TÜRKIC-CHINESE LEXICAL PARALLELS
Babilon.wiki, Semey, Republic of Kazakhstan
Hadji-Murad Yiliuf, Philology PhD, addresses a less-visited area of the Türkic-Chinese relations, reflected in the languages of both peoples.
Sima Qian stated, on the evidence of the preceding Chinese records (Bamboo Annals), that the Xiongnu's ruling clan were descendants of Chunwei (淳維 "Chun tribes, another forn of coding the word Hun), possibly a son of Jie, the final ruler of the legendary Xia Dynasty (ca. 2070-1600 BC).  But the arrival of the pastoral nomads engaged in horse husbandry in the East Asian steppes is dated to no earlier that the 12th c. BC. The oldest phonetization of the name "Hun" had different forms: in the earlier pre-historic period the Huns were called Hu and Jun (Jung), in the late pre-historic period the Huns were called Hun-yui, in the literate period starting with Yin Dynasty (殷代 , 1600-1046 BC) they were called Guifan, in [Zhou]] period (1045–256 BC) they were called Hyan-yun, starting from the Qin period (221-206 BC) the Chinese annalists called them with a derisive Hunnu (Ch. Xiongnu, "malicious slave"), as was stated by Sima Qian.  That the "-yui/-yun/-jun" portion was a proper name component was illustrated by Wang Mang's change in the 15 CE of the Hun's state seal legend from "non-semantically meaningful hieroglyph "shan" with identically sounding hieroglyph "shan" meaning "kind, good". After the change of the hieroglyph, the title (Shanyu) assumed a meaning "Kind Yui" or "Good Yui"."  "Wang Guowei... came to a conclusion that the tribal names found in the sources, Guifan, Hun-i, Sün-yui (Hün-yui), Syan-yun (Hyan-yun), Jun (Jung), Di, and Hu designated one and the same people, which later entered history under a name Sünnu (Hunnu)" 
Before the advent of the Imperial period in the Chinese history, the relations between nomadic pastoralists and settled agriculturists were quite amicable. Sima Qian recorded that in 636 BCE, "Mu-gyun, a Prince of the Jin principality, enticed Yuiui tribe, and eight possessions of the Western Juns to submit voluntary to the House of Jin: for this reason from the Lun westward were located generations Gunchju, Guan-Jung, Di-wan, from the Qi and Lyan mountains, from the rivers Gin-shui and Qi-shui to the north were located Jungs of the generations Ikui, Dali, Uchjy and Suiyan; from the Jin principality to the north were located Jungs of the generations Linhu and Leufan; from the Yan principality to the north were located generations Dun-Hu (Mongols) and Shan-Jun. All these generations lived dispersed in the mountain valleys, had their own sovereigns and elders, frequently gathered in a large number of clans, but could not unite."  The alliances were reinforced by mutual matrimonial unions that produced half-breed offsprings, and were beneficial to the principalities, as they gained instantaneous reinforcement by the cavalry troops.
The record of 636 BC signified a milestone in the Türkic-Chinese relations; the previous symbiotic relations are alluded to in the annals, but are not specific. From the 636 BC on, the process of mutual linguistic enrichment lasted until well into the Modern Age. A number of philological works addressed the subject, a most prominent of which was the cardinal work of M.J.Hashimoto "Altaicization of Northern Chinese", which brought a solid foundation under many prior observations. The previous studies were performed by Sinologists, for whom the Türkic language was outside their background and expertise. This posting presents a work of a Türkic scholar with innate knowledge of the Türkic philology, a native Türkic speaker and a PhD in Philology, which adds a special weight to the subject of Türkic lexical loans to the Chinese language.
