Tibetan Loan-words In Mongolian
the introduction of Tibetan Buddhism in the second half of the XVI-th century A. D. powerfully influenced the culture and speech of Mongolia. The Mongols are known to have had considerable cultural contacts with Central Asian tribes professing Buddhism, and we know that in the early days of the Mongol Empire, Mongols were familiar with Buddhist Culture through the Uighurs, through whom
they obtained a large number of Sanskrit loan-words in Sogdian and Uighur garb. During these early contacts the general tendency was to incorporate Sanskrit Buddhist terms without attempting to translate them into Mongolian, a practice no doubt due to the paucity of philosophic terminology. The first Tibetan contacts go back to the Imperial Period, to the XIII-th century when a number of Tibetan
Buddhist hierarchs, heads of influential Buddhist sects, were invited to the Mongol Imperial Court. The famous 'Phags-pa bLa-ma ( 1235-1280 ) was the author of the so-called National '"square" script ( dörbeljin, or Hor-yig ) which was introduced by Imperial Edict in 1269 A. D., and was based on the Tibetan dbu-can script. The first translations from Tibetan evince a tendency to translate Buddhist philosophic and religious terms into Mongolian avoiding the incorporation of Sanskrit loan-words. In this Tibetan translators of Buddhist texts into Mongolian followed the tradition established by the early Tibetan lǒ-tsā-bas, or translators of Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Tibetan, who had adopted the policy of translating Sanskrit terms instead of incorporating them as loan-words. This policy was adopted in the IX-th century. Prior to that there was a time in the history of the spread of Indian Buddhism in Tibet when Sanskrit words were incorporated as loan-words, for example the use of the Sanskrit dharma, "law, doctrine", instead of the usual Tibetan chos. This
style of writing persisted until recent times in Khams-Derge in Eastern Tibet. The work of translating Tibetan Buddhist texts continued throughout the XIV-XV-XVI centuries. It received a new impetus in the second half of the XVI-th century resulting from the religious and political alliance of the third Dalai Lama bSod-nams
rgya-mtsho and Altan-qan of the Tümed Mongols ( 1577-8 A. D. ) when one of the Khalkha Mongol Princes, Abatai, paid a visit to Köke-qoto in Southern Mongolia and met the Dalai Lama. On his return to North Mongolia he built the first Khalkha Buddhist monastery of Erdeni-jū in 1585-6. The XVII-th century saw the beginning of a great literary renaissance in Southern Mongolia under Ligdan-qan ( 1604-1634 ) when the Tibetan bKa'-'gyur was translated into Mongolian ( 1624 ). Many of the Tibetan loan-words, especially technical philosophic terms, were incorporated in the XVIII-th century when appeared the revised xylograph edition of the bKa'-'gyur in 1720, and the classical form of the Mongol language was finalized.
The bulk of Tibetan loan-words, however, belongs to a later period, to the second half of the XVIII- and XIX-th centuries which coincided with the spread of monkhood in Mongolia supported by the Manchu Emperors when Mongol monks in ever increasing numbers entered Tibetan monasteries for study. First came the
philosophical and religious terms which were adopted as loan-words by the translators of the Tibetan Canon into Mongolian under Ligdan-qan. Then, with the spread of the knowledge of the Tibetan language, single words and even whole expressions used in the every day life became incorporated into Mongolian, to such an extent that a person knowing spoken Mongolian will find it difficult to understand his interlocutor speaking the monastic jargon loaded with Tibetan loan-words. A sentence can entirely consist of Tibetan words furnished with Mongolian declensional and verbal suffixes. The sGo-maṅs College or ḍr̯a-ts'ang (grwa-tshaṅ) of the great Ḍrē-pung ('Bras-spuṅs ) monastery in Lhasa which usually has a large number of Mongol monks, is credited with the creation of this monastic jargon. All we can say at present, is that this jargon must have originated among Mongol monks resident in Tibet, and then spread slowly throughout the Mongol monasteries. With the establishment of Manchu suzerainty in Mongolia in the end of the XVII-century, there developed a special feudal relationship between the Manchu throne and the Mongol princes which influenced the language of the chancelleries of
the Mongol princely principalities or qoshūns, and developed a special Mongol epistolary style. This epistolary style developed under a triple influence : Chinese, Manchu and Tibetan. In monasteries and at the courts of high church dignitaries, the influence of classical Tibetan was paramount and many of the standard expressions used in letters were simply translations of existing Tibetan honorific
expressions. In the chancelleries of the princely prircipalities the influence of Manchu and Chinese was considerable throughout the period of Manchu domination. In recent years with the development of the new National language based on the spoken idiom, the number of Tibetan loan-words began to decrease.
