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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: *r-njəɣ  (Coblin, 1986)
    • Proto-Tibeto-Burman: *r/g-na (Matisoff, STEDT; LaPolla, 1987; French, 1983); *g-na (Benedict, 1972)

Note that Proto-Sino-Tibetan has the same root *na for "ear" and "nose", distinguishing their meanings only with prefixes ("nose": *s-na). A parallelism exists in Chinese (wén < OC *mun, "to smell; to hear").

For Chinese , some modern Min Bei dialects attest the -Ø ~ -ŋ variation in the final (e.g. Jianyang /noiŋ/) as recorded in the historical rhyme book Jiyun. The Min Nan colloquial reading (if not a substrate borrowing) not only suggests an older nasal rhyme, it also appears to point to a proto-initial of /*n̥ < C.n̥/.


  1. ear
  2. to hear, to listen


  • Old Chinese: /*C.nəʔ/ (B-S), /*njɯʔ/ (ZS) ("ear"); ("cutting off ear as a punishment"), ("ear ornament") /*njɯs/ (ZS)
    • Middle Chinese: /ȵɨX/, , /ȵɨH/
      • Modern Mandarin
        • Beijing: ("ear") (ěr, /ˀɤɻ²¹³/), , (èr, /ˀɤɻ⁵¹/)
      • Cantonese
        • Guangzhou: /jiː¹³/
      • Wu
        • Shanghai: /ȵi²³/ (colloquial), /ɦəɻ²³/ (literary)
    • Min
      • Min Nan
        • Taiwan: /çĩ³³, çi³³/ (colloquial), /ni⁵¹/ (literary)
  • Himalayish
    • Tibeto-Kanauri
      • Bodic
        • Tibetan
  • Lolo-Burmese-Naxi
    • Lolo-Burmese
      • Burmish
        • Written Burmese: နား ‎(na:, ear)
      • Loloish
        • Northern Loloish
          • Yi (Liangshan): ‎(hnep, ear), ‎(hnap, ear (literary)), ‎(hna, to listen actively, to try to hear)
  • Karenic:
    /*naᴮ/ (Luangthongkum, 2013)

See also[edit]

  • *s-na ‎(nose)
  • *s-ta-s ~ ta-n ‎(to hear, to listen)
  • *njan ‎(to hear, to listen)
  • *hjen ‎(to look, to see; to hear, to listen)