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ÚJCAMongolistika a tibetanistikaMongolica PragensiaMongolo-Tibetica Pragensia´10, vol. 3/1

Mongolo-Tibetica Pragensia '10 Ethnolinguistics, Sociolinguistics, Religion and Culture Volume 3, No. 1 (2010)

Mongolo-Tibetica Pragensia '10, vol. 3/1


J. Vacek and A. Oberfalzerová

Editorial Board:

Daniel Berounský ( Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic), Agata Bareja-Starzyńska ( University of Warsaw, Poland), Katia Buffetrille ( École pratique des Hautes-Études, Paris, France), J. Lubsandorji ( Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic), Marie-Dominique Even (Centre National des Recherches Scientifiques, Paris, France), Tsevel Shagdarsurung ( National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia), Domiin Tömörtogoo ( National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)

Institute of South and Central Asian Studies, Seminar of Mongolian Studies

Faculty of Philosophy, Charles University in Prague

Celetná 20, 116 42 Praha 1, Czech Republic


Published by Triton


First edition, Praha (Prague) 2008

ISSN 1803-5647

Registration number of MK ČR E 18436

For acquisition please contact


Alena Oberfalzerová (Charles University in Prague): The use of iconopoetic words in spoken Mongolian

This paper discusses the subject dealt with in my previous paper. It describes systematically the group of words known as iconopoeia (words depicting images) and concentrates on the problem of their formation and meaning. Concrete examples show the active use of iconopoeia in spoken language as a modal means of expression. This topic is to be followed later by a discussion of two more groups – purely onomatopoetic words and words which depict both sound and image. The role of these words should also be shown in the historical context, of which one aspect is the oral tradition of the nomadic Mongols. This will best illustrate the use of onomatopoeia and iconopoeia in a natural context. Therefore the third part of this paper includes an example of a fairy tale, in which this means is used as an essential part of the construction of the narrative.

Eva Obrátilová (Charles University in Prague) : Personal names among Mongolian nomads

The paper treats the semantic meanings of proper names among Mongolian nomads and describes traditional customs connected with the practise of name-giving in this nomadic cultural area. A name for a newborn child is not chosen accidentally but according to a wide range of habits and precautions which are meant to ensure good health and happiness in its future life. In the Mongolian cultural environment the awareness of the magical power of words is still alive and widespread among the people and this factor influences the motivation for the choice of a name for a newborn baby. The semantic meaning of a name contains a strong importance for the person who carries the name, which may also affect the child’s future life in a positive or negative way. Therefore we can differentiate three main forms of motivation for proper names – beneficial, protective and taboo.

J. Lubsandorji (Charles University in Prague) : The Secret History of the Mongols in the mirror of metaphors (3)

Venus of the Khorchin Mongols and Etügen

This paper continues the discussion of The Secret History of the Mongols in the mirror of metaphors. In the course of the field work carried out by the members of the Seminar of Mongolian Studies of Charles University among the Khorchins, we found a figurine of Venus as it was known about twenty to twenty-four thousand years back. In my opinion we could link it with the old Mongolian name Etügen. Based on this premise I will try to explain the words эх, этүгэн, нутаг, which represent essential concepts of the culture and belief of the nomads from the very beginning of their history. In the SHM we can find a number of culturally significant words derived from them, like e.g. eke, keke, ke’eli, e’ede, e’enegče; ötökü, ötög, ötögüle’ül-, for which I will offer an explanation of their origin, metaphorical meaning and role in Mongolian spiritual culture. I will also present my own interpretation of some very problematic words found in the Secret History of the Mongols (SHM), which have proved hard nut to crack both for its translators and for Mongolists of the past – e.g. Ötökü yeke qan (§189), ötöküs kebtegül (§230), ötög uγsan-u qoina (§154), erkin egede (§154), egenegče qoimar (§165) and the like.

Pavel Rykin ( Institute of Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg)  : Towards the etymology of Middle Mongolian Bodončar ~ Bodančar

The author provides an etymology for Middle Mongolian Bodončar ~ Bodančar which was the name of the famous ancestor of Genghis Khan. The morphological structure of the name is analyzed, its derivation is discussed, linguistic parallels from Written Mongolian and the living Mongolic languages are considered in detail. Based on the analysis of all kinds of data available, the author comes to the conclusion that MMo. Bodončar ~ Bodančar is derived from *boda.nčar ‘ancestor, forefather’.

Jaroslav Vacek (Charles University in Prague) : Verba dicendi and related etyma in Dravidian and Altaic

5.1. Etyma with initial vowels (i-, e-, u-, o-, a-) and root-final stops, affricates, nasals and glides

The paper deals with the first part of the last formal group in the series presenting the material collection of verba dicendi arranged according to their formal phonetic structure (starting with Vacek 2003ff.). The present subject is verb roots beginning with vowels (i-, e-, u-, o-, a-) and finishing with stops, affricates, nasals or glides, excepting liquids and retroflex stops. The paper is structured in a similar way to the previous papers and collects material parallels from individual Mongolian, Manchu-Tungus, Turkic and Dravidian languages. Besides verba dicendi in the narrow sense of the word, the paper also includes formally similar roots representing the semantic extensions of the verba dicendi, verbs describing various noises, and also the onomatopoetic expressions with the same formal structure of the VC- root.

Review Section:

Svetlana Menkenovna Trofimova, Grammatičeskie kategorii imennyh osnov v mongol’skih jazykah (Semantiko-funkcional’nyj aspekt). Izdatel’stvo kalmyckogo universiteta, Elista 2009, 282 pp. Paperback, ISBN 978-5-91458-038-1 – Reviewed by Rachel Mikos

Ц. Шагдарсүрэн, Эх хэлээ эвдэхгүй юм сан… Монгол хэлний мөн чанар, онцлог, одоогийн байдал, олон нийтийн эх хэлний боловсрол,сөрөг үзэгдэл [We should not spoil our mother tongue... (Essence of the Mongolian language, its special character, present-day condition, communal speech culture, negative phenomena) ]. Монгол Улсын Их Сургууль, Улаанбаатар 2010, 324 pp.; ISBN 999295315-2 – Revied by J. Lubsangdorji