Significant O/P works of reference that complement the focus of the Languages of Asia series that seeks to redress the balance of underrepresentation in Western scholarship of the following language families and isolates: Eskimo-Aleut, Chukchi-Koryak, Itel'men (Kamchadal), Tungustic, Yukaghir, Ainu, Nivx, Japonic (Japanese and Ryukyuan), Korean, Mongolic, Turkic, the Tibeto-Burman languages found in Central Asia (e.g. Tibetan or Tangut), Yeniseian, Burushaski and Uralic.
The present paper, an homage to B. Laufer’s “Asbestos and Salamander” (1915), adds South Asia to the story of a remarkable Eurasian cultural meme meant to explain the presence of fire-proof cloth after its manufacturing technology was forgotten, namely that asbestos was the fur of a mythical animal. I argue that none of our Sanskrit dictionaries contain the correct meaning of the term agniśauca, which does indeed mean asbestos. The widely shared motif explains why in Sanskrit literature too we have animals (a nondescript mṛga) by the same name. I examine textual passages from kāvya, purāṇas, as well as Buddhist sūtras and śāstras, to elucidate this topic. I also cite some evidence that in the period between the 9th and the 11th c. some areas of India still possessed knowledge of asbestos manufacturing. However, as for where and when the correlation was first made, I must leave the question open.
The Tevijja Sutta is an early Buddhist text notable for the way it addresses a problem in Brahmanical theology. Many have studied or cited the Tevijja Sutta, but for various reasons scholars have had trouble describing the problem that the sutta addresses. This article reviews some key developments in the modern academic study of the Tevijja Sutta and proposes a solution to interpretive difficulties associated with the text. The proposed solution leads to a more contextualized reading of the Tevijja Sutta and sheds light on Brahmins and Brahmanical theology in the early Buddhist period.
A new volume, Setting Out on the Great Way: Essays on Early Mahāyāna Buddhism (2018), collects essays on questions related to the origins of the Mahāyāna Buddhist movement. This review article considers the contributions, and offers a few observations on the state of the field.
This article introduces the Chinese Ideophone Database (CHIDEOD), an open-source dataset, which collects 4948 unique onomatopoeia and ideophones (mimetics, expressives) of Mandarin, as well as Middle Chinese and Old Chinese. These are analyzed according to a wide range of variables, e.g., description, frequency. Apart from an overview of these variables, we provide a tutorial that shows how the database can be accessed in different formats (.rds, .xlsx, .csv, R package and online app interface), and how the database can be used to explore skewed tonal distribution across Mandarin ideophones. Since CHIDEOD is a data repository, potential future research applications are discussed.
This short note provides phonetic and phonological arguments in favour of the explanation of the sound change *ld > nd in Tibetic proposed by Sprigg (1972). It is argued that an alternative explanation by Gong (2016), resting on a novel interpretation of the consonant system of Common Central Tibetan, is not supported by the data and has no conceptual advantages.
In 1981, Okumura Mitsuo reported that the dialect of Izumo Taisha in western Japan had preserved remnants of the separate tone class 2.5, which until then had only been found in dialects in central Japan. His discovery proved that this tone class had formed part of proto-Japanese, but the phonetic realization in Izumo and in central Japan was totally different. The article offers a reconstruction of the proto-system of the Izumo region, as well as an explanation of how class 2.5 came to be (partly) preserved in Izumo. It is argued that this was through a series of rightward shifts of the /H/ tone. These shifts radiated out from the northwestern part of the region. In the period, when the shifts were active, a contour tone on the second syllable of class 2.5 blocked rightward /H/ tone shift in this class. In this way, the contour tone, although later lost, left a trace in the modern dialects.
En adoptant, de manière originale, une approche inter-linguistique de la référence temporelle en chinois mandarin, cette étude vise à mener une investigation globale et exhaustive des différents moyens linguistiques et non-linguistiques par lesquels le mandarin exprime, en l’ absence de tout marquage morphologique de temps, la référence temporelle d’ une situation, ainsi que leurs riches interactions. Nous prenons part au débat récent entre l’ approche tensée (centrée sur les langues indo-européennes) et l’ approche non-tensée (centrée sur les différences typologiques du mandarin) de la référence temporelle en mandarin, et nous donnons des arguments théoriques et empiriques en faveur de la dernière.