April 23, 2012


A thin porridge made of flour is called skyo ma. But is skyo derived from skyo ba "to be sad" or "to be bored." Is it because rich people eat skyo ma when they have no appetite, that is, when they are fed up of rich food, or, because it is the food of the poor and the wretched (skyo bo)?

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dorji,

    Perhaps you are right. On the other hand there are several terms in the lexicon that seem somehow related to your skyo ma “porridge” in terms of the flour-like substances they refer to, e.g (from Tshig mdzod chen mo) skyo bkag (“wood glue / wood-powder paste”), skyo thang (“clay paste for relief design”), skyo ’bur (similar meaning to skyo thang; also “[relief?] painting made with skyo ma”), and skyo sang (some kind of iron instrument used in connection with skyo ’bur). See also the second meaning given for skyo ma apart from “porridge”: “discharge from the eye” (eye gunk?). It would be difficult to connect all those to the misery of the wretched and poor, unless of course your poorman’s “porridge” came first and all similar substances have been named after it, which seems unlikely but not impossible. Perhaps we are faced with two etymologically different kinds of skyo here, one farinaceous and full of flour, the other sad-hearted and full of misery. Homonyms, so to speak. Just another idea.