February 01, 2012



1. sgo nga
2. sla nga
3. lha nga “knee-cap”
4. gdam nga
5. zung nga (Bod rgya)
6. yung nga (Bod rgya)
7. ’ching nga (Bod rgya)
8. ru nga (Bod rgya)

The Bod rgya, for instance, states that sgong is a contraction of sgo nga but perhaps sgo na is a contraction of sgong nga, which, however, seems not to be recorded there. The Bod rgya seems to take for granted that sgong occurs only in a bisyllabic compound as in bya sgong, gser sgong, sgong rdog, and so on. Jäschke considers sgong nga and sgo na as orthographic variants. A google-search reveals several cases of sngong nga. This is perhaps also true with slang nga, as is suggested by Dan. Similarly the Bod rgya considers pus lhang to be a contraction of pus mo’i lha lnga. What is strange is that gdam nga has been considered an acceptable orthography. For me it seems to be a corruption of gdams ngag. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I've noted the spelling slang-nga for sla-nga, and wonder if the latter form might be regarded as a reduction of the former. I guess it means a metal frying pan, right? In the Lde'u history, at p. 53, is the form slang-nge. Not knowing what else to do with this, I guess that this, too, means a kind of metal frying pan, only in this case rather than being used for cooking it is one of the things set up as targets for the young Bodhisattva's archery competition.

    But it seems that behind slang-nga perhaps a form slang-ba might be lurking?

    1. Yes, I think so, too, that sla nga is a reduction of slang nga. Did you mean lDe’u chos byung (p. 52.6): lcags gyi pha bdun slang nga bdun? By the way, what does phag here mean? So the implication of your suggestion is that the meaning of slang nga in the sense of a circular metal plate used as a shield or target is primary, its etymology being “something one has erected/installed (slang ba) as a target. And slang nga in the sense of “roasting pan” is secondary. The idea is by all means worth nourishing!

    2. Right, the reading has to be phag. And I'm quite sure that phag here does not mean 'pig' (although a few Tibetan versions of Buddha's life seem to think it does; and try looking at the English translation of the French translation of the Lalitavistara for a laugh or two). It's just the reduced form of pha-gu, which means brick. To tell the truth, in this case I think pha-gu is a reduction of phag-gu, a diminutive for 'pig', and that the phag (more often sa-phag) brick meaning come in secondarily. I once attempted to attack the problems of Mesopotamian and Tibetan masonry terms, including this one, in my blog. Of course bricks, like frying pans, seem like a rather extreme form of target (he also shot through palm fronds, which may not seem all that challenging; but I think you have to take it as a 'handicap' [in the golfing sense] since they fairly effectively prevented seeing the other targets...). Been getting much archery practice in these days where you are?

    3. So pha gu is from phag gu and a brick is a building block that looks like a “piglet”?

    4. Yes, I think so. Who put the porc in "porcelain," anyway? I've seen pigs that really look like adobe bricks with all that dried mud on them. Anyway, if you Google four words at once — cowrie porcelain pig brick — you will come back with some fascinating speculative etymologies that sometimes include a bit of human anatomy... But I won't go into that. Not here. Not today.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.