A special subject is contribution of the Türkic language to the Germanic branch of the Indo-European linguistic family. At one time, a heavy dose of the Germanic-Chinese cognates brought about Nostratic and Eurasian hypotheses, unified by a shared misunderstanding of the mechanism that created the phenomena which precipitated the appearance of these hypotheses. Not that the participation of the Türkic language was missed, quite the opposite, it was observed and facilitated formulation of the hypotheses. What was missing was that the mobile nomadic Türkic tribes, equipped with the knowledge, experience, and experts of the sedentary people from their fringes, were able to take command positions in the life of their sedentary neighbors, and serve as cultural currents, imposing their language and their technologies on the much more claustrophobic agriculturists. It was the energy of nomadic-carried exchange that created a body of the linguistic facts on the ground, and made the appearance of the Nostratic and Eurasian hypotheses possible. The linguistic flow was not from the Africans, who entered South-East Asia, to Europe; nor was it from the Africans who entered the Near East on their way to Europe, and from there to the Far East; it was those in the middle, who intermingled with the West and the East, and had the means to pass the elements of their culture both to the Europe and to the Far East.
Posting notes are highlighted in blue.
TÜRKIC-CHINESE LEXICAL PARALLELS
The ancient connection of the northern nomadic tribes and ethnic groups with agricultural population in China is not only reflected in the accounts of the chronicles, the time preserved tangible evidence of archaeological finds, but their centuries-old fellowship left its traces in the languages of interacting people. For example, the Chinese lexicon has a historical word du (depicted with a very complex hieroglyph) “banner, bunchuk of feather or tails, secured to a crossbeam of a royal chariot“. In our opinion, it was borrowed in the 1st millennium BC from the ancient language at times of the war and peace with the Huns. In the Kazakh language the lexeme tuw preserved a direct meaning “horse's tail hair“ (tuw < *tuğ, with its synharmonic variation tük “hair“) and indirectly “banner“.
After beginning of feudal fragmentation, after the fall of the Han Dynasty (3rd century BC - 3rd century AD) the onslaught of nomadic tribes increased. In 316, the northern part of China fell under a power of conquering nomads. Many of them created their own states and as a result of prolonged cohabitation assimilated into the local population, transfering to them some cultural characteristics (skills using horse as a riding and draft animal, such types of dress like tucked robe and pants, elements of wedding ceremony, etc.) (That has happened much earlier too, the symbiotic relationship between Türkic and Chinese people ascends to the 8-7 cc. BC)
An image of a dragon takes a central place in the Chinese mythology and is widely used in their culture. A winged dragon was on the banners of the imperial army, against which China“ neighbors were fighting for centuries. A genetic link of the Türkic uluğ ~ uluw and Chinese long “dragon“ (cf. Mongol luw, Kalmyk lun) can be seen not only in terms of semantics, but also taking into account the phonetic alternations typical for many Türkic languages. Despite the fact that the original Türkic words did not begin with sonants, the sound processes in speech practice were changing phonetic shape of individual words, violating that trend, as a result of complete reduction of the initial vowel appeared words with sonorous anlaut. Compared forms of the same lexemes:
Anc. Türkic uğlaq ~ Uzbek uloq ~ Kazakh laq ~ ılaq “goat
In the phonology of Türkic languages is known the alternation of sounds [ng] ~ [ğ]/[q] ~ [w] ~ [y]. Thus, in different languages and dialects within the same words a certain phoneme can be represented by the above versions:
Altai angdar- ~ Uzbek ağdar- ~ Kazakh awdar- “to turn, overturn“
/ Kazakh aqtar- “ransack,
rummage, turn over; empty“ ~ Uzbek ahtar- “search“;
Therefore, the Türkic and Chinese names for the “dragon“ year uluw and long are homogeneous and originated in the ancient Türkic language from a primary meaning of the word uluğ “large, huge, terrible“ (beast, animal) > “lizard, crocodile, dragon“. To find out the appearance of the word uluw meaning “snail“, befits to turn to the etymology of the word dragon < Greek drakōn “snake“, crocodile < Greek krokodeilos “crocodile, lizard“ < kroke “pebble“ + drilos “earthworm“, alligator < English alligator “Alligator“ < Spanish el lagarto “lizard“. In these examples we see a reflection in the language of the world perception features by most ancient people, that mentally united into a single class the reptiles: snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and the more primitive creeping animals: worms, caterpillars and snails (see Chinese chángchóng “snake“ < cháng “long, stretched“ + chóng “worm, insect“).
For another example, the Chinese word tay “big“ and its synonym da, likely of the same root with Türkic tay “trimmer foal, colt“ (of one year age, as distinct from qulın “foal under a year“), tay-qazan “large kazan (cauldron)“, and also its phonetic variation - Kazakh däw “large, huge, giant, colossus, devas“, cf. Bashkir däwğarın < däw qarın “large stomach“.
