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“Easy to learn” (rTogs par sla ba) (1737) as a source for the study of Tibetan-Mongolian lexicographic relations

« Facile à apprendre » (rTogs par sla ba) (1737) comme source pour l’étude des relations lexicographiques tibéto-mongoles
Burnee Dorjsuren

Résumés

Le dictionnaire intitulé « Facile à apprendre » composé par Гomboǰab (mong. cl. mGonbo skyabs) et al. en 1737 était une source importante de la lexicographie des dictionnaires tibétains et mongols. Ce dictionnaire a été rédigé dans le but d’enseigner le tibétain aux apprenants mongols. Dans cet article, nous procédons à une analyse comparative macro et microstructurelle avec des dictionnaires connexes, qui permet de révéler que « Facile à apprendre » s’inspire de la lexicographie sanskrite et tibétaine, que chaque partie reflète une méthodologie lexicographique distincte et que cette source représente les relations lexicographiques mongoles et tibétaines.

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Introduction

1Mongolia and Tibet shared religious and cultural ties for centuries. Particularly in the 17th-19th century, Tibetan language and cultural influence increased with the spread of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia and a wide range of literary works from the “five major and five minor sciences” (Tib. Rig gnas che ba lnga dang chung ba lnga) were translated from Tibetan into Mongolian. This spread influenced the style of the Mongolian literary language and formed the norm the of sutra language style (Shagdarsüren 2017, р. 65). Meanwhile, Tibetan supplanted Mongolian as the main language, pushing it into a place of secondary importance (Vladimirtsov 2005, р. 27).

2While translating Buddhist literature, Mongols also wrote many works in Tibetan on different areas of Buddhist literature. As a result, the number of literary works written by Mongolian and Tibetan authors on similar topics increased. It also made them an important source for the study of the relationship between Tibetan and Mongolian literature. This study examines issues related to tradition and innovation in the interrelation of Mongolian dictionaries with Tibetan lexicography, then with Sanskrit, using examples from the “Easy to learn” (mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015) dictionary.

  • 1 In addition to bilingual dictionaries, monolingual Tibetan-Tibetan (Bürnee 2005, 2019a) and multili (...)

3In the history of Mongolian lexicography, there are many bilingual Tibetan-Mongolian dictionaries (Dorzh 1962; Burnee 2007). The earliest dictionary that has survived until today is the Tibetan-Mongolian dictionary “Sunlight” (Nyi ma’i ’od) compiled by Günγaǰamčo (Tib. Kun dga’ rgya mtsho) in 1718, and the next is Гomboǰab’s dictionary “Easy to learn”, which forms the subject of this article. Dictionaries that came out after Гomboǰab’s differ in size and structure, as well as in translation and interpretation1. Among them, the dictionaries of Girdi Ananda (Girti Ananda), Rolbidorǰi (Rol pa’i rdo rje), published in the 18th century, and other dictionaries compiled in the 19th century by Aγvandandar, Girdibaǰar, Гalsangǰamba, and Lubsangrinčin have become widespread. Famous Mongolian lexicographers used Гomboǰab’s dictionary. For example, Easy to learn was used as one of the sources in the dictionaries “Moonlight” (Zla ba’i ’od snang) by Aγvangdandar (Bürnee 1983), Three-cleared (gSum gsal) by Girdibaǰar, and “Darkness-dispelling Lamp” (Mun sel sgron me) by Lubsangrinčin (Bürnee 2002; Sárközi 2010).

4“Easy to learn” was compiled by Duke Гomboǰab (17th-18th) and others in 1737. According to Čoyiǰi, Гomboǰab was born before 1680 and passed away shortly after 1750 (Γomboǰab 1999, р. 14). He was from the Üjümüčin Banner, Inner Mongolia, and was granted the title of “earl” (Mo. güng). In addition to his native Mongolian language, he wrote several works in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, and Manchu, such as “Current of the Ganges” (Mo. Γanγa-yin urusqal) in Mongolian and “History of Buddhism in China” (Tib. rGya nag chos ’byung) in Tibetan (Pučkovski 1960; Bira 1964, pp. 81-81; De Jong 1968; Vostrikov 1970; Uspenskii 1985; Γomboǰab 1999, рp. 2-14; Mala 2006, pp. 145-169). Гomboǰab also compiled other works on history and traditional medicine. One of his accomplishments includes his contribution to the compilation of the famous Tibetan-Mongolian dictionary “The source of the wise men” (Tib. Dag yig mkhas pa’i ’byung gnas) and his participation in the translation of the Tanjur (Tib. bsTan ’gyur) from Tibetan as well as the translations of some historical works from Chinese.

5This article examines the word order, the principles of headword selection, and the principles for distinguishing the meaning of the words in “Easy to learn” in comparison with other dictionaries used in its compilation, and also in adopting the method of translation such as “A Basket” (Za ma tog), “Lamp of speech” (Ngag sgron), “Pavilion of cloves” (Li shi gur khang) and the Tibetan-Mongolian dictionary “Sunlight”. This comparison traces the degree of tradition and innovation in the Tibetan and Tibetan-Mongolian lexicographies, and identifies the contribution of the Mongols to the improvement of Tibetan lexicography.

6Ts. Dorzh (1962, p. 100), who made a preliminary report on the structure, the xylograph, and the authors of “Easy to learn”, notes that the dictionary was composed due to the need for a quick publication, and provides a list of some of the dictionaries that were possibly used in compiling it. His conclusion was based on the dictionary’s colophon data. We assume that only a 70-sheet Mongolian xylograph printed in the form of a Tibetan stylebook was at Dorzh’s disposal, and he therefore did not mention the preface, which is in the Chinese xylograph style.

7Sečenbilig, based on his analysis of the Chinese xylograph style, argues that ǰanǰiy-a Aγvangčoyidan (1642-1714) (Tib. lCang skya Ngag dbang chos ldan) contributed to the compilation of the dictionary “Easy to learn” (Sečenbilig 1989, p. 82). He notes that only ǰanǰiy-a Aγvangčoyidan’s work on the grammar of the Tibetan language was included in the preface and introduction to the dictionary. Further, Sečenbilig points out that there is a mismatch in the time frame between ǰanǰiy-a Aγvangčoyidan’s death in 1714 and the period in which the dictionary was composed in 1736, dismissing the opinions of previous scholars who regarded ǰanǰiy-a Aγvangčoyidan as the compiler. According to Sečenbilig, “Easy to learn” was compiled in 1736 and it was edited and published in 1737.

8European scholars J. Schmidt (1841) and J. Kowalewski (1844) used this dictionary when compiling their own dictionaries. Vladimir L. Uspenskii (1986) studied three prints of the Chinese xylograph of Easy to learn”, currently kept in the library of the Eastern Faculty of Saint Petersburg University in Russia. He numbers the three prints in Cyrillic alphabetical order, A, Б, and В, and assumes that version Б is most likely to be the original print due to its legibility, bigger paper size, and the lack of an appendix. He bases his analysis on the colophon of the dictionary, which says that Yunli, the seventeenth son of Emperor Kangxi (1661-1722), was the initiator of the first edition of this dictionary (Uspenskii 1986, p. 111) and headed the Lifanyuan 理藩院from 1723 to 1729. He further describes the structure of this dictionary – the preface, the main part that contains several parts, and an appendix – and notes that such a соmplex structure could have been the reason for the long preparation for publication. Uspenskii also reports on a variant of this dictionary, which contains lists of words from Manchu and Chinese in addition to the list of Tibetan-Mongolian words (Uspenskii 1997, p. 34). As for the authors of the dictionary, Uspenskii considered ǰanǰiy-a Aγvangčoyidan to be one of a number of people involved in drafting the dictionary. Moreover, based on the colophon data, Uspenskii suggests that in 1737 three translators who worked on the edition of the “Easy to learn” supplemented the dictionary with additional parts and published it in the same year (Uspenskii 1999, pp. 421-422). Iahontova mentions the existence of Beijing and Buriat xylographs of “Easy to learn”, as well as a manuscript stored in the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts (IOM), Saint Petersburg (Iahontova 2015, p. 215). In 2015, the Beijing xylograph of “Easy to learn” was published in Köke Qota, China as a photocopy, and it was included in the third volume of “Monuments of Mongolian Linguistics Series” (mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, pp. 251-630).

  • 2 The manuscript is an incomplete copy of a Mongolian-style xylograph that is kept at the National Li (...)
  • 3 In the Mongolian xylograph, we can see corrections of spelling errors in Mongolian translation from (...)

