December 31, 2013

ཤ་དང་ཤྭ། ར་དང་རྭ། རྩ་དང་རྩྭ།

(Beyer 1991: 79) A semantic relation seems to be apparent between “flesh” (sha) and “deer” (shwa); between “sheephold” (ra) (but why not “goat”?) and “horn” (rwa); between “root” (rtsa) and “grass” (rtswa); and remotely also between “mountain pass” (la) and “woollen blanket” (lwa).


  1. I'm thinking just the opposite of Beyer for the sake of argument. I'm thinking that the two words (in each case) really had and still have nothing at all to do with each other apart from spelling. The natural changes that take place led to two different words getting spelled the same, so they needed to be differentiated with the subscribed wa in order to disambiguate them.

  2. Yes, I think this is a good alternative possibility. The ascribed function of wa-zur (to mark the ming gzhi thereby disambiguating, for example, dags and dgas) might rather support your theory although it would not necessarily undermine Beyer’s.