Alexander Vovın, David Mccraw

Keywords: Old Turkic, Middle Chinese, Old Chinese, para-Mongolic, kinship terms, cultural influence


In this article we attempt to demonstrate that most of the new kinship terms in Middle Chinese denoting elder members of the family that first appeared in the Tang period replacing the Old Chinese terms (and some of them still being the main colloquial terms in Mandarin) come from Old Turkic, or in one case ultimately from para-Mongolic, but via Turkic. We perceive this discovery as a major blow to the Chinese linguistic nationalism that denies the existence of foreign loanwords in Chinese. It also demonstrates that the Northern Steppe 'barbarians' were not always on the receiving side in their interaction with the Chinese, and, as a matter of fact, managed to influence Chinese language and society to the great extent