9The National Library of Mongolia holds the Chinese and Mongolian xylographs, as well as a manuscript2 of this dictionary (Bürnee & Bayarlah 2017, p. 47). Based on the fact that the Mongolian xylograph is stored only in that library, and not included in the catalogs of Mongolian books published abroad, we can assume that the Mongolian xylograph of “Easy to learn” has been distributed in Mongolia. This is also explained by the fact that Buddhist books were mostly published in Mongolia in Tibetan longbook (dpe cha) format (Shagdarsüren 2001, р. 279). Since the Mongolian xylograph does not contain a preface of 22 pages or parts of the colophon, we consider the Beijing xylograph as the original and full text of “Easy to learn”, and the Mongolian as a copy3. The focus here is on the Chinese xylograph.

10The present article consists of two parts. First, it undertakes a comparative analysis of the macrostructure of “Easy to learn” and the dictionaries used in its compilation. Here the review of dictionaries used in compiling it is followed by the comparison of their macrostructures. Second, it compares the microstructure of the work with that of the dictionaries used in its compilation. The microstructure compares 1) the arrangement of entries, 2) the vocabulary, 3) the meaning of words, and 4) the translation.

Comparative analysis of the macrostructure of “Easy to learn” and the dictionaries used in its compilation

11The title of the dictionary “Easy to learn” is written in Tibetan and Mongolian on the front cover.

Figure 1. The title of the dictionary “Easy to learn”

Figure 1. The title of the dictionary “Easy to learn”

© mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, p. 251 (permission to reprint is granted)

Figure 2. One sheet from the introduction part of the dictionary “Easy to learn”

Figure 2. One sheet from the introduction part of the dictionary “Easy to learn”

© mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, p. 294 (permission to reprint is granted)

Figure 3. One sheet from the main part of the dictionary “Easy to learn”

Figure 3. One sheet from the main part of the dictionary “Easy to learn”

© mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, p. 296 (permission to reprint is granted)

  • 4 Tib. Bod kyi brda yig rtogs par sla ba zhes bya ba bcos khul gyi zhus dag gsum song ba bzhugs so; M (...)

12The Tibetan name of the dictionary is written vertically from top to bottom along the lines of Mongolian letters. The full name is “Tibetan textbook for easy learning, edited three times”4. The dictionary consists of 380 sheets, four lines each, with a paper size of 19,5x35 cm (mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, p. 249). Vladimir L. Uspenskii notes about the copies which are kept in the library of St. Petersburg University under the code Plg. 98, Plg. 104, Plg. 106 that they were printed from the same wood-blocks; in some cases they have different title labels on their covers. The dictionary under the code Plg. 106 consists of three parts, each part of which has a separate pagination. The first part is the main part; it includes the introduction and the dictionary itself; the other two parts are supplements (Uspenskii 1999, pp. 421-422; Kara 2000, pp. 142-143). The dictionary that we used in our research does not have pagination. The first part is an introduction, the second part is a list of words in alphabetical order, the third part is a list of old and new words, the fourth part is a list of synonyms, and the fifth part consists of two supplements. The colophon is located after the first, second, fourth and fifth parts. The colophon of the introductory part says that it was written by ǰanǰiy-a Aγvangčoyidan (mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, pp. 294-295).

13The second part, which consists of a list of words written in a Tibetan alphabet order, contains 4074 words, while the total amount of words is 5524. The third part (mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, pp. 539-562) contains 206 old and new words, the fourth part (ibid., pp. 563-594) has 411 synonyms. The fifth part (ibid., pp. 599-628) consist of 833 words. At the end of the fifth part, the authors of the “Easy to learn” wrote in Tibetan about the eight basic and ten applied knowledges necessary to be mastered by the translators of Buddhist literature (ibid., pp. 628-630).

14The colophon in the fourth part reports on the compiler and the source used (mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, pp. 594-598). For example,

  • 5 Mo. Erketü ǰüg-ün sasin-u naran boloγsan baγsi qubilγan beyetü Erdeni Kuvang Ting Phu Zan Kuvang Ch (...)

His lordship, reincarnation Kuvang Ting Phu Zan Kuvang Chi Dha Ku shi Vagindara Sudi Siri Bhadra [Tib. Ngag dbang blo bzang chos ldan dpal bzang po], master and ruler, the sun of religion by the edict of the superior saint Shenzu huangdi 黃帝, and taking His Holiness’ pleasure and also appeal of ǰasaγ da-a blam-a [Tib. ja sag TA bla ma] Damba Gelong [Tib. Dam pa dge slong], composed this book. The assistance was provided by the Tibetan school teacher Minister mGonbo skyabs [Tib. mGon po skyabs], assistant teacher head monk Bstan ’ǰin čosdar [Tib. bsTan ’dzin chos dar], Blobsang čering [Tib. Blo bzang tshe ring], Ngag dbang pun čoγs [Tib. Ngag dbang phun tshogs], as well as an official of the third rank Abita.
Using such old and new dictionaries as “A basket” [Za ma tog], “Lamp of speech” [Ngag sgron], “Ornament of speech” [sMra rgyan], “Sunlight” [Nyi ’od], “Pavilion of cloves” [Li shi gur khang], and “Treasure of words” [Tshig gter], we have compiled a dictionary that is easy to understand.
We apologize to the Lama and the guardian deity for any of the three [categories] of mistakes we may have made – defects , omissions and errors5.

15From the colophon, it becomes clear to us that ǰanǰiy-a Aγvangčoyidan received a decree from the Manchu ruler who gave the order to ǰasag da-a lama Damba Gelong. Based on Janǰiy-a Aγvangčoyidan’s order, teachers at a Tibetan school – the head teacher Гomboǰab and assistant teachers Bstan ’ǰin čosdar, Blobsang čering, Ngag dbang punčoγs together with the third ranking official Abita composed the dictionary.

Review of dictionaries used in compiling “Easy to learn”

  • 6 The Mongolian edition contains only the first part of the colophon that described how the dictionar (...)

16The dictionaries that were used as the main sources are named as 1.  “A basket”, 2. “Lamp of speech”, 3. “Ornament of speech”, 4. “Sunlight”, 5. “Pavilion of cloves”, and 6. “Treasure of words”. The aim of this work, as can be seen from the colophon, was to produce a clear and easy-to-understand manual. Information on the publication and edition is omitted in the Urga edition. This omitted part or colophon in the fifth part states that Kengse or Yunli (24 March 1697-21 March 1738), the seventeenth son of the Kangxi Emperor, sponsored the printing, and a teacher of the Tibetan school, translator Bilig-ün Dalai (Tib. Shes rab rgya mtsho) from banner Urad (Ujeed Uranchimeg 2011, pp. 265-277, 2014, pp. 95-115), translator Blo bsang bsod pa (Tib. Blo bzang bzod pa) from Qalqa, and teachers of the Mongolian school of the Ministry of Guozijian 國子監, Lam-a Blo bsang čoi apel (Tib. Blo bzang chos ’phel), Čoi bstan pa (Tib. Chos bstan pa), Blo bsang damba (Tib. Blo bzang dam pa) and others added the missing words and edited the text and printed it in the second year of Qiánlóng’s reign (1735-1796), 1737 (mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, pp. 620-622)6.

17We will briefly describe some of the dictionaries used in the compilation of “Easy to learn”, such as “Ornament of speech”, “A basket”, “Lamp of speech”, “Sunlight”, “Pavilion of cloves”, “Treasure of immortality”, the “Treasure of words”, and “Rosary of pearl”.

  • 7 Tib. Brda’i bye brag rnam par dbye ba’i tshig le’ur byas pa smra ba’i rgyan. The manuscript.

18The compiler of “Ornament of speech” is Byams gling pa bSod nams rnam rgyal (1401-1475) or Byams gling paṇ chen bSod nams rnam rgyal. The full title of this dictionary is “Clearly highlighting the differences of characters, classification of words, called the ornament of speech”7 (Byams gling pa bSod nams rnam rgyal, 15th century). It consists of three parts in 42 sheets, written in 6 lines, sheet size 51,8x8,6 cm. This dictionary was one of the sources for “A basket” and “Lamp of speech”.

  • 8 Tib. Bod kyi brda'i bstan bcos legs par bshad pa rin po che'i za ma tog bkod pa zhes bya ba bzhugs (...)

