Some Problems about Social Interpretation of Sources from Non-Indo-European Languages


B. Lukács



CRIP RMKI, H-1525 Bp. 114. Pf. 49., Budapest, Hungary



            Recently gender/sex has become a central matter  in communication. Shi Jing #97 is discussed as an example for texts from genderless languages.



            Indo-Europeans believe that their linguistic system is the last stage of linguistic evolution, and is the most logical one. Western Indo-Europeans recently also have become very sensitive about "gender equality". Since extant Indo-European languages (excepting Armenian) do have a construction called "grammatic gender", they have some problems. Since grammatical gender is quite atrophied in Modern English, Anglo-Saxon academic people can help themselves by using a composite Sg3 pronoun he/she, which is, however, clumsy & unnatural. (Physicist & sci-fi writer Poul Anderson suggested a much more natural "heesh" [1].) However in Romance languages some Perfectum verbal forms are gender-dependent, in Slavic ones the Past Tense, and in almost all Indo-European languages the adjectives are too. Very tricky linguistic forms are needed if you tries to speak PC.

            Now, according to Modern belief, all Modern features came hand to hand in Social Evolution. In the leading societies men & women (or should I write women & men?) are handled more equally than 50 years ago; and also than in any other modern society. The second half of the statement can easily be demonstrated, and for the first we can remember or have sources. But assume that somebody wants to make a wider comparison in time & space. E.g. what was the situation in Ancient Ages?

            Influential XIXth century scholars, e.g. Bachofen, Marx & Engels believed in old Matriarchy. Bachofen believed that Eastern states as e.g. Lydia & Phrygia were matriarchal; but even Etrury, moreover, very early Greece [2]. Then Evolution passed this stage and Later Greece & Rome were patriarchal. Marx & Engels taught Matriarchy & Primeval Communism: before the first States (e.g. Egypt) there was only communal property and women governed the communities. "Proofs" were manifold: reports from various autochthones in Africa & Australia, Morgan's observation about Red Indians' tradition of distributing the prey among female relatives & such. (I do not give references here. If you want, you can look into Collected Works of Marx & Engels edited many times in Moscow on various languages.)

            At the middle of XXth century Graves tried to reconstruct the 2nd millenium BC forms of Greek myths [3]. In this process he reconstructed kings ritually killed octannually, while the wife, the High Priestess, continued; princesses inheriting the land and marrying strangers; and finally, in 1521 BC, an Achive religious "reform". This reform, told Graves, formally still recognised gender equality with 6 gods & 6 goddesses; but Athena immediately changed sides, and later Hestia gave her seat to Dionysus too.

            Late XXth Century was not so idealistic; however it seems that women had higher legal status in Egypt or in Crete than in Greece & Rome. Also, lots of ancient sources tell that Etruscan women were shameless, they participated equally at social events and drank together with men. So maybe Patriarchy really was a product of Evolution.

            Then came Lithuanian (remember!) Marija Gimbutas with the Goddess society. According to her (see e.g. Ref. [4]), Old Europe (before, say, 4500 BC) was not Indo-European, and they honoured first of all the Goddess (of fertility & such). Then arrived the warlike & patriarchal proto-Indo-Europeans from the steppe (probably the Yamnaya Culture). They invented horse-riding, later the war chariot, and via fast transportation they defeated the neighbours. In, say, 2 millenia they Indo-Europised Europe and their chief god of the Thunder (Thor, Zeus, Iupiter &c.) took the Goddess as wife for household duties.

            Bachofen & Graves worked from texts: mythology, poems, plays, ancient history books. Gimbutas used a lot of archaeological information; but even she used mythology too. But all of them relied on Indo-European texts. And there they were at ease. This study is to show that they were in exceptionally good situations.



            The term "Nuclear Indo-European" comes from Garrett, who used it to denote {IE - Anatolian} [5]. Here I use the term slightly more narrowly, subtracting Armenian too. Anyways, Armenian may be close relative of the Anatolian branch (we do not know for sure).

            The usual Indo-European term is that (Nuclear) Indo-European has both natural and grammatical genders. But "natural grammar" is not a grammatical notion at all. You may form binary contrasts bull/cow, boy/girl, brother/sister, father/mother, cock/hen; but the existence of such pairs has in itself no linguistic consequence at all. (If this statement seems too bold, please continue reading. The author is not Indo-European, seeing the IE system from outside, from a perspective.)

            Now, grammatical gender, in contrast to the natural one, does have ample linguistic consequences. Grammatical gender in Nuclear IE means that every noun has a gender. The number of possibilities may go from 2 (male/female) in Romance to 6 ({male/female/neuter}*{animate/inanimate}) in Slavic; and this gender has further consequences. Adjectives have proper different forms for every gender; many times also verbal endings differ too, &c. For Anglo-Saxon speakers the depth of the influence of the grammatical gender may be unfamiliar: so let us take 3 languages for comparison.

            In English there are 3 grammatical genders: male, female and neuter. But most inanimate objects belong to the neuter; big animals go according to their sex. However ships are generally feminine, together with cars & airplanes (but bigger warships are often male); also countries/nations. But this does not mean too much: the system is atrophied.

            Now, German is a close kin of English. In German the definite article der/die/das clearly indicates the gender, and that gender is by no means the biological one.

            Of course, man, "Mensch" is masculine: der Mensch. Woman is feminine, die Frau (but wait a moment!). Child is neuter: das Kind. But another word for "woman" is das Weib; and this seems to be the more generic word. At least "feminine" is "weiblich". Also, the title for unmarried women ("Miss") is das Fraulein. Also "girl-child" is das Mädchen.

            For horses, there is a triad: der Hengst/die Stute/das Pferd, the last one being the generic term. A "Pferd" can be of any sex, or none. Cat is generally die Katze; but the tomcat is der Kater. And look: the gender works in grammar. "Brown horse" is

brauner Hengst/braune Stute/braunes Pferd,

so the adjective changes too.

            And now take inanimate objects. In English, spoon, fork and knife are all neuters. However the corresponding German words, in the same order, are

der Löffel/die Gabel/das Messer

and if you think of a very nice aristocratic silver tableware, then the adjective is trial too: silberner/e/es.

            The nominal endings in flection depend directly on the respective declension group, however there is a strong correlation with gender. Anglo-Saxon a thousand years ago still had this system:

(se) stan = der Stein = stone/(seo) lufu = die Liebe = love/(thaet) ham = das Heim = home

and, of course

sum stan = some stone/sumu lufu = some love/sum ham = some home

with a lot of other differences in declension.

            So indeed English is just losing the genders, but they still exist. Most IE languages not only have them, but the gender system deeply penetrate the language.

