mexico?

  160. I read an interesting article about tomatoes from Xinjiang, on the silk road, a while ago. Here it is*, apparently much of the West’s ketchup comes from there nowadays. The Chinese don’t eat tomatoes – from Slate:

    In China, about the only way you can get a person to eat a tomato is by slicing it and liberally sprinkling sugar over each slice. After the Spanish Conquest, peppers and sweet potatoes became firmly entrenched in the Chinese diet. But the tomato found no home here. We say tomato; they say “foreign eggplant” (fan qie, in Mandarin, anyway).

    *In the url you’ll have to replace “dot” with a full stop. I couldn’t submit it as it stood.

  161. marie-lucie says:

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=GMmjLzJhA2EC&dq=Turco-Mongolic+languages&sites=review
    This address will get you to the book The Mongolic languages which I found online by googling “Turco-Mongolic languages”. It is dated 2003 and the author is a well-known specialist (Juha Janhunen, who I think is Finnish). It is written for linguists and assumes familiarity with linguistic concepts and terminology.
    The book provides information on many Mongolic languages, including Khalkha, Buryat, and a number of others that I had not heard of. It also has a chapter about the links (genetic or not) between the Mongolic languages and other languages of the area.
    I was able to read a few pages dealing with the Turco-Mongolic connection. The gist of the chapter is that a genetic relationship between Mongolic and Turkic seems to be generally accepted (as I thought from my readings), although not that between this group and other groups sometimes placed into “Altaic” (see the Wiki definition of “Altaic languages”, which I quoted elsewhere). The author carefully explains the controversies about this definition, and the reasons why some linguists agree or disagree. (One problem of terminology is that some people use “Proto-Altaic” for what should be called “Proto-Turco-Mongolic”; the sources quoted by SFR here seem to use the wider definition of Altaic, since they include Manchu and others which many specialists do not consider related to the Turkic and Mongolic languages).
    On borrowing: On one page there was a mention that the Turkic languages borrowed a lot of Mongolic words during the period of the Mongol Empire (which is not surprising), and that Mongolian has borrowed few Turkic words since.
    The site links to two reviews, one in Turkish, the other in English. I can’t read Turkish, but the English review (also written by a linguist) is short but very favourable. The little that I saw of the book impressed me favourably too.

  162. Thanks, what a great find! Here‘s a direct link to the book; you can put a word into the search box and see what you get.

  163. Well, tomatoes stirfried with eggs is one of the most common dishes everywhere in China (& a very delicious one) – it’s available at pretty much every small restaurant in the country, in my experience. And tomatoes are also a pretty common ingredient in soups. & pizza’s popular. But raw tomatoes do seem to always be eaten with sugar, which I’m not a big fan of (but which I would guess is done because they’re not usually very good quality – along the lines of bad American supermarket tomatoes).
    And tomato is called fanqie 番茄 (barbarian eggplant) in the south mostly; in many other places it’s known as xihongshi 西紅柿 (western red persimmon).

  164. The book m-l mentioned is very nice. I recall fondly pondering over its pages to read about Ordos and Mangghuer/Mangghuel & co. There is one thing I don’t love so much about this book: the editors have a pedantic approach about Classical Mongolian, not wanting to confound the actual, imperfect, orthography with the linguistic system behind it. Instead of transcribing the underlying system, they did a letter-by-letter transliteration from the Mongolian script, accurately preserving every ambiguity. Worse, as if to make the point, the Latin equivalents chosen to the Mongol letters often don’t bear any relation to their original. Hence when cognates from Written/Classical Mongolian are given, they are incomprehensible to untrained eyes, and I admit never have trained my eyes to the effect.

  165. Thanks, Matt. All very interesting. I might try making that myself.

  166. marie-lucie says:

    minus: That’s too bad about the Classical Mongolian transcriptions, because if they distort the actual forms, they distort the basis of historical comparison. Can you recommend a source of more accurate transcriptions?

  167. Bathrobe says:

    The amazon review of The Mongolic languages was written by Christopher Culvert, whose blog is linked to from LH.

  168. Bathrobe says:

    m-l, the problem with transcribing Classical Mongolian is, I suspect, not confined to this book. The problem is to use the example SFReader mentioned above, the that of the original script. Ulaanbaatar (transliteration of the modern name for Ulan Bator) is written in the classical script Ulaganbagatur. When you consider that the letter for for the vowel ‘u’ is also used for the vowel ‘o’, then they probably write this Olaganbagator. On top of this they may use lots of strange q’s and x’s to capture some of the trickier letters (e.g. qagan for khan). Unless you know Classical Mongolian, you can be staring at a word you know and not recognise it at all.

  169. marie-lucie says:

    OK, thanks for the warning. At this point I don’t intend to start studying Mongolian in earnest, but I like to be able to read comparative and historical studies (not just word lists) and to see for myself what comparisons, reconstructions and classifications are based on.

  170. Bathrobe says:

    Hah! I notice that to write the word for khan (khaan), the book doesn’t use qahan as one might expect, it uses qaqhav!

  171. marie-lucie says:

    The book is from 2003. Perhaps there have been updates or corrections somewhere since publication?

  172. Bathrobe says:

    Sorry, qagan as one might expect.
    That ‘v’ in ‘qaqhav’ is weird. The book does the same thing with tabuv (modern tavan). The ‘v’ seems to be there because the actual script didn’t necessarily show this as an ‘n’, it showed it as a vowel (optionally marked with a dot to show it as an ‘n’). I can see why minus273 had trouble reading it.
    (Also, the book doesn’t substitute ‘o’ for ‘u’ as I suggested.)

