ch'ilin, qilin, kirin, girin, kylan

W Brewer brewerwa at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 23 14:31:53 UTC 2014

WB's two cents RE: English <qilin> [CHEE-LEAN] (Mandarin qi2lin2,
Wade-Giles ch'i2-lin2; Japanese kirin).

Each of the sinograms can be traced back to Old Chinese (ca. 1200 to 3rd
century BC):

*g6 + *rin (where '6' = schwa; Schuessler notation). (One source claims
that <qi2> is the male & <lin2> the female of the beast; caveat Hannibal.)
Ascertaining earliest time of their collocation would require further
investigation, beyond my meager resources.

Qilin/ch'ilin/kirin <unicorn-giraffe> not to be confused with the
homophonous province in northeast PRC, Jilin [GEE-LEAN] <Lucky Forest>
(Wade-Giles Chi2-lin2, postal code Kirin). Which I had always done till now.

The American Dialect Society -

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