            One may contemplate what have selected the gender of a particular word. I, for my non-Indo-European psychology, would take "knife" masculine, being aggressive, "spoon" feminine, being rounded, and "fork" either neuter (being only a helper of knife), or masculine, being able to penetrate; but we saw that the roles are quite different in German. Also, I would classify "spear" aggressive masculine (indeed, der Speer, but thaet spere; note also the similarly aggressive "sword", das Schwert and der Säbel); and the defensive "shield" I would take feminine, while it is se scield/der Schield, definitely masculine. Alas, I am not Indo-European, originally from Asia. There must be some logic in the NIE gender system, but it needs a super-Freud to find it.

            Maybe we should go to older/more archaic languages. So let us see Latin and Slovakian.

            In Latin the number of gender groups is 3. 5 declensions existed, but the majority of nouns belonged to Declensions 1 & 2. Now I shift to Present Tense, because Latins are extinct, but Latin does live, if somewhat artificially. Let us take a simple adjective:

friendly = amicus/a/um

The masculine and neuter forms follow 2nd Declension, the feminine one 1st Declension. In SgNom the situation is easy enough:

friendly hound/cat/city = amicus canis/amica felis/amicum oppidum,

but now let us put the expressions into Accusative. I cannot translate this to English, only circumscribe: that is the difference of he/him; but can show something in Anglo-Saxon:

the hound (Nom.) = se hund, but the hound (Acc.) = thone hund

Not too much of a declension but still...

            Now our Latin examples in Accusative become

amicum canem/amicam felem/amicum oppidum

Concentrate on the adjectives, they follow Declensions II/I. All Accusatives, so when the expressions are Objects, end in -m. On the other hand, Nominatives, when they are Subjects, strongly differ according to gender. And a Subject is generally more active than an Object. Furthermore the Neuter Accusative is the same as the Nominative (while not in masculine and feminine), and indeed, looks like a masculine Accusative. The next paragraph will be a mere speculation; but not impossible.

            It looks as if Latin distinguishes 3 kinds of nouns/adjectives. The first two are active, their Accusatives are different from the Nominative, but the third is not active, its natural form is in dependent cases, and its "fundamental form" is really an Accusative. Neuters are then passive. Now the active ones show a dichotomy, according some dichotomy in Old Society.

            We can go further with this speculation after the Slovakian examples. I chose Slovakian as a demonstration, because it is better to avoid Cyrillics. Even Slovakian is heavily accented, sometimes raising an Internet problem, but I try to find simple orthographies. But now we need 6 words, 3 animate and 3 inanimate, in 3 cases. Let they be

hound/cat/girl-child = pes/macka/dievca

table/school/window = stol/skola/okno

and the Cases Nom/Acc/Gen. Then



M. An.

M. Inan.

F. An.

F. Inan.

N. An.

N. Inan























            A pattern emerges. For Masculine Animates it is easy to distinguish Accusative from Nominative, but not from Genitive; while for Inanimates Accusative is the same as Nominative. The same is true for Neuters. But for Feminines Nominative, Accusative and Genitive are all clearly indicated.

            Now again speculation comes. As if it would be equally natural for a Feminine to act or to be acted on. (To be Subject and Object.) On the other hand, Masculines are par excellence actors (the clumsy distinction for Animates seems to be an afterthought; I must indicate the difference, but there is no Accusative; then I take Genitive), while for Neuters Nominative and Accusative always coincide, maybe because there is really no Nominative, as in Latin, because they cannot be active.

            You may call such a language family sexist; then you criticise not my language but all my neighbours' ones. My language does not follow the above logics. Among the official languages of the European Union there are only 3 languages where the above logic is totally absent: in decreasing order of population in Magyar (which you perhaps call Hungarian, but that is the State), in Finnish and in Estonian. But do not forget Basque even if that language is not official; and look: Turkish is also a unisex language albeit the Turkish society is often accused to be sexist.

            In the IE family this absurdity is absent in Armenian; but it was absent in the Anatolian branch too, i.e. in Hittite.

            In 1741, when Vienna was encircled by the troops of the German Empire led by the Bavarian Elector, the young King of Hungary (Rex Hungariae), Maria Theresa, with her first, baby child Joseph (the later Emperor Joseph) in her hands stood up in the Hungarian Parliament, and asked help and troops from the Hungarians. I do not confuse Indo-European grammar or gender system; the Hungarian Parliament answered in good Latin: "Vitam et sanguinem pro rege nostra, Maria Theresia", so "Our life and blood (acc.) for our King, Maria Theresa". For a male King it would have been "pro rege nostro", and for a Queen of Hungary, speaking for her husband, absent, it would have been "pro regina nostra". Rex is the ruling King, crowned with the Holy Crown of Hungary, Regina is the wife of the King, a Queen (and husband Francis of Lorraine, father of baby Joseph was a mere Prince Consort). Our King is Rex noster if male and Rex nostra if female. Magyar is a unisex language, Latin is not, but the Hungarian State used it in a rational way.

            And now back to Marija Gimbutas and the Goddess. I cannot make an argumentation in Lithuanian, so Latin must suffice. A Divine Power can be masculine as well as feminine. (Interestingly, Divinity can even be neuter, but then it is a Numen.) Now the par excellence masculine nominative ending is -us, and the feminine one is -a. So the Father of Gods is Deus Iuppiter, and his wife is Dea Iuno. Nominative is a full-fledged member of the declension sequence, so you must apply the proper Nominative ending, masculine or feminine. Therefore the daughter of Servius Tullius was Tullia. It was impossible to call a lady Tullius, because -us is not the masculine Nominative ending.

            Similarly in Slovakian for Slovakian women some endings are impossible. If a lady's father is Nagy (a quite frequent family name, meaning "Great" in Magyar), then she is registered as Nagyová. This is the name of a well-known Slovakian female politician. But the system was so silly for unisex Magyar language that Magyars in Slovakia heavily protested. Now the matter is settled. Each lady may apply for the removal of the -ová ending if she declares herself Magyar. Slovakians must tolerate the -ová; but they are Indo-European, so it is natural for them.

            Now, a Lithuanian lady can hardly be Gimbutas in Lithuania, because the feminine Nominative ends cca. with -e (or -a, or similar; I guess her correct name would have been cca. Gimbutaite). My guess is that she got the wrong ending abroad. But nevermind; the morale is that Marija Gimbutas, inventor/discoverer (or must I write inventress/discoveress?) of the old Goddess culture used her name in contrary to the Nuclear Indo-European logic of genders.

            There are other languages with different gender logics as well. E.g. look at the more than 2 dozen of Eastern Caucasian languages. (Surely you heard about Chechen, at least.) In the majority of them there are 4 nominal groups: men, women, animals, things. But there, at least, things and abstract ideas are not classified partly with men, partly with women, partly with children. Swahili classifies the nouns 8-fold.

            But maybe the nicest example comes from Nyambiquara through Lévi-Strauss [6]. The anthropologist interviewed a small girl, leading a small dog. The girl told him that "When I grow up, I will beat down all the monkeys and boars with the digging rod; I kill them when the dog barks." Now in Nyambiquara verbal conjugation is gender dependent too. This in itself is not against in European logic. In Slovakian "I wrote a letter" is "Ja pisal som pis'mo" if the person is masculine and "Ja pisala som pis'mo" if female. In the present case the girl used "ihondaje" instead "tilondaje", because she wanted to grow up as a hunter/male. Good; but she still wanted to kill the boars with the feminine digging stick, not with the masculine bow & arrow. There are limits even in fantasy.

