Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nude tengereg nga shage yi

The Fall semester has begun and I don’t know where summer went. I am currently enrolled in three courses: Cultural Anthropology, Ancient Maya Civilization, and Discourse Analysis.

As you may have noticed from the last several posts with photos, I did take a two-week break to go on my research trip to the Northeast (Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine). I was also working on an article on Rumsen Ohlone folklore that is about to be published in the Journal of Folklore Research. It has gone through the peer-review process and is now in the final editing stage.

I spent much of the summer working on my Graduate Research Assistanceship (GRA) project with the Southwest Monguor language of central China. This is, at its base, a Mongolic language (‘Monguor’ derives from Mongol), with an admixture of Tibetan (primarily through the practice of Buddhism) and a northern dialect of Chinese.

The title of this post is in SW Monguor and means “Today the weather is very good.” Any of you who’ve seen the movie Mongol might recognize the Monguor word for ‘sky’ or ‘weather', tengereg, as being related to the name of the Mongolian sky god Tengri often mentioned in that film.

Here are a few more examples of the language:

be lhoma yi.
1S student COP.dir
‘I am a student.’

be hengen de yi.
1S teacher also COP.dir
‘I am also a teacher.’

qe rjacoh gaje mede u?
2S Chinese.Mongolian(Monguor) language know PRT.inter
‘Do you know the Monguor language?’

njang-ne aabe hale yi?
3S-GEN father where COP.dir
‘Where is his father?’

You might note from the above that Monguor is very much a 'mixed' language, since, for example, lhoma 'student' is actually Tibetan, while tengereg (< tenger), nude (< önöödör), mede (< medekh) are Mongolian in origin.

Quite an interesting tongue!

A note on pronunciation: e is pronounced like an English schwa or uh sound and lh is a lateral fricative.


Anonymous said...

Hi, great language blog you have here! Would you be interested in doing a link exchange? Just send me an e-mail (learnthatlanguagenow (at) with your URL and I'll add your link to my blog. You can add my link as "Learn That Language Now". I look forward to reading more blog entries from you. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Robbie has posted this exact comment on several linguistics blogs recently; he's probably a spammer.

I can't tell where, but you confused "student" and "teacher" somewhere... you translate lhoma as both.

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

Thanks, David. I just changed it. That second one should have been "student."

Yeah, Robbie is trying to sell a book to raise money for a trip. I wish him luck, but I don't particularly care for my blog to be used as a commercial tool.