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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



  1. to hear, to listen


  • Old Chinese: (*C.nəʔ (B-S), *njɯʔ (ZS), ear); (cutting off ear as a punishment), (*njɯs (ZS), ear ornament)
    • 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
  • Kamarupan
  • Tangut-Qiang
  • Lolo-Burmese-Naxi
    • Lolo-Burmese
      • Burmish
      • Loloish
        • Northern Loloish
          • Yi (Liangshan): (hnep, ear), (hnap, ear (literary)), (hna, to listen actively, to try to hear)
  • Karen: *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)