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Some Proto-rGyalrong reconstructions

Andrew Hsiu
May 2018
Please cite as: Hsiu, Andrew. 2018. Some Proto-rGyalrong reconstructions. <https://sites.google.com/site/msealangs/home/blog/proto-rgyalrongic>.
Please note that this is a working draft that will be periodically updated.

Here are 112 of my preliminary Proto-rGyalrong reconstructions, based on data from:
Nagano, Yasuhiko and Prins, Marielle (eds.). 2013. rGyalrongic Languages Database. Minpaku. http://htq.minpaku.ac.jp/databases/rGyalrong/

This reconstruction is that of rGyalrong proper, and does not include Horpa (Ergong) or Lavrung. The rgyalrongic lexical data in Nagano & Prins (2013) shows that rGyalrong is complex dialect chain consisting of many different varieties that are partially intelligible with each other to various degrees. Hence, rGyalrong cannot be neatly divided into only four languages with clear boundaries, which are Situ, Japhug, Tshobdun, and Zbu (Jacques 2017).

The north-central dialects in Baoxing, Heishui, Hongyuan, Maerkang, Xiaojin counties preserve PTB *-a and did not undergo the vowel heightening ("Qiangic brightening") characteristic of surrounding Qiangic languages.

Proto-rGyalrong is an elegant marvel. It may be one of the most conservative reconstructable Sino-Tibetan meso-languages. It is clear that a reconstruction of Proto-Sino-Tibetan would definitely need to take Proto-rGyalrong into account, since Proto-Sino-Tibetan morphology, phonology, and lexicon would have looked very similar to those of Proto-rGyalrong. In order to understand how reflexes of highly eroded eastern Sino-Tibetan languages had gotten to where they are from Proto-Sino-Tibetan, it is crucial to consider Proto-rGyalrong.

Proto-rGyalrong has many sesquisyllables (minor syllables). Some consonant clusters are part of the main syllable; these are different from sesquisyllables that are separated by syllable boundaries.

The prefixes *t.- and *k.- are the most common ones. *k.- generally tends to be used with numerals, animals, intransitive verbs, and some adjectives. *t.- tends to be used with body parts and some nouns. However, *k.- is also used for some body parts, and *t.- is also used for some numerals and animals. Fricatives and nasals can precede consonants to form consonant clusters.

Some body parts are prefixed with *t.r-:
*t.rkʰom ‘wing’
*t.rnaʔ ‘ear’
*t.rnok ‘brain’

Some body parts are prefixed with *t.ʃ-:
*t.ʃba ‘cheek’
*t.ʃci ‘urine’
*t.ʃmje ‘tongue’
*t.ʃna ‘nose’
*t.ʃnje ‘heart’

List of reconstructions

*(t)s.la ‘moon’
*cem ‘house’
*ə.jo ‘he, she (3.SG)’
*k.cap ‘bitter’
*k.cor ‘sour’
*k.ɣju ‘fish’
*k.jak ‘thick’
*k.ki ‘buy’
*k.mbat, k.wat ‘near’
*k.mŋu, k.mŋa ‘five’
*k.mot; *k.tʰi ‘drink’
*k.mpar ‘sell’
*k.na.mnam; *k.na.ksəC.ksəC ‘smell (v.)’
*k.na.ri ‘laugh’
*k.nak ‘black’
*k.ndzaʔ ‘eat’
*k.nis; *t.gu ‘two’
*k.ɲom; *k.kʰiʔ ‘thin’
*k.ŋa.kru ‘cry, weep’
*k.ŋgu ‘nine’
*k.pli, k.βde ‘four’
*k.po.stsa ‘mosquito’
*k.pri ‘snake’
*k.prom ‘white’
*k.rcʰe ‘far’
*k.rman ‘sleep’
*k.ʃna ‘spider’
*k.ʃnis ‘seven’
*k.sum ‘three’
*k.trok ‘six’
*k.tsaʔ; *t.no ‘grass’
*k.tsu ‘monkey’
*k.wa.ntrok; *k.m.ʃtak; *k.rkʰu ‘cold’
*k.zar; *k.rɲam; *mɲan.goŋ ‘river’
*k.βjam ‘fly, to’
*ka.ncʰa ‘kill’
*ka.rwa ‘dig’
*kʰa.li ‘wind’
*kʰji; *k.naʔ; *k.ta ‘dog’
*kʰuŋ ‘tiger’
*m.tok, t.pat ‘flower’
*mba.bu ‘bee’
*mbo lej; *n.ŋa ‘cattle, cow’
*mbras ‘rice (grain)’
*mdza.ji ‘flea’
*ndʒuk ‘bamboo’
*noʔ ‘thou (2.SG)’
*ŋa ‘I (1.SG)’
*p(w)ak ‘pig’
*p.gom ‘egg’
*p.tsje ‘bird’
*r.gu; *d(ʒ).lok; *prak 'rock' ‘stone’
*rŋa.ma; *taj.me; *waj.mik ‘tail’
*ʃ.mɲak; *k.pjek ‘bow’
*ʃ.ru ‘bone’
*ʃa; *t.mtʰam ‘meat, flesh’
*ʃam ‘iron’
*sar.pa; *k.ʃək ‘new’
*sar; *srak ‘louse’
*stok ‘bean’
*ʃtri; *sʁa ‘ten’
*t.ci; *ɣ.rə ‘water’
*t.jak ‘hand’
*t.ju, t.rŋa ‘face’
*t.kap ‘needle’
*t.kʰa; *t.mcʰi; *t.ɣmor ‘mouth’
*t.kʰuʔ ‘smoke’
*t.kuʔ ‘head’
*t.mi ‘female’
*t.mi, t.mcik ‘fire’
*t.mjeʔ ‘foot, leg’
*t.mki ‘neck’
*t.mɲa ‘field’
*t.mɲak ‘eye’
*t.mor; *ʃ.war, sar ‘night’
*t.mu ‘sky’
*t.mu; *c.rnak ‘rain’
*t.ndri ‘skin’
*t.nu ‘breast’
*t.ŋi ‘sun’
*t.pje; *a.ko ‘year’
*t.pok.cʰi(k) ‘navel’
*t.pʃje ‘feces, excrement’
*t.pu ‘child’
*t.rgei; *k.tek ‘one’
*t.rkʰom ‘wing’
*t.rmi ‘human, person’
*t.rmje ‘name’
*t.rmo ‘dream’
*t.rnaʔ ‘ear’
*t.rnok ‘brain’
*t.rpje; *t.tro ‘earth’
*t.ʃba ‘cheek’
*t.ʃci; *t.bri ‘urine’
*t.ʃi ‘blood’
*t.ʃi ‘fruit’
*t.ʃis ‘die’
*t.ʃmje ‘tongue’
*t.ʃna ‘nose’
*t.ʃni ‘day’
*t.ʃnje ‘heart’
*t.ʃu ‘hair’
*t.swa ‘tooth’
*t.wam; *t.gom ‘bear’
*t.ʒgu ‘boat’
*t.βʃi ‘liver’
*tra.la ‘road’
*ts.ŋgri; *skar.ma ‘star’
*tsʰa ‘salt’
*waj.mjak; *taj.p/wak; *rba.la ‘leaf’
*wo.rjat ‘eight’
*zdem ‘cloud’

Jacques, Guillaumes. 2017. Rgyalrong language. In Encyclopedia of Chinese languages and linguistics (volume 3), p.583. Leiden: Brill.
Nagano, Yasuhiko and Marielle Prins. 2013. rGyalrongic languages database. Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku).

Andrew Hsiu,
Jul 15, 2018, 7:06 AM