19The full title of the next dictionary, “A basket”, is “A clearly-explained Śāstra of Tibetan terms, the so-called precious basket”8. The dictionary has 29 sheets bearing six lines each. Sheet size is 53,3x10,1 cm. The author is Rin chen Chos skyong bzang po (1444-1527). There are many manuscripts and editions of this dictionary (Burnee 2007, p. 372). It is based on Sanskrit lexicography and contains explanations for 223 words (Rin chen Chos skyong bzang po 1586). It is one of the most widely-used sources for Mongolian and Tibetan lexicographers. Thus, on the initiative of the first Qalqa Boγda Öndör Gegegen Zanabazar (1635-1723), a group of Mongol monks led by Blam-a-yin Gegegen Lubsangdanǰanǰancan (1639-1704) translated this work from Tibetan into Mongolian (Bürnee 2010, pp. 61-65). There are manuscripts with intercalated Mongolian translation, as well as separate translations. The number of words in the dictionary is 2180, and it is therefore rather small in size. It was used by Mongol lexicographers such as Girdi Ananda, Aγvangdandar, Girdibaǰar, and Rolbidorǰi (1717-1786) (lCang skya qutuγtu) in their works.

  • 9 Tib. Bod kyi brda'i bye brag gsal bar byed pa'i bstan bcos tshig le'ur byas pa mkhas pa'i ngag gi s (...)

20The full name of the “Lamp of speech” is “Śāstra called light of speech of the sages defining the differences of Tibetan words, grouping the words”9. dPal khang Ngag dbang chos kyi rgya mtsho compiled the dictionary in 1538 in three main parts. The dictionary is based on Sanskrit lexicography and written in verse. In some places, the Sanskrit equivalents are written below the Tibetan words. The Tibetan manuscript, from the collection of the author of this paper, has 31 sheets of six lines each. Sheet size is 54,1x9,5 cm. (dPal khang Ngag dbang chos kyi rgya mtsho 1538). The total number of headwords is 3779. A few dictionaries have been composed to explain the headwords of the dictionary “Lamp of speech”. The National Library of Mongolia has two manuscripts of the Mongolian translation of this dictionary; however, the name of the translator is not mentioned (Bürnee 2018, pp. 14-15).

  • 10 Tib. Dag yig chung ngu gdul bya'i snying mun sel byed nyi ma stong gi 'od zer zhes bya ba bzhugs so(...)
  • 11 The “Easy to learn” dictionary corrects the spelling of Tibetan words in the “Sunlight” dictionary. (...)

21The next dictionary is “Sunlight”. Its full name is “Little dictionary entitled ‘Light-rays of a thousand suns for dispelling darkness from the hearts of students’”10. It was compiled by Günγaǰamčo and included in the third volume of his four volumes of grammar and lexicographic works. It is a Tibetan-Mongolian dictionary, with a preface and a colophon, consisting of 104 sheets. The National Library of Mongolia keeps nine copies of this dictionary published in Beijing. Iahontova provides a detailed description of the differences between the two prints and the one imprint (Iahontova 2014a, p. 233, 2014b, pp. 402-434) of this dictionary. The dictionary contains more than 10 000 words in Tibetan alphabetical order. In the preface, Günγaǰamčo mentions that the dictionary is a continuation of the previous dictionary compiled by him under the name “Big sun” (Tib. Nyi ma chen po). In “Big sun”, Günγaǰamčo did not identify polysemy of the headwords, but instead mainly included narrative, interrogative and negative sentences as examples for the headwords, resulting in a fewer number of headwords. Thus, Günγaǰamčo intended to prepare “Sunlight” to describe the polysemy and the direct and indirect meanings of the headwords. Günγaǰamčo was the first scholar to arrange the headwords in alphabetical order and to apply a method of separating them in Tibetan lexicography – a technique which Гomboǰab also applied in his dictionary11. I shall discuss this in detail below.

  • 12 Tib. Bod kyi skad las gsar rnying gi brda'i khyad par ston pa legs par bshad pa li shi'i gur khang (...)

22The next is the “Pavilion of cloves” dictionary; its full title is “A clear explanation entitled ‘Pavilion of cloves’ that presents the distinctions between new and old terms in the Tibetan language12. It was compiled in 1536 by sKyogs ston Rin chen bkra shis, the disciple of Zha lu rin chen chos skyong bzang po. Sanskrit equivalents are provided for some Tibetan headwords, and the words are not arranged alphabetically. The author used the works of bCom ldan rig ral, dBus pa blo gsal, Lo chen Rin chen bzang po (958-1055) as the main sources for his dictionary. In terms of the dictionary’s structure, it first presents the main list of old and new words, and then it includes a few words and expressions with Sanskrit, Chinese and Mongolian origins. The author clarified some words which were previously interpreted by other lexicographers as old Tibetan terms, and identified them correctly as borrowings from other languages. The dictionary was used by lexicographers such as Rolbidorǰi and Lubsangrinčin. The comparison of translations of old words from the “Easy to learn” dictionary with their translations in the “Pavilion of cloves” made by Bilig-ün Dalai in 1742 shows stylistic and semantic differences (Skyogs baγsi 1742). Based on the “Pavilion of cloves” ǰanǰiy-a Rolbidorǰi wrote “the old and new part of the dictionary” (Mo. Sin-e qaγučin dokiyan-u ayimaγ) in his work “The source of the wise men”. B. Ya. Vladimirtsov wrote an article about the structure of the “Pavilion of cloves” dictionary and some specific features of the Mongolian translation (2005, pp. 138-141).

  • 13 Sa. Amarokośa, Tib. ’Chi ba med pa'i mdzod ces bya ba bzhugs so; Mo. Ükül ügei sang neretü sastir-a(...)

23It is believed that the dictionary of synonyms entitled “Treasure of immortality”13 was compiled by the Indian lexicographer Amarasimha between the 6th and the 8th century. In the 13th century, it was translated into Tibetan by Kirtichandra and Grags pa rgyal mtshan, and was edited first by Chos skyong bzang po (1441-1528) then later by gTsug lag chos kyi snang ba or Situ Panchen (1699-1779). Amarasimha’s dictionary was translated into Tibetan verse from the Sanskrit original. Volume 205 of the Mongolian Tanjur contains the translation of this dictionary by Gelegǰalčan.

24The “Treasure of immortality” dictionary consists of three parts. The first part has ten chapters containing words that refer to the sky, the directions, time, sound, dance, hell, or water. The second part also consists of ten chapters and includes the names of the earth, cities, trees, plants, animals, men, and the names of the four castes of humans. The third part consists of five chapters and includes nouns, paronyms, miscellaneous words, indeclinable words, and words declined by gender (Vogel 1979, p. 311; Iahontova 2010, pp. 20-21).

  • 14 Tib. Mngon brjod kyi bstan bcos tshig gi gter.

25The “Treasure of words” is possibly a reference to “A clear interpretation of the Śāstra, called the treasure of words”14 composed by Sakya Pandita (Sa skya paṇḍita Kun dga’ rgyal mtshan, 1182-1251). This dictionary is written in verses of seven-syllables and consists of two chapters. The first chapter contains words belonging to the higher world (Tib. mtho ris), while the second chapter presents words related to the underworld (Tib. sa ’og gi sde). Sakya Pandita compiled this dictionary drawing on Amarasimha’s dictionary, extracting words used in the Tibetan language (Sa skya paṇḍita Kun dga’ rgyal mtshan 2007).

  • 15 Tib. Mngon brjod kyi bstan bcos sna tshogs gsal rab zhes pa ming gzhan mu tig phreng pa; Mo. Ilete (...)
  • 16 Tib. Ngo mtshar nor bu’i do shal.

26The next source is the work included in volume 221 of Mongolian Tanjur. The title of this work in Sanskrit is Viśvalocana or Muktavali15. The colophon mentions the compiler’s name – an Indian known as paṇḍita Sridharasena. This dictionary is thought to have been composed in the first half of the 13th century (Vogel 1979, p. 349). It was translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan by Chos kyi grags pa ye shes dpal bzang po (1453-1524), the fourth Karmapa. It consists of two divisions and 14 chapters, as well as several subchapters. The first part presents the names of heaven and the lower world while the second part contains the names of the earth, cities, mountains, plants, animals, and the names of the four varṇas. The order of names is similar to that of the “Treasure of immortality”, that presents the names of the Buddhist deities before the names of the Hindu deities. The number of synonyms (Tib. mngon brjod ming) is greater than that in other dictionaries. Tshe ring dbang rgyal (1697-1763) used this dictionary when compiling his Tibetan-Sanskrit dictionary called “Wonderful precious necklace”16 (Vogel 1979, p. 350).

