Reconstruction:Proto-Sino-Tibetan/ken ~ m-kjen

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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: *ken ⪤ mkyen (Coblin, 1986)
    • Proto-Tibeto-Burman: *ken ⪤ *m-kyen (Matisoff, STEDT); *(m-)kyen (Benedict, 1972; Chou, 1972; Coblin, 1986)

For a similar semantic development, compare Proto-Indo-European *weyd- (to see (⇒ view), to know (⇒ wise)).


*ken ~ m-kjen

  1. to see
  2. to know


  • Old Chinese:
    (*kˁen-s (B-S); *keːns (ZS), to see, to visit)
    , (*ɴ-kˁen-s (B-S); *geːns (ZS), to appear, to show up)
    , (*m-kˁen-s (B-S); *geːns (ZS), to cause to appear, to introduce; now)
    (*ɴ-kˁenʔ (B-S); *kʰeːns, *geːnʔ (ZS), to look like, look as if)
    perhaps also
    (*qʰˁenʔ (B-S); *ŋ̊eːnʔ (ZS), to display, to manifest; bright)
    ( in the oracle bone script - eye on person) 見-oracle.svg
    • Middle Chinese: (kenH, ɦenH), (ɦenH), (kʰenH, ɦenX), (henX)

         Japanese:   (けん, ​ken)
            Korean:   (, gyeon)
            Vietnamese:  kiến

         Japanese:   (げん, ​gen)
            Korean:   (, hyeon)
            Vietnamese:  hiện

      • Modern Mandarin
        • Beijing: (jiàn, /t͡ɕi̯ɛn⁵¹/), (xiàn, /ɕi̯ɛn⁵¹/), (qiàn, /t͡ɕʰi̯ɛn⁵¹/), (xiǎn, /ɕi̯ɛn²¹⁴/)
  • Himalayish
    • Tibeto-Kanauri
      • Bodic
        • Tibetan
          • Written Tibetan: མཁྱེན་པ (mkhyen pa, to know, to comprehend, to cognise; knowledge, wisdom)

See also[edit]