Paradoxically, there is still no universally accepted classification of Mongolian languages. According to the most widespread classification modern mongolian languages are divided into three main groups: Northern Mongolian (Khalkha, Buriat, Kalmyck, Oirat, Ordos, Khamnigan and Dagur), Western Mongolian (Moghol) and South Mongolian (East Yogur, Monguor (Minghe and Huzu dialects are quite different) and Dongxian-Bonan subgroup). Written Mongolian language has a special status. Although it is used as a modern written language by several North Mongolian dialects and languages spoken in Inner Mongolian Autonomous region of China, actually it reflects a separate, independent mongolian language. Literary tradition conserved this language in a very archaic form. Many scholars pointed out the interdialectal use of Written Mongolian. This function of Written Mongolian appeared due to the fact that Written Mongolian is quite close to all North mongolian languages, but doesn`t coincide with any of them.
Middle Mongolian monuments in accordance with N.Poppe [Poppe 1955] are usually regarded as representing 2 dialects: 'East Middle Mongolian' (the language of 'the Secret History of the Mongols'1, 'Hua-yi Yi-yu'2 and other sinomongolian monuments of the XIII-XIVth centuries as well as the language of the monuments in hPags-pa script3) and 'West Middle Mongolian' (all monuments in arabic script).
Hereafter we will investigate the subsystems of spatial cases in modern and medieval mongolian languages.
Middle Mongolian monuments reflect two rather distinct systems of spatial cases. First system occurs only in the dictionary 'Muqaddimat al-adab'4 (MA). Second system is represented in 'The Secret History of the Mongols', 'Hua-yi Yi-yu', manuscripts in hPags-pa script and perhaps in Ibn-Muhanna glossary5.
Here is the system of spatial cases in West Middle Mongolian6.
Dative-Locative-Lative case -du
Dative-Reflexive case -daγan
Ablative case -āsa
Dative-locative case -dur (rare)
Dative-locative case -da/a (rare)
Dative-Reflexive case -duri`ān (3 cases)
The use of case-marker -da is very scarce in Muqaddimat al-adab. There are only 13 examples (not counting petrified forms like ende 'here', or tulada 'for'). Some of them are just borrowed from Turkic: qaiguda 'in grief' is a translation of Turkic qaiguda 'id', namazda 'during namaz' is a translation of Turkic namazda 'id' and so on. Every form that is not borrowed has a parallel form with -du: uile-da 'in work' - uile-du 'in work' etc.
-du counts several hundreds of examples in various functions such as dative, locative and lative.
Examples (hereafter pages are indicated according to the edition [Poppe, 1938]):
(p. 110) balγasun-du
'in the town',
(p.329) sun-du čina-qsan xurma
Milk-du boil-Perf.P. persimmon
'persimmon boiled in milk',
aman-du orki-ba em-i
Mouth-du put-Past medicine-Acc.
'(he) put a medicine into (his) mouth'
kele-be tun-du qayγu-yān
Tell-Past this-du grief-Poss
'told him his grief'.
-dur occurs in Muqaddimat al-adab more often than -da, but also many times less than -du (36 examples).
ile-be eme-yi ere-dur in-u
Send-Past woman-Acc husband-Dur 3Sg:Poss-Gen
'(He) sent the woman to her husband'
(p. 297) qa`ur-ba buγdai-yi taba-dur
roast-Past wheat-Acc pan-dur
(He) roasted wheat on the pan
As for the forms with dative-reflexive, we find in MA only three examples of -duri'ān.
'pleased with his own enemy'
(p. 329) suike durube eme čiqin-dur-i'ān
ear-ring pass_through woman ear-dur-Poss
A woman passed ear-rings through her ears
(p.232) labasat okiba erdem-dur-i`ēn
reproach give-Past knowledge-dur-Poss
'to reproach in his knowledge'
On the contrary the basic form of Dative-Reflexive in MA is -dān <-da`an. There are 31 example of this form.
(p. 99) amandān usun kodel-ge-be
mouth-dān water move-Caus-Past
'(He) made water in his mouth move'
(p.328) suyke čiqin-dān olgube eme
ear-ring ear-dān hang-Past woman
A woman hung ear-ring on her ear
'(He) stood on his place'
Ablative case suffix in MA is āsa / ēse.
(p.99) aman-āsa usun tusuba
mouth-āsa water drop
Water dropped from his mouth
(p.98) ali bidan-āsa
Which of us?
