Reconstruction:Proto-Sino-Tibetan/k-m-raŋ ~ s-raŋ

Not to be confused with *mraŋ (to see, to look).
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: ?
    • Proto-Tibeto-Burman: *k-m-raŋ ⪤ s-raŋ (Matisoff, STEDT); *m-raŋ ⪤ s-raŋ (Weidert, 1987; Benedict, 1972).

Similar roots also exist in other families in the region, cf.

  • Languages of Southeast Asia
    • Proto-Tai: *maːᶜ (horse), a loan from Middle Chinese, whence Thai ม้า (máa), Lao ມ້າ () (Pittayaporn, 2009)
    • Proto-Hmong: *mjænᴮ (horse), possibly a loan from some Tibeto-Burman language
    • Proto-Mon-Khmer: *mraŋ (horse), Shorto #707;

According to Benedict (1972), Proto-Mon-Khmer and Proto-Tibeto-Burman forms *m-raŋ and Old Chinese *mraʔ all descended from a plurisyllabic *m()raŋ() of unknown origin; further cf.

  • Languages of Northeast Asia

Compare also Nahali māv ("horse"), Proto-Indo-European *márkos (horse) (whence English mare, marshal; Irish marc), and Old Tamil 𑀫𑀸 ().

Sagart et al (2019) contended that Proto-Sino-Tibetan lacked a native word for horse owing to these reasons:

  • Horses' remains appeared late in archaelogical records from East Asia;
  • A root verb *√raŋ might have yielded various indigenous derivations: when prefixed with nominalizers *m- (> Taraon: mɑ31 ɹoŋ55; Sak: məráŋ; Japhug mbro) or *s- (> Chepang sĕraŋ, Bunan ʂaŋs) or ∅ (> Lai Hakha ràŋ).
  • The forms already cited express regular sound correspondence; yet irregular forms like Jingpo kum31 ʒa31 and OC 馬 *mˤraʔ lack nasal endings, thus indicating that these might've been loaned from a Sino-Tibetan source language wherein [mraŋ]'s rhyme had become [mrã], thus signifying "secondary spread of domesticated horses within the family".

Written Tibetan རྟ (rta, horse) is from a different proto-Tibeto-Burman source *rta (horse) and is hence unrelated.

Mongolian horse, the horse breed perhaps close(st) to the Chinese ancient horses (Cai et al., 2009.
Ceramic statues of a prancing horse (foreground) and a cavalryman on horseback (background), Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) of China.


*k-m-raŋ ~ s-raŋ

  1. horse


  • Old Chinese: /*mˤraʔ/ (B-S), /*mraːʔ/ (ZS) ("horse")
    (in the oracle bone script)  
    • Middle Chinese: (mɣaX)
      • Proto-Tai *maːᶜ (Pittayaporn, 2009)
      • Modern Mandarin:
        • Beijing: /ma²¹³/
      • Wu:
        • Shanghai: /mo²³/ (colloquial), /ma²³/ (literary)
      • Cantonese:
        • Guangzhou: /mɑː¹³/
    • Min:
      • Amoy: /be⁵¹/ (colloquial), /ma⁵¹/ (literary)
  • Kamarupan
    • North Assam
      • Deng
        • Taraon: mɑ³¹ ɹoŋ⁵⁵
    • Kuki-Chin: *raŋ ("horse")
      • Central Chin
      • Maraic
        • Lakher [Mara]: /ā rā/
    • "Naga"
      • Northern Naga
        • Wancho: /man/
  • Himalayish
    • Tibeto-Kanauri
      • Bodic
        • Tibetan
          • Written Tibetan: རྨང (rmang, (archaic, rare) horse)
      • Western Himalayish
        • Zhang-Zhung: /hraŋ/
        • Kanauri: /raɴ/
        • Pattani [Manchati]: /hraŋ/
    • Mahakiranti
      • Kham-Magar-Chepang-Sunwar
  • Tangut-Qiang
    • Qiangic
      • Southern Pumi: zgyɛ̃¹³
      • Qiang (Longxi): /ʁò/
      • Qiang (Mawo): /ɹu/
      • Qiang (Mianchi): /ʐòu/
      • Queyu (Xinlong): /bre¹³/
      • Shixing: /rõ³⁵/
      • Zhaba (Daofu County): /mbʐo¹³/
    • rGyalrongic
      • Horpa: [script needed] (/ʐɣi/)
      • Japhug: mbro
      • Situ: mbro /mbroʔ/
      • Tshobdun: ⁿbri
  • Jingpho-Nung-Asakian
  • Tujia
    • Tujia: /ma⁵³/
  • Lolo-Burmese-Naxi
    • Lolo-Burmese:
      /*mraŋ²/ ("horse") (Matisoff, 2003)
      • Burmish
        • Achang (Longchuan): /m̥ʐaŋ³¹/
        • Written Burmese: မြင်း (mrang:, horse), မြည်း (mrany:, donkey, ass)
          • Modern Burmese (Rangoon): /mjíɴ/ ("horse")
      • Loloish:
        /*mraŋ²/ ("horse") (Bradley, 1979)
        • Northern Loloish
          • Nusu (Central): /mɹə⁵⁵/
          • Yi (Liangshan): (mu, horse) /mu³³/
        • Central Loloish
          • Yi (Sani): /m̩⁵⁵/
        • Southern Loloish
          • Hani (Lüchun): /mo³¹/
    • Naxi
      • Na (Yongning): /ʐwæ⁵/
  • Baic
    • Bai: maix (horse)