Comparison of the structure of dictionaries

  • 17 In “Easy to learn” it is only in the beginning.
  • 18 In “Sun light” it is only at the end.

27The analysis of the structure of the dictionaries used in the preparation of “Easy to learn” shows that they all consist of several parts. One similarity is that the dictionaries of Mongolian lexicographers, as well as the “Ornament of speech”, “A basket”, and the “Lamp of speech” dictionaries compiled by Tibetan authors include a brief explanation of Tibetan grammar at the beginning17 and at the end18.

Table 1. Comparison of structure

Dictionary title

Structure

“Easy to learn”

Consists of five parts:
1. Alphabet of written Tibetan, short grammar of Tibetan in the form of introduction to the dictionary (in Mongolian)
2. Main part or Tibetan-Mongolian list of words arranged by the traditional Tibetan lexicography
3. List of Tibetan-Mongolian old-new words
4. List of Tibetan-Mongolian synonyms (
mngon brjod ming)
5. Two supplements of Tibetan-Mongolian words

“Ornament of Speech”

A spelling dictionary of Tibetan language

(There is a Mongolian translation)

Consists of three parts:
1. “The perfect recognition of compatibility of words” (
yi ge’i sbyor ba rnam par dbye ba)
2. “Purification of misunderstandings in combination of words” (
sbyor ba la ’khrul pa spong ba)
3. “The spelling of cases and particles” (
rnam dbye dang phrad sbyor)

“A basket”

A spelling dictionary of Tibetan language

(There is a Mongolian translation)

Consists of the following seven parts:
1. Words without prefix
2. Words with prefix Ba
3. Words with prefix “Ga”, “D
а
4. Words with prefix “
А
5. Words with prefix “
Ма
6. Words with superscribed letters
7. “Rules for writing subsequent words, depending on the spelling of the previous” (
sNga ma’i ming shugs kyis phyi ma ji ltar thob tshul)

“Lamp of speech”

A spelling dictionary of Tibetan language

(There is a Mongolian translation)

Consists of the following three parts:
1. “Detailed explanation of writing of words with prefix” (
sNgon ’jug sogs yi ge’i sbyor ba rgyas par bshad pa)
2. “Interpretation of cases and particles” (
rNam dbye dang phrad sogs bshad pa)
3. “Clearing of errors in writing of letters” (
Yi ge’i sbyor ba la ’khrul pa spong ba bshad pa)

“Sunlight”

Tibetan-Mongolian translation dictionary

Consists of the following two parts:
1. List of Tibetan-Mongolian words
2. On the spelling of the Tibetan language

28A comparison of the structure shows that “Easy to learn” consists of five parts which are closely related to one another. This dictionary, which was compiled to teach the Tibetan language to the Mongols, begins with a brief outline of Tibetan grammar. The vocabulary contains words widely used in the Tibetan language, old and new words and synonyms that are found in Tibetan Buddhist texts. The complex structure of the dictionary can be explained by the fact that, in general, the dictionary was designed to teach reading and translation, and for learning the Tibetan language and Tibetan literature.

Comparative analysis of the microstructure of “Easy to learn” and the source dictionaries

29The Traditional Sanskrit dictionaries ’Chi med mdzod (Skt. Amarokośa) and Mu tig phreng pa (Skt. Viśvalocana) are not alphabetical, but ideographic. The headwords are arranged by a certain number of syllables in the form of a verse in each line. This method of arrangement was also adopted in the Tibetan and Mongolian lexicography. For example, the verses in which the text of the dictionary is composed have either seven syllables (“Ornament of speech”, “A basket”, “Lamp of speech”) or nine syllables (“Easy to learn”). This verse arrangement of words is similar to that in Sanskrit lexicography, from which it may have been borrowed. To equalize the number of syllables in the Tibetan text, conjunctions such as dang (Mo. ba, kiged) are introduced, as well as words and phrases in the middle and the end of lines. The headwords are arranged in the following order: 1) words comprising simple radical letters (rkyang), 2) words with prefixed letters (sngon ’jug can), and 3) words with superscribed letters (mgo can). In some dictionaries (e.g. “A basket”) headwords do not begin with the words from the simple radical letters (rkyang) but directly from the words with the subscribed letters. For example, the list of words headed by the radical letter Ba begins with subscribed letters (e.g. “A Basket”). The number of words in Tibetan dictionaries is two to five words in one line, whereas the “Easy to learn” contains three to nine words. When comparing the order of words in dictionaries, this study finds that in “A basket” headwords are organised not only by the order of radical letters, but also separately by the order of prefixes. Therefore, to find words with prefixed letters, it is necessary to search the separate part of the dictionary where the words with prefixed letters are listed. By arranging words with prefixed letters, lexicographers did not prioritize the alphabetical order but followed the traditional method of classification of Tibetan letters by gender, described in the grammar of Tomi Sambodha, such as Ba - masculine (pho), Ga, Da - neuter (ma ning), ’A - feminine (mo), Ma - very feminine (shin tu mo) (Tshe tan zhabs drung 1994, p. 210).

30“A basket” does not include radical letters such as Nga, Na, Dza, Ya, La, Ha, A, while dictionaries by Mongolian lexicographers such as “Sunlight” and “Easy to learn” contain headwords that are all listed by simple radical letters. In “Lamp of speech” we can find the shortened version of the extensive structure of “A basket”. For example, six chapters from “A basket” are arranged in one chapter, presenting contents on spelling issues in the next two chapters. Consequently, words with simple and stacked letters (subscripts and superscripts) are not listed in separate chapters but within one definite head letter, arranging words with prefix letters alphabetically. This method was more convenient for locating words in comparison with the previous dictionary. The main difference between “A basket” and “Lamp of speech” was that the latter made the dictionary easier to use. Tibetan words consist of one to four or more syllables. Usually in Tibetan dictionaries, words are listed under the radical letter of the first syllable. One syllable can consist of several letters including prefix, radical, superscript letter, vowel, subscript letter, and suffix. The composition of the syllables is taken into account in the arrangement of words in dictionaries.

Arrangement of headwords

31In the second part of the “Easy to learn” dictionary, words are arranged in the following order:

a. syllables containing only simple radical letters: ka ra, ka ba

b. syllables containing radical letters with vowels: ku shu, ku ya

c. syllables containing radical letters with vowels and affixes: keng rus

d. syllables containing radical letters with a subscript letter and an affix
[words with subscript letter
ya as d.1, words with subscript letter ra as d.2, words with subscript letter la as d.3. For example, kyal ka (d.1), krab krab (d.2), klad pa (d.3)]

e. syllables containing a prefix, a radical letter (simple letter and subscript letter) and an affix: dkar, dkyus, dkris

f. syllables containing a radical letter with a superscript letter (with vowel and affix): rka, rkang, rkub, and

g. syllables containing radical letter with subscript and superscript letter: skya rengs, skya ka.

32This study compares below how this order is observed in Tibetan dictionaries.

Table 2. Comparison of Word Order by Letters in Syllables

Dictionaries

Word order

“Easy to learn”

“Ornament of speech”

“A basket”

“Lamp of speech”

The order of words with simple radical and subscript letters

аbcd

bаcbd

аbcabcd

cdadadab

The order of words with subscribed letters

d.1, d.2, d.3

d.1, d.2, d.1, d.2, d.3

d.2, d.1, d.3

d.3, d.2, d.1

33Table 2 shows that in “Easy to learn” the word order by syllable formation is more consistent throughout the dictionary than in “Ornament of speech”, “A basket”, or “Lamp of speech”. The similarity between the Tibetan and Mongolian dictionaries is that the headwords are presented within a verse. On the other hand, they differ in that the Tibetan lexicographers considered phrases and particles as parts of the word-combinations, thus counting them as headwords, while “Easy to learn” lists headwords within phrases separately as independent headwords. Therefore, phrases in Tibetan authors’ dictionaries are highlighted as headwords, and then only within them are the actual words or particles distinguished. This procedure is most likely intended to demonstrate the structure of Tibetan words, and to present the polysemy and the meanings of terms through the use of phrases. The following table shows the location of headwords in the dictionaries.