The system of spatial cases in East Middle Mongolian is quite different:
Dative-Locative case -da / -a (-na)
Lative-Locative case -dur
Locative-Reflexive case -duriyan
Ablative case -ača / -dača
Dative-Reflexive case -da'an (rare)
Dative-Locative case -da / -a (-na)
(§ 53) Qadaan-taiji-da ugule...
Qadaan-taiji-da tell -IMP
'Tell Qadaan-taiji ... '
(§134) Kereid-un Tooril-a vaŋ nere tende ok-ba
Kereid-GEN Tooril-a Van name there give-Past
'(They) give there the title of van to Tooril of Kereits.'
(§1) Onan-muren-no teriun-e Burqan-qaldun-na nuntuqla-ju...
Onon-river-GEN head-e Burhan-qaldun-na nomade-CONV
'While nomadizing in the head of the river Onon at the Burqan-qaldun mountain...'
Lative-Locative case -dur:
(§85) ger-tur i-no oro-basu...
house-tur 3SG:POSS-GEN enter-CONV
'When (they) entered his house...'
(§131) Čiŋgis-qagan seuder-tur sau-ju...
Genghis-khan shadow-tur sit-CONV
'Genghis-khan sitting in the shadow...'
Locative-Reflexive case -duriyan:
(§28) ger-duriyen ireju
Entering his own house
(§82) nidun-duriyen gal-tu,
'There is fire in his eyes and light in his face'
Ablative case -ača / -dača:
(§15) Tere goreesun-o miqan-ača na-da ok
That deer-Gen meat-Abl I-Dat give
Give me (a part) from the meat of that deer
(§122) jamuqa-dača qagača-ju
(They also) separated from Jamuqa.
Dative-Reflexive case -da'an (only 14 examples):
(§169) Narin-Keen basa aduuči-daan Qišliq-a ugule-run:
Narin-Keen again horse-herd-daan Qišliq-DAT tell-Conv
'Narin-Keen said to his horse-herd Qishliq again...'
Written Mongolian paradigm is almost the same as in East Middle Mongolian.
Pre-Classical Written Mongolian8:
Ablative case -ača/-eče
Dative-locative case -da/-a, -dur/-tur
Dative-Reflexive -da'an / -ta'an, -duriyan
Classical Written Mongolian9:
Ablative case -ača/-eče
Dative-Locative-Lative case -dur / -tur; -du/-tu
Dative-Reflexive -da'an / -ta'an; -duriyan/-turiyen; -duban/-tuban
We can see that the forms -du/-tu appear rather late, only in 17th century. Probably they were borrowed from the spoken North Mongolian dialects of that time. The form -duban/-tuban appears to be created by analogy with the forms ača-ban (ABL-POSS), luγa-ban (COM-POSS).
Written Oirat language10 had some features of the Written Mongolian and some of the spoken languages:
Ablative case: -eče
Dative-Locative case -du/-tu
Dative-Locative-Reflexive case: -dān/-tān;
Let`s have a look on the modern systems of spatial cases in mongolian languages:
Khalkha -ās; Kalmyck -ās; Buriat -hā <*-āsa; Khamnigan āõа <*asa; Ordos -ās; Dagur -ās(e); Monguor -sa; East Yogur -sa, -dasa; Dongxian -se; Bonan -se; Moghol -asa/ -ase, -sa/-se, -dasa.
All these forms reflect a protoform *asa. It is necessary to point out that despite Poppe *asa and *ača can not be the alternants of the same morpheme (Poppe assumed that here is 'exсeptional development of the ancient affricate *č.' [Poppe 1955, стр. 200]). There are no cases when protomongolian *č develops into s in all modern mongolian languages. Neither can protomongolian *s develop into č in all modern mongolian languages.
Khalkha -d /-t; Kalmyck -d¶
; Buriat -da / -ta; Ordos -du; Khamnigan -du; Dagur -da; Monguor: Huzu -d¶
, Minghe -du; East Yogur -da, -de; Dongxian -de; Bonan -da; Moghol -du/ -tu (rare -da, -a - with certain lexemes).
In Khalkha, Buriat, Kalmyck and Dagur we cannot say for certain that the affix of dative-locative -da/-d originates from -du or -da because of a strong vowel reduction in non-initial syllables. The only North Mongolian language that preserves well the vowel of the non-initial syllable is Ordos.
Cf. also: Written Mongolian yasu 'bone', Hua-yi Yi-yu yasun, Secret History yasun, Muqaddimat al-adab yasun - Buriat. yahan, Khalkha yas(an), Kalmyck yasņ, Dagur yase, but Ordos yasu. That`s why it is possible to reconstruct the protoform *du for these forms. (We can also mention the Written Language of Oirat, which was under strong influence of the Classical Written Mongolian, but contained certain features of the 17-th century spoken language. It has -du as a dative-locative case-marker).
