William H. Baxter wbaxter at
Fri Mar 31 15:57:38 UTC 2000

For what it is worth, I don't know a good Chinese etymology that would account
for champon.  A colleague's Japanese dictionary gave a way of writing the
expression in kanji, the Chinese characters being "chan1he2" (which indeed
means 'mix'), but I don't see any way that "pon" could represent Chinese "he2"
(< early Middle Chinese hwa), which is normally read "wa" in Japanese.  So I
suspect that only folk etymology can connect the expression to Chinese.

potetjp wrote:

> Daniel Long's Japanese word _champon_  "mixed" does seem to be Austronesian,
> and its root must be _*pun_ "collection, gathering, group, bunch etc. ".
> This root is mentioned p. 143 in BLUST, Robert A. ( 1988), _Austronesian
> root theory_.
> At the smaller scale of Tagalog, I have 10 disyllabic stems built on _*pun_.
> _sampón_ / _sampún_ "including (connector)" is the closest equivalent to
> Jap. _champon_ "mixed".
> The first item of this word seems to be the root _*sam_ found in _sáma(h)_ >
> _kasáma(h)_ "companion".
> _Sampón_ occurs in the 1665 Tagalog petition _Caming manga alipin_ .
> "_... sampún nang mangá bináta? na nag-áátag_" = including the young men in
> attendance.
> Jean-Paul G. Potet
> P.S. Here is the list of Tagalog _*pun_ words for the scholars interested.
> 1) ípon > mag-ípon "to gather"
> 2) kúpon "workteam"
> - kupón  > kulupón "small crowd; swarm of children"
> 3) lipón > lípúnan "society"
> 4) lumpón "small group"
> 5) lúpon "committee"
> 6) pumpón "bunch (of rice ears, flowers etc.); cluster"
> - pumpón > palumpón "big heap of rice plants ready to transplanting"
> - pumpón > palumpón > pumalumpón "two persons: to converse"
> --- > magpalumpón "more than two persons: to converse"
> - pumpón > lipumpón "small crowd; camp"
> 7) punó? "full"
> 8) sampón / sampún "including"
> 9) simpón "saving for the future" (_*sim_ "saving")
> 10) típon > magtípon "to collect; to gather"

William H Baxter
wbaxter at
Associate Professor of Chinese and Linguistics
Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan
3070 Frieze Building, Ann Arbor MI 48109-2108

More information about the An-lang mailing list