An interpretation of two personal names in the ninth line of the Tonyukuk inscripton
Pavel Rykin (Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences)
Nikolai Telitsin (St. Petersburg State University)
(61st Annual Meeting of the PIAC 2018, Bishkek)
The paper deals with the etymology of the personal names Qunï Säŋün and Toŋra Simä appearing in the 9th line of the Old Turkic Tonyukuk inscription (ca. 716). These names are borne by the envoys sent by the kagan of the Toquz Oguz to the Chinese and Khitan, respectively, to conclude a military alliance against the Turks. Both names have the same structure which is a combination of an ethnonym (qun(ï) vs. toŋra), referring to a tribal unit within the Tiele 鐵勒 confederation, and a title of Chinese origin (säŋün vs. simä). Basing themselves on a thorough analysis of historical and philological data, the authors try to establish possible ethnolinguistic grounds for the Toquz Oguz mission, which have so far eluded researchers of the inscription and can be fully restored only in the light of the latest discoveries in the history and philology of Inner Asia of the Old Turkic period, e.g. the decipherment of the famous Khüis Tolgoi inscription from Mongolia.