  173. Etienne says:

    Read: about your comment that BICH- “to write” is part of the most basic vocabulary of your language. Actually, present-day mass literacy is a very, very recent phenomenon. For most of human history writing did not exist, and when it did appear it remained, for most of its history, a skill associated with a small minority (priest/monks, scribes…).
    Thus, for words associated with writing to be borrowed is unsurprising: they were part of a VERY specialized register. For such vocabulary to be borrowed from one language (with an older tradition of writing) to another (with a more recent tradition of writing) is expected. Not just with Mongolian, by the way! For example, no serious scholar doubts that German SCHREIBEN “to write” is borrowed from Latin SCRIBERE. This despite the fact that Germany today is not exactly dominated by Italy or more generally by Romance-speaking countries.
    Again: why should we be surprised? For such a word, relating to a minority, specialized skill, to be borrowed (in Mongolian or German) is normal. To give a modern-day comparison, think of the present-day spread in most of the world’s languages of anglicisms relating to computer terminology.
    Oh, Read and SFReader: about BICH-, and whether it spread from Turkic to Mongolic or vice-versa: actually, for all we know perhaps it spread from some third, now extinct language to both Turkic and Mongolic.
    Also, Read, if I may repeat a point I have already made to you. Saying that a language A is genetically related to (belongs to the same family as) a language B means that A and B were once the same language. If A and B never were the same language, it does not matter how much vocabulary they borrow from one another, or borrow from another language. This borrowing will make them more similar to one another, and indeed languages can influence one another well beyond mere common vocabulary. But this greater similarity cannot change whether A and B were a single language once. Thus, the number of borrowed words in a language, and its genetic affiliation, are two wholly separate issues.
    There is therefore no contradiction in saying that Mongolian has borrowed foreign words and that Mongolic is not (to our knowledge) related to any other language or language families.
    Marie-Lucie: I actually had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Juha Janhunen, who is indeed Finnish, at a colloquium on Japanese-Korean linguistics (which I only attended by accident) some time ago. My impression (back then: things may have changed) was that Japanese/Korean/”Altaic” historical linguistics was a very divided field where “dialogue” is limited. Or, to quote a graduate student I met there: “There doesn’t seem to be much of a point in all these scholars working on ancient languages when they can’t and won’t talk to one another, in any language!”.
    I do, however, have a fond memory of the outing that evening to an excellent Chinese restaurant, where two senior scholars got into a shouting argument about Old Chinese phonology and used a Cantonese-speaking waiter as an informant about certain modern forms, with the diners at the neighboring table listening to this exchange and wondering if we were all a tribe of escaped lunatics from some asylum. The two scholars didn’t quite come to blows, but let’s just say I wouldn’t blame those diners or that waiter if they left the restaurant believing that “tonal sandhi” and “uvular stops” are exotic obscenities of some kind.

  174. I’m sure you could figure it out yourself, AJP, since it’s basically just tomatoes & eggs, but here’s a decent recipe for the dish:
    http://www.travelchinaguide.com/tour/food/chinese-cooking/scrambled-eggs-tomato.htm
    (It suggests that you might want to add sugar; I suggest that you don’t)

  175. Trond Engen says:

    a colloquium on Japanese-Korean linguistics (which I only attended by accident)
    What sort of risky behaviour would expose me to similar accidents?

  176. marie-lucie says:

    Trond, you could be wandering about the halls of academia (whether the corridors of a classroom block or the conference rooms in a convention hotel) looking for a certain presentation by someone whose face you didn’t know, and by mistake find yourself in a similar place where it took you a while to realize that something quite different was going on, and be too embarrassed to leave at that point because you did not want to disturb several other people who had by now taken up all the seats around you. Are you saying this has never happened to you?

  177. Well, tomatoes stirfried with eggs is one of the most common dishes everywhere in China (& a very delicious one)
    Oh, man, I loved that when I was living in Taiwan.

  178. Bathrobe says:

    m-l, you and I live in different worlds…

  179. thanks, nice explanations and the book, i’ll read it
    about the Mexican origins of tomato word, i remember reading about a woman of Mongolian descent who was brought to the US in the mid 19th century and her story was made into a novel and a movie, she is pretty famous, i forgot her name, it was then Chinese or American name, and i remember thinking maybe she was called Mongolian about her race, just in general, not herself, so i read a few pages on Asian American history looking up her, a great history read
    so she was a daur, Polly Bemis
    Lalu Nathoy
    another site has a great photo with a woman with a rifle, looks like a contortionist, but i can’t find any explanations for it and can’t link directly to the photo
    i wonder how can i find out any info on the photo?

  180. oh i folowed the link and it’s Wild West Shows,1925 just she is anonymous

  181. marie-lucie says:

    And sometimes the talk you wandered into by mistake turns to be more interesting than what you wanted to hear in the first place – a happy accident.

  182. marie-lucie says:

    Bathrobe: m-l, you and I live in different worlds…
    Probably, Bathrobe, but I would not normally call the kind of event I described an “accident”, or give it as an example if I were asked the meaning of the word. My life has not been quite that sheltered! It’s just that Etienne said he found himself in a colloquium on Japanese, etc “by accident” and Trond asked how such a thing could happen. “By mistake” or “by chance” would be a more appropriate word for the innocuous situation I described, but “by accident” is not restricted to life-and-death situations, it can also simply refer to harmless unexpected circumstances.