Table 3. Comparison of location of headwords

Dictionaries

Letters

“Ornament of speech”

“A basket”

“Lamp of speech”

“Easy to learn”

Ka

1.1 ka lan ta ka’i tshal bzhugs shing

(Kalandaka’s park is existing)

2.1 glang chen thal kar yungs kar za

(White elephant is eating white mustard)

3.1 sgron ka dpyid ka gnyis ka’i dus

(Autumn spring of both times)

4.1 kar yol kar chag kan rtsa kun mkhyen kun

(Porcelain index pulse under the finger the Omniscient One all)

kra

1.2 krog krog ’gro dang krab krab ’krab

(Go giving sound tog tog and sound of stamping)

2.2 krog krog sgra skad lham krad dang

(Sound of tog tog shoe’s sole)

3.2 dka’ ’grel dkrigs phrag dkan gzar po

(Explaining difficult points a number with 17 zero’s steep place)

4.2 dkyu sar dkyus dang dkyel che dkrugs dkrogs dkrong

(Race track extend wide smashed yielded execute)

kya

1.3 mgo bo kyog kyog bsgyur ba dang

(To tilt a head and)

2.3 ’on kyang khyod kyis lcags kyus btab

(But only you to catch with a hook)

3.3 mdog dkar dkyel che spyan skyus ring

(White colour wide oval eyes)

4.3 krab krab krong krong krog krog kla klo kyu

(Sound of stamping through and through gives singing sound of wind barbarian hook)

Number of headwords

4

5

7

14

34Table 3 illustrates the fact that dictionaries by Tibetan lexicographers do not present headwords separately in columns as in modern dictionaries, but instead provide the headwords inside phrases and sentences. In one line, headwords separated by a vertical line (shad) are at the beginning (1.1) and in the middle (1.3) of sentences. Moreover, it is not only simple words but also particles (2.1- kar, 2.3- kyang, 3.1- ka) that are selected as headwords. If Tibetan dictionaries have one to three words in one line, “Easy to learn” has four to six words choosing words and phrases as headwords. That is, the number of headwords in one line is superior to those in Tibetan dictionaries. This corresponds to the method of modern dictionaries, which values the placement of a large amount of information in a small space.

35This study compared words under the letter nya as an example to illustrate the ratio of words and phrases in each dictionary. “Easy to learn” has 237 headwords, 49 of which are phrases (20,6%) and 188 are words (79,4%). Similarly, “Sunlight” has 306 headwords under the letter nya, of which 119 are phrases (39%), indicating the predominance of words over phrases.

36In contrast, “A basket” and “Lamp of speech” have more phrases than words. This difference is related to the purpose of compiling dictionaries. Introducing new words with relevant phrases together with their translations is the core in teaching a foreign language. Thus, the dictionaries of Tibetan authors are educational dictionaries compiled for Tibetans, while the dictionaries of Mongolian compilers are designed to teach the Mongols the Tibetan language.

37This study presents further improvement of the Sanskrit and Tibetan method of headword arrangement in “Easy to learn” compared to “Sunlight”. The supplements of the “Easy to learn” dictionary include 833 words that are separated from one another by a vertical line (shad). This method of word arrangement was first used by a Mongolian lexicographer, Günγaǰamčo, and differs from the traditional Tibetan lexicographic method of word arrangement. Günγaǰamčo first arranged headwords in alphabetical order as in modern dictionaries, and also emphasized words and phrases by separating them with a vertical stroke (shad) in order to facilitate the search of Tibetan words.

38On page 98а of the colophon he writes:

  • 19 Uridu čaγ-un olan merged-ber ǰokiyaγsan-u dag yig olan bui bolbaču merged tedeger ber ǰokiyaγsan-u (...)

Although there are many dictionaries compiled by the sages and they cover a vast number of words, because they are difficult for finding words modern stupid people like me find them difficult to use, and this was the reason for me to write the third work19.

39This quote states that dictionaries published before 1718 were difficult to use, and that Günγaǰamčo accordingly aimed to simplify the word search. Consequently, he placed headwords with prefixed letters before words with vowels, after the words with subscribed and superscribed letters, then finally placed words with the second affix at the end, in contrast to what was done in the previous dictionaries. This method of arranging simple and stacked letters was not adopted by the compilers of “Easy to learn”. They preferred the method of Tibetan lexicographers, who arranged the words with prefixes before the words with superscribed letters – a method later embraced by Mongolian lexicographers.

40M. Viehbeck considers the Tibetan-Tibetan dictionary entitled Ming tshig gsal ba (1949), composed by the Mongolian Lama Čoyidaγ, to be the first alphabetical Tibetan dictionary (Viehbeck 2016, pp. 469-489). Also, the preface to this dictionary, published in 1981 with Chinese interlinear translation, mentions that it is the first dictionary of the modern type (Chos kyi grags pa 1981, p. 3). It shows that Čoyidaγ composed his dictionary on the basis of traditional Tibetan and Mongolian lexicography (Burnee 2019b, p. 203). We think that the practice of highlighting the headwords and separating headwords from the other words arranged in a given line of verse was adopted from previous Tibetan and Mongolian lexicographers. However, the placement of the headwords in columns on a new line was perhaps the impact of western lexicographers (Viehbeck 2016).

Vocabulary

  • 20 A few dozen Sanskrit words can be found in the dictionary “Easy to learn”. Most foreign words are c (...)
  • 21 The manuscript of the “Pavilion of cloves” dictionary is kept in the National Library of Mongolia. (...)

41The third part of “Easy to learn”20 presents old and new words and synonyms. Concerning their choice of old and new words, the compilers wrote that these words were “selected and written in an accessible form from the collected dictionaries of new-archaic words” (Mo. dokiyan-u bičig sine qaγučin olan-i neyilegülüged tegüǰü medeküi-tür kimda bolγan bičigsen). The main source for this section was the “Pavilion of cloves” dictionary, which contains predominantly old and new words followed by some borrowings from the Sanskrit, Chinese, and Mongolian, as well as concepts from the Bon religion. Although the “Pavilion of cloves” dictionary is called “the dictionary of new and old words”, the headwords are sometimes archaic terms, to which equivalent new words are assigned. This dictionary was translated from the Tibetan language by Bilig-ün Dalai and published in 174221. The following excerpt shows that the dictionary was translated based on the demands of the time:

In accordance with repeated requests to translate by the intelligent gelong Blo bzang chos ’phel, [this dictionary] which provides understanding of old and new words [occurring] in the old and new translations of the Victorious [Buddha’s] sermons, was translated into Mongolian by an undistinguished gelong from the Urad [ayimaγ] Bilig-ün Dalai, the Da lama of the Songzhusi Monastery, who consulted many wise men. (Bürnee 2018, pp. 15-16)

  • 22 The Sutra about the ten stages of saintly perfection of the bodhisattva according to the Mahāyāna t (...)

42Consequently, the “Pavilion of cloves” has been used by the Mongols as a bilingual Tibetan-Mongolian dictionary. Thus, this study examines lexicographical features of this dictionary. The headwords are highlighted by the particle ni, which is translated into Mongolian as anu, inu. Other examples include “only is merely” (Tib. sha dag ni sha stag; Mo. onča anu imaγta) and “action is work” (Tib. phyang yar ni ’phrin las; Mo. üiles inu üile). The headwords are explained by two or more synonyms. For example, “side is corner and back” (Tib. snam logs ni zur dang rgyab; Mo. qoyitu eteged inü öncög ba aru) (Skyogs baγsi 1742, p. 6а), “oblique is side and across and upside down, in the Ten Stages Sūtra22 is explained as being without order” (Tib. snrel ni logs sam ’phred dam ’chol pa mdo sde sa bcu par bshad go rim du mi gnas pa – Mo. köndelen inü qaǰiγu ba köndelen ba soliqu arban γaǰar tai yin sudur-a nomlaǰuqui ǰerge ber ülü orosiqu) (Skyogs baγsi 1742, p. 6b) and so on.

43The compilers of “Easy to learn” chose over two hundred commonly-used words from around a thousand main words in the “Pavilion of cloves” dictionary. Then, following the Sanskrit and Tibetan lexicographic principle, the authors placed these words in lines of seven-syllable verse. For example, the sentence yod do cog dang ’gyur ro cog lta bu’i cog ni mtha’ dag gi don from the “Pavilion of cloves” dictionary is divided into two lines, “the word cog means existing all” (Tib. yod do cog gi cog yig ni; Mo. bui ele kemekü yin ele üsüg ni),means everything all as much as there” (Tib. ci yod mtha’ dag zhes pa’i don; Mo. ker bükü bügüde čöm kemegsen-ü sanaγ-a). Here, the expression “and as all translations” (Tib. dang ’gyur ro cog lta bu’i) is excluded and the expressions “as much as there is” (Tib. ci yod), “so called” (Tib. zhes pa’i) are added. From the expression Bsgo ba rnar gzon ā dzṇya bi ti tha na pa ni bsgo ba la mi nyan pa excluded interline Sanskrit expression ā dzṇya bi ti tha na pa, and reduced in “unpleasant to the ear is not hear” (Tib. rnar gzon pa ni mi nyan pa; Mo. čikin-ü ulig kemekü inü čingnaqu), “hide is to keep secret, conceal” (Tib. ’chab pa gsang ba ’am sped pa ste; Mo. daldalaqu inu niγuqu buyu daruqu).

