I've noticed that the Mongolian word for "new" is "шинэ" (or in traditional script, "ᠰᠢᠨ᠎ᠠ"). Since final vowels are not pronouned it's spoken as "shin".

The Han character for "new", "新" is also pronounced pretty much as "shin" in Mandarin, Korean, and Japanese.

Is the Mongolian word also derived from Chinese? It seems like it ought to be core vocabulary but as its been borrowed into Korean and Japanese it seems quite possible though those other languages facilitated a greater degree of borrowing due to using the Chinese writing system.

  • 1
    I see in (Russian) Buryat new is "шэнэ" and Kalmyk it is "шин", so it does seem to be part of Mongolic core vocabulary which makes me lean more toward coincidence. Dec 11 '13 at 14:22
  • Mongolia is not ᠮᠣᠨᠭᠭᠣᠯ, It should be like ᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯ in traditional Mongolian.
    – user2913
    Dec 21 '13 at 12:43

To begin with, the Chinese phoneme is not exactly sh but it sounds more like k in Swedish käften.

Contrary to the information provided by YS, more exact spelling of the other language is Khitan (with H) or Liao and its relation to Mongolian is at least disputable.

The Khitan word does not prove anything, because this is a distant language of a disputed and not widely recognised branch, but these are the minor inaccuracies.

What really matters is that the final vowel used to be pronounced in older Mongolian only, but not in Khitan (which is clear even from the poor and insufficient evidence provided by YS).

And it is far more important that the proto Sino-Tibetan word for 'new' has been reconstructed as ¤saR; that is, as a monosyllablic word with a final consonant R (see Paul K. Benedict, p. 163).

  • 2
    To begin with, there's no agreement on whether there is one Chinese phoneme, or two allophones of a single phoneme. [ʂ] and [ɕ] are in complementary distribution so various analyses either group or split them. And I'm sure it/they has/have changed since the time the various languages borrowed it anyway, which is why I didn't go off on that tangent d-; Dec 11 '13 at 14:04
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    And I have no idea why you're talking about Khitan. I didn't mention this at all... Ah you should mention YS's answer if you reference it. There's no guarantee of the order answers will be presented or read in. Dec 11 '13 at 14:06
  • 1
    Yes, you're right about the [ʂ] and [ɕ], but they are rendered as *s- in most of reconstructions. The rest is more about YS's answers.
    – Manjusri
    Dec 11 '13 at 14:45
  • I have to admit to not being very good at Proto-Sinitic, Proto-Sino-Tibetan, or protolanguage reconstructions at all actually. I find etymological dictionaries frustratingly difficult to use. If we had a blog we could have an article on that topic! (= Dec 11 '13 at 14:49
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    ...and other historical forms are *sienz or *sieny, but, again, I am not sure about the timelines of these two (proto)languages (the *ser is definately proto Sino-Tibetan, but I am not sure about its cognates *sieny and *sienz).
    – Manjusri
    Dec 11 '13 at 15:04

This word can well be connected with its Chinese counterpart. The Old Mongolian for it is sine, the Kitan (Super Old Mongolian) is *shen.

  • 1
    It seems that Classical Mongolian did not (at least usually) have final consonants. Often in the Cyrillic spelling the final vowels are not written, but when they are they are not pronounced. In the traditional script spellings there are a lot more written final vowels which are silent but. The traditional script preserves the Classical Mongolian whereas the Cyrillic is more "reformed". Not that any of that directly affects this word but it's interesting to know. Dec 11 '13 at 14:09
  • 1
    Even the Classical Mongolian word monggol has a final consonant, and there are tons of other words with a final consonant, here are some of them, the ones that I could remember first: han (khan), hoyar (2), arban (10), bičig (script, writing), on (year), etc. And I have something special for you, it's my scan of a 1989 Mongolian book that teaches how to write Mongolian in the traditional Mongolian script, for those who are used to writing in Cyrillic. Just tell me where it's better for you that I post the link to download it.
    – Yellow Sky
    Dec 12 '13 at 13:56
  • Yes sorry I'm far too new at Mongolian to have commented on this stuff. I don't know the current phonotactics or what has changed over the centuries in the phonotactics since Classical Mongolian. I just know that there are various quirks. Монгол = ᠮᠣᠨᠭᠭᠣᠯ has a final consonant in both traditional and Cyrillic, but хэл has a final consonant in Cyrillic but ended with a vowel (e) in traditional ᠬᠡᠯᠡ. Dec 12 '13 at 14:22

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