  183. Bathrobe says:

    Incidentally, I think I’ve figured out the transcription problem in that book. There is a particular letter in Mongolian, ᠠ, conventionally treated as /a/, that can actually be read in several different ways. Speaking from memory, it can be read /e/ or /n/ or /d/ depending on the context. In initial position it is read as /a/, unless there is something later in the word to indicate that the word belongs to a different vowel harmony class, in which case it is read /e/. If it occurs at the end of a word, or prior to a letter representing /g/, it may be pronounced /n/. There are other rules as well, such that it may (in combination) be pronounced /d/. Instead of following the usual assignment to /a/, or trying to indicate what it should represent according to the rules, the book invariably represents ᠠ as ‘v’, which I assume means ‘vowel’. The transcription thus acts as a direct analogue of the Uighur script in Roman letters. If you know the script you can figure out what is meant because it involves the same knowledge of the rules that the script itself requires. But if you don’t know the script, it is highly confusing.

  184. Bathrobe says:

    As usual, I got my facts totally wrong. the letter ᠠ is normally read /e/ at the start of a word, but could represent /a/ or /e/ later in the word (depending on vowel harmony), unless it occurs in an environment where it becomes /n/ or /d/. (Of course, the form of the letter will differ depending on where it occurs, initial, medial, or final position). The principle remains the same, however. They are just mechanically representing ᠠ as ‘v’.

  185. Bathrobe says:

    Plus I think I’ve chosen the wrong letter. I think I need to go back to my reading and writing practice. Mongolian traditional script can be quite confusing…

  186. really a good recipe for body building and senility-resisting
    Thanks, Matt! We’ll try it tonight.

  187. Trond Engen says:

    Trond asked
    Technically, yes, but as an act of speech it was meant to convey incredulous envy.

  188. marie-lucie says:

    Of course, Trond! That’s the way I took it. But it was Etienne who used the word “accident”, in its weakest possible meaning of “unexpected happening”.

  189. Bathrobe says:

    He was a very strict Sabbatarian, who insisted that the Buryat, for whom Sunday had no special significance, should observe the day as conscientiously as he did.
    This only shows that the so-called Sabbatarians celebrated the Sabbath on Sunday. (See Wikipedia article Sabbath in Christianity for a rundown on how the Sabbath gradually got transferred to Sunday.) It’s hard to interpret how this would have impacted on the naming of the days of the week. If Swan and Yuille were so religious, why didn’t they insist on calling Sunday the Lord’s Day?
    Incidentally, the Persian-Turkic system and many others like it count from the Sabbath (Saturday). Ekshambas, doshambas, etc. are counting from Shamba, the Sabbath.

  190. SFReader says:

    —The book provides information on many Mongolic languages, including Khalkha, Buryat, and a number of others that I had not heard of.
    I think authors of that book simply invented some of them.
    For example, I’ve read every sample they give for so called Ordos language and found nothing that could distinguish it from any other dialect of Mongolian.
    The Khamnigan Mongol, despite all their claims of extreme conservatism etc, seems pretty much standard Mongolian as well (with some Buryat influence).

  191. SFReader says:

    —ours if similarly almost half of the words are borrowings
    I am sorry if I gave you such impression. Mongolian is nowhere close to having half of vocabulary borrowed. Even the most extensive Turkic borrowings (which in many cases are found to be borrowings from Mongolian to Turkic or even reborrowings from Mongolic to Turkic to Mongolian) is at most 25 per cent.
    Tibetan, Sanskrit, Chinese, etc account together for very small percentage of Mongolian vocabulary (I haven’t seen an exact figure, but could not be much more than 5%)

  192. SFReader says:

    —Oh, Read and SFReader: about BICH-, and whether it spread from Turkic to Mongolic or vice-versa: actually, for all we know perhaps it spread from some third, now extinct language to both Turkic and Mongolic.
    And we even know the name of this now extinct language.
    It’s called Middle Chinese….

  193. SFReader says:

    —temeki, could it be by any chance, they borrowed it from our tamkhi, sorry, mr. censor, that’s improbable of course
    geographically perhaps others are closer to the ports
    I think you could be right here.
    We can rule out Chinese source for tamkhi (tobacco was called in Chinese 烟草Yāncǎo, immediately borrowed into Mongolian as yanjuur tamkhi).
    Turkish and most Turkic languages called it tütün (curiously, Ukrainian also uses this word).
    So this leaves as with Russian, where the word is табак used from early 17th century.
    Now, most contacts between Russians and the Kazakhs and Uzbeks in the 17th century went through Mongol-speaking Kalmyk Oirat people. So it seems quite probable that the word was first borrowed by Kalmyks who then gave it to their Turkic neighbours and Khalkha Mongolian in the east.

  194. SFReader says:

    —On borrowing: On one page there was a mention that the Turkic languages borrowed a lot of Mongolic words during the period of the Mongol Empire (which is not surprising), and that Mongolian has borrowed few Turkic words since.
    Situation is somewhat more complex.
    While Mongolian of the Mongol empire period has influenced Turkic languages on enormous scale (up to 30-40% of vocabulary of contemporary Turkic languages are of Mongolian origin), at the same time classical Mongolian itself was recipient of enormous amount of Turkic (and also Sanskrit via Turkic) vocabulary.
    The reason, of course is the adoption of Uighur script by Mongols which was accompanied by extensive translation effort from Uighur language (and apparently, Mongolian borrowed Uighur script together with Uighur scribes, who went on to become first Mongolian literati)

  195. SFReader says:

    —apparently much of the West’s ketchup
    The word ketchup itself is of Chinese origin, comes from 鮭汁 kê-chiap in Amoy dialect of Hokkien Chinese.
    It’s of course, now borrowed by Mongolian as кетчуп (not clear from English or from Russian).

