Is Old Chinese dú犢 a loanword?

Norman (1982) proposes that 犢 ‘calf’ is a loanword from Altaic languages, and the hypothesis is often cited by later scholars. Based on the recently unearthed documents and texts, a new phonological analysis of Old Chinese, and the cross-language phonetic corresponding rules, this paper argues that is not a loanword but a native Chinese word. Unearthed documents from the pre-Qin period provide earlier uses of than those from the Han dynasty mentioned previously. Combining the time of early uses, the xiesheng series and character interchanges related to , and a new reconstruction of the Old Chinese sources of the Middle Chinese initial *d-, the paper argues that there is no phonetic correspondence between and the Altaic t-initial morphemes. The paper also points out that a basic condition of establishing a loanword hypothesis through historical documents is that the cross-language phonetic correspondence should exist at the time reflected by the earliest uses of the word.

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