            Everybody speaks as he (he/she? heesh?) wants; but be also tolerant.



            Now come some further examples for unisex languages. The Indo-European reader may be surprised: these languages belong to societies which she generally accuses with sexism. Instead of too much explanation, I start.

            Turkish. This is not only the language of the Republic of Turkey, or of the Republic of Northern Cyprus; lots of related languages are spoken in Central Asia as e.g. Kazak, or in Siberia, as e.g. Yakut. Now, among Turks in the Early Middle Ages life was much more unisex than in Medieval Europe. For example, Turkisk women generally wore breeches and so they rode "man-style". Indeed if one must use horses daily, she will not ride sidesaddles.

            Also, some young girls fought in battles. Look, to be a mounted archer is not absurd for a girl, while fight in heavy armor with a two-handed sword is near to impossibility (and so Joan of Arc was really a miracle). Of course, the majority of Turkish ladies did not fight if they did not absolutely have to. (An attack against the tribal heartland, e.g.) Still, the Turkish society was so strange for Chinese in the VIth & VIIth centuries that Chinese sources often formulated the opinion about Turkish matriarchy. A recent Hungarian lady valiantly argues against [7], since she knows that this was an accusation from the Chinese. And it seems that the famous girl warrior of China, Mulan, came from a conquering Turkish tribe. As the famous Hungarian male Sinologist, F. Tôkei, writes [8]: [For the horserider nomads] "if the daughter goes into war substituting the old father, that is not so sensational that a song should be made about". So he guesses that the Mulan poem arose from a Nomadic-Chinese interaction (e.g. a Chinese author and a Nomadic heroine).

            Of course, the wife of the ruler, the Khagan, was the Katun. I do not know about a single female Khagan; maybe never existed one. I mentioned a Hungarian female King; there were only two in a millenium. Even at the coronation of Maria Theresa some previous training was needed to be able to make the prescribed sword cuts. (But finally she succeeded.)

            Now let us go to the Far East. In Japan the Emperor, the Tenno, is a god. That in itself is not a big thing; there are thousands of gods there. But the Emperor descends from Amaterasu Omikami; as it is told in Europe, the Goddess of Sun. One of the greatest Divine Powers.

            Now, for a Japanese something here is wrongly emphasized. Amaterasu is a female Divine Power; but she is just a kami, as for example her brother Sosa no O is. Not a Goddess and a God; both are gods, one is female, one is male. Similarly, the descendant, the Emperor, is generally male, but sometimes female. (Not an Empress. That would be the wife of the Emperor, and Japanese rather would call her a Princess.)

            Not too much female Emperors ruled; up to now 10 of the 125 total, according to the traditonal count [9]. Still, Japan produced something unheard of even in Hungary. The last female Emperor was Go-Sakuramachi between 1762 and 1771. Now, "Go" means "Second", so it is not the name but a signal that the name is taken second time. The first Sakuramachi ruled between 1735 and 1747; and was the father of Sakuramachi II.

            Look; the Japanese Emperor has no family name. The Emperor has a single name more or less analogous to the Louises of the eighteen French Louises. But all the 18 French Louises were male. Also, Maria Theresa did not take the name Stephen VI, when ascending the Hungarian throne. But in Japan even the single name of a male and a female Emperor may be the same.

            Proto-feminists tried this in Europe; e.g. "George Sand". But in Europe this was unofficial. Not so in Japan, which is accused to be a sexist society. Observe too that the polite title "San" stands for Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms. (or even for Mt. Fuji), without discrimination.



            We are at the final doorstep; but let us make a last excursus. No doubt, Ancient Greece was rather sexist; and still...

            There were the Argonauts. Hardy young lads, with one exception. Princess Atalanta was a girl.

            True, she did not use the sword & shield of her comrades, but bow & arrow. During the Hunt of Kalydon kings, princes & heroes scolded her telling that it is improper to hunt boars with arrow. They were right enough; she could blood the boar, but the wound was not fatal. However bow & arrow was her style; and remember about Turkish mounted archresses 2 millenia later. It is irrelevant if Atalanta was really in Colchis (or if even Prince Jason went there); the story was told and retold for at least a millenium, and people did not call the story impossible.

            Similarly, the Greeks believed in Amazons: mounted woman warriors somewhere just behind the last well-known hills. Maybe they existed, maybe not; the story was not unimaginable. And there were Artemis' maidens; not the nymphs as Callisto, the Ursa Major, but some companies of virgin girls hunting wild goats and whatnot in the wild. (Atalanta is told to be one of them.) Greek rules did not tell anything about maiden huntresses; they forbad mixed hunting companies.

            It seems as if Athens were stricter. But Athens was not Hellas, but Hellados Hellas, the Hellas par excellence (according to Attic writers), so the distilled Hellas. Maybe no maiden of Athens was permitted to hunt. But surely Spartan girls might; and also it was not unheard of in "rural" Greece, as Thessaly, Epirus & such. And it was conform with the religion.

            Still, in Greece a youth and a maiden could not hut together. Roman ladies were less restricted, and the satyres of Juvenal mention some gladiatresses [10]. But even in Rome a hunting pair would have been a sensation, except for some poor households, who lived in forests as they wanted, without litterary attention.

            And now we cross the doorstep.



            Shi Jing is the first known Chinese anthology. It comes from the second half of the Zhou dynasty: tradition tells that Master Kung-ci himself selected the 305 poems. That is too nice to be true; but his followers may have made the selection. According to scholarly consensus of Western World, they were super-patriarchal intelligentsia of a patriarchal enough society; so the selected poems must reflect the Ideal Patriarchal Society.

            Now I took the Hungarian edition of the book [11], and after reading less than 1/3, I was shocked at #97. It is the second of the 10 Poems of the State of Qi; Qi being a "feudal" state about the mouth of Hoang Ho. All the raw translations for the book were produced by F. Tôkei himself, and then the artistic retouch was made by first-class Magyar poets & poetesses. For #97 the poetess was Zsuzsa Rab. Of course she did not know Chinese; but Tôkei did, and his Notes show that he commented if he noted something strange. E.g. for the previous #96 (the first Qi poem) he explains who are the two persons in the poem. He did not find necessary to comment anything in #97.

            Now I put here the Magyar translation of Strophe 1; I duely refer to the book [11], and the artistic translator Zsuzsa Rab, and of course the aim is research. So:


            Erôskarú kedvesem, te!

            Vadásztál a domb tövén, találkoztam én veled,

            űztünk agancsos vadat ott a zöld Nao-domb alatt.

            Azt mondtad, hogy vagyok, hogy a másom nem leled.


