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Antonio Panaino

The present article deals with the semantics of the stems aiiara- and asniia-, which occur in the framework of a particular liturgical formula (Y. 1,17; 2,17, etc.) together with three other designations of temporal ratu-s: one connected with the “month”, māhiia-, and the other two with the “year”, the first one (yāiriia-) concerning the seasonal periods and festivals (Gāhānbār-s), the second one (sarə δ a-) referring to the entirety of the year as a longer time period with its potential multiples. The first two terms, in their turn, express two different notions of the “day” as aiiar-/aiian- or as azan-/asn-. I will argue that aiiara- concerns the day in its complete duration (starting from the dawn as the beginning of the diurnal time), probably including the thirty days of the month (as single days or as a multiple of any day). The second word, asniia-, involves the internal divisions and, then, refers to the different gāh-periods. Finally, I shall demonstrate that this semantic difference is better understood in parallel with the logical and mathematic distinction between “discrete” and “continuous” units.

Laurent SAGART

Based on a survey of 21 languages chosen to represent the diversity of Sino-Tibetan, this paper proposes that all Sino-Tibetan languages except Chinese have lost a phonological distinction between two Proto-Sino-Tibetan codas, *-q (Old Chinese *-ʔ, dialectally *-k) and *-k (Old Chinese *-k): the two codas merged as *-k in Proto-Tibeto-Burman. It is shown that the Proto-Sino-Tibetan *-q/*-k distinction as reflected in Old Chinese is correlated with the same distinction in Proto-Austronesian.

敏華 江 and Min-hua CHIANG

This article explores the comparison of inequality in Hakka, the investigation of which includes data collected from fieldwork in Taiwan, dialectal materials, and early Hakka missionary documents. What is in common in the comparison of inequality in Hakka is the coexistence of two word orders, while the diversities are represented in the predicates occurred in the ‘exceed’ type of comparative, and the lexical forms of comparative degree marker. Three issues are discussed in this article: (i) the type of comparative indigenous to Hakka; (ii) the causes of double comparative marker; (iii) the semantic evolutions of the comparative degree marker ‘GUO’.

Contact-induced change in the Dongxiang language

The emerging category of classifier

Julie LEFORT

Dongxiang is a Mongolic language from a peripheral linguistic branch mainly spoken by 300,000 speakers in Southeast Gansu in the People’s Republic of China. The Dongxiang language has been particularly influenced by the neighboring Chinese variety of Linxia, which has induced important changes on the phonological and lexical systems, while causing only a few changes on the syntactic level. In this paper I will discuss the emerging category of classifiers in the Dongxiang language by comparing different sources available. I will show that, even though measure words are present in all Mongolic languages, the use of classifiers is rare and has been induced by language contacts with Chinese. I will describe the different types of classifiers, borrowed or calqued, and will discuss in particular the use and functions of the classifier kozi. This classifier seems to have appeared quite recently and its origin is uncertain. I will show that it cannot be considered as a lexical item, as it does not always carry the semantic meaning of its Chinese counterpart, and cannot be identified as a structural borrowing either, as its syntactic functions are still unclear.

Conundrums in Indology

II. Zum achtbeinigen Śarabha

Walter Slaje

A Śarabha is generally understood as an eight-legged monster, surpassing even elephants and lions in strength. A closer inspection of the sources reveals that the evidence for such a one-sided determination is entirely lacking. The notion of a Śarabha has a complex history. Its earliest attestation as a monster occurs only in late strata of the Mahābhārata. Despite this fact, the monstrous nature of a Śarabha was projected in an anachronistic manner indiscriminately onto other literatures as well. Starting, however, from the Atharvaveda, all texts previous to, or uninfluenced by, the Smārta tradition – in particular Buddhist, but also Jain ones –, keep to a different conception, one of an ordinary animal. The present article deals with the original zoological identity of the Śarabha as Mārkhor (Capra falconeri Wagn.) and with the misconceptions that motivated its gradual development into a monster.

Cosmogonic Sacrifice

A Ghost Zoroastrian Doctrine

Amir Ahmadi

A number of prominent scholars of Zoroastrianism have recently taken up Marijan Molé’s thesis that Ahura Mazdā created the world by way of a sacrifice. This article examines the sources that have been adduced for the thesis. It concludes that neither in Avestan nor Pahlavi texts do we find any evidence for the supposed cosmogonic sacrifice.

Devotion and Dominion

Ninth-Century Donations of a Pāṇḍyan King in Temples along the River Kāvēri

Valérie Gillet

This article presents and analyses a corpus of thirty Tamil inscriptions located in the region of the Kāvēri river related to a Pāṇḍyan king called Māṟañcaṭaiyaṉ Varaguṇa Mahārāja. This king, identified as Varaguṇa II whose reign may have begun around 862 A.D., appears to have conquered the Kāvēri region and maintained his sovereignty over this highly coveted territory over a period of 13 years, starting in his 4th regnal year. Almost half of the epigraphs gathered in this corpus record donations by the king himself, and, if the places where they were engraved seem to echo a sacred pattern found in the Tamil hymns of Bhakti, bestowing upon Varaguṇa an aura of king-devotee, these gifts, inserted in a network of significantly powerful locations in the socio-political and religious context of the 9th century, become “gifts of power”.

Mark J. ALVES

Specialists in Chinese historical phonology have claimed that some Vietnamese words with final /-j/ come from Old Chinese words with final *-r. This is reasonable to speculate as Proto-Austroasiatic finals *-r and *-l became final /-j/ in Vietnamese, parallel to the case in Sinitic. However, these Vietnamese words offer little evidence for OC *-r. Vietnamese did borrow a number of Late Old Chinese or Early Middle Chinese words reconstructed with final *-r after *-r merged with *-n in Eastern Han or later, and thus these words also have /-n/ in Vietnamese. Several other Vietnamese words with final /-j/ which are possibly from Old Chinese words having *-r were borrowed earlier in the BCE period, likely before large migrations of Sinitic speakers arrived. Those words include verbs and an adjective, words less likely than nouns to be borrowed without large bilingual communities. The small number of words and general uncertainty suggests some Vietnamese words with /-j/ purportedly from Old Chinese words with *-r may be chance similarities. Few are probable Chinese loanwords from that period.