Türkic eren ~ ärän “man“ is associated with the Chinese
ren (another transcription “jen“)
In addition to the word huáng “yellow, shining, bright“, Chinese has same-rooted words: huàn “shine“, hua “light“ (see, for example, the lexeme huashu “birch“ < hua + shu “tree“, cf. Kazak aq qayıng), hua “flower“ (cf. Russian svet ~ tsvet [light ~ color]), hua - self-name of Chinese (Zhong Hua - the ancient name of China, cf. Kazak. quba qalmaq - the old name of Oirats).
The Chinese verb huà “transform, turn into, melt; dissolve“ corresponds to the Türkic word qubıl- (quba + bol-) “to change; change color“ (originally, a change of whittling green plants to yellow).
Can be observed a regular correspondence of the root [qap] ~ [huw] in the Türkic and Chinese:
Türkic qab(aq) “pumpkin“ ~ qaw(aq) “gourd from pumpkin“ and Chinese
hu “pumpkin; pot,
vessel of pumpkin, dishware of pumpkin“;
Semantic and phonetic proximity show the Kazakh quwan- ~ Kyrgyz quban- “rejoice“, Altai qubuq “joy“ and Chinese huan “happy“.
From the ancient root *qab- ~ *qaw- ~ *qow- formed such words as Türkic qap “gourd for storage of various items; envelop cover; bag“, qabaq “pumpkin“ (Russian kabak, kabachok), qawaq “gourd jar“ (used for milking and for storage of dairy products in poor families), Uzbek oş qowoq - edible pumpkin < oş “food“, suw qowoq - gourd of pumpkin < suw “water“, nos qowoq - “tobacco box“ nas < nos “snuff“, Kazakh qawğa ~ Turkish kova “leather bucket“, Kazakh qawaşaq ~ qawaşıq “buds of plants carrying seeds and kernels“ (Türkic tyurksk. qawaçaq > Old Rus ark “jewel casket“).
The apparent closeness is evident in the following words:
Chinese hén “very“ ~ Türkic eng ~ Gagauz hen “most, the most- “;
Given the fact that in the Chinese a concept of “sun“ is expressed by a compouns tài yáng, lit. “great illuminant“ and rì “sun, day“, we can presume that the the lexeme rì “sun“ is descended from the Türkic iri (yäng) “large (image)“.
Here are some other examples of the lexical-semantical parallels:
Chinese ān “know well, possess“ ~ Turkish an “awareness“, an- “understand“, Kazakh
angda- ~ angğar- “to understand, guess“;
The apparent semantic parallel is also found in the following example:
Chinese dan “egg“ ~ Türkic dan/dän “seed, kernel“. It should be noted that the concepts of egg and seed are close, see Uzbek tuhum “egg“ and Kazakh tuqım “seed offspring; clan; line“. The example from Kazakh language makes it visible how a phonetic variations of the same Türkic word from its original polysemy eventually develop into separate lexemes, retaining one from a number of similar meanings expressed by the initial word:
- uruğ > urıq “seed“ ~ uruw/ruw “clan“
In the following words occurred a similar reduction in the initial vowel: uruw > ruw, uluw > luw, comp. Türkic Rum ~ Urum ~ Urım ~ Ürim “Rum“ (Byzantium, Asia Minor, from the Latin Roma) > Russian Rim (city of Rome), Rym (in the saying “to pass/cross Crimea-Rym“, comp. Kazakh Ulıng Urım'ğa, Qızıng Qırım'ğa ketsin “Let (it happen that) your son would go to Asia Minor, and the daughter to the Crimea“ - a wish).