There are two more strophes, going about the same pattern. Maybe you do not understand a word, but here am I to explain. The general pattern is: the narrating person meets a great hunter about Nao Hill, the first line of each strophe is some positive exclamation about the hunter, the second tells that they hunted together, the third always defines the prey. Now each fourth line repeats some nice saying of the hunter about the narrating person; and the very last line of the poem even records (joyfully) a marriage proposal.

            There is no doubt that according to the opinion of both translators the narrating person is a girl; and the poetess arranged definitely so the fourth line of the second strophe, with no criticism from the Sinologist at all. This is the proper place for me to mirror-translate Zsuzsa Rab's Magyar [11] translation to English for the average reader. I do not have any artistic aim before me: I want to translate word by word, with only minimal attention on English grammar. Please restrain yourself for a moment from asking me why not the original is used or a direct English translation.


            My darling of strong arms, you!

            You hunted at the bottom of the hill, I met with you,

            we drove antlered beast there below the Nao Hill.

            You told that I was good, you could not find my double.


            My darling of silver tongue, you!

            There beside the green Nao you drove boar with me,

            we drove clattering game, our hound was on good track.

            You told that I was nice, no nicer girl could be found.


            My darling of radiant face, you!

            We hunted swift game at the bottom of green Nao Hill,

            Breeze played, Sun shone, our good hound drove the wolf.

            You told that you wanted only me forever.


            I think everybody agrees that this is an exceptional poem in a super-patriarchal collection of patriarchal Ancient China selected by Confucionist patriarchs. Not the love motif. Really, the majority of the Qi Poems is about love; but also a lot of other poems too. True, lot of them are about love of husband & wife; but not all. The previous Qi Poem tells about a secret meeting of lovers in the ducal court. Or Poem #82 (not from Qi) tells an idyll; the youth is going to hunt, the girl tells how nice it will be to eat together, and afterwards so lifelong. Indeed Poem #82 comes nearest to #97 above; but even in #82 the girl remains at home, waiting obediently for the hunter, not going with him to drive wolves. What a patriarchal China is where maidens drive beasts with youths without family elders, permissions (even how to ask permission to go for hunting boar first alone, then with a nice guy she met at random; shocking!) & such. OK, such things may perhaps happen sometimes; but imagine Confucian wise men to choose this for an official anthology!

            If our ideas about Ancient China are correct even approximately, then this poem could not go into Shi Jing; or the translation is a complete error; but it was done by the best sinologist of Hungary. Or is here a third possibility?

            I continue the analysis; maybe something will come out.



            This was a question of Tôkei from 1956 upwards, and he arrived at some results [12]. But first observe that Chinese civilisation may be old, but Chinese litteracy is cca. as early as the Greek one, and Chinese theories about poems are much younger. Classical Greeks had sane ideas about the tricks of Homer, but no Chinese theoretician knew say a millenium and half ago, what had been the poetical rules one more millenium earlier. No surprise: language changed much more than Greek [13], albeit the hieroglyphic writing conserved the meaning.

            Now, Tôkei found regularity in the pattern of voiced/unvoiced initial consonants of words in the oldest poems, belonging to Old Chinese linguistic stage [12]. He believed that unvoiced consonants were "higher"; and indeed acoustic analysis of sounds of speech proved it afterwards. For Magyar consonants see [14] and [15]; the results are language-dependent, but not the statement. Namely, take a voiced/unvoiced pair, say g/k. The status of the sound channel is roughly the same for both, but in the second case the vocal chords do not produce their regular oscillating component. That would relatively be a low-frequency component; instead for "k" a noise band occurs, reaching up to 4.5 kHz.

            Tôkei started with Shi Jing 8. If this is not the most ancient poem, it should at least be so. Namely, it is a "work tune"; women are collecting some wild plants while telling that they are collecting wild plants. There are 3 strophes, but there might be 30 either; it is highly repetitive. The voiced-unvoiced pattern in each strophe is







as you can see from the Old Chinese word reconstructions [13], [16].

            Of course, Shi Jing #8 can be found in [11], again in the artistic translation of Zsuzsa Rab. Since the 3 strophes are identical except for two syllables in each [16], it is enough again to take the first strophe:


            Szedd, szedd az útifüvet

            Nosza szedegesd

            Szedd, szedd az útifüvet

            Nosza, hogy legyen.


or, mirror translating to English:


            Collect, collect plantain!

            Go ahead!

            Collect, collect plantain!

            Go it to get.


or something such.

            In the original, Old Chinese phonetics (reconstructed by Karlgren [13], [16]) it takes the form







where the respective syllables are as follows


            1 = ts`ög

            2 = b`iug

            3 = ziög

            4 = b`ak

            5 = ngian

            6 = t'iög


I did not show length, but when two vowels appear, both are very short; and "ö" stands for a swa-like sound, you may approximate it with the "i" of "girl". The two syllables changing between strophes are


A = ts`ög, twat, kiöt

B = giug, lwat, g`iöt


            Now we can answer a double question. Was Tôkei correct about the poetic structure; and was the translation of Rab keeping meaning & form?

            For the first question the answer is: who knows what was in the head of the Confucian aesthete selecting this poem. But at last, this poem is regular for the rule suggested by Tôkei. Namely, the autocorrelation function of 3 strophes of this form (putting e.g. 1's for x and 0's for o) is significantly nonzero at some shifts [17], so big accidents would be needed to produce this regularity if the poem had been created according to another, unknown, rule. I put the formulae into Appendix A. And for the second question: no, the translation does not quite keep the original form, but it keeps well enough the meaning.

            Namely, you can take first the raw translation of Tôkei [11]. Now he keeps the structure only partially. An invariable line; in the next the second half is varied, again the first line, and one which repeats the first half of Line 2, with again a variation at the end. However, the lines do not contain either 4-4-4-4 syllables or words. So nothing can keep the voiced/unvoiced pattern of the original. But for meaning; it is exact.

            Then came Zsuzsa Rab, and tried to make the text somewhat more interesting (I can understand, really). During this she got a very long 2nd line in Strophe 3 (the syllable numbers are there 4-8(!)-4-7); but the meaning is still OK.

            Now I take the challenge and retranslate Strophe 1; everybody with some time may try to create similar Strophes 2 & 3. My translation is 4-4-4-4 syllables, keeping the original voiced/unvoiced pattern, and the meaning. It goes as follows:

            Szedj, szedj zöl-det!

            No-de tép-kedj!

            Szedj, szedj zöl-det

            No-de lép-kedj!

where the hyphens simply show syllable boundaries within words. (I admit that my translation is not artistic. But Shi Jing #8 is not artistic either. I think, my translation can compete with the original.) The mirror translation to English will not keep the structure (I am not an English poet), but you can check the meaning. It is:


            Gather, gather greens!

            Well, well, keep plucking!

            Gather, gather greens!

            Well, well, along!


Is it not nice?

