Reconstruction:Proto-Sino-Tibetan/m/s-laj ~ s-lej

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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: ?
    • Proto-Tibeto-Burman: *m/s-lay ⪤ *s-ley (Matisoff, STEDT); *m-lay ⪤ s-lay (Michailovsky, 1991; Weidert, 1987; Benedict, 1972); *s-lay (LaPolla, 1987); *-lay ⪤ -ley ⪤ -lya (Matisoff, 1985); *-ley (French, 1983)

Other PST roots for "tongue" in STEDT:

The descendants listed below may as well be derived from one (or more than one of) the ones above. It's not always possible to unambiguously assign descendants to one of these etymons (allofams), especially in cases like Old Chinese where there exists considerable variation in the reconstructions. Hence the amalgamation of synonymous descendants here. See *m/s/g-ljak (to lick) for more.


*m/s-laj ~ s-lej

  1. tongue


Descendants listed hereafter are for words with the sense "tongue" only. Words with the sense "to lick" in daughter languages are mostly cognate to these and can be found at *m/s/g-ljak.

  • Old Chinese: /*mə.lat/ (B-S); /*ɦbljed/ (ZS) ("tongue")

    (likely   Proto-Hmong-Mien:  *mblet (tongue) (> Hmong (RPA): nplaig)

    • Middle Chinese: (ʑiᴇt)

         Japanese:   (ぜつ, ​zetsu)
            Korean:   (, seol)
            Vietnamese:  thiệt

      • Modern Mandarin
        • Beijing: (shé, /ʂɤ³⁵/)
      • Cantonese
        • Guangzhou: /ɕiːt̚²/, /ɕiːt̚³/
      • Wu
        • Shanghai: /z̻ə̆ʔ¹²/
    • Min
      • Min Nan
        • Taiwan: /t͡ɕiʔ⁵/ (colloquial); /ɕi̯at̚⁵/ (literary)
  • Himalayish
    • Tibeto-Kanauri
      • Bodic
  • Lolo-Burmese-Naxi
    • Lolo-Burmese
      • Burmish
      • Loloish
        • Northern Loloish
          • Yi (Liangshan): ꉐꆂ (hxa nie, tongue)
  • *bleᴬ (Luangthongkum, 2013)