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ÚJCAMongolistika a tibetanistikaMongolica PragensiaMongolo-Tibetica Pragensia ´13, vol. 6/1

Mongolo-Tibetica Pragensia ’13 Linguistics, Ethnolinguistics, Religion and Culture Special Commemorative Issue in Honour of Prof. Jaroslav Vacek on his 70th Birthday Volume 6, No. 1 (2013)

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This special issue was prepared by Alena Oberfalzerová and Daniel Berounský

Editors-in-chief: Jaroslav Vacek and Alena 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. Lubsangdorji (Charles University Prague, Czech Republic)

Marie-Dominique Even (Centre National des Recherches Scientifiques, Paris, France)

Marek Mejor (University of Warsaw, Poland)

Tsevel Shagdarsurung (National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)

Domiin Tömörtogoo (National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)

Institute of South and Central Asia, Seminar of Mongolian Studies

Faculty of Philosophy, Charles University in Prague, Celetná 20, 116 42 Praha 1, Czech Republic

Publisher: Stanislav Juhaňák – TRITON


Praha (Prague) 2013

Registration number of MK ČR E 18436

ISSN 1803-5647


Tabula gratulatoria

Alena Oberfalzerová

Jaroslav Vacek – Life and Work

J. Lubsangdorji (Charles University in Prague)

Some questions concerning the Chinese transcription of the SHM II

In the course of transcribing the original manuscript of the SHM, which was written in Uighur-Mongolian script without any diacritics, many letters (graphemes) were read wrongly and in the Chinese sign transcription many new words appeared which had a completely different meaning. Besides that, the differentiating signs, which were invented in Chinese signs in order to mark the correct pronunciation of Mongolian sounds, were very often forgotten or were used incorrectly. And this became the source of incorrect translations, commentaries and interpretation of the SHM.

Ariel Laurencio Tacoronte (Charles University in Prague)

Grammatical descriptors of the language of The Secret History of the Mongols

The present article deals with the Chinese characters descriptive of Middle Mongolian suffixes, as used in the interlinear word for word translation of the Chinese transcription of The Secret History of the Mongols. Taking as the starting point the way Ming scholars tackled this problematic, I try to investigate more deeply the Middle Mongolian morphosyntactic phenomena, as reflected in this text. Conclusions are drawn as to the effective span and function of these particles.

D. Tumurtogoo (Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar)

Aleph and titem in the Mongolian script

This short paper discusses the question of the aleph and titem signs in the Mongolian script. Besides describing their origin and use in the system of the Mongolian script, the paper points out some aspects of their functioning in the writing system, their similarities and differences, which are also interpreted from the historical perspective.

Agata Bareja-Starzyńska, University of Warsaw

Some Undocumented Features of the Horizontal Square Script of Zanabazar

The Horizontal Square Script invented by Zanabazar circa 1686 has been analyzed and studied by several scholars, such as B. Rinchen (1952), G. Kara (1972, 2005) , Ts. Shagdarsüren (1981, 1986, 2001), and R. Byambaa (1997, 2005). These contributions have brought to light several records in the script written in Mongolian, Tibetan and Sanskrit.1 Nevertheless, there are several aspects of the script that were not observed by these scholars. The article provides information about usage of the Horizontal Square Script which have not yet been documented or commented in the scholarly literature, but which are important for advancing our understanding of the history and application of the script. Of particular importance, is that the sources analyzed here offer insights into the actual pronunciation of Mongolian at time of the texts’ composition and the way in which the orthography of the script may have been interpreted and expanded by the scribes of the time. These extensions of the Horizontal Square Script include the usage of signs that were not part of Zanabazar’s original design, and which have not been illuminated to date. The present paper was developed in part through discussions with Byambaa Ragchaa(giin) and Anshuman Pandey.

Ts. Shagdarsurung (Ulaanbaatar University & National University of Mongolia)

Russian Cyrillic – A New Script in Mongolia

The aim of this paper is to clarify the process by which the Russian Cyrillic Script was introduced into Mongolia (1941) under compulsion as a result of Stalinist politics. The author underlines the negative phenomena which resulted from the use of Russian Cyrillic orthography in modern Mongolian, and their impact on the communal speech culture, as well as on Mongolian traditional culture.