  196. SFReader says:

    –the Persian-Turkic system and many others like it count from the Sabbath
    While Buryat is definitely in contact with Turkic languages (being bordered by them from north, west and southwest), none of them are Muslim, so I would rule out Persian.

  197. marie-lucie says:

    (origin of Mongolian tamkhi ) … Russian, where the word is табак used from early 17th century
    Does intervocalic [b] as in табак regularly correspond to [m] in Mongolian languages? Do you have other examples?

  198. SFReader says:

    —about the Mexican origins of tomato word, i remember reading about a woman of Mongolian descent who was brought to the US in the mid 19th century
    Charles Mann in “1493″ tells a story of Catarina de San Juan, Mexican holy woman of 17th century, who was originally a noblewoman from Mughal India (and apparently related to emperor Akbar itself) She was abducted by Portuguese pirates and sold in Manila where she was bought and brought to Mexico on Manila galleon.
    Technically speaking, Mughals are indeed of Mongol origin being descendants of Tamerlane (and Tamerlane himself was from Mongol Barlas clan, ultimately descendant of Bodonchar, ancestor of Genghis Khan)

  199. SFReader says:

    —Does intervocalic [b] as in табак regularly correspond to [m] in Mongolian languages?
    Alternations b/m are widespread in Mongolian and Altaic languages in general.
    For example, nilmusun/nilbusun ‘tear’, molor/bolor’crystal’, kamar/kabar ‘nose’, narmai/narbai “extensive, vast”
    The alternations b/m in personal pronouns are probably related (Bi, bid ‘I’, ‘we’, in gentive minii,manai ‘my’, ‘our’)

  200. Trond Engen says:

    It’s not especially surprising that Ukrainian got a word from the Turks, or that loanwords travelled around and are difficult to map exactly. The Eurasian steppe was one big linguistic and cultural meltingpot for millennia. Persians, Turks, Mongols, Russian Kossacks (at the end) and nobody knows how many others lost in the unwritten records all added to the mix. That there were Uralic speakers among them for centuries is known only for the ex nihilo occurance of Hungarian as common tongue for the settlers in the Pannonian basin.

  201. SFReader says:

    —That there were Uralic speakers among them for centuries is known only for the ex nihilo occurance of Hungarian as common tongue for the settlers in the Pannonian basin.
    Russian Primary Chronicle (early 12th century) mentions Uralic people of Western Siberia as Yugra, while the Hungarians of Europe are called Ugry.
    If we go to Arabic sources, they identify European Magyars with Uralic Bashkirds even earlier.
    Medieval western European sources locate homeland of Hungarians in the Urals (several European travellers visited the area in 13th century)
    So, I think you exaggerate the obscurity of steppe history. It’s a central part of Eurasian landmass and historically steppes were extremely important to neighboring civilizations (for national security reasons) and developments there were reported constantly.
    Probably we know history of Eurasian steppes better than political history of, say, India…

  202. SFReader says:

    —It’s not especially surprising that Ukrainian got a word from the Turks
    It turns out that Turks invented the word from the stem tüt ‘to give out smoke’.
    From Turkey ‘tütün’ traveled to Crimean Tatars and from them to Ukrainian Cossacks.
    *Alternatively, Ukrainians might have gotten the word from Bulgarian where it is even spelled in Cyrillic same way ‘тютюн’

  203. SFReader says:

    But there is an interesting question of origin of the English spelling.
    Russian ‘табак’ is a borrowing from either French ‘tabac’ or more likely German ‘Tabak’, both borrowings from Spanish ‘tabaco’.
    So, I ask, why the English decided to be original and began to spell it “tobacco”?