Let's review the following lexical parallels:
Chinese dàn “dawn, morning“ ~ Türkic tang “dawn“, Kumyk dang, Turkish dan “dawn“;
Possibly, the final interrogative particle hu came from the Türkic source, cf. particles in the Türkic languages: Kazakh qoy ~ ğoy, Azeri goy, Tatar quy, Uzbek ku, Gagauz ko, etc., formed from the verb qoy- “put“, which obtained new semantics “in fact, sure, let; come on“, these particles also are in the sentences with a questioning intonation. In the role of service words that Türkic verb is transmitted, for example, in the Russian language with a particle -ko ~ -ka (glyadi-ko, skaji-ka/look, tell me), in the Rutul (Dagestan) -ku “in fact“, in the argot of the Central Asian Gypsies: seb-a unar ko “Take an apple“ (seb is “apple“).
The particle ma in the Chinese language, which is attached to the end of the regular declarative phrase to form a general question, and the Türkic interrogative particle ma ~ mï (with phonetic variations) are functionally close.
To a certain extent are similar the Chinese interrogative particle ne and the Türkic interrogative pronoun ne “what“ that sometimes is used as a particle at the end of interrogative sentences.
The Chinese lexeme gang “steel“ is used as an element of some Turkic personal names: Qan-temir, Qam-bulat, in the term qandawïr ~ qandäwir “special surgical instrument for bloodletting“. In the dialects, is used a form kem-bolat: kembolat'tan tüyme “steel button“.
In Chinese word dasuan “garlic“ stands out the Türkic root suğan “onion“, to which is added a prefix formed from the adjective da “large“ (the word is written with two characters), see Turkish soğan, Kazan Tatar suğan, Gagauz soğan > suwan > suan “onion“.
The Chinese folk proverb “Teach children from an early age, and the wife from the first day of marriage“ appears to be a translation of the Türkic rhymed proverb, cf. Tatar Öyrät balang'nı yäş'tän, hatın'nı - baş'tan, lit. “Teach your child from young, and wife from the beginning“.
Another clear case of borrowing, testifying to a fairly old and close relationship that existed between the Central Asian nomads and farmers of the Yellow River valley. The Chinese lexeme bĕi (the earlier phonetic form preserved the Vietnamese borrowing from the South China dialects bac “north“) has a meaning of a geographical direction “north“. This lexeme formed as a result of appearing a new meaning for the word bèi “back, back side“, because of a normal prime orientation to the south. In the Mongolian and Türkic languages the name of the north is also associated with the words denoting “back side, back“: Mongol hoyt züg “back side“, ar “hind, back“ > “north“, Kazakh arqa bet “north side“, Türkic arqa “back, back side“ > Kyrgyz arqalıq “north“. Chinese bèi “back“ ascends to the root of a Nostratic *bk ~ *bg “to bend“, see Türkic bük- “bend“, bükle- “lay down by bending“, Kazakh bük ~ büge “convex side of a headstock“, bükşiy- “to bend, stoop“, Türkic bükir “hunchback; bent“, Turkish iğri büğrü “curve“, böğür “side“, Altai puğ- “bend“, Kazakh buğ- “bend“, Anc. Türkic boğun, Kazakh buwın “joint“, Old English bäc, Modern English back “back“, bow “bow weapon, fiddle bow, bow tie, to bow, to bend“, German. biegen “to bend, to arch“, bug “a bend; a joint“, bücken “to bend“, bückel “hump; back“, bügel “stirrup, strap“, bogen “bow, bend, arch, vault, bow weapon“, Old High German buog “top of shoulder joint, hip“, buogen “to bend“, Russian bok “right or left side of body or object “, etc.
