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On the Tangut Verb Phrase in The Sea of Meaning, Established by the Saints

Pages 15 - 25


Compared with other Tangut material, the Sea of Meaning, Established by the Saints, kept at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in Russia and first studied by Prof. Kychanov, includes only a limited number of sentences using complicated verb-phrases. The number of prefixes is also rather small, considering the overall size of the textual material. However, we can observe interesting examples of Pref1 functioning as directional markers and it may therefore be suggested that the Pref1 originally had a directional function before evolving into a ‘perfective’ marker. Besides, we have found differing types of verb-phrases, such as ‘Negative prefix-Verb stem-Auxiliary verb’ and ‘Verb stem-Negative prefix-Auxiliary verb’. The analysis presented here will contribute to the future study of the verb-phrase structure of the Tangut language.

西夏《聖立義海》中的動詞句結構已故克恰諾夫博士遺下西夏學上的偉大成就。博士的《聖立義海研究》是有名的一書。俄国東洋文献研究所所蔵十二世紀印刷的西夏刊本《聖立義海》。根据本書、我考察了西夏語法、特別動詞句。《聖立義海》供給貴重的例句(前綴詞、否定詞等)。在有関文献、1)西夏語動詞前綴詞(称為〈前綴詞1〉)機能作為〈指示動作方向〉、不是〈指示行為完了〉。2)在否定構文、観察二層結構:a 否定前綴詞-動詞詞幹-助動詞,b 動詞詞幹-否定前綴詞-助動詞。

Tokyo University of Foreign Studies 東京外国語大学

1 The corpus of his excellent works was published in 2008. See Кычанов Е. И., Историятангутского государства. (St. Petersburg: Факультет филологии и искусств Санкт –Петербургского государственного университета, 2008). See his bibliography in Тангуты вЦентральной Азии – Сборник статей в честь 80-летия профессора Е.И. Кычанова, (Moscow: Издательская фирма «Восточная литература», 2012), pp. 15–57.

2 For a general study of Sea of Meanings, see E. I. Kychanov 克恰諾夫, Li Fanwen 李範文 and Luo Maokun 羅矛昆, Shengli yihai yanjiu 聖立義海研究 (Yinchuan: Ningxia renmin chubanshe, 1995) and Кычанов Е. И., MoPe значений, установленных святыми. Изданиетекста, предисловие, перевод с тангутского, комментарий и приложения Е. И. Кычанова. (St. Petersburg: Центр «Петербургское Востоковедение», 1997).

3 The following abbreviations apply: AV: auxiliary verb, CM: case marker, Neg: negation, O: object, Pref1/2/3: prefix series 1, 2 or 3, S: subject, Suff: suffix, V: verb, 1sg: first person singular.

4 The samples of Verb Complex and Verb Agreement are from Arakawa Shintarō 荒川慎太郎, Seika-bun Kongō-kyō no kenkyū 西夏文金剛経の研究 (Ph.D. Litt. Dissertation, Kyoto University, 2002).

5 Nishida Tatsuo 西田龍雄, “Seika-go” 西夏語 in Gengogaku Daijiten 言語学大辞典 vol. 2 T. Kamei, et al., eds, Tokyo: Sanseido, 1989), p. 419r.

6 The system of phonetic transcription is given according to Arakawa 2002, pp. 59–61. ‘1’ means ‘high-level tone’ and ‘2’ means ‘low-rising tone’.

7 K. B. Kepping (Кепинг К. Б.), Тангутский язык. Морфология. (Moscow: Nauka, 1985), Gong Hwang-Cherng 龔煌城, “Tangut” in The Sino-Tibetan Languages (G. Thurgood and R. J. LaPolla, eds, London: Routledge, 2003), pp. 602–620, and Arakawa Shintarō, “On the Tangut Verb Prefixes in ‘Tiansheng Code”’ in Тангуты в Центральной Азии – Сборник статей вчесть 80-летия профессора Е.И. Кычанова, (Moscow: Издательская фирма «Восточнаялитература», 2012), pp. 58–71. In Nishida (1989: 420r), it is regarded as an ‘optative’ marker which is out of the set.

8 The surviving past of the text is less than half of the original volume. The total of Tangut characters is 17,612 (large: 3,135, small: 14,477).

9 Hereafter we show the place where the prefix is used in brackets. For example, ‘SM5, Ch. 14, HM10_257Al5’ means ‘In volume 5 of SM, chapter 14, on the 5th line of the left page, Plate A (the upper plate), p. 257 of HM vol. 10’. Plate B indicates a lower plate.

10 桂1‘a?- 1A besides being used as a prefix it represents grammatical function of ‘measure or unit’. In samples, it actually means “one”. 桂頂1'a? 2lyuq “one body”(SM5, Ch. 14, HM10_257Al5). The prefix 冂 2wI:- 1W is also used as an element of idioms such as “like, such as” 冂偶 2wI: 2syu “like, such as”(SM5, Ch. 13, HM10_251Bl1).

11 Hereafter, the author annotates all translations which differ from Kychanov's.

12 The ‘four seas’ implies ‘all directions’.

13 In Arakawa 2012: 63, based on the research of the prefixes appearing in other Tangut material, the Tiansheng 天盛 Code, the tendency of the kinds of verb following 1D is: lose, throw away, give, declare, damage, etc.

14 In Arakawa 2012: 63, the tendency of the kinds of verb following 1R is: do, make, go, etc.

15 In Arakawa 2012, Prefix 篠 2dI:- 3D is followed by verbs with related meanings, for example, ‘steal, capture, rob …’ i.e. to obtain something illegally or forcibly.


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