  204. “It turns out that Turks invented the word from the stem tüt ‘to give out smoke’.”
    our word tat- (sounding like cat, mat, not toot, but tüt sounds more like tat i guess, no?) is to smoke too, but it’s not to give out smoke but to pull into (the air), to smoke tobacco would be tamkhi tatakh, and i think it doesn’t concern smoking exactly tobacco, but any kind of smokable things, weeds, grass, dried hare’s shit, for example,- tuulain baas – people, they say, would smoke it if were unable to get tobacco, it’s as if like some kind of processed grass maybe
    but tat, could be about pulling anything, a rope, for example, or drawing any force, so it’s not primarily a smoking related word
    Ordos, i thought, is to call the modern Inner Mongolian dialect, no?
    “The Khamnigan Mongol, despite all their claims of extreme conservatism” i remember my grandma would say something about to not marry a khamnigan, khalkha mongols were so-so according to her, but better than that, she wanted a buriad wife for her son, i remember thinking who are the khamnigan, i’ve never met one, maybe they are close to tsaatan, when my mother would say that bc
    she married a person from another side of the country and a different yastan(ethnicity? – our word means within ethnicity, but still a bit different bones), the kids will be brighter, such a darwinian battle in my family :)
    “And we even know the name of this now extinct language.
    It’s called Middle Chinese….”
    wait, what, not Toba or Syanbi? i thought you gave us an example of a word from their extinct language
    “Your scenario is most implausible.” your reaction, M-L, is the same as mine to Kazan tatars bringing us Christian calendar, i think if there was one person, sufficiently influencing like, like the Mughal princess in Mexico, thanks, SFR, i’ll read about her too, anything can happen and it is perhaps possible to implant anything anywhere perhaps, though it’s more probable of course if the more constant and near contact is there
    i thought about Polly Pepis, how her animosity towards her Chinese counterparts and her forgetting Chinese later, is as if like illustrative, how strange that that would persist even on the other side of the globe, sorry, i’ve mistaken, she was born in 1853, not brought to the US
    in the movie her father sells her for the seeds in a drought year, i remember thinking, that would have been impossible for the nomad mongols, we don’t have such selling people mentality and never had slavery as that necessary part of human evolution and history, our history classes would emphasize that we skipped two socio-economic formations, slaveholding and capitalistic, to build socialism..
    about capitalism, we are, sure, amidst that, a very wild initial capitalism stage now, as in the proverb ‘buruu zamaar budaa teevel – if to carry rice going the wrong road one will be carrying stones on the return’, the load gets heavier after realizing the mistake
    in this song, see how the young man is so put down when his freedom is bought? so it’s better for him of course to die
    and there were customs of marrying girls against their will, “bogtlox” – if she was unlucky to draw attention of someone powerful, rich or nobility, but that sounds a bit different from selling, maybe Polly experienced that custom, not explicitly was sold out, so that explains her unyielding behaviour in the saloons, the amount of money she mentions was about bringing her to Portland, not how she got there from her home
    here in a uzemchin folk song Aligermaa a girl recalls there how her young man was absent for thirteen years as a drafted soldier to manchu army and she was bogtlogdson, there are words about father who exchanged her for altan embuu (gold bars)to a richer man, very bitter, those couplets are not in the clip though, maybe that is a different version of the song, cz being a forced bride after thirteen years of waiting sounds too old for being a bride even, by that time’s standards of course, and a woman around thirty yrs old surely would have some means to defend herself from anything, father’s will or unwanted future, not only by nowadays standards
    but mostly people married freely by their will and inclination though

  205. and i write about slavery, not to put down the slaves themselves of course, it’s human unfortunate fate and could have happened to anybody at that time, just the slaveholding periods are maybe very as if like necessary to yield some end-result of that riches acquiring culture accumulating empire building of humans, even in the recent history the US had it to become what it become and fighting slavery also contributed to the process as a part of it, or the USSR having its gulags’ free labor tried to build roads and mines in Siberia and far Arctic and East to get into the cosmos in the fastest possible time
    cz all the riches won’t come from nowhere, it’s always someone else’s labor and suffering, less of that – less material wealth for you, simplistically thinking of course, so it’s not perhaps the third world countries are poor bc people are lazy, just less ambitions to acquire wealth in one’s lifetime by all possible means perhaps, and that attitude lasting long enough historically

  206. sorry, for the double posting
    in the clip not real money was exchanged too, just a deceptive move to win some time cz really human life can’t be sold or bought
    but if to think about the results, four people are dead, counting the enemies too, so again too idealistic maybe, freedom vs human lives however wrong, but what to do that’s some nature’s “laws of struggle” perhaps something like human thermodynamics

  207. SFReader says:

    —who are the khamnigan
    They are basically Evenks, linguistically related to Manchus.
    Curiously, they had been bilingual for several centuries, speaking the so called Khamnigan Mongol language in addition to their native Evenki language.

  208. SFReader says:

    —wait, what, not Toba or Syanbi? i thought you gave us an example of a word from their extinct language
    They are Mongolic languages, in case of Xianbei, probably direct ancestor of Mongolian

  209. Bathrobe says:

    The Syanbi (Xianbei) all speak Chinese now. Just sayin’.

  210. SFReader says:

    –a different yastan(ethnicity? – our word means within ethnicity, but still a bit different bones)
    ястан is an interesting Mongolian concept, apparently translation of Russian народность.
    This was an attempt to arrange multiple ethnic identities in Mongolia.
    Basically, a citizen of Mongolia was classified as belonging simultaneously to Mongolian nationality (Монгол үндэстэн) and to Buryad (or Khalkha, Oold and any other of the 21 sub-ethnic groups) yastan.
    Good system, but hard to apply to, say, Kazakhs…

  211. SFReader says:

    –The Syanbi (Xianbei) all speak Chinese now. Just sayin’.
    Only those who stayed in China! Mongols are direct descendants of Xianbei and continue to speak their language.
    Roughly, the line of descent goes like this.
    DongHu people (recorded in Chinese chronicles from 7th century BC to 3rd century BC) -> Xianbei people (1st century AD – 4th century AD, claimed by Chinese chronicles to be descendants of DongHu)-> Xianbei then disintegrated into several new nationalities, most notable among them are Tuoba, Muyun, Tuyuhun, RouRouan, Khitan and Shiwei – Shiwei tribes are direct ancestors of Mongols, recorded in Chinese chronicles since 5th century AD and one of their tribes is called 蒙兀MengWu Shiwei, thought to be the exact group which became Mongols -> Mongols of Genghis Khan -> present day Mongolians

  212. SFReader says:

    Forgot to mention the Wuhuan people, who fit somewhere between DongHu and Xianbei (or perhaps in parallel with Xianbei)

