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This Proto-Sino-Tibetan entry contains reconstructed words and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.



  • Proto-Sino-Tibetan: *ʔjit (Coblin, 1986)
    • Proto-Tibeto-Burman: *ʔit (Matisoff, STEDT); *it (Benedict, 1972)

There is no single general root for ONE in Sino-Tibetan languages, in sharp contradistinction to the cases of numerals 2-9, for each of which a single etymon overwhelmingly predominates. This root is only found at the periphery of the Sino-Tibetan area and may therefore be quite old. The more common root for ONE is *tjak ~ g-t(j)ik.

Benedict (1972) set up this etymon on the basis of only two forms: Kanawari and Written Burmese, and identified it as cognate to Old Chinese.

Matisoff (1997) posits *-i- ~ -ya- variational pattern in this etymon (akin to *tjak ~ g-t(j)ik (one), *gip ~ gjap (ten) and perhaps *riŋ ~ rjaŋ (ten), op. cit.) and considers this root to be etymologically cognate with *kat (one).

Some Min Dong dialects of Chinese use as the colloquial word for the numeral one, e.g. Fuzhou /soʔ⁵/, Fuqing /θyo⁵³/. Min Nan also has a similar-shaped word, e.g. Amoy /t͡ɕit̚⁵/.


  1. one


  • Old Chinese: /*ʔit/ (B-S); /*qlig/ invalid IPA characters (g), replace g with ɡ (ZS)
    (in the oracle bone script) 一-oracle.svg

       Proto-Hmong-Mien:  *ʔɨ (one)
          (White Hmong (RPA):  ib)

    • Middle Chinese: /ʔiɪt/

         Japanese:   (いち, ​ichi)
            Korean:   (, il)
            Vietnamese:  nhất

         Thai:  เอ็ด (èt, one (used as final digit, as in สิบเอ็ด (sìp-èt)))
            Lao:  ເອັດ ('et, one (used as final digit, as in ສິບເອັດ (sip 'et)))

      • Modern Mandarin
        • Beijing: (, /i⁵⁵/)
      • Cantonese
        • Guangzhou: /jɐt̚⁵/
      • Wu
        • Shanghai: /ʔiɪ̆ʔ⁵⁵/
    • Min
      • Min Nan
        • Taiwan: /ʔit̚³/
  • Himalayish
    • Tibeto-Kanauri
      • Western Himalayish
        • Kanauri: /id/ ("one")
    • Mahakiranti
      • Kham-Magar-Chepang-Sunwar
        • Chepang: /jat/ ("one")
  • Lolo-Burmese-Naxi
    • Lolo-Burmese
      • Burmish
        • Written Burmese: အစ် (ac, unit, one) (Benedict, 1976, RDWB)