            And now we can compare the translations with the old Shi Jing translation of Legge [18]; the Legge translations are on the Internet too [19], and for Strophe 1 it goes as


            We gather and gather the plantains;

            Now we may gather them.

            We gather and gather the plantains;

            Now we have got them.


No voiced/unvoiced pattern; and the syllable structure is 9-6-9-5, very far from the original, definitely farther than even the translation in [11]. But the meaning is correct.



            This is the proper moment to check the Tôkei-Rab translation of #97. But I do know that I am no Sinologist, so I do it step by step.

            The original is again 3 strophes, with lots of repetitive elements. Each strophe has the form

 2, 3, A, 4, 5,15, 6, 7, 3, B, 4

 9,10,11,12,C, 4,14,15,16,15, D, 4


Here the repetitive elements are

            2 = zi3

            3 = zhi1

            4 = xi1

            5 = zao1

            6 = hu1

            7 = Nao

            9 = bing4

            10= qu1

            11= cong1 (or 2?)

            12= liang3

            14= ji1

            15= wo3

            16= wei4

            20= hao3 (or 4?)


Let us wait a moment with the changing syllables/words.

            There are two elements, which are hard to translate. You may use [19]'s own dictionary resources, can turn to Wiktionary [20], or can utilise the immense literature of sinology. [19] has told that 4=xi1 is "a particula" and that 6=hu1 is an "interrogative particle". So I went first for 4=xi1, as a "particula". Ref. [21] tells that xi1 can even be a pronoun "where?" or something such; while [22], listing onomatopoeic words, tells that it is "the sound of giggling". Similarly, for hu1 [21] gave "a preposition" with multiple spatial meaning, while [22] "the sound of wind blowing". [22] is much more conform with [19] and [20], than [21] is, and more definite. Unfortunately, at least in modern Chinese, the kanjis of the onomatopoeic xi1 & hu1 are different from the kanjis in the text; at least a dozen different kanjis are read as xi1. For the situation 2500 years ago my knowledge is insufficient.

            Now, in a strophe 4=xi1 appears four times, and it is an "exclamation", so let us take the strophe into 4 parts, each ending with xi1, first not translating it. (In Magyar poems the analogon is "hej", which do not mean anything at all, except high spirit.) For structure the short first line is clear enough. The word 2=zi3 has various meanings, but one is child/small thing/egg; the other is midnight [19]. Midnight is out of question here; there is a common element in all others: it may be a precious/small/dear. It is the Japanese "ko", meaning mainly "child". 3=zhi1 is surely the possessive particle [20]; observe that one of its "Kun" readings in Japan is "no", with the same meaning. Of course the possessor precedes the possessed, as also in Japanese, and Magyar, so A is the possession/property of the child/precious.

            A is hard to understand in the first strophe. The kanji has double reading: hai2 & huan4. Now, hai2 is "more", "in addition", "still" and a lot similar while huan4 can be e.g. "return"; maybe we can guess something: Darling, again, xi1; or, with more meaning: Darling, you have returned, xi1. But in the next 2 strophes A is cca. "luxuriant" and then "prosperous"; ending maybe with a giggling, maybe with other exclamatory particle. So the narrating person is happy that the other is again/still there, and that is good/nice/prosperous. Or maybe "talented" [21]. No problem; as Faustin I, Emperor of Haiti told in 1849 to Comte de Limonade, his Grand Panetier (which would be Chief Baker, if not in a Francophone Imperial court). The Grand Panetier did not understand his own title. The Emperor was uncertain too, and finally told: "C'est quelque chose de bon", i.e. "This is something good."

            Now let us see the first lines in the translation of Legge [18], [19]: How agile you are/How admirable your skill/How complete your art! I do not see anything even similar to agility, skill and art in the text. In the same time Rab's first lines at least have a comparable structure: a positive adjective (of strong arms; of silver tongue; of radiant face), then "my darling", then an exclamatory "you". (The Magyar word order is correct in this way!) You may tell that in the original "the child" is the possessor; yes; the possession is the nice property; and in Magyar it would be rather ungrammatical to exclamate without "my", or something similar. So Lines 1 are at least not in contradiction with the text, while Legge's constructions cannot be seen there.

            Now come Lines 2. 5,15,6,7,3,B; and an end-giggling or another exclamation. 7,3,B is the "B of Nao", 5,15 is "meet (by chance) me, and 6=hu1 is either a mere interrogative or the wind blowing, so we do not have to translate.

            Now what is B? It is [19] jian1 (4?)/dao4/yang2. The first is "besides" or "space", the second is the famous "path", and the third is the again famous yang from yang/yin, so probably "southern side". Although Chinese is not in kinship with Magyar, the structure is familiar. It is not easy to translate into English, but besides/path/sunny side of Nao. Legge reserves quite well both the repetitive structure, and the meaning of the lines: "You met me in the neighbourhood of/in the way to/on the south of Nao". Exclamation "xi1" is consequently absent at Legge. Rab breaks the line into 2 halves. In the first strophe the meeting goes to the end of Line 2, while the place to the end of Line 3. In the second and third strophes the meeting is absent, and the location remains in Line 2. But at least the exclamation (giggling?) is implicitly there, via the excited lines.

            Line 3 is 9,10,11,12,C and the exclamation. That is surely a hunting line. Each word has a multiplicity of meanings, but 9,10 at least permits "drive together", while 11,12 ,C is consistent with "follow two/a few C's". And the 3 C's are shoulder/male animal/wolf. I do not understand the first, but no problem with the other two. The line tells that the actors, two, together, hunted, following two (or a few) animals; 3 different kinds in the 3 strophes. Legge keeps the structure and puts boars of three years (why just? A rare meaning of jian3?) into Strophe 1. Rab must make it in a more complicated way, because she already has used up half of Lines 3 in Strophes 2 & 3; but the wolf is there in Strophe 3. In Strophe 1 she tries with "antlered beast"; I again have not the slightest idea about the zoological status of "jiang4".

            And now come the last lines. 14,15,16,15,D; and a final exclamation xi1. According to vocabulary [19], 14+15 is clearly "greeting me with both hands raised", or something such. 16+15 seems to be "speaking of me" and then D. D is again some good thing: ingenious/good/lucky. I cannot resist to interpret 16+15+D as "telling that I [am] D" or, what is the same, "speaking of me as D". In Magyar the line then would be without any forced translation, but of course tense endings inserted, "kezedet magasra tartva üdvözöl{14}tél{15} [és] mondtad{16}, D vagyok{15}", i.e. "[you] greeted{14} me{15} with raised hands{14} [and] told{16} [that] I{15} [am] D". "Én"="I" is not there for the Magyar translation; but "vagyok"="am" is there, and in Magyar "I" would be superfluous besides "vagyok".