  213. i thought SFR said that bich is from Toba ‘scribe’
    here
    ” Boodberg have long ago showed in “The Language of the T’o-Pa Wei” that Toba people who founded the Tuoba Wei state in northern China (386-534 AD) were proto-Mongolic speakers. There are few words which survived from their language, one of these is very familiar word “Pi-te-chen”, direct ancestor of Mongolian word bitdkcin or *pitikcjin-” meaning “scribe”.”
    and i thought there are no present day Xianbei(Syanbi), so they are still are there, surprise! my coworker said he was of manchu descent, his face is as if like pretty recognizable type, he looks like Oprah’s reporter, i don’t know her name, but that kind of chinese face, long and very symmetrical
    i thought Syanbi were one of the empires before, Hunnu, Syanbi, Jujan, Tureg, Uigur, Khidan, Mongol as they succeeded each other
    Khazakhs are different undesten (undes is root) as is Chinese or Russian, so it’s not ethnicity or narodnost’ what yastan means, yastan means perhaps what clans became over time

  214. tribes i mean

  215. sorry, do i always double click on the post button
    i wonder what Native American tribes are considered like, ethnicities or nationalities, they have all different languages, mutually not always understandable, no? if understandable, must be they are tribes within one ethnicity, if not, different ethnicities, the nationality i understand now is american

  216. SFReader says:

    —and i thought there are no present day Xianbei(Syanbi), so they are still are there, surprise! my coworker said he was of manchu descent, his face is as if like pretty recognizable type, he looks like Oprah’s reporter, i don’t know her name, but that kind of chinese face, long and very symmetrical
    I think you mistake them with these people
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xibe
    They have no relation to ancient Xianbei

  217. Bathrobe says:

    Xianbei then disintegrated into several new nationalities, most notable among them are Tuoba, Muyun, Tuyuhun, RouRouan, Khitan and Shiwei – Shiwei tribes are direct ancestors of the Mongols
    So, the Mongols are the descendants of the least illustrious of the splinter groups of the ancient northern “proto-Mongolic” peoples, and all the rest have long since become Chinese? If “blood” is the determinant of nationality, then most of the old proto-Mongolic blood is actually to be found in China… This is not, of course, a reason for following in their footsteps — all the more important not to be swallowed into the mass and to preserve a non-Chinese identity. Still…
    Good system, but hard to apply to, say, Kazakhs…
    Forgive me if I’ve got things wrong (which happens with depressing frequency nowadays), but wasn’t the original determinant of being a Mongol whether you followed Genghis Khan or not? And if I understand correctly, the Kazakhs were among the followers of Genghis Khan while the Oirats were not. The idea of excluding the Kazakhs and including the Oirats arose at later date.
    So much of this narrative seems to be driven by later developments (the Oirats, for instance, were included by the Qing rulers) and new criteria. Mongolians (basically the Khalkha subgroup) trace the roots of their nation back to Genghis Khan and strive to protect the purity of their ‘blood’, but base their national self-definition on some pretty dodgy criteria. Nothing new about that — nationalism seems to thrive on that kind of thing. But a bit of objectivity and accuracy wouldn’t go astray.

  218. But a bit of objectivity and accuracy wouldn’t go astray
    i think our objective criteria is language, the native language is what determines who is a person
    so kazakhs are excluded bc they are turkic speakers, not mongol, when oird (close) mongols are zuungaryn mongolchuud, the left wing mongols and speak like nowadays durved(durbet) or khalimag
    “the descendants of the least illustrious of the splinter groups of the ancient northern “proto-Mongolic” peoples”
    who says anything about illustrousness and who decides who is the least or the most illustrous, very strange wording in there, imo

  219. Bathrobe says:

    the native language is what determines who is a person
    This is just one way of looking at it (modern, nationalist). I suspect it wasn’t always so.

  220. maybe it wasn’t always so, surely khazakhs are closer to us, because of the same nomadic lifestyle and culture, then say chinese or koreans, so the Mongol empire was something like the USSR in its time, many nationalities within one empire state, that’s all, why everybody who followed Chingis khaan would become physically themselves mongols
    about Xibe people, if they belonged to the eight banners, they are manchu(tungus, i understand)
    and i surely don’t understand why one’s attachment to one’s own language should be a bad thing to be labeled instantly nationalist
    well, i’ll drop this before perhaps being called such names, good night

  221. SFReader says:

    —So, the Mongols are the descendants of the least illustrious of the splinter groups of the ancient northern “proto-Mongolic” peoples
    I fail to see a point.
    English and Americans are descendants of Angles, the least illustrious of the Germanic tribes, but I suspect they hardly lose a sleep over this issue…
    – and all the rest have long since become Chinese?
    That’s actually quite an interesting problem and the answer is not straightforward at all.
    Tuoba were ordered by imperial edict of 495 to speak Chinese and use Chinese names, but apparently did not assimilate and continued to live on the frontier. Their descendants, frontier troops of Tang dynasty are thought to participate in the An Lu Shan revolt almost three centuries later.
    What happened to RouRouan is subject to some debate, but they certainly did not became Chinese (more likely they were assimilated by Slavic people, since they fled to Europe and founded Avar Khaganate on Danube)
    Tuyuhun have probably became ancestors of Tanguts (or nomadic Tibetans).
    And Khitan, while some of them (say, those who lived in Peking area) definitely assimilated into Chinese society, the Khitans of Liao river basin and southern Manchuria most likely assimilated with Mongols and became ancestors of several Inner Mongolian tribes.

  222. SFReader says:

    —then most of the old proto-Mongolic blood is actually to be found in China
    No need to go that far. There were probably a couple of million Mongols living in China during the Yuan dynasty. When Ming dynasty came to power, the Chinese killed as many Mongols as they could, but apparently there were still hundreds of thousands of Mongols left in China, perhaps as many as there were in Mongolia. It took them a couple of centuries to assimilate.