Khalkha -dā; Kalmyck - dān; Buriat - dān; Ordos - dān/ -tān; Khamnigan -dân; Dagur -damul; Monguor: Huzu -dena, Minghe -duna; Dongxian -dene; Bonan -dana; Moghol -duna.
The forms of all North mongolian languages go back to the protoform *daγan (perhaps with the exception of Dagur). Other languages created the form of dative-reflexive case on the basis of their actual affix of dative. Nevertheless, none of the forms goes back to *duriyan.
Thus, the system of West Middle Mongolian seems to be very productive.
In fact, all modern Mongolian languages have an ablative case marker reflecting an old form *-asa.
Most of the modern Mongolian languages have dative-locative-reflexive affix descending from *-daγan.
As for the dative-locative affix, the rules of historical phonetics allows us to reconstruct protoform *-du for most of the modern Mongolian languages.
On the contrary, the distinctive features of the East Middle Mongolian dialect were not inherited by any of the languages except Written Mongolian:
None of the Mongolian languages has -dur as a lative or locative affix.
None of the Mongolian languages has -duriyan as a dative-locative-reflexive affix.
None of the Mongolian languages has -a as a productive dative or locative affix
None of the Mongolian languages has -ača as an ablative affix.
The only exception is Written Mongolian which can be regarded as a language created on the basis of the East Middle Mongolian dialect but influenced much by spoken languages.
Therefore we can conclude that modern Mongolian languages inherited the system of spatial case markers from West Middle Mongolian dialect, while the system of East Middle Mongolian has had deep influence on literary tradition but generated no descendants among modern Mongolian languages. This fact can help us in elaborating a classification of mongolian languages which would be adequate in both synchronic and diachronic aspects.
1. 'The Secret History of the mongols', the largest of the literary medieval mongolian monuments, presumably was written in 1240.
2. 'Hua-yi Yi-yu' is a sinomongolian monument of the XIVth century. It includes dictionary and a number of Khan`s edicts.
3. hPags-pa script was created in 1269. It served as an official system of writing for Mongolian court of Yuan dynasty in China.
4. 'Muqaddimat al-adab' is a tetraglot dictionary (Turkic - Mongolian - Persian - Arabian) in arabic script. The main part was compiled in XIIth century, but mongolian translations were added only in XIVth century.
5. Monument in arabic script written at the beginning of the XIVth century. Unlike Poppe we include this monument to the corpus of East Middle Mongolian dialect.
6. In the list of case-markers we don`t mention vowel harmony alternants a/e, o/o, u/u as well as variants with initial voiced or voiceless consonant: dur/tur, da/ta, du/tu.
7. Examples are taken from 'the Secret History of the mongols'. Figures in parentheses indicate the paragraphs.
8. The earliest stage of the Written Mongolian. Includes monuments in uighur script from XIIIth to XVIth century
9. The first monuments in Classical Written Mongolian appeared in the XVIIth century.
10. First monuments in Todo bicig - the system of writing adopted for Oirat language - appeared in the XVIIth century.
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Kozin S.A. Sokrovennoe Skazanie. Yuan Chao Bi Shi. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.
Poppe N. Mongol`skij slovar` Muqaddimat al-adab I-II. Мoscow-Leningrad. 1938.
Poppe N. 'Introduction to Mongolian Comparative Studies' Helsinki 1955.
Todaeva B.H. Mongol`skie jazyki i dialekty Kitaja Мoscow, 1960.
Todaeva B.H. Dunsjanskij jazyk. Мoscow, 1961.
Todaeva B.H. Baoan`skij jazyk. Мoscow, 1964.
Todaeva B.H. Mongorskij jazyk. Мoscow, 1973.
Todaeva B.H. Jazyk mongolov Vnutrennej Mongolii. Materialy i slovar`. Мoscow, 1981.
Todaeva B.H. Jazyk mongolov Vnutrennej Mongolii. Očerk dialektov. Ěoscow, 1985.
Weiers M. Untersuchungen zu einer historischen Grammatik des präklassischen Mongolisch. Bonn. 1966.
Weiers M. Die Sprache der Moghol der Provinz Herat in Afghanistan. Goettingen, 1972.
ABL ablative case
Acc accusative case
COM comitative case
DAT dative case
Gen genetive case
IMP Imperative mood
Perf.P perfect participle
Poss possessive particle
3Sg:Poss - possesive pronoun of 3Sg.
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