(Redirected from Appendix:Proto-Sino-Tibetan/g-sum)
This Proto-Sino-Tibetan entry contains reconstructed words and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.



  • Proto-Sino-Tibetan: *g-sum (Coblin, 1986)
    • Proto-Tibeto-Burman: *g-sum (Matisoff, STEDT; Benedict, 1972; Chou, 1972; LaPolla, 1987)

This is perhaps the most stable numeral in Proto-Sino-Tibetan, with virtually no daughter language failing to show some reflex of this root. This stability can be attributed to various factors: the stability of the consonants "s" and "m", and the saliency of the numeral THREE itself. The velar prefix g/k- is the only prefix reconstructable for this root (another manifestation of well-preservedness); this is of course disregarding other prefixes in modern languages which resulted from an innovative prefix run in all of the lower numerals, for example Jingpho (m- in 3-5).

Some languages also show /a/ vocalism (e.g. Chinese), which some dismiss (somewhat unconvincingly) as secondary development. It is very likely that ablaut of *u ~ *a existed in the proto-language, i.e. *g-sum ⪤ *g-sam, analogous to *b-suŋ ~ b-saŋ(fragrance) (Matisoff, 1997).


  1. three


  • Old Chinese: /*srum/ ("three"), /*s.rəm-s/ ("thrice")
    Note: The initial *sr- in Old Chinese irregularly developed into Middle Chinese *s- (not the expected *ʃ-), possibly due to influence by the next numeral (*s.l- > s-) (⇒ *b-ləj), FOUR.
    • Middle Chinese: /sɑm, sɑmH/ invalid IPA characters (H)

         Japanese:   (さん, ​san)
            Korean:   (, sam)
            Vietnamese:  tam

         Proto-Tai:  *saːm(three) (whence Thai สาม(sǎam), Lao ສາມ(sām))

      • Modern Mandarin
        • Beijing: ("three") (sān, /san⁵⁵/)
      • Cantonese
        • Guangzhou: /sɑːm⁵⁵/
      • Wu
        • Shanghai: /sᴇ⁵³/ obsolete or nonstandard characters (ᴇ), invalid IPA characters (ᴇ)
    • Min
      • Min Nan
        • Taiwan: /sã⁵⁵/ (colloquial), /sam⁵⁵/ (literary)
  • Kamarupan
    • "North Assam"
      • Tani
        /*ɦum/ ("three") (Sun, 1993)
    • Kuki-Chin
      /*thum/ ("three") (VanBik, 2009)
      • Central Chin
        • Lushai [Mizo]: thum(three)
    • "Naga"
      • Northern Naga
        /*C̬-sum/ invalid IPA characters (C) ("three") (French, 1983)
      • Tangkhulic
        /*tʰum/ ("three") (Mortensen, 2012)
  • Himalayish
    • Tibeto-Kanauri
      • Bodic
        • Tibetan
          • Written Tibetan: གསུམ(gsum, three)
            • Modern Tibetan (Lhasa): /sum˥˥/
      • Lepcha: ᰠᰦᰮ(sám, three)
      • Tamangic
        /*ᴮsom/ invalid IPA characters (ᴮ) ("three") (Mazaudon, 1994)
    • Newar
      • Newar (Dolakhali): सों(, three)
      • Newar (Kathmandu): सो(swɔ, three)
    • Mahakiranti
      • Kiranti
  • Jingpho-Asakian
    • Jingpho
      • Jingpho [Kachin]: masum(three)
  • Lolo-Burmese-Naxi
    • Lolo-Burmese
      • Burmish
        • Written Burmese: သုံး(sum:, three)
          • Modern Burmese (Rangoon): /θóʊɴ/
      • Loloish
        /*C-sum²/ invalid IPA characters (C) ("three") (Bradley, 1979)
        • Northern Loloish
          • Yi (Liangshan): (suo, three)
        • Central Loloish
          • Lisu (Southern): ꓢꓺ(sa, three) (ꓢꓽ() / ꓢꓼ(sà) before most mid tone classifiers)
  • Karenic:
    /*səmᴬ/ invalid IPA characters (ᴬ) ("three") (Luangthongkum, 2013)
    • Sgaw: သၢ(, three)
  • Baic
    • Bai: sanl(three)