            Legge translates the last lines as "You bowed to me, and said that I was active/skillful/dexterous." It is not important if the other person "bowed" or "greeted with raised hands". But I do not see "active/skilful/dexterious". D's readings are given as "xuan1/hao3 (or 4)/zang1", so again for first meanings "ingenious/good (being fond of)/good (lucky). As for Zsuzsa Rab, I see her "good" not in Strophe 1 but in 2. I do not see anywhere the "nice girl" of her strophe 2; but surely the "fond of" meaning there permits "told me being favoured" or such. And in the final line I see another laudation, but nothing about marriage proposition. If not that is ackowledged in the final, victorious giggling. If "xi1" is really a giggling; but only the reading is that, not the kanji.



            It seems that none of the 69 kanjis of the original of #97 of Shi Jing in itself indicates the sexes of the two actors. And not even in the English translation of Legge! Today's English is rather clumsy in sex/gender discrimination, if not in Sg3.To see that it is far from trivial in Indo-European, let us take a variety of languages, just for discussion accept Rab's interpretation, but translate word by word (as far as this is possible between Chinese & Indo-European) Line 4 of Strophe 1:




You congratulated and told that I was ingenious (ha-ha).


Tu salutabas, et dicebas mihi ingeniosa.


Ty blahozelal mi i povedal sto ja som [or: byla] obratná.


Tu saluas me et dis que je fus ingénieuse.


Du grüsstest und sagtest mich geschickte.

            And so on. The femaleness of the narrating person ("I") is unequivocally indicated on the adjective: Latin ingeniosa(/us), Slovakian obratná(/ny), French ingénieuse(/eux) and German geschickte/t. Slovakian, in addition, indicates te gender of the other person too. See, according to the genders of Sg1 & Sg2:


Sg1 & Sg2

Line 4

Female & Female

Ty si blahozelala i povedala sto ja som obratná.

Female & Male

Ty si blahozelal i povedal sto ja som obratná.

Male & Female

Ty si blahozelala i povedala sto ja som obratny.

Male & Male

Ty si blahozelal i povedal sto ja som obratny.


            Chinese & Magyar cannot do anything else than to greet with both hands raised (yi1) the Indo-Germans for such an ability. And I tell you that the laxity of Magyar in matters of gender goes so far that numerous Magyar folk songs can be sung either by men or by women (or by both together) without changing even a letter of the text. Still, in Magyar emotional poetic texts a Magyar reader can unequivocally tell the genders/sexes of the players. The inner logic of the text shows it.

            Now, I think, in #97 of Shi Jing the matter is not so unequivocal. I think, nobody ever suggested that both persons were female; it would have been too much Amazons for the patriarchal sages. Legge seems to suggest that both persons were male, via the lack of any other emotion than prestige in his translation. But Tôkei & Rab in [11] suggest a mixed hunting team of two. Is it possible/suggested by the texts?

            I think, Lines 2 & 3 are silent in this context. They inform us only about the preys. The "adjectives" in Lines 4 (xuan1/hao3,4/zang1) could be keys because in each language there are adjectives which are rather used to one sex than for the other. However if they showed clearly the sexes, Legge would not contradict Tôkei & Rab; and also, such stylistic rules can change even in a mere couple of centuries. Now we are confronted with a text of 2500 years old.

            But maybe Lines 1 offer some keys. Let us see again:


It seems that the most modest to regard xi1 as an exclamation, and it is very probable that zhi1 is the grammatical particula for possessive structures. The "adjectives" huan2/mao4/chang1 seem a "property" of zi3, and again I would not be convinced about the stylistics, because of the great antiquity of the text. So there remains zi3, if any.

            The word zi3 is in clear connection with the Japanese "ko"; the kanjis are the same. Japanese "ko" and Chinese "zi3" both have a meaning cca. "child". In Chinese zi3 can be "child". In this case the person, on whom the word is applied, is small & dependent. Indeed, the "egg" meaning is practically the same. But zi3 can also be a title for ruler; in which case the person is big & dominant. Also, it seems that zi3 is the clan name of the old Yin rulers. Also a zodiacal sign.

            Now, in Japanese the meaning of "ko" seems to be much more unambiguous; but wait a moment. The primary meaning of "ko" as a noun is "child" (also "kodomo"). However "ko-" is also a prefix indicating "child of", or "little"; for example "inu"="dog", "koinu"="little dog, puppy". But again, "-ko" appears at the end of a lot of female names (Akiko, Makiko, Mariko &c.). My guess is that in this position its primary meaning is also "little", although Japanese sometimes tell that it is "flower". Finally, there is a meaning when it combines the two "contrary" Chinese meanings: "prince", so a child (small/dependent) of a ruler (big/dominant).

            Then what to do? I do not know; but we may keep in mind both elementary meanings; and also I refer to Appendix B for further discussion of diminutive suffixes.

            But then one can argue for almost any translation of Lines 1. Look: if we accept the "little/child" meaning, then in Shi Jing #97 the narrating person is the "bigger". However the narrating person is proud that the other tells positive things about the narrating person's hunting ability. The "contradiction", however, vanishes, if the narrating persion is a male with weaker ability, while the other is an Amazon. Then the narrating person may tell: "Baby, you are fantastic, when hunting wolves!".

            But we may start also with the "title of ruler". Then a female narrating person may tell (I think, to another females): "Look, I met with a great hunter; and even he told me that I am good!"

            And what if females use diminutive words in connection to grown males? While this seems meaningless for males, it does happen in the present Magyar society. The probable explanation is dual: first, females may confuse their sexual & maternal instincts. See the sci-fi of anthropologist B. Kurtén, about grown Homo sapiens males seen "cute" by Neanderthal females [23], because of the very orthognathous face. Second, as the Manyshi example shows, the aspects of "gladly" and "itsy-bitsy" are kins in Ugric languages.

            Of course, there is a strong inhibition in females against visualize this or, definitely, against verbalising. The attached male wants to be big/strong, and not small/cute. However a female expression in Hungary is "cuki fiú", which is cca. "sugar boy" (cukor fiú), but in a diminutive form. Without diminutive the expression is practically not used by females, while, interestingly enough, males apply "cukorbaba"="sugar baby" to females, without diminutive in the adjective.



            It is interesting to compare translations of Shi Jing. Here I compare 3 translations. The oldest is Legge [18], from Victorian Great Britain; Indo-European. The second is Granet, a Frenchman from the beginning of XXth century [24], also an Indo-European, whose language is even stricter about genders. (He did not translate all poems.) And the third is on unisex Magyar [11]. According to Hungarian standard of translating poems always two persons are needed: one who is sure in the foreign language, and one familiar with the art of poetics. Now, as I told above, the master of Chinese was always F. Tôkei; the poetic fellow will always be indicated, together with the genders.

            I will compare the translations of four poems, all in some relation with #97; and then I will have a very brief remark about a fifth. 3 of them (##96, 98 & 99) are from the Songs of Qi, as #97.

