1.0 The Body > 1.9 Reproductive System > 1.9.7 Penis

#1285 PTB *m-(l/n)ey ⪤ *m-li PENIS

This is by far the most widely attested etymon for PENIS in TB, occurring in the NE Indian Areal Group, Himalayish, Lolo-Burmese (including Jinuo), and Qiangic. (See STC #262, which cites reflexes from the first three of these groups.) The nasal prefix is well-established, appearing e.g. in WT and other Himalayish languages. This prefix has caused nasalization of the root-initial lateral in several languages (e.g. Meithei and Jingpho), or even driven out or “preempted” the root-initial entirely (as in Chang Naga or Lahu). Those forms which have developed a secondary nasal root-initial are presented separately below as set #545 PTB *m‑ney PENIS. A couple of Loloish languages (Lalo, Lisu) have reflexes in h‑. It is possible that these point to an alternant with sibilant prefix, *s‑ley (as is reflected more directly in Phunoi hle¹¹ and Lepcha săli). Several Loloish languages (Lalo, Lipho, Lolopho, Nesu, Sani/Nyi) have words for PENIS and TESTICLE with initial d‑. Since it is true that there is much interplay between l‑ and d‑ in ST,1 and it is also the case that palatalized labial initials are sometimes dentalized in Loloish languages like Sani,2 it might seem reasonable to assign these reflexes in d‑ to *m‑ley if we posit an intermediate palatalized prototype like *myey. However, Lalo has forms with both d‑ and h‑ (de³³se²¹ ‘testicle’, he²¹ ‘penis’), which suggests that two separate etyma are involved. I am therefore assigning the reflexes in d‑ to #641 PTB *ti‑k PENIS, below.

Several languages have forms that resemble reflexes of this etymon, but which are really loans from Indo-Aryan (cf. Skt. lingam): WB lin‑khu’ ‘scrotum’, Kanauri liṅ ‘penis (polite)’.

^ 1.
See the note under #518 PTB *m/s‑la(ː)y*s‑tay NAVEL, above.
^ 2.
E.g. PTB/PLB *my‑ > Sani n‑ (e.g. #33 PTB *s‑myak*s‑mik EYE > Sa. ne⁴⁴); *by‑ > Sani dl‑ (e.g. #2187 PTB *b(y/r)a *bya BEE > Sa. dla‑ma); *py‑ > Sa. tl‑ (e.g. #2588 PTB *(p/b)yam FLY (v.) > Sa. tlö); see STC, n. 93, p. 29.