  223. SFReader says:

    –if I understand correctly, the Kazakhs were among the followers of Genghis Khan while the Oirats were not.
    Oirats submitted to Juchi, son of Genghis Khan in 1205.
    There were no Kazakhs back then, but the Kypchak peoples of present-day Kazakhstan were conquered between 1219 and 1233.
    You probably refer to the fact that Oirats of 15-18 centuries did not have Chingizid princes while Khalkha Mongols or Kazakhs did.

  224. SFReader says:

    –The idea of excluding the Kazakhs and including the Oirats arose at later date.
    That’s 17th century idea, actually. Oirats and Mongols adopted Tibetan Buddhism while Kazakhs remained Muslim. Language issues were secondary, I suspect.

  225. There are lots of people of Manchu descent in China, but only the Xibe continue to speak (their version of) Manchu. The rest have all spoken Chinese for generations, though the PRC treat them as a separate nationality from both the Han and the Xibe.

  226. Bathrobe says:

    well, i’ll drop this before perhaps being called such names
    I’m not calling anybody names, merely pointing out that “the native language is what determines who is a person” is a modern definition. I don’t oppose such a definition at all, but I suspect it wasn’t always seen this way (and isn’t seen that way everywhere even in modern times).

  227. SFReader says:

    Ethnic identity is determined by how the people identify themselves.

  228. SFReader says:

    What other people think of that is irrelevant.
    For example, there are at least two or three million people in China who consider themselves Mongols. I think lots of Mongolians in Mongolia would reject their claim of Mongoliness on account of not speaking Mongolian language.
    But that does not change a thing. These people are not Chinese if they don’t consider themselves Chinese.
    If they call themselves Mongols, then they are Mongols.
    Just Chinese-speaking ones….

  229. And Tibetan-speaking ones…

  230. SFReader says:

    Nothing could surprise me after discovery of Yi-speaking Mongols.

  231. yes, self-determination is important, but already the second generation of asian americans are considered americans bc they start speaking english as a native language, though physically genetically whatever they didn’t change much yet, so, what is dufferent there from chinese-speaking mongols? only self-determination to call themselves americans? so it seems to me language matters too, jewish people they preserved their language throughout their wanderings through different lands, was that a bad thing too? your language is your culture, so one just has to strive to preserve the language if your identity matters to you
    and religion also mattered in the split, surely, buddhism and moslem faiths divided kazakhs and mongols, that’s true
    well, see, those cycles of destruction and reemerging continued how many times, but we are still there and proud
    that we survived, okay? and you say as if being pagan nomadic is something to be ashamed of, well, we are not, that’s really the bare bones and the starting point of our identity and rebuilding ourselves, if we would have included the chinese language speaking all, ordered or voluntary, in
    every such cycle our fate would have been that of the manchu, and, perhaps, satisfied both, chinese state makers and your scientific tastes, i guess, alas, it didn’t happen, so whether our history seems to you selective or not, we salvaged what we could and it is objective for us and it’s nice that wiki generally presents our history the way we think the things were
    if to read some chinese pages, only in english, god knows what they write in kanjis, i read somewhere even Hunnu they
    write sometimes in derogatory kanjis meaning slave, when it’s our word for man going, so if to read those pages and everything then there real history rewriting goes fulltime, so everything is chinese, Chingis khaan even, on the grounds that the Yuan was a dynasty, isn’t Tibet occupied on that grounds as an essential part of China? if it was not possible for such claims turn into real life consequences, we would
    havechappily accepted all who comes to us, i guess
    if the Mongol Empire is theirs, all the other empires could be
    incorporated instantly into their ‘illustrous’ history claiming the great multinational China, so we don’t want and need anything what is not ours, but what is ours is ours, history, people, land, language
    i’m afraid this discussion again will go in a cycle, and should
    stop, i should have written half of the comment in the lithuanian thread too perhaps, but i don’t want to as if like
    hijack the lithuanian matters and draw a comparison to the lithuanian nationalists, theirs are different then our situation and history

  232. SFReader says:

    —jewish people they preserved their language throughout their wanderings through different lands
    Well, they actually didn’t. Hebrew for two and a half thousand years was a dead language learned in school in order to read old religious texts.
    It was revived as a living language in 20th century by people who were native speakers of Yiddish (a dialect of German), Russian or Polish.

  233. SFReader says:

    –if to read those pages and everything then there real history rewriting goes fulltime
    Well, actually, if you learn to pay no attention to propaganda, Chinese historical sites are quite informative.
    Lots of interesting details about Mongolian history
    –isn’t Tibet occupied on that grounds as an essential part of China?
    That’s 20th century nationalist idea actually.
    Before that, Chinese idea of world order was basically that China (understood as lands populated by Chinese people) is the center of civilized world surrounded by independent states, but recognizing Chinese supremacy (and those who didn’t were uncivilized barbarians who needed to be taught a lesson).
    Claiming that Tibet or Mongolia were part of China was simply unnecessary. What was important to their worldview is whether the states on China’s frontier recognized Chinese emperor and his claims of superiority or not.

