1.0 The Body > 1.9 Reproductive System > 1.9.5 Vagina

#662 PTB *b(y)at VAGINA

This root is quite widely distributed in TB, appearing in the NE Indian Areal Group, Himalayish, Lolo-Burmese (including Jinuo), and Bai. It was reconstructed as PLB *b(y)et in Matisoff 1972b #5 (The Loloish Tonal Split Revisited) and HPTB p. 375, but that has been revised here to *b(y)at to accommodate those reflexes that have ‑a‑ vocalism (e.g. WB, Kokborok, Bunan). Bradley’s (1979) PLB reconstruction without medial glide, *bat, does not account for certain Loloish reflexes with front vowels (e.g. Lahu cha‑pɛ̀ʔ, since the regular Lahu reflex of *‑at is ‑eʔ). Bauer 1991 (LTBA 14.1) treats this etymon as part of a binome *dzu(k)‑byet (see #1356 PTB *dzyuk*tsyuk VULVA for the first element), and adduces parallels in Hmong-Mien languages and Chinese. Benedict (1990) hypothesizes a “Proto-Austro-Kadai” binome *tu‑pi (for the first element see #661 PTB *s‑tu VAGINA / VULVA). These freewheeling proposals remain to be evaluated by future generations. There does not seem to be any connection between this etymon and #668 PTB *pu VAGINA, which is confined mostly to Himalayish, and whose reflexes have back vowels.

The Bai forms listed below may well be loans from Chinese.

K. P. Malla suggests that the first syllable of Newar (Dolakhali) pi‑ci ‘vagina’ really means ‘breast’ (see Kathmandu Newar pi‑si ‘breast’ under #276 PTB *(p/b)i ROUNDED PART / NIPPLE / FOREHEAD / SHOULDER above), but can be used euphemistically to mean ‘vagina’. In the other Himalayish forms cited here, however, this morpheme does definitely seem to mean ‘vagina’.

5148116622012b(y)etvulva / vagina*Tibeto-Burman20.1Tibeto-Burman (previously published reconstructions)0Matisoff 03 HPTBJAM-HPTB5860
402607m,6621819kɯ³¹biɑt⁵⁵love / likeKaman [Miju]61.1.2Deng1Huang and Dai 92 TBLTBL1126.230
216677m,662592kɯ³¹biɑt⁵⁵loveKaman [Miju]61.1.2Deng1Sun H 91 ZMYYZMYYC719.48 1
6132316622214pɑʔvulva / vaginaKaman [Miju]61.1.2Deng1Matisoff 03 HPTBJAM-HPTB3750
5384662,13531695¹pe⁵muvaginaZeme641.3.3Zeme Group1Weidert 87 TBToAW-TBT4740
106713431,662?1040seŋ◦biclitorisMeithei131.4Meithei1Singh 91 MeiQCYS-Meithei10.4.40
554651349,662803ši-paʔvaginaKokborok801.7.1.1Bodo1Tripuri 88PT-Kok0
164291662566pɑʔ⁴vulvaGanan401.7.3.2Asakian1Luce 85GHL-PPBL.1500
164292662720pɑʔ³vulvaKadu (Kantu)401.7.3.2Asakian1Luce 85GHL-PPBL.1500
164289p,6621354ă◦paᴜ²vulvaSak (Bawtala)401.7.3.2Asakian1Luce 85GHL-PPBL.1500
164290p,6621355ă◦pɛtvulvaSak (Dodem)401.7.3.2Asakian1Luce 85GHL-PPBL.1500
164293p,6621354ă◦pɑʔ²vulvaSak (Bawtala)401.7.3.2Asakian1Luce 85GHL-PPBL.1500
128330662,661378pha◦šuvaginaBunan202.1.1Western Himalayish0Sharma, S.R. 91 BuSBN-BunQ10.4.10
3114136621775phɛːtsvulvaKanauri202.1.1Western Himalayish0Bauer 91RSB-STV0
131408662,6611005pha◦ṣuvaginaPattani [Manchati]202.1.1Western Himalayish0Sharma, S.R. 91 MaSTP-ManQ10.4.10
18753662,6611262pʰə◦ʂuvaginaPattani [Manchati]202.1.1Western Himalayish0Sharma, D.D. 82 THDS-Patt0
13090662,662329pi⁵⁵ pi⁵³vaginaTibetan (Batang) 89 BataDQ-Batang10.4.10
126277662,13491455¹pit◦sivaginanTamang (Risiangku)232.1.4Tamangish1Mazaudon 91 TamQMM-TamRisQ10.4.1 2
119923662,13491459¹pi-civaginaTamang (Sahu)232.1.4Tamangish1Matisoff 87 BPJAM-Ety0
119920662,1349301pi-sivaginaBahing302.3.4Western Kiranti1Matisoff 87 BPJAM-Ety0
143774662,1284643bi◦mligenitalsHayu302.3.4Western Kiranti1Michailovsky 91 KrBM-PK7138 3
116116662,1284644bi◦mligenitalsHayu302.3.4Western Kiranti1Matisoff 87 BPJAM-Ety0
34050662146b(y)etvulva(LOW)*Lolo-Burmese426.1Lolo-Burmese1Matisoff 72 LTSRJAM-TSR50
167702662146b(y)etvulva*Lolo-Burmese426.1Lolo-Burmese1Matisoff 72 LTSRJAM-TSR50
1199311356,662396cok-patvaginaBurmese (Written)446.1.1Burmish1Matisoff 87 BPJAM-Ety0
11572662152batᴸvulva*Loloish456.1.2Loloish1Bradley 79 PLoDB-PLolo1230
15885661,662958tv̩⁵⁵ bi³¹vaginaLolopho456.1.2Loloish1Dai 89 LoloDQ-Lolopho10.4.10
13878662,662,m584pi²¹ pi⁵³ mɛ³³genitalia / pudendaGazhuo466.1.2.1Northern Loloish1Dai 89 GazhDQ-Gazhuo10.10
296505661,662904tu⁵⁵bi²¹vaginaLipho466.1.2.1Northern Loloish1Chen 86 YiCK-YiQ10.4.10
96631356,6621148tʂo̱²¹ pi̱²¹vaginaNasu466.1.2.1Northern Loloish1Chen 86 YiCK-YiQ10.4.10
98726621164pi⁵⁵vaginaNesu466.1.2.1Northern Loloish1Chen 86 YiCK-YiQ10.4.10
2843956621193pe³³vaginaNoesu466.1.2.1Northern Loloish1Chen 86 YiCK-YiQ10.4.10
284389662,m1193pe³³ɬɪ³³copulateNoesu466.1.2.1Northern Loloish1Chen 86 YiCK-YiQ10.20
3114146621776pi⁵⁵vulvaYi (Southern)466.1.2.1Northern Loloish1Bauer 91RSB-STV0
47573661,662216to⁵⁵ bi̱²¹genitalia / pudenda (general)Ahi476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Luo 90LMZ-AhiQ10.10
47586661,662,m,m216to⁵⁵ bi̱²¹ ne̱³³ ba⁵⁵vaginaAhi476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Luo 90LMZ-AhiQ10.4.10
47587661,662,m216to⁵⁵ bi̱²¹ ni²¹vulva / labiaAhi476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Luo 90LMZ-AhiQ10.4.2 4
47574661,662,m216to⁵⁵ bi̱²¹ tʂʻɛ²²copulatev.Ahi476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Luo 90LMZ-AhiQ10.20
