Re: [tied] Re: Of cows and living

From: Patrick Ryan
Message: 43477
Date: 2006-02-18

Torsten, I think Old Chinese is fairly straightforward but I thank you for the nice and very interesting summary.
I am much more concerned about why Sino-Tibetan presents itself as a prefixing language.
Any thoughts?
It seems to be there is another, as yet unidentified "player" at the table.
----- Original Message -----
From: tgpedersen
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2006 3:50 AM
Subject: [tied] Re: Of cows and living

--- In, Piotr Gasiorowski <gpiotr@...>
> On 2006-02-14 13:28, tgpedersen wrote:
> > Now if "cow" is connected by ablaut to "live" in PIE, one might
> > conclude that it's native to PIE, and that if the Chinese word
> > related, it is a loan from PIE. However, Pulleyblank posits an 
> > ablaut a/& for Old Chinese, and the Chinese word appears in
> > and Burman too. So it seems we are back where we started: it
> > be loan either way (or from a third source?)
> I know too little about Sino-Tibetan to have a strong opinion
> way. For my purpose, it's sufficient to be sure that the word is
> whatever its ultimate origin. The fact that it _might_ be
connected with
> the verb for 'to live' in PIE (but apparently not elsewhere) would
be an
> argument in favour of its being native there. Gamkrelidze and
> attempted to link the ST(and IE) terms to Sumerian and Old
> assuming an original (onomatopoeic?) velar nasal, but Sumerologist
> agree that Sumerian <gud> had an initial /g-/, not /N-/ (the
> would correspond to /m-/ in the Emesal dialect, but the Emesal
forms are
> <gud>, <gu2-ru>). It has been conjectured (Whittaker 2004) that
> Sumerian term is of IE origin.

This might throw some light on whether the cattle and feed/milk
terminology is PIE -> ST, ST -> PIE or the donor top both is a third

Tsung-tung-Chang, "Indo-European Vocabulary in Old Chinese"
Sino-Platonic Papers, 7 (January, 1988), p. 35
Considering all these linguistic facts, the thesis presents  itself
that Old Chinese emerged as a mixed language, though spoken with
Proto-Chinese native tongue, using mainly the Proto-Indo-
European idiom which seems to have stretched from Mongolia to Europe
during the third millennium B.C. in the northern part of the
temperate zone.
Historically the emergence of Old Chinese should be connected with
the founding of the Chinese Empire by Huang-ti .. .. , the Yellow
Emperor, with whom the Chinese still identify themselves today.
According to Chinese historiography, he was the founder of the first
state of China as well as its high civilization. The Shih-chi
(Records of the Grand Historian) informs us in its first chapter
that towards the end of the rule of the clan of Shen-nung
.. .. (Divine Farmer), Northern China was ravaged by war. Huang-ti
defeated Yen-ti .. ..  (God of Flame Clearing) and Ch'ih-yu .. ..
(Great Fool), thus becoming emperor of China. It is noteworthy that
the decisive battle took place in Chuo-lu .. . (Deer Ford), on the
thoroughfare between the present Peking and Inner Mongolia. Huang-
ti's name was Hsüan-yüan .. .. which means "wagon shaft". After his
enthronement, he ordered roads to be built, and was perpetually on
the move with treks of carriages. At night he slept in a barricade
of wagons. He had no interest in walled towns, so only one city was
built at the bow of Chuo-lu. All of this indicates his origin from a
stock-breeding tribe in Inner Mongolia. With introduction of horse-
or oxen-pulled wagons, transport and traffic in Northern China was
revolutionized. Only on this new technical basis did the founding of
a state with central government become feasible and functional. This
emperor must have had an appearance of northern white people, as the
epithet "Huang-ti" can etymologically be interpreted as "blond
heavenly god" (cf. Word list p. 37).
Huang-ti is mentioned also as the founder of Chinese language in the
Li-chi .. .. (Book of Rites). In the Chapter 23 Chi-fa .. .. (Rules
of Sacrifices), which gives the reasons for worship of ancient
sovereigns and heroes, we read: "Huang-ti gave hundreds of things
their right names, in order to illumine the people about the common
goods. And Chuan-hsü was able to carry on his
work." .. .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .

This points out the merit of Huang-ti for the standardization of
Chinese language, which took a lona time and was continued by his
grandson and succesor Chuan-hsü. The aboriginal people had thus to
learn new foreign words from the emperors. Probably thereby the
Proto-Indo-European vocabulary became dominant in Old Chinese.
The rule of Huang-ti is traditionally dated back to the 27th century
B.C.  Subtracting 200 or 300 years as hyperbolic predating, we may
assume that the founding of the first Chinese empire took place at
the latest at about 2400 B.C. This would coincide with the
archaeological data of the beginning classical Lung-shan culture
(2400-2000 B.C.) in the eastern valleys of Northern China, which is
characterized by a great leap in stock-breeding. Not only pigs,
poultry and dogs as in the preceding neolithic cultures, but also
sheep, cattle and horses were domesticated. Above all, cattle and
horses were important for their usage in transport service and
warfare, and for improved protein supply for the warriors. The
mixture of agriculture and stock-breeding thus laid a sound economic
basis, on which a great empire could function and be maintained. The
concentrated use of new economic resources through the state
impelled in turn the further development of Chinese culture to
become one of the leading civilizations in the ancient world.
My thesis takes for granted that the culture in the northern steppe
was once superior to that of Northern China. It is conceivable that
at the beginning of the third millennium B.C., Inner. Mongolia (40-
42°Ν) was warmer and damper than in later times and thus more
fertile than Northern China (34-40° N) because of more sunshine
hours in summer. The favourable climatic conditions there must have
resulted in a richer economy and higher civilization than in the
contemporaneous Northern China. This differential may be attested by
recent archaeological findings. For instance, the lower stratum
culture of Hsia-chia-tien .. .. .. .. .. .. in Ch'ih-feng .. .. ,
dated 2410- 140 B.C., already had a high Chalcolithic culture with
domesticated sheep and cattle, as well as small-size bronze
castings. Besides, its pottery had forms and decor, which seem to be
the prototypes of Shang pottery and bronze (cf. Liu Kuan-min pp. 339
and colour plate IX).
The Shang Dynasty too bears strong characteristic features of stock-
breeding nobility (cf. Chang 1970, pp.79 and p.266 footnote). Since
the language reflected in its oracular inscriptions did not differ
from that of classical literature of the first millennium B.C., we
may state that the dominance of Indo-European vocabulary in Chinese
was already consolidated in the second half of the second millennium
Probably since the middle of the third millennium B.C., unfavorable
climatic changes took place in Northern Eurasia and caused perpetual
waves of southword emigration of stock-farmers. Parallel to the
emergence of the Chinese Empire and the Chinese language in East
Asia, there were also invasions of Indo-European warriors to the
Agean and Adriatic area, to Syro-Palestina and even to Egypt around
2500-2200 B.C. (cf. Gimbutas 1970, pp. 191).

So, if I should take a guess, the words are of Central Asiatic
origin, from some Nomadic tribe speaking para-IE.


Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to: