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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: *g/s-ni-s (Matisoff, STEDT); *g-nis (Benedict, 1972; Chou, 1972; LaPolla, 1987); *g-ni-s (Weidert, 1987)

Alongside the root for "three" (*g-sum), this root for "two" is one of the most lexemically and phonologically stable numerals in Sino-Tibetan languages, and lexical replacement of this etymon is excessively rare: e.g. Jingpho /ləkhôŋ/ which has not been successfully connected to anything else. The Jingpho word for "one" has a similar shape, /ləŋâi/, and is also etymologically unclear.

This root appears unmistakably cognate with *s-ni-s (seven). See there for more.

The Burmese form seems to suggest a proto-language velar final variant: *-ik.



  1. two


  • Old Chinese: /*nij-s/
    • Middle Chinese: (ȵiɪH)

      Japanese:  (, ​ni)
      Korean:  (, i)
      Vietnamese: nhị ()

      • Modern Mandarin
        • Beijing: (èr, /ˀɤɻ⁵¹/)
      • Cantonese
        • Guangzhou: /jiː²²/
      • Wu
        • Shanghai: (ȵi²³) (colloquial) /ɦəɻ²³/ (literary)
  • Old Chinese: (second; next; the following) /*s-n̥ij-s/ (Baxter–Sagart); /*sn̥ʰis/ (Zhengzhang)
    • Middle Chinese (MC t͡sʰiɪH)
      • Cantonese
        • Guangzhou: (/t͡sʰiː³³/)
      • Hakka
        • Sixian: (/t͡sʰɨ⁵⁵/)
      • Modern Mandarin
        • Beijing: (/t͡sʰz̩⁵¹/)
  • Himalayish
    • Tibeto-Kanauri
      • Bodic
        • Tibetan
          • Written Tibetan: གཉིས (gnyis, two)
          • Sikkimese: ཉི (nyi)
  • Tangut-Qiang
    • Northern Tangut
      • Tangut: 𗍫 (njɨ, /*nʲʏ⁵⁵/, two)
    • rGyalrongic
  • Sal
  • Lolo-Burmese-Naxi
    • Lolo-Burmese
      • Burmish
      • Loloish
        • Northern Loloish
          • Yi (Liangshan): (nyip, two)
  • Karen: *k-hnejᴬ (Luangthongkum, 2013)

See also[edit]