September 24, 2015


The word or syllable cha seems to be extremely productive. There seem to several primary and secondary meanings of cha. I intend to deliberate here a few of them. First, the meaning of cha as a monosyllabic noun seems to be “certainty,” for example, as in ci cha (“What certainty?”), a rhetorical question that means “There is no certainty.” Some examples are: cha mi ’tshal te nges brtan med pa, smyon pa’i kha la ci cha yod, re ’bras ’grub min ci cha, yong dang mi yong ci cha (Tshig mdzod chen mo, s.v. cha). The noun cha in the verb cha ’jog byed (“to trust”) must also belong to this. Second, cha as a monosyllabic noun seems to mean “pair” (e.g. cha gcig, cha gnyis, etc.). This is also true in the case of cha in cha med ya med (which simply seems to be mean “pairless” or by extension “a lone wolf”). This is also true with cha in cha sgrig pa “to make a pair” (autonomously) and cha ’grig pa “to form a pair” (heteronomously). In some Tibetan dialects, one might say nga gnyis cha yin/red, which does not mean “Two of us are a pair” but rather “We are same/equal.” Cf. also cha ’dra ba (“to be similar”). This seems to be, however, a secondary meaning derived from the primary meaning “pair.” Note that two components that form a pair are often equal or similar. Third, cha has also the meaning of “part,” “particle,” “component,” “fragment,” and “fraction.” Consider cha shas, gzung ba rdul phran cha med, shes pa skad cig cha med, brgya cha lnga bcu (“50 percent”), etc. The component cha in sa cha may have the meaning of “part” or “area” or “region.” Fourth, cha also means “aspect,” “component,” “element,” “feature,” “characteristic,” and so on. For examples, legs pa’i cha (legs cha), nyes pa’i cha (nyes cha), sgrim cha (“tightness”), ngar cha (“sharpness”), mngar cha (“sweetness”), gsal cha (“clarity”), dbang cha (“power”), stong cha (“empty space or spaciousness”), and so on. I think that cha in cha byad and cha lugs (“attire”) has the same meaning. Fifth, cha also seems to have the meaning of “things,” “stuff,” “material,” and so on. It is clear that cha lag is simply an orthographic variant of ca lag (“things”). Thus cha in ras cha (“cloth”), gla cha (“wage”), yig cha (“texts or documents”), and so on, is to be understood in this sense. There may be other meanings of cha. But that is all for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment