Kam Tak-sing (Taibei, Taiwan)
The Term Mongγol, Revisited
(57th Annual Meeting of the PIAC Vladivostok, 2014)
The tribal name Mongγol, the origin and meaning of which is controversial, has evolved through many forms. Theories about the ethnonym can be divided into two types: those treating it as one word and those that treat it as a composite of two elements. I propose to tackle this problem by collating philological reconstructions of the ethnonym with historical evidence culled from both Mongolian and Chinese sources. My initial findings show that the Buriat scholar Dordzhi Banzarov’s proposition that the term mongγol echoes the name of a river is sound , although he has not been able to identify the corresponding hydronym. This river, I suppose, was the Wang-chien River , which is today’s Ergune River, where the early Mongols are believed to have inhabited.