  234. “language learned in school in order to read old religious texts”
    see, it was preserved, by a select few perhaps, rabbis, still it was learned and when needed was revived, i know the jewish accept everybody with the jewish self-identity, but they require to learn the language too, so must be the language matters
    the same is with us and any other nation-state i guess, and looking at how Greece struggles now, it’s a long way for countries to become unions without borders as the EU, at least in Asia, and why, because pretty much of the different languages, i guess, can’t imagine for now Asian Union without countries, and suppose it could happen then what, should we all talk Chinese? perhaps it will be English

  235. Well, actually, if you learn to pay no attention to propaganda,…
    That’s 20th century nationalist idea actually.
    Before that, Chinese idea of world order was basically that China (understood as lands populated by Chinese people) is the center of civilized world surrounded by independent states, but recognizing Chinese supremacy (and those who didn’t were uncivilized barbarians who needed to be taught a lesson).
    Claiming that Tibet or Mongolia were part of China was simply unnecessary.

    so their propaganda is real, right? then we too have a right to self-defence, as we didn’t start all that too, all we say is leave us alone

  236. SFReader says:

    –so their propaganda is real, right?
    No. The Chinese are being silly following foolishly already outdated Western notions of nationalism.
    I guess Mongolians are determined to follow their example.

  237. Bathrobe says:

    The Chinese claim Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia etc. because these were all part of the territory of the Qing state, and China claims to be the successor to the Qing state. Reclaiming all of its previous territories is one of the great prerequisites for China to get over its ‘century of humiliation’ at the hands of the West.
    The rewriting and distortion of history is designed to justify and solidify China’s claims to these territories, and it is one of the more unedifying aspects of Chinese culture.

  238. no, i mean it’s their real life political propaganda and i was not just validating that
    one can’t follow so enlightened rhetorics to not pay attention and look past their claims if it comes to one’s own past present and future and we are not following their footsteps, it’s our genuine reaction to their politics, not just modern, but pre- modern too

  239. Bathrobe says:

    “Self-identification” has its limits. SFReader has already raised the problem of the Dagur — self-recognised Mongols that are not perceived as such by the Mongols themselves.
    You will also find that people tend to identify in ways that are politically possible, or are recognised by the state or its ideology. China, for instance, has defined its nationalities and has worked very hard to make it possible for people to simultaneously identify as “Chinese” and as “Mongols” within the framework of Zhonghua Minzu. Belonging to an ethnicity is to an increasing extent just a matter of belonging to an official category, without any commitment to language or culture. (Incidentally, there are also many fake Mongols in China who have wangled Mongol ethnicity purely for the benefits it brings in terms of university entrance requirements. I might have mentioned before that an Inner Mongolian official once told me that an estimated one-third of the Mongols in Inner Mongolia are fake.)
    The idea that you can self-identify, ostensibly a stance of sweet reasonableness, calls to mind the controversy over whether or not the modern-day Assyrians are the descendants of the ferocious Assyrians of ancient times. To deny the self-identification of the modern Assyrians with the ancient Assyrians can cause intense passion (as seen at Wikipedia). Whether it is historically accurate is another matter.
    On a totally different level, I have noticed that certain Americans identify themselves as Shintoist based on the notion that their own spiritual beliefs are somehow “Shintoist”. While this is quite charming, I wonder whether Shintoists in Japan (however that may be defined — Shintoism doesn’t seem to have any real institutions to regulate the Shintoist religion or its dogma) would take such claims very seriously.

  240. Incidentally, there are also many fake Mongols in China who have wangled Mongol ethnicity purely for the benefits it brings in terms of university entrance requirements
    because of what, of the language requirements or the general scores levels? it’s not far from saying then that the real Inner Mongolians’ IQ or whatever is lower just to get past the entrance exams, i don’t know, every word and sentence one writes maybe needs to be a bit self-censored in order to not be eliciting my this kind of responses i guess, especially if it’s not one’s own matters that one discusses, but the subject of one’s study, sorry to say that
    …an estimated one-third of the Mongols in Inner Mongolia are fake
    and people get so very surprised at our unenlightened ways of not accepting the self-proclaimed mongols

  241. marie-lucie says:

    I read somewhere that one of the benefits of non-Chinese ethnicity is that the “one-child policy” does not apply, or is relaxed in some way (perhaps depending on the region). This would seem to me to be a strong incentive to claim a fake ethnicity (but because of mixed marriages in the past, at least some of those “fake” people may have had some ancestors belonging to that ethnicity). They would probably not do that if they had a really negative attitude towards the ethnicity in question.

  242. marie-lucie says:

    Also, the one-child policy applies to a lot more people than just those wanting to go to university. Every family is affected.

  243. Bathrobe says:

    Preferential treatment (affirmative action) is given not only to Mongols but also to other ethnic groups.
    The justifications for these policies are not ‘low IQ’ but the fact that ethnic minorities often speak different languages and have different cultures from many Han Chinese, which often places them at a disadvantage vis-à-vis Han applicants.
    There is a paper entitled Education for ethnic minorities in China: a policy critique that discusses the issues.

  244. SFReader says:

    Chinese state requires some documentary proof of belonging to national minorities, a document stating that one of their parents or grandparents was Mongol.

  245. SFReader says:

    They can be fake as well, I suppose, but then – if people want to claim Mongolian ethnicity so desperately that they are ready to face criminal persecution for falsification of documents, they must have a really strong motive to do so.

  246. that is too bad, almost a hundred points of the scores difference, which is no wonder, ages of disadvantage would result in that, maybe they can’t adjust that to any such differences, language, culture, socio-economical status etc. averages are averages
    and it gives them like justification to school the minorities their way, well, that is their internal matters, if more people get education because of the policy, good, nothing to object there
    the one child policy also is a strong incentive must be to choose the ethnic minority status, yes, it must be pretty lonely to grow up not having siblings

Speak Your Mind

*