Genetically similar appear to be the following lexemes:
Türkic baq- ~ bah- “look, watch, observe, look after, care for, educate, pasture cattle“, Lat. pastor “shepherd“, pater “father“, English father “father“, and Ukrainian batya “father“, Russian pasti “look after someone/something (cattle, poultry) during pasturing at a pasture“, Russian argotic pasti “monitor, observe, protect, escort, care for, pay attention“ (see the expression God forbid!, and the words spasat from the same root), compare Chinese bà “father“, bā “expect, long for“, bă “to guard, to protect“ (the semantics of the above words has developed from the initial meaning of “look“);
Türkic tüb ~ dip “bottom“, tübän ~ tömen “low“ ~ Lithuanian dubus “deep“, Russian dno (< *d'bno), derbi “lowlands overgrown with trees“, Goth diups “deep“, English deep “deep“ ~ Chinese dī “bottom; low“;
Türkic bod “body, build, height“, Kazakh boy “body, build, height, length, extent, shore“, Chuvash puy “height, body, build, trunk, stem, altitude, length“, Türkic bedük “tall, stature“, Kazakh biyik “tall“, Turkish büyük “great“, büyü- “to grow“ ~ English body “body, person; trunk“ ~ Old Indian bodhi “tree“, Greek botane “plant“, French. bouter “grow, swell“ ~ Mongol, Tungus mod “tree“ ~ Mari pu “tree“, Selkup po “tree“ ~ Chinese mu “tree“;
Türkic deng ~ döng “hill“ ~ Old English dun “hill, hill“, German düne “sand dunes, dune“ ~ Chinese dĭng “summit, top, tip“, dūn “hill, mound“;
Kazakh tüye ~ Turkish deve “camel“, Kazakh tüyequs ~ Turkish devekuşu “ostrich“ (lit. “bird-camel“) ~ Chinese tuó “camel“, tuó “ostrich“;
Türkic tong- “freeze“ ~ Chinese dòng “freeze“;
Türkic teng “equal“ ~ Chinese tóng “identical, the same, equal“;
Türkic kün toğar, Turkish doğu “east“ ~ Chinese dōng “east“;
Türkic lek “multitude“ ~ Chinese lĕi “multitude“;
Türkic küyme ~ köymä “covered wagon“ ~ Chinese guy “wagon“;
Kazakh archaic qaw “big“ ~ Chinese gāo “high“;
Türkic oğlan > ulan “boy“ > Chinese lang “boy, son“.
In the Chinese language for the borrowed words are typical the following phonetical adaptations: abbreviation to the first initial syllable of foreign-lingual lexemes, often accompanied by a loss of a final consonant of the word (sometimes such words have added a final -z):
Proto-Türkic *Tengir (yez) “Heavenly (metal)“ > Anc. Türkic kök temir “(meteorite, heavenly) iron“ > Türkic temir “iron“ > Chinese tiě “iron“;
Türkic tabışqan > tawşan “hare“ > Chinese tù ~ tùz (tù +-z) “hare“;
Türkic yağmur “rain“ > Chinese yŭ “rain“;
Türkic bağ ~ baw “union, clan union, administrative subdivision, district“ > Chinese bù “part; region; division“;
Türkic boğun “joint“ ~ boyun “neck“ > Chinese bóz (bó +-z) “neck“;
Türkic burın ~ bırın ~ murın ~ mırın “nose“ > Chinese bī “nose“;
Türkic ot ~ ut “fire“ > Chinese huŏ “fire“;
Türkic tükir- “spit “ > Chinese tǔ “spit“.
The military-political, economic and cultural contacts of Central Asian nomads and the Far East farmers continued for a long time. Undoubtedly, the centuries-long period of wars and peaceful trade, repeated settling of the Türkic peoples, individual tribes, and clans in the territory of the Northern China, and establishment there of the ancient "barbarian" states, drafting by the Chinese rulers of the steppe soldiers to participate in military activiities against neighboring states, to suppress popular uprisings, or for frontier duty facilitated that many Chinese who were trading with the nomads, or lived with them in the same settlements, mastered the Türkic language. With the speech of these Chinese, as well as with the bilingual Türks who settled among more numerous local population, Türkisms were penetrating into the vocabulary of the Chinese language.
For example, with a Türkic word qıyan (compare Kazakh qıyan-keski) “cutting“ in China became to be called hand weapons (sword, fencing sword) - jiàn, in the Chinese language appeared:
adjective jiān “sharp“ and verbs juān “cut“ and jiăn “clip , cut with scissors“, from which formed a word jiàn “a snip“, i.e. something that was cut off, separated, a part (cf. Chinese. gē “knife“ > gē “a snip“), also cf. Chinese jiān “difficult, hard“ and Türkic. qıyın “difficult, complicated“.
The examples cited in this paper represent only a small portion of the lexical mass of Türkisms in the Chinese. Many of the borrowed words undoubtedly passed into a category of archaisms in the course of the language development, and are not given in the modern dictionaries; the other words could only exist as provincial dialect. A search for them and analysis is one of the promising directions in the Turkology and Sinology.
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