44Over sixty headwords are transliterated, and the rest are translated. The equivalent Mongolian expressions are matched to the old and new Tibetan words, such as “to say is to tell” (Tib. bgro ba glang; Mo. kelelekü inü kelekü). Based on historical Mongolian grammar, the expression kelelekü is an older expression than kelekü, where the suffix -le is omitted in the modern language, cf. gol–golloh, gal–gallah, bal–ballah.

45The fourth part of the “Easy to learn” dictionary includes “clear explanation of words” (iletü ögülekü ner-e) or synonyms. This term is a translation of the Tibetan expression mngon brjod ming, which in turn is a translation of the Sanskrit expression abhidhāna. These are the names of inanimate objects and phenomena, as well as the proper names of the heavens and deities, which are given based on their external features of structure, form and content.

46Since they are different names of the same object or phenomenon, they are effectively synomyms. They are the subject of one of the five minor sciences, the “science of clear interpretation”. Since these names are widely used in Buddhist literature, especially in poetics and astrology, the compilers of “Easy to learn” found it necessary to include them in their dictionary. They write that they “chose the most widely used expressions” (aldarsiγsan-i tobči-yin tedüi quriyaγsan deb deger-e yeke keregtei) (mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, p. 587). The authors refer to other dictionaries such as “Treasure of words”, “Treasure of immortality” and “Rosary of pearl” for those who wish to know more.

47In “Easy to learn”, more than 360 expressions for the names of over ninety objects and phenomena were selected and translated and presented in seven-syllable verse. Whereas the Sanskrit dictionaries begin by listing the names of the heavens, the Tibetan dictionaries first give the names of buddhas and bodhisattvas, and only then the names of the heavens. The order of names in “Easy to learn” is as follows – the names of buddhas and bodhisattvas, the names of heavens and asuri, names associated with humans – with the body, senses, types of jewelry – as well as animals and plants, the numbers from one to twelve and the names of the sixty-year cycle. Although the compilers do not mention it, the “Decoration of the sage’s ears” (Tib. mKhas pa’i rna rgyan) dictionary, compiled in 1521 by Rin spungs pa Ngag dbang ’jig rten dbang phyug grags pa, was used for this section in “Easy to learn”. For example, the comparison of the twelve names of the Buddha in the later dictionaries shows that the “Decoration of the sage’s ears” dictionary is most likely to be the source used by the authors (Rin spungs pa Ngag dbang ’jig rten dbang phyug 1999, p. 6).

Table 4. Twelve names of Buddhas in the dictionaries

No.

“Easy to learn”

“Treasure of immortality”

“String of pearls”

“Treasure of word”

“Decoration of the sage’s ears”

1

“The Leader”
(Tib. 
rnam ’dren;
Mo. 
teyin uduriduγči)

+

+

_

+

2

“Well-departed”
(Tib. 
bder gshegs;
Mo. s
ayibar oduγsan)

+

+

+

+

3

“Thus come”
(Tib. 
de bzhin gshegs;
Mo. t
egünčilen iregsen)

+

+

+

+

4

“Great ubadini”
(Tib. 
dge sbyong chen po;
Mo. y
eke ubadini)

_

_

_

+

5

“God of gods”
(Tib. 
lha’i lha; Mo. tngri yin tngri)

_

_

_

+

6

“King of the teaching”
(Tib. c
hos rgyal,
Mo. 
nom un qaγan)

+

+

+

+

7

“Omniscient”
(Tib. 
thams cad mkhyen;
Mo. 
qamuγ-i ayiladuγči)

+

+

+

+

8

“Good for all”
(Tib. 
kun bzang; Mo. qamuγ-a sayin)

+

+

+

+

9

“Victoriuos”
(Tib. 
rgyal ba;
Mo. 
ilaγuγsan)

+

+

+

+

10

“The victorious one, Bhagavan”
(Tib. 
bcom ldan ‘’das;
Mo. ilaǰu tegüs nogčigsen)

+

+

+

+

11

“The lord of sages”
(Tib. 
thub dbang,
Mo. 
čidaγči yin erketü)

+

+

+

+

12

“A teacher”
(Tib. s
ton pa,
Mo.
 üǰegülügči baγsi)

+

+

_

+

  • 23 The "+" sign indicates a presence of synonym and the "-" sign indicates an absence of synonym.

48Table 4 shows that the epithets of the Buddha, dGe sbyong chen po and lHa’i lha appear only in the “Decoration of the sage’s ears” dictionary23. Authors of the “Easy to learn” don’t follow the opinion of the author of “Decoration of the sage’s ears”, so they regard these expressions as common epithet of the Buddha. Perhaps in this case they adhere to the dictionary “Mahāvyutpatti”, in which the epithets of Buddha and Buddha Śākyamuni are not separated, but are considered in the same list (Sárközi 1995, pp. 3-7).

49“Easy to learn” and “Treasure of words” both have one of the synonyms of Buddha “Omniscient” (thams cad mkhyen), which indicates their similarity. In the “Easy to learn”, the synonym of Maitreya is listed before the synonym of Mañjuśrī, which is dissimilar to the dictionary “Decoration of the sage’s ears”.

50In “Easy to learn”, the name of the deities is associated with a human such as father, mother, beautiful wife, and names of the senses appear. Probably here the authors considered the location of the human among the “six categories of living beings” (Tib. ’gro ba rigs drug) after deities and asuras.

51Some synonyms are not present in other dictionaries, such as “holy teaching” (Tib. dam pa’i cho;, Mo. degedü yin nom), “to be ordained, to be consecrated” (Tib. bsnyen par rdzogs pa; Mo. ayaγ-a tekimlig boloγsan), and “upper monk or lama” (Tib. bla ma; Mo. degedü baγsi). The synonyms in the “Decoration of the sage’s ears” are most similar to “Easy to learn”, compared with the dictionaries of synonyms, such as “Treasure of immortality” (Amarasimha, 18th century, p. 255) and “String of Pearls” (Sridharasena, 18th century, pp. 142-143).

Highlighting the meaning of a word

52This section examines how lexicographers distinguished the meanings of the headwords. In the “Lamp of speech”, along with the headword “all, entire” (Tib. kun), there are expressions “from every place, wholly” (Tib. kun nas), “in all, everywhere” (Tib. kun tu), which are located separately from the headword and are at the end of the list of simple graphemes. In contrast, in “Easy to learn”, multiple meanings of the headword “all, entire” (Tib. kun), such as “a general rising, conception, idea” (Tib. kun slong; Mo. edügülbüri, sanaγan-u čig), “sin, that which binds all” (Tib. kun dkris; Mo. nigül, bükün-eče oriyaγdaγsan) are located in one line.

53The dictionary “A basket” lists an expression “asafoetida is medicine” (Tib. shing kun sman yin) where the word kun does not have an independent meaning, but plays the role of a word-forming prefix. In addition, kun’s main meaning is presented only in the expression “plural name for kun” (mang tshig kun). However, here, this kun headword is not listed in the beginning but at the end.

54The word “copious, abundant” (klas) is found in dictionaries “A basket” and “Lamp of speech” as part of the composition of the phrases “limitless” (’byams klas), “unlimited” (mtha’ klas), whereas in “Easy to learn” it is present in the form of the headword listed separately. Moreover, in “Easy to learn” these expressions are arranged in alphabetical order of the first syllable, that is, mtha’ klas is under the letter Tha and is a phrase-polysemy to the title word “the end, edge” (mtha’); the expression ’byams klas is under the letter Ba, and is also a polysemy to the title word “flow” (byams), which is dictated in order to identify the main meaning of the headword.

55In “A basket”, the word “body” (sku, resp. for lus) appears in the following four phrases: (1) “birth of great man” (sku bltams), (2) “relics, remains” (sku gdung), (3) “person’s body” (lus kyi sku), and (4) “Tathāgata’s body” (de bzhin gshegs pa sku). The capital words in these phrases are arranged on the basis of the main radical letter under the following letters: bltams (1)- Ta, gdung (2)- Da, sku (3), (4)- Ka. In the supplementary part, words with prefixes Ba (bltams) and Ga (gdung) are in a separate list of words with prefixes; that is, the headwords are arranged in three separate parts. From the above-mentioned example, the word sku in four phrases is seen as the respectful term for the body. “Easy to learn” gives the following examples with the headword sku: “body” (sku), “image” (Tib. sku ’dra; Mo. körög), “a sacrificial ceremony” (Tib. sku rim; Mo. gürim), “refresh a body” (Tib. sku khams seng; Mo. bey-e sergegekü), “master, sir” (Tib. sku gzhogs; Mo. gegen-ü dergede), “in front of the saint” (Tib. sku mdun; Mo. gegen-ü emün-e), “saint’s robe” (Tib. sku chos; Mo. gegen-ü nom tu debel), and “saint’s relative” (Tib. sku nye; Mo. gegen-ü töröl).

56In the supplement to the headword, sku is given three new meanings as “image”, “a sacrificial ceremony”, “saint” and five phrases as “refresh a body”, “master, sir”, “in front of the saint”, “saint’s robe”, and “saint’s relative”, which clarify the main meaning of the word. The authors of the dictionary took into account that the division of words into meanings and defining word meanings through phrases plays an important role in the teaching of Tibetan vocabulary and grammar as well as serving in making translations from Tibetan. When denoting polysemy in “Easy to learn”, the headword re-writing method is used, as well as locating polysemy under one headword. For example, the headword rgod is repeated three times, according to the number of meanings: “laughter” (Tib. rgod; Mo. iniyekü), “wild” (Tib. rgod; Mo. ǰerlig), and “mare” (Tib. rgod ma; Mo. geü). If the word is part of other phrases, it is arranged in alphabetical order by its first syllable. In “Easy to learn”, this study also considers the highlighting of the grammatical meaning. For example, in contrast to Tibetan dictionaries, different tenses of verbs – present, past, future, and imperative form – are presented, for instance, “fulfill” (Tib. skong, bskang; Mo. qangγaqu, güičedgekü) (present), “fulfilled” (Tib. bskangs; Mo. qangγaba) (past), “to be born” (Tib. skye: Mo. törökü) (future), and “was born” (Tib. skyes; Mo. törögsen) (past). In “A basket”, the verb tenses are composed of phrases. For example, “fulfill desire” (thugs dam skong), “to fill up” (kha bskangs); “born of body” (skye sku), “origin and cessation” (skye ’gag), “born from the earth” (sa nas skyes), “born early” (sngon skyes so), and so on. In “A Basket”, verb tenses are arranged in word combinations.

Translation

57“Easy to learn” is a Tibetan-Mongolian dictionary and its translation method has similarities with both early and later translation methods from Sanskrit into Tibetan. The early practice of translation in Tibet incorporated Sanskrit words without translating them. Then from the 9th century, the Tibetan lo tsa ba (or Sanskrit-Tibetan translators of Buddhist texts) adopted the policy of avoiding the incorporation of Sanskrit words as loan-words (Roerich 1967, p. 248). Similarly, the early Tibetan-Mongolian translators did not translate Buddhist terms into Mongolian but rather incorporated Sanskrit, Uyghur, or Tibetan loan-words. Then, in the 16th-18th centuries, the general tendency was that Mongol authors avoided loan-words and rather translated Tibetan terms into Mongolian. The “Easy to learn” dictionary, however, contains both the practices of incorporating loan-words (particularly, the names of plants, the terms of the five major and minor sciences, religious terms) and also translations into Mongolia.

Table 5. Comparison of Tibetan terms translation in two dictionaries

Tibetan Terms Translation

Dictionary title

dge ’dun

dge slong

dge tshul

dge bsnyen

“Sunlight”

quvaraγ

dge slong

dge tshul

ubasi

“Easy to learn”

a. bursang quvaraγ,
b. buyani küsegčid

a. buyan erigci,
b. ayaγ-atekimlig

a. buyan-u yosotu,
b. gecul

a. buyan-a sidar
b. ubasi

58The terms dge ’dun and dge slong incorporated Uyghur (bursang quvaraγ, ayaγ-a tekimlig), Sanskrit (ubasi) and Tibetan (dge slong, dge tshul, gečul) words. Moreover, the translation of terms into Mongolian, such as “wish for virtue” (buyan-i küsegčid), “to cause virtue to arise” (buyan erigci), “with method of virtue” (buyan-u yosotu), and “to come near virtue” (buyan-a sidar) indicates a tendency to avoid borrowing. The translation of the headword is a reflection of its meaning; for example, the expression skal med is translated as “unfortunate” (qubi ügei) in “Sunlight”, while in “Easy to learn” as “faithless” (süsūg ügei). That is, the concept of good luck and prosperity is associated with belief; he who believes that is prosperous. In the “Large Tibetan-Chinese dictionary” (Krang dbyi sun 1986, p. 117), this expression is explained as bsod nams med. bSod nams corresponds to the Sanskrit punya, and is borrowed into the Mongolian language. It is explained as the “result of a good action forming good karma” (Roerich 1987). It would seem that the meaning of this word is explained in “Easy to learn” from the perspective of the Buddhist religion.

59The translation of headwords in “Easy to learn” is sometimes broader than the meaning in other dictionaries and is given in context. So, for example, the word bsnun gives the following expressions: 1) “to pierce to the heart” (gnad bsnun) 2) “to suckle” nu ma bsnun, and 3) “to prick” (mtshon bsnun), while the headword snun has two meanings in the “Large Tibetan-Chinese dictionary”: “pricking”, and “breastfeeding”.

Conclusion

60Tibetan-Mongolian dictionaries, which were compiled over several centuries by Mongolian lexicographers, served as important guides for the translation of Buddhist works written in Tibetan. Among these dictionaries, the dictionary composed by Гomboǰab et al., “Easy to learn”, stands out for its structure, coverage of grammatical and lexical material, and lexicographic method of compilation. The complex structure of the dictionary is explained by the fact that its aim was multifaceted to serve as 1) a guide for the learning of the Tibetan alphabet and grammar, 2) a manual for studying both active and passive vocabulary, secular and religious words, and 3) a translation manual. All the dictionaries that Гomboǰab et al. used, namely the dictionaries compiled by Indian, Tibetan, and Mongolian scholars, were carefully studied and all the achievements in these dictionaries were accepted by Mongolian lexicographers. Based on the study of the dictionary “Easy to learn” as a source of Tibetan-Mongolian lexicographic relationship, we may conclude that the Tibetan word arrangement method, the choice of a headword, the headword location method, and the interpretation are improved in the works of Mongolian lexicographers.

61The dictionary “Easy to learn” has been an important guide for the translation of Tibetan literature into Mongolian. Proof of this is the fact that Mongolian lexicographers used this dictionary for several centuries when compiling their dictionaries.

Acknowledgements

62This research was supported by National University of Mongolia project no. P2016-1122. I thank Prof. Ts. Shagdarsüren and Graduate student S. Hongorzul for their advice and assistance.

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Notes

1 In addition to bilingual dictionaries, monolingual Tibetan-Tibetan (Bürnee 2005, 2019a) and multilingual dictionaries are known. Aγvandandar's dictionaries “The necklace of the sages” (Blo gsal mgrin can) and “New dawn” (sKya rengs gsar ba) are monolingual. The first is a dictionary of old and new words when the second is spelling. In terms of multilingual dictionaries, the trilingual Manchu-Mongolian-Chinese thematic dictionary (Mo. Qaγan-u bičigsen manǰu mongγol kitad ūsūg γurban ǰüil-ūn ayalγu neyilegsen toli bičig) was compiled in 1745. Subsequently, a four-language dictionary was compiled, supplying each Manchu word with Tibetan, Mongolian, and Chinese translations (18th-19th centuries) (Munhtsetseg 2016, pp. 71-82). The Pentaglot Manchu-Tibetan-Mongolian-Uyghur-Chinese dictionary (Mo. Qaγan-u bičigsen tabun ǰüil-ūn ūsūg-iyer qabsuruγsan toli bičig) was compiled around 1794 (Corff 2017).
Bilingual Tibetan-Mongolian dictionaries are alphabetic; most of the vocabulary is religious. In contrast, multilingual dictionaries are thematic and are dominated by words of a secular nature.
We have not yet found any Mongolian-Tibetan dictionaries compiled by the Mongols. Mongolian book catalogs contain Mongolian-Tibetan dictionaries, which are translations of Tibetan dictionaries (Bürnee 2018).

2 The manuscript is an incomplete copy of a Mongolian-style xylograph that is kept at the National Library of Mongolia.

3 In the Mongolian xylograph, we can see corrections of spelling errors in Mongolian translation from the Beijing xylograph. For example, üsün corrected to usun or “water”, tusul to tasul or “cut”, and qardur to γartu or “on the hand”. We can also find additions to the Mongolian translation in the Mongolian xylograph. For example: “power” (γang sang) is added to the translation of the Tibetan word mnga’ thang, “appearance” (γadar öngge) to the Tibetan expression mngon mtshan and so forth.

4 Tib. Bod kyi brda yig rtogs par sla ba zhes bya ba bcos khul gyi zhus dag gsum song ba bzhugs so; Mo. Töbed üge kilbar surqu bičig γurba sigüü ǰasaγsan orosibai.

5 Mo. Erketü ǰüg-ün sasin-u naran boloγsan baγsi qubilγan beyetü Erdeni Kuvang Ting Phu Zan Kuvang Chi dhA Ku shi Vagindara Sudi Siri Bhadra dharmaman (in Tibetan, ngag dbang blo bzang chos ldan dpal bzang po)-yin gegen-ber degedü boγda zengcu huvangdi-yin ǰarliγ-iyаr ǰöbsiyen soyurqaγsan-i aslan? abuγad ǰasaγ da blam-a damba gelong duraduγsan-dur sitüǰü ǰokiyaǰu qаyiralaγsan sastir dur tüsig dem-ün yosuγar töbed surγaγuli-yin ǰakin surγaγči (spyi spon) sayid mgon po skyabs kiged qamsan surγaγči Da-a blam-a Bstan ǰin čosdar Blobsang čering Ngag dbang pun čoγs γutaγar ǰerge-yin tüsimel Abita tan luγ-a Ngag sgron sMra rgyan Za ma tog Li shi Tshig gter terigüten dokiyan-u bičig sine qaγičin olan-i neyilegülüged tegüǰü medeküi-tür kimda bolγan bičigsen egün-dür ülegsen tasuraγsan endegüregsen γurban ǰüil terigüten gem kedüi činege aγsan-i čöm blam-a idam kiged medel tegüsügsen nuγud-tur küličel-ün öčimüi (mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015).

6 The Mongolian edition contains only the first part of the colophon that described how the dictionary board is prepared for printing (Heissig 1954, pp. 74-75); the main part of the colophon is omitted.

7 Tib. Brda’i bye brag rnam par dbye ba’i tshig le’ur byas pa smra ba’i rgyan. The manuscript.

8 Tib. Bod kyi brda'i bstan bcos legs par bshad pa rin po che'i za ma tog bkod pa zhes bya ba bzhugs so; the manuscript of the Mongolian translation entitled Töbed-ün dokiyan-u sastir-a sayitur nomlaγsan erdeni-yin oki qaγurčaγ ǰokiyaγsan kemekü orosibai is stored in the National Library of Mongolia, call number 12424.

9 Tib. Bod kyi brda'i bye brag gsal bar byed pa'i bstan bcos tshig le'ur byas pa mkhas pa'i ngag gi sgron me; Mo. Тöbed-ün dokiyan-u ilγal tododqan üyiledügči sastar üges-i bölöglen üiledügsen merged-ün kelen-ü ǰula.

10 Tib. Dag yig chung ngu gdul bya'i snying mun sel byed nyi ma stong gi 'od zer zhes bya ba bzhugs so; the manuscript of the Mongolian translation entitled Тöbed-ün dokiyan-u ilγal tododqan üiledügči sastir üges-i bölöglen üiledügsen merged-ün kelen-ü ǰula is stored in the National Library of Mongolia, call number 12434/97.

11 The “Easy to learn” dictionary corrects the spelling of Tibetan words in the “Sunlight” dictionary. For example, rog is corrected as rogs or “friend”, gcan zan as gcan gzan or “animal”. Mongolian words are also amended. For example, usudqari is changed to uyidqari “grief”, dge slong to gelong or “Buddhist monk”, omtan to nomtan or “pious”, to mention a few.

12 Tib. Bod kyi skad las gsar rnying gi brda'i khyad par ston pa legs par bshad pa li shi'i gur khang zhes bya ba bzhugs; Mo. Töbed kelen-ü sin-e qaγučin ayalγus-un ilγal-i üǰegülegči sayin ügetü lisi-yin ordu qarsi kemegdekü orosibai.

13 Sa. Amarokośa, Tib. ’Chi ba med pa'i mdzod ces bya ba bzhugs so; Mo. Ükül ügei sang neretü sastir-a.

14 Tib. Mngon brjod kyi bstan bcos tshig gi gter.

15 Tib. Mngon brjod kyi bstan bcos sna tshogs gsal rab zhes pa ming gzhan mu tig phreng pa; Mo. Ilete ögülekü-yin sastir eldeb ǰüil-i toduraγulaγči subud erike.

16 Tib. Ngo mtshar nor bu’i do shal.

17 In “Easy to learn” it is only in the beginning.

18 In “Sun light” it is only at the end.

19 Uridu čaγ-un olan merged-ber ǰokiyaγsan-u dag yig olan bui bolbaču merged tedeger ber ǰokiyaγsan-u dag yig tedeger nuγud-ača anu üǰüg-ün oroqui-yin yoson tedeger anu delgerünggüi bui böged bui bolbaču eriküi-ber olqu berke-yin tula edüge čaγ-un erketen moqudaγ nuγud bi metü-ber qurdun-a eriküi ba üǰekü tedüi ber anu olqu (98a) kilbar-un tulada anu üǰüg-ün qubi γurban-i anu nayiraγuluγsan bolai (Günγaǰamčo 1718, p. 97b-98а). This dictionary is the third in his lexicographical work which consists of four parts (Iahontova 2017, p. 353).

20 A few dozen Sanskrit words can be found in the dictionary “Easy to learn”. Most foreign words are common words used everyday, such as the names of flowers, trees, and jewelry. Besides, there are words from Buddhism, such as deities, buddhas, and bodhisattvas.
Dialectal elements are observed from words and expressions in the dictionary “Easy to learn”, such as
ǰontoraγ (Tib. shan- Qalqa dialect gem) which means “fault”, kilong saba (Tib. dkar yol- Qalqa dialect šileng saba) which means “porcelain”, and γudusu (Tib. lham- Qalqa dialect γutul) which means “boot”, and the list goes on.

21 The manuscript of the “Pavilion of cloves” dictionary is kept in the National Library of Mongolia. In addition, the IOM library keeps a manuscript of the dictionary, compiled in alphabetical order by the Mongols for their own usage (Iahontova 2014a, p. 209)

22 The Sutra about the ten stages of saintly perfection of the bodhisattva according to the Mahāyāna tradition (Das 1977).

23 The "+" sign indicates a presence of synonym and the "-" sign indicates an absence of synonym.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. The title of the dictionary “Easy to learn”
Crédits © mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, p. 251 (permission to reprint is granted)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/emscat/docannexe/image/5360/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 974k
Titre Figure 2. One sheet from the introduction part of the dictionary “Easy to learn”
Crédits © mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, p. 294 (permission to reprint is granted)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/emscat/docannexe/image/5360/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 802k
Titre Figure 3. One sheet from the main part of the dictionary “Easy to learn”
Crédits © mGonbo skyabs et al. 2015, p. 296 (permission to reprint is granted)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/emscat/docannexe/image/5360/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 837k
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Burnee Dorjsuren, « “Easy to learn” (rTogs par sla ba) (1737) as a source for the study of Tibetan-Mongolian lexicographic relations »Études mongoles et sibériennes, centrasiatiques et tibétaines [En ligne], 52 | 2021, mis en ligne le 23 décembre 2021, consulté le 17 janvier 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/emscat/5360 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/emscat.5360

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Auteur

Burnee Dorjsuren

Dr. Burnee (PhD) is Professor at the Department of Mongolian Language and Linguistics, National University in Mongolia. Her research focuses on translation and lexicographical studies. Her work includes A review of the Tibetan-Mongolian lexicographical tradition (Brill, 2007), Editions of the Tibetan-Mongolian Dictionary Erikuy-e Kilbar (2017), Translation and Lexicography (2018).
burneedorjsuren@gmail.com

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