Alena Oberfalzerová (Charles University in Prague)

Unpleasantness and contentment as experienced by the Mongolian nomads II. Fear of animals

The present paper continues the topic discussed in Mongolo-Tibetica ’08 (Oberfalzerová 2008a), which discussed the sources of contentment of the Mongolian nomads, especially with relation to their native land (nutag), the place which is for ever linked to every individual. The topic was further discussed in another paper in Mongolo-Tibetica ’12 (Oberfalzerová 2012), which was devoted to the most elementary cause of unpleasantness to the nomads, namely the fear of ‘living Nature’, something like a basal and original emotion, which has been supported and developed for many centuries as part of Mongolian ethno-pedagogy and as an important communal means of protecting people against various dangers which arise from wild, untransformed surrounding nature. In the following paper I will discuss the fear of animals, especially wild animals. Animals are an important component part of the life of the nomads and also their basic source of livelihood. The protection of animals is the most essential factor for the survival in the surrounding wild natural environment.

Eva Obrátilová (Charles University in Prague)

Du’rsleh u’g and reference to shapes in selected Mongolian toponyms

Based upon a semantic analysis of Mongolian toponyms, this paper offers an overview of the most important thematic areas in Mongolian proper nouns. Taking into account the context of the use of proper nouns in communication, the method of giving names to places, traditions and taboos connected to proper names, this study depicts some of the ways in which Mongolian nomads show their understanding of the world, values and traditional ideas about the world. This study predominantly explores the motivation for the process of naming prominent geographical features. Mongolian oikonyms and anoikonyms try to depict as accurately as possible the shape, colour and position of a particular geographical form. That is why the repertoire of the Mongolian language in providing linguistic resources suitable for the process of naming is so extensive. The Mongolian language can depict the many different shapes of these landmarks. These linguistic resources include du’rsleh u’g [iconopoeic words], which help to build realistic plastic images of orographic formations or bodies of water. When these are uttered, the listener can visualize the real shape of the landmark without actually seeing it. These linguistic resources are ancient and can be translated to modern languages only with much difficulty or not at all.

Veronika Zikmundová (Charles University in Prague)

Verbs of motion in Sibe and Mongolian: The Sibe verb yaf- “to go”

The paper examines the Sibe verb yaf-, largely corresponding to the English verb ‘to go’. Using a sample of material from colloquial Sibe I attempt to outline the semantic field of the verb, including both its literal meaning and its most frequent and typical figurative meanings. The contours of the verb’s semantic field, as emerging from the examined material, suggest that the verb yaf- lacks some of the typical features of the verbs of motion in Sibe (which, in Talmy’s typology, belongs to the ‘verb-framed’ languages) and, instead, in its literal and figurative meanings appears to be close to the semantics of the verb with the meaning ‘to go’ in English and other languages, classified by Talmy as ‘satellite-framed’. The present paper will be followed by an examination of the Khalkha Mongolian verb yav-.

Zuzana Vokurková (Charles University in Prague)

Tibetan mixed speech: The influence of Chinese and English on modern spoken Tibetan

This paper is essentially aimed at showing the influence of Chinese on the modern Tibetan language spoken in Lhasa and central Tibet, and it also discusses a similar phenomenon of the influence of English (and also Hindi in India) on the Tibetan spoken in the exile communities. These influences are mainly in the area of the lexicon, not in the grammar.

J. Lubsangdorji

Vacek-Batsu’h in Mongolia (recollections)

Review Section

Elisabetta Chiodo, The Walther Heissig Collection of Mongolian Oral Literature. Verlag Ferdinand Schöning, Paderborn 2011, 110 pp.; ISBN 978‑3‑506‑77225‑1 – Reviewed by Klára Kočková

In the Heart of Mongolia. 100th Anniversary of W. Kotwicz’s Expedition to Mongolia in 1912. Studies and Selected Source Materials. Edited by Jerzy Tulisow, Osamu Inoue, Agata Bareja-Starzyńska and Ewa Dziurzyńska. Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cracow 2012, 413 pp.; Booklet with Indexes; Map; DVD; ISBN 978‑83‑7676‑133‑6 – reviewed by Ondřej Srba