The Mongol pronunciation of Tibetan is based on the East Tibetan dialect (Khams) with the characteristic treatment of velars as palatals, for example:
Mongol pronunciation: cc', "dog"; Khams: cc' i; Classical Tibetan khyi; Lh. kc'i.
Mongol pronunciation : j'e-bo, "king"; Khams : j' e-po; Classical Tibetan : rgyal po; Lh. g' e-po.
The systems of pronouncing Tibetan words in Khalkha Mongolian and in South Mongolia are different. This must have been due to the existence of two currents of Buddhist propagation in Northern Mongolia in the XVI-XVII-th centuries, from Jungaria ( Neiji-toyin ) and from South Mongolh and Amdo. The difference is mainly observed in the treatment of Tibetan consonantal diphthongs,
Khalkha : datsang, "college" < Tib. grwa-tshaṅ
Khalkha : Dashi, pers. name < Tib. bkra-śis; Lh. ṭṛa-śī; South Mongolian: rashi.
Khalkha : Dondub, pers. name. < Tib. Don-grub ; Lh. T-trup; South Mongolian: Donrub.
As can be seen from the above examples the Khalkha pronunciation stands nearer to standard Tibetan. As observed by the late Professor B. Vladimirtsov in his Sravnitel'naya Grammatika Mongolskogo pis'mennogo yazyka, I, Leningrad, 1929, p. 367, Tibetan has influenced the phonetic peculiarities of the Mongol speech and under its influence modern Mongols have learned to pronounce an initial 'r', originally absent in Mongolian, for example : rimbe, "order, class" < Tib. rim-pa.
Tibetan loan-words can be divided into two classes:
1. loan-words proper. Tibetan words incorporated into Mongol speech, for example : jürlej baina, "it changes."
2. Tibetan expressions translated into Mongolian, especially numerous in the Mongol epistolary style, for example motor bicig "letter" (hon.)
bolǵōxōr morilox, "to inspect", (bolǵaǵa-)
oldzosong dēre, "at the meeting," translates the Tibetan mjal-thog.
In Tibetan loan-words, the principle of vowel harmony is observed. The class of the vowel in the first syllable determines the vowels of the next syllables, for example : shülex, "to ask, request, report" < Tib. zhu-ba ; Lh. shu-wa.
There are a few exceptions to this general rule, mostly observed in the speech of Mongols fluent in Tibetan, for example : shabdeng, "service, prayer" < Tib. zhabs-brtan; Lh. shap-tē̃.
In individual speech the word is often pronounced shabdang, the vowel of the second syllable becoming a back ( or hard ) vowel.
mon-som, "resolve" < Tib. smon-sems, Lh. m-sem. Through the influence of the back vowel in the first syllable, the vowel of the second syllable has become 'o' ( a back vowel ).
The usual Mongol pronunciation of the Tibetan chos, "law, doctrine' is coi, but under the influence of Modern Tibetan pronunciation it is pronounced cö in many compounds, for example : cölügtē, "religious' < Tib chos-lugs, Lh. c'ö-lū.
xace cölügtē, "a Muslim" < Tib. Kha-che chos-lugs; Lh. K`a-c`e c`ö-lū.
In nouns declensional suffixes are added directly to the noun observing the usual harmony rules, for example the suffix of the Dative -d(da), -t is usual after final v (w), g, r, and s.
tugdam, "thought, opinion, mind"
noyong, tugdamd yū bolgōj baina (waina), "Sir, what is your opinion ?"
( Cf. tugdam amugulang-ügei bolsong, "(his) mind became disturbed." )
tsam, "meditation" < Tib. mtshamst Lh. ts'am.
tsāmd sātaj baina, "he meditates" ( sagata- ).
shabdeng, "religious service" < Tib. shabs-brtan; Lh. - zhap-tē̃.
shabdēnd yawax., "to go for a religious service in a private house."
näikor, "pilgrimage" < Tib. gnas-skor; Lh. nē-kor.
näikort yawax, "to go on pilgrimage."
gombad sūx, "to live in a monastery."
Instrumental The suffix is -ār, -ēr, -ōr. After a long vowel or a diphthong, ǵ(g) is inserted.
näikorār yawax, "to go on pilgrimage." < Tib. gnas-skor.
tangni¸omār-sūdag xüng, "a steady man." < Tib. btań sńoms; Lh. tang-
ńom, Skt. upekşā.
pilingēr bicix, "to write in English." < Tib. phi-lin ~ phyi-glin; Lh. cc'i ling.
Genetive. The suffix is -n after diphthongs, -īn after vowels and consonants except final 'n' -ī after final 'n'.
lamīn orong, "the dwelling of a monk" < Tib. bla-ma ; Lh. la-ma.
lobbonī, "of the ācārya." < Tib. slob-dpon, Lh. lop-pō̃.
Ablative. The suffix is -ās. -ēs, -ōs, -s.
shünggēs awsang "(he) took from the government." < Tib. gzhuṅ; Lh. skung.
gombās irseng. "(he) came from the monastery."
Comitative. Suffix -tai/-tei (tē) /-toi.
ngarjiltē, "proud, haughty." ngarjil ixetē, "very proud." < Tib. ṅa-rgyal, Lh. ngarg'e.
tsöndütē, ''assiduous." Tib. brtson-'grus ; Lh. tsȫ-ḍṛ.
īm latē waina, "he gets so much ( wages )." < Tib. gla; Lh. la.
ix gowatē baina, "(he) is very clever." < Tib. go-ba ; Lb ko-wa.
rewatē, "hopeful." < Tib. re-ba ; Lh. re-wa, "hope."
contē, "harmful" < Tib. skyon; Lh. c', "harm."
contē baina, "it is harmful."
larj'atē, "conceited." < Tib. la-rgya; Lh. larj'a.
larj'atē uls, "conceited people."
singgagtē, "with bodyguard."
Dalai-lam dörwön singgagts, "the Dalai Lama has four bodyguards."
Formative suffixes -la/ -le : The suffix is added to the stem.
norlax (nor-la-x), "to make a mistake." < Tib. nor-ba ; Lh. nor-wa
norlād xayasang, "threw away by mistake."
The form norlox is also met with. Ex. norloj waina, "(he) is
tarlax (tar-la-х), "to become free,"
tablax ~ tawalax ( tawa-la-x ), "to establish."
gomba tablasang, "( he ) established a monastery." Cf. Tib. dgon-pa
btab-soń; Lh. gom-pa tap-song.
barlax ( bar-la-x ), "to increase." Tib. 'phar-ba ; Lh. p'ar-wa,
gaglax, "to stop, forbid." < Tib. bkag-pa, pf. of 'gegs-pa ; Lh. kak-pa.
tsuglax, ( tsug-la-x ) "to establish,"
yarlax ( yar-la-x ), "to borrow, to loan,"
ünīg nada yarlaj ög, "loan it to me."
damcālax ( damc-la-x ), "to keep a vow,"
shülex ( shü-le-x ), "to request.'
shüdelex ( shüde-le-x ), "to correct."
( The Tibetan 'u' is taken by the Mongols for a front vowel, hence the vowel of the second syllable becomes a front vowel according to the rule of vowel harmony).
shorlox ( shor-lo-x ), "to lose, to be defeated."< Tib. śor-ba ; Lh. śor-wa
bantogolox ( bantogo-lo-x ), "to assist, to help."
Lh. p'ē-t'ō-pa ~ p'ē-t'ōk-pa
Suffix-na/-ne added to stems ending in the nasal sounds -ng and -m
gomnax ( gom-na-x ), "to meditate." < Tib. sgom-pa ; Lh. gom-pa.
tsomnax ( tsom-na-x ), "to compose." < Tib. rtsom-pa ; Lh. tsom-pa.
Suffix -da- :
comdax, "to attack" ( com-da-x ). < Tib. bcom-pa.
comdād baina, "(they) attack".
Nomen usus expressing a customary or usual action.
gogordog xüng, "a cheat" < Tib. mgo-shor ; Lh. gokor ~ go-kō
gogordog baina, "he is constantly cheating" ( gogor-dog ).
In compound verbs ( noun + verb ), the noun is often a Tibetan loan-word.
jindag (jhandag) garsang, "(he) got a lay-supporter." < Tib. sbyin-bdag;
Lh. c'in da, Skt. dānapati.
tagsal xeleltsex "to conduct a philosophic disputation "
gür tatax "to put a tent " < Tib gur; Lh. kur
lha būx, "to get inspired or possessed bv a deity " < Tib lha
lha būjē "(he) was inspired by a deity."
gong-ba shülex, "to ask leave " < Tib dgons-pa zhu-ba Lh. gong-pa shu wa
amarxang gong ba shülex-ügei, "he will not retire quietly"
shabdang tarax, "to disperse after a religious service "
shabdang umsilax 'to conduct a religious service "
tsa-tsig dzarlax, "to issue a proclamation " < Tib. rtsa-tshig; Lh tsa-tscik
dzed tawix "to distribute money to monks "
arabnai örgöx, "to consecrate,"
jiwā awsang xüng "incarnated man "
shlmed xīseng, 'destroyed completely '
The above are a few examples to show the character of the mixed dialect spoken by Mongol monks in Monasteries. The dialect is not limited to Tibetan-speaking Mongols, but is widely used by all the inmates of Buddhist monasteries. There exist several varieties of the jargon. In the great monastery of Lawrang(bLa-brań bKra-śis-'khyil) in Amdo the Mongol monks speak a mixed dialect in which most of the vocabulary is borrowed from the local Amdo (Tangat) dialect.
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