Date: Sat, 5 Aug 1995 22:14:49 +0700
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: again "Siam"
(re-editted to eliminate typos)

I took a closer look at some of the material already cited in the preceding discussion on the "pronounce 'Siam'?" topic.

In the following,
A1 ... D2  are Fangkuei Li tone notations, and will be placed as subscript indices after the syllable transcription.
[G1234], [M1234]  represent Chinese characters with entry number of the dictionary of Giles (1912) and Mathews (1943 etc) respectively.
_: indicates long vowel
MChi. = Middle Chinese of Pulleyblank (1991).

Chinese [G4479][G7291]
= [M2712][M4099] = Giles-Wade hsien1lo2
= Pinyin xinluó
sienA1 luoA2  <  MChi. siam la
for [G4479] (hsien1), furthermore, Giles gives a.o.:
Canton ts`ym' ti:mB1}
Hakka ts`iam' tiamB1 (doublets)
2siam siamA2
The disagreement in tones probably indicates acquisition after split and independent further development of the tone primitives A,B,C,D in the dialects. The A2 tone in the second Hakka cognate perhaps indicates acquisition after split in high and low series.

The Vietnamese reading of [G4479][G7291] ( see Gouien, Eugène, 1957, Dictionaire vietnamien - chinois - français, Saigon) is:

tiêm la (p.1242) tiemA1 la:A1  ("orthodoxal" reading)
xiêm la (p.1581) siemA1 la:A1  (non-"orthodoxal" reading)
The s > t shift in Vietnamese took place after the split from Mng, but before the split between the North-South and the Central superdialects, which in turn apparently preceded the  a: >   and the  eng > /n  shifts in North/South (but later interdialect borrowing somewhat obscures this).

The doublet xiêm must be a later loan.

For Old Khmer, the dictionary of Savros Pou (1992, Dictionaire vieux khmer - français - anglais / An Old Khmer - French - English Dictionary, Paris) gives (on p.514):

sym  1.Dark-complexioned. A disparaging word for foreigners, barbarians.
3.Sanskrit yma, Mod. Khmer sem [sim] s'applique aux Thai du Siam.
As Thais generally are of a lighter complexion than Khmers, first use of the term with reference to Thais must have been preceded by a semantic shift of the term from "darker-skinned barbarians" to "any barbarians". As this shift seems from the above to be attested for Old Khmer, it seems reasonable to consider the Old Khmer form to be the ultimate precursor of the name Siam.

The Old Mon  sem  "Shan" entry on Shorto's dictionary has already been discussed at length. I find it instructive to pay more attention to the cognates listed by Shorto in that entry. Beside the Old Khmer, these are:

Palaung sim,  Riang-Lang sem1,  Praok sem  "Shan",
Stieng siem,  Lawa seem  "Siamese".
As Old Mon  sem  would be grossly irregular if it had been loaned directly from Sanskrit (besides, the "dark" meaning is missing here), it seems reasonable to see it as a link in a chain of borrowings ultimately originating from the Old Khmer form.

This brings us to the question of allofams. But I've got to stop here. Will continue later.


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