            #82. In the Magyar translation this is the second lest patriarchal poem. In all translation it is a dialogue between a female & a male; the male starts to hunt, the female will wait for the prey and will cook. However let us see the differences. As far as I see in the original the actors are: “woman” & “warrior” (hunter?). At Legge they are wife & husband. Now at the non-Victorian French Granet they are definitely not: fille et garcon. And in the Magyar of Tôkei(m) & Károlyi(f)? They are “lány & legény”, so wench & lad. 2 to 1 majority against patriarchal & Victorian morals.

            #96, from Qi. Two lovers somewhere in a corner of the ducal court, in the night. Legge definitely refrains himself to guess which is which. Tôkei(m) & Károlyi(f) very weakly seem to feel as if the second actor were the female; but in a Note Tôkei refrains himself to state this.

            #98, from Qi. Both at Legge and at Tôkei(m) & Szabó(f) a female narrates something about a male. But the masculine gender is grammatically indicated in the English, while it is rather subtle in Magyar, so much that you could play it also with inverted roles (true, with a humorous twist).

            #99, from Qi. In all the 3 translation an amorous meeting, in the flat of one. But here the agreements end. In the two Indo-European translations the meeting starts at sunup (Sun on East) and ends at moonup; the visitor comes & goes. In the Magyar of Tôkei(m) & Lator (m) indeed the visitor arrives when the Sun stands on East; but does not depart when Moon is on the Eastern sky. In the Magyar text Sun & Moon do not act as “temporal pointers” but rather as mere “scenes of Nature”. And look: at the two Indo-European translators the host is male, the visitor is female, while it is just inverted in Magyar! Obviously again the Indo-Europeans interpret zi3/ko as she/elle, while the Magyars interpret it as “ífjú”=”youth”, as in #97. (But note that now the artistic translator is a poet instead of poetess Rab.)

            #245 is the myth of the birth of Millet Prince Hou Ji. It seems that in the last 3000 years Hou Ji, an ancestor of the Zhou kings, was always considered a forefather. But look: ji4 is millet, and hou4 is: “queen, empress, souvereign” [20]. Gender inversion? I do not think so (albeit fertility would be rather a feminine role); Chinese is an unisex language.



            Can I conclude? Not about the sociologic question. True, if the narrating person in Shi Jing #97 is a girl, then our picture about Ancient China is in ruins. But is it she? Cannot the narrating person a young lad? He meets a mature hunter, they drive trice prey, and the older one congratulates thrice the beginner, who is very happy. This is possible; but with the mentioned problems about zi3/ko. And it seems that the overwhelming majority of the 10 Qi poems are about amorous situations. It is better to tell simply that it is nontrivial who is male and who is female in a Shi Jing poem, as seen in the translations of #96 & #99. So if and when added information is absent, we cannot reconstruct the social status of genders from Shi Jing.

            As far as I know, our information is rather hazy about 5th century BC Qi. So it may have been strictly patriarchal & sexist (anything this means), or may have not been.

            However we can learn something else from Poems #96, #97, #98, #99 & #245. Marija Gimbutas tried hard to imagine the ideology of Old Europe before the arrival of Indo-Europeans. Her conclusion was matrifocality, not matriarchy: women were in the focus, but men also had their place under the Sun. Well, in most societies every group had some place, and lots depend on the details, but nevermind. As it is known, originally the title of her first book was Gods and Goddesses in Old Europe; in the second edition she inverted it to Goddesses and Gods. But now we can see that, read it in any direction, this title is still deeply Indo-European, as you may expect for a Lithuanian.

            Is Divine Hou Ji, the Sovereign of Millet, a God or A Goddess? In historical times he was a forefather of the Zhou, but I would be surprised if originally Hou Ji had not been rather feminine. Spirits of plant abundance rather connected with birth, so they tend towards the feminine pole .Also, agriculture rather originates from gathering women, and animal husbandry from hunting men. So originally (much earlier than the pseudo-historical time of Hou Ji in mid-second millennium BC) most of the attendants of the Sovereign of Millet probably were women. And then? Hou Ji is a great kami (using the Japanese term), and the translation of kami is neither God, nor Goddess, but Divinity (although you may say, if you want, that Amaterasu is a Goddess, and Sosa no O is a God).

            According to an American joke a white Catholic priest dies, then is resurrected. His colleagues then ask him if he saw God. The answer is: Yes; she is black. Now, this joke demonstrates genuine Indo-European thinking.

            Magyars have lived long enough in Europe to pick up such notions as “isten” = “god” and “istennô” = “goddess” (see: “király” = “male ruler, male king”, “királynô” = “female ruler, female king”, but “királyné” = “wife of a king”). Still, there is a unisex notion “istenség” = “godhead, divinity”. In Magyar, Hou Ji is an “istenség); in the details originally rather feminine than masculine, but in patriarchal times rather masculine. And then what?

            When Ms. Gimbutas/Gimbutaite’s Old Europe flowered, the ancestors of Magyars were still in Asia. But Basques were in Europe, and you may check the construction on the traces of Basque paganism.

            When the President of USA speaks to the people, he (he/she?, heesh?) starts with cca. “Men & Women of America!” In Magyar this is simply “Magyarok!”. “Brother/sister” is simple “testvér”, and so on.

            Maybe this aspect is interesting for some Indo-Europeans.



            Useful discussions with colleagues Dr. Katalin Barlai & Agnes Holba are acknowledged; but all responsibility is mine.




            F. Tôkei suggested that in Old Chinese times the regular pattern of verses was in the voiced/unvoiced pattern of word initials [12]. This is theory; but if it is true, in Shi Jing we must find poems which are not regular for rhymes or for tones, but are regular in the initials.

            Tôkei took some verses with Karlgren’s Old Chinese reconstructed forms [13] and in a few he saw regular patterns in the initials. However at the end he gave up the attempt [8], telling that the regularity was quite probable, but he was unable to prove it rigorously. However physicists do know methods to decide if a regularity is accidental or not.

            Shi Jing #8 was the favourite example of Tôkei for voiced/unvoiced initials; the pattern for one strophe is given in Sect. 6, and it is the same for all the 3 strophes. We can turn this pattern to an one-dimensional numerical series by representing voiced initials (o) by 0’s and unvoiced ones (x) by 1’s. Then we have a series of 48 numbers (and we can make the sample cyclic by a Born-Kármán boundary condition).

            If a series is accidental, it cannot show autocorrelation. Exactly 0 autocorrelations are statistically very improbable, but the method gives a significance level too. The series is very probably regular if its autocorrelation differs moiré from 0 than the significance level. You may turn to Ref. [17] for details, or to any good textbook about Statistics.

            There is the original series ai; in our case 0<i<49. From the series ai we can calculate an average <a>

(A.1)    <a> = (1/n)∑r ar; 0<r<n+1

and a mean spread σa

(A.2)    σa2 = (1/n)∑r (ar-<a>)2

In experimental physics there are good arguments to substitute n with n-1 in (A.2) [25]. These arguments are not exactly rigorous, but really there is one linear dependence in (A.2), so I accept the correction.

