February 09, 2012


It is quite sometime that I have been wondering about the etymology of bya rog (“crow, raven”). The first syllable is self-evident for it simply means “bird.” But what the hell does rog mean? Note that it is not rogs, which would have been easier though not necessarily better. We ought to have taken a look at the brDa dkrol, which states that rog po means nag po “black.” It is thus almost definitive (i.e. this time not just speculative) that the etymology of bya rog is “black bird.” What else can it be? By the way bya rog is also called pho rog but why? Also compare:

1. kha/zhal rog “silent” (e.g. kha rog sdod “stay/remain silent”)
2. pho rog
3. glag rog (Bod rgya)
4. glang rog (Bod rgya)
5. wa rog po (Bod rgya)
6. g.yag rog zhon chen (Bod rgya)
7. spyang rog “black wolf” (courtesy: Dan Martin)

1 comment:

  1. Except for the first, they are all used with animal names. But kha-rog with the meaning of keeping quiet is an old one, attested for early 13th century at least. Could add this one, based on p. 293 of Graham Sandberg, Tibet and the Tibetans, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (London 1906), as part of its quite extensive listing of animal names.

    •SPYANG ROG A mammal, the black wolf.