[Tibeto-burman-linguistics] A question about numerals - Tibetan

Joanna Bialek jbialek108 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 19 11:09:16 UTC 2014

Dear all,

with reference to the data quoted by Bettina Zeisler, I can add that the
same usage of *gang *for one measure and *do *for two measures seems to be
attested already in Old Tibetan, cf. (all quotations after OTDO):

*gro nas khal stong nyis brgya' drug cu rtsa gchig dang* / *bre gang phul
do* (PT 1111:8) "1261 *khal*, one *bre *[and] two *phul *of wheat and

*khre ci khal bzhi stong* / *drug brgya' rtsa bco brgyad dang* / *bre do*
(PT 1111:10-1) "4618 *khal *and two *bre *of millet (*khre ci* < **khre ci

*khre ci khal brgyad cu rtsa lnga dang bre lnga phul do* (PT 1111:22) "85
*khal*, five *bre *and two *phul *of millet"


*gro nas khal lnga stong brgyad brgya' sum cu rtsa phyedang bre gang phul
gsum* (PT 1111:21-2) "5830,5 (?) *khal*, one *bre *[and] three *phul *of
wheat and barley"

Thus, one measure = *gang*, two measures = *do*, but three measures = *gsum
*(a regular numeral for 3).

For the same situation in Classical Tibetan see Beyer "The Classical
Tibetan Language", p.228. Judging from the data in CDTD, the same holds
true also for many other modern dialects.

With best regards,

Joanna Bialek
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