On the question of the homonyms named “symbols of the things” and “things” in the Altaic languages
(63rd Annual Meeting Ulaanbaatar, 2021)
In the Altaic languages, there are many homonyms which are resulted from the figurative meaning of words or the evolution of the sound of words. For example: Mongolian: дуу (duu) “sound” and figurative meaning дуу (duu) “song” and so on.
However, in the Altaic languages it has got some occurrence which is named homonyms depending on the function and logical connection of things and without to depend on the figurative meaning and changes in the sounds of words. Such an example might only be in a specific language. For example:
Mongolian: хоолой ‘throat’ – хоол(ой) ‘food’
Kalmyk: хот ‘throat’ – хот ‘food’
Kazakh: тамақ ‘throat’ – тамақ ‘food’
These examples show us that the words of these languages are called homonyms, depending on the function and logical connection of these two things. Observations show that the same homonyms in one language are not associated with the same homonyms in another language. However, the same homonyms of different languages are very interesting that they refer to the same object. This may not indicate a connection between the origins of different languages, but it might indicate a mental connection. Another reason for this association may be that the languages and cultures of peoples who have lived in the neighborhood for a long time, may have influenced each other. Therefore, in the future, we need to study, in terms of form and meaning, whether such homonyms in languages can have a related origin.
However, we have observed that in Altaic languages, the homonyms in one language may be related to the homonyms in another language. These examples may be evidence of the linguistic and cultural connection of a people, as well as evidence of the origin of languages. For example:
Kazakh: kün ‘sun’ – kün ‘day’
Turkish: küneş ‘sun’ – kün ‘day’
Japanese: hi ‘sun’ – hi ‘day’
Mongolian: *geldür ‘sunlight’ – *geldür ‘day’
From the examples of the languages, the words of these languages are called two different things by the homonyms in terms of function and logical connection. It is well known that homonyms in the Kazakh and Turkish languages are related by origin in form and meaning. In addition, homonyms in Japanese can be related in origin to homonyms in Kazakh and Turkish. This is because the homonyms in Japanese correspond in meaning and are close in form to homonyms in Kazakh and Turkish languages. However, homonyms in Mongolian do not coincide in form and meaning with homonyms in other languages. But “sunshine” is “sun” in the understanding of the Mongols. Therefore, *geldür ‘sunlight’ and *geldür ‘day’ are the homonyms in Mongolian. This means that in the minds of people there is no “day” without “sun” and “light”. Consequently, in these languages “sun” and “day”, “light” and “day” are homonyms in terms of function and logic.
Therefore, in this report, the speaker will discuss the reasons and connections of homonyms associated with “names of human organs” and “names of stars” in the Altaic languages.
In the future, we need to study homonyms that names of other things in a wider range. It is important to understand the connections of the language, culture and mentality of these peoples who are speaking the Altaic languages.