            Now, we can form another series from ai, by shifting it with Δ elements. So:

(A.3)    b(Δ)i = ai+Δ

Then the correlation coefficient of a and b(Δ), denoted as r(Δ), shows the internal repetition in the series ai. The autocorrelation coefficient is defined as

(A.4)    r(Δ) = {(<a2>-<a>2)(<b2>-<b>2)}1/2aσb

You can verify directly that if there is a complete periodicity in the series ai with period D, then r(D)=1. If there is total inversion after D elements (all o to x and vice versa), then r(D)=-1. In all other cases

(A.5)    -1<r(Δ)<1

The normal statistical fluctuation of r, called now σr, can be estimated (it really weakly depends on the construction of the series).

            In our case the null hypothesis (when Tôkei is wrong) is that voiced/unvoiced initials had no role at all in the construction. Then according to the null hypothesis

(A.6)    <r>=0

(A.7)    σr = 0.14

Now, for Δ=1 and 3 r is at 4σ from 0 and at Δ=4 it is beyond 5σ. So it is very improbable that these repetitions were accidental. For even more  rigorous study we should compare Shi Jing #8 with texts of similar age which never were considered poems; but for the present this analysis may suffice.



            As we saw, Japanese seems to have a diminutive suffix "-ko". A diminutive suffix expresses the smallness of the thing/person; but generally not in purely physical sense. A Fraulein is not necessarily smaller than a Frau; rather weaker, younger, or needs more attention or care. Or simply one is fonder of her.

            This is exactly Japanese "-ko", forming female names. Male instinct is that a female is smaller, weaker, and needs more care. This in reality may or may not true; but both sides generally play as if it were true.

            Now, there is a similar Ugric suffix: Manyshikwe [26], Magyar -ka/-ke (or -cska/-cske). (In Magyar the suffix obeys Vowel Harmony.) The Magyar suffix operates quite widely: for example fa->cska (tree/small tree), kutya->kutyácska (dog/little dog), ház->házacska (house/small house), fiú->fiúka, fiúcska (boy/small boy; also: fióka: young bird), leány->leányka (girl/small girl, girl-child), anyó->anyóka (old woman/little old woman) &c. At given names (István/Istvánka, Péter/Péterke, Jolán/Jolánka, Katalin/Katalinka/Katinka/Katika/Katóka &c. where the original names mean Steven, Peter, Jolanthe & Catherine, to show that the suffix is as gender-independent as the end of a Magyar given name) it may indicate young age, but also emotional connection. Some (strictly female) names end with -/-, as Ildi, Ani & Eni (roughly, but not exactly Hilda, Anette & Enid).

            Now, for the Manyshikwe/-ke both nominal and verbal examples can be mentioned. As nominal diminutive, see e.g. "pighkwe"="little boy", "angkw"="little old woman", "taremsiskwe"="little god" &c. However Manyshi has a verbal mood expressing emotional involvement: then -ke-/-kwe is put between the root and the personal suffices (-kwe only at absolute word end). E.g. "toti"="carries", "totikem"="I carry gladly". (The final –m is the Praes. Sg1 verbal suffix, just as in Magyar.)

            Any connection between Ugric -ka/-ke/-kwe and Japanese -ko is very doubtful, and this is the reason that the Ugric suffix went to the Appendix. However, there are further similarities. There is a Slavic suffix -ka, forming feminine words from masculine ones. Using again Slovakian examples, the pattern is as "sekretár/sekretárka"="male/female secretary". Magyar speakers often feel Magyar -ke/-ka behind Slavic -ka, which seems incorrect, because Slavic -ka definitely do not indicate smallness/youngness. Still Magyar "macska" = Slovakian "macka" = "cat" is told to came from "Mariska"="little Mary"; the original Slavic root for "cat" is cca. "kot'", see Slovakian "kocúr"="tomcat".

            Now, behind the Magyar female name "Ildi"="Hilda" it is almost hopeless to search for an Ugric diminutive, because the name of the last wife of Great King Attila was recorded in the form "Ildico" even already by Iordanes, the Goth. However the end of the name is a mystery. "Ildico"="Ildikó" is routinely identified with Krimhilde of Burgundy, and Hilde/Hilda is the equivalent of Ildi/Ildico, without any explanation of the final -co at Iordanes.

            Also, observe the word "little bear", which is "mac" in Magyar and "macko" (neuter) in Slovakian. Magyar & Slovakian are, of course, not related genetically.





 [1]       P. Anderson: The Shield of Time. Tor, New York, 1990

 [2]       J. J. Bachofen: Das Mutterrecht. Krais & Hoffmann, Stuttgart, 1861

 [3]       R. Graves: The Greek Myths. Penguiun, Harmondsworth, 1955

 [4]       Marija Gimbutas: J. Indo-Eur. Studies 1, 163 (1973)

 [5]       A. Garrett: to be published in J. Clackson, P. Forster & C. Renfrew eds.): Phylogenetic Methods and the Prehistory Of Languages. McDonald Inst. of Arch. Res., Cambridge.

 [6]       C. Lévi-Strauss: Tristes tropiques. Librairie Plon, Paris, 1955

 [7]       Ildikó Ecsedy: AOH XXV, 245 (1972)

 [8]       F. Tôkei: Sinológiai műhely, Magvetô, Budapest, 1974.

 [9]       J. E. Morby: Dynasties of the World. Oxford University Press, 1989

[10]      U. Knoche (ed.): Iuvenalis saturae. Munich, 1950

[11]      F. Tôkei (ed.): Dalok könyve (Si King), Európa Kiadó, Budapest, 1962.

[12]      F. Tôkei: Notes prosodiques sur quelques chants de travail chinois, AOH 6, 53 (1956)

[13]      B. Karlgren: Grammata Serica Recensa, BMFEA 29, Stockholm, 1957

[14]      G. Olaszy: in Proc. 8th Colloq. On Acoustics, Budapest, 1982, p. 204

[15]      I. Borbély & B. Lukács: Acustica 63, 129 (1986)

[16]      B. Karlgren: The Book of Odes. Stockholm, 1950

[17]      B. Lukács: KFKI-1998-02

[18]      J. Legge: Chinese Classics. Hong-Kong – London, 1860-72, Vol. IV, The She King

[19]      The Book of Odes. http://afpc.asso.fr/wengu/wg/wengu.php?l=Shijing

[20]      Wiktionary. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Main_Page

[21]      B. Tung: Classical Chinese. http://www.isi.edu/~brian/chinese/classical.html

[22]      Shun Ha Sylvia Konecna Wong: http://www.fi. muni.cz/usr/wong/teaching/chinese/notes/node27.html

[23]      B. Kurtén: The Dance of the Tiger. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1995

[24]      M. Granet: Fetes et chansons anciennes de la Chine. Leroux, Paris, 1929

[25]      L. Jánossy: Theory and Practice of the Evaluation of Measurements. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1965

[26]      B. Kálmán: Chrestomathia Vogulica. Tankönyvkiadó, Budapest, 1976

My HomePage, with some other studies, if you are curious.