284187661,662210to⁵⁵bi̱²¹vaginaAhi476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Chen 86 YiCK-YiQ10.4.10
142201354,662698tso⁵⁵ pɛ⁵⁵vaginaJinuo (Baya/Banai)476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Dai 89 JinADQ-JinA1460
11573662492peh˰vulva*Common Lahu476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Bradley 79 PLoDB-PLolo1230
1199021354,662832cha(-pɛ̀ʔ)vaginaLahu (Black)476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Matisoff 87 BPJAM-Ety0
329851354,662839cha(-pɛ̀ʔ)vulvaLahu (Black)476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Matisoff 72 LTSRJAM-TSR50
145078662831pɛ̀ʔhorny, randy (to be)v.Lahu (Black)476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Matisoff 88 DLJAM-DLp. 8560
119903661,662925tu¹-bi⁶vaginaLisu476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Matisoff 87 BPJAM-Ety0
32987661,662930tu¹-bi⁶vulvaLisu476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Matisoff 72 LTSRJAM-TSR50
286655661,662943tu¹-bi⁶vaginaLisu (Central)476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Fraser 22JF-HLL0
10809661,662923tu¹bi⁶vulvaLisu476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Bradley 79 PLoDB-PLolo1230
273903661,662946tɔ⁵⁵bi²¹pudendaNLisu (Northern)476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Bradley 94 LisuDB-Lisu0
2839756621223pæ⁵⁵vaginaSani [Nyi]476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Chen 86 YiCK-YiQ10.4.10
168286621365pæ⁵⁵vaginaSani [Nyi]476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Ma 89 SanQMXL-SaniQ303.40
283976662,3631223pæ⁵⁵no⁴⁴female pubic hairSani [Nyi]476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Chen 86 YiCK-YiQ10.4.50
1320986621379pɛ⁵⁵vulva, female genitalsSani [Nyi]476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Wu 84YHJC-Sani0
131892662,m1379pɛ⁵⁵qhɪ³³copulateSani [Nyi]476.1.2.2Central Loloish1Wu 84YHJC-Sani0
32986p,662234a-beh L-LSvulvaAkha486.1.2.3Southern Loloish1Matisoff 72 LTSRJAM-TSR50
119904p,662229a˯ beh˰vulva (impolite child's term)Akha486.1.2.3Southern Loloish1Matisoff 87 BPJAM-Ety0
51280661,662344tɔ◦pɛ́vulvaBisu486.1.2.3Southern Loloish1Beaudouin 88 BisuPB-Bisu160
435254661,6621120to²phe²vaginaMpi486.1.2.3Southern Loloish1Srinuan 76SD-MPD0
119905662,6611286pə̀ tòvulvaCôông [Phunoi]486.1.2.3Southern Loloish1Matisoff 87 BPJAM-Ety0
3114156621777pi³⁵vulvaMoso (Weixi)436.2Naxi1Bauer 91RSB-STV0
80889662309pi̱⁴⁴vulva / labiaBai (Jianchuan)518Bai1Zhao 90ZYS-Bai10.4.20
80892662,363309pi̱⁴⁴ ma̱²¹female pubic hairBai (Jianchuan)518Bai1Zhao 90ZYS-Bai10.4.50
80893662,363,1232309pi̱⁴⁴ ma̱²¹ tsɿ³³female pubic hairBai (Jianchuan)518Bai1Zhao 90ZYS-Bai10.4.50
80891662,3431,1352309pi̱⁴⁴ ɕĩ⁵⁵ tɯ̱²¹clitorisBai (Jianchuan)518Bai1Zhao 90ZYS-Bai10.4.40
80888662,3429309pi̱⁴⁴ ʔuĩ³³vaginaBai (Jianchuan)518Bai1Zhao 90ZYS-Bai10.4.10

Chinese comparandum

According to H. Stimson 1966,5 the taboo word 屄 (Mand. ) does not appear in dictionaries until the 17th century. Benedict 19886 posits OC *b’iĕt, underlying such modern dialect forms as Hakka piet⁸ and Min Kienyang (建陽) pie⁷. This Chinese word may well be the source of the Baic and some of the Loloish forms listed above.

Chinese dialect forms of this word point to both open and closed-syllable ancestral forms, for example Schuessler 2007:161 notes Amoy (= Xiamen) tsiᴬ¹‑paiᴬ². This suggests early Chinese variants *pe and *pet, the latter of which corresponds well to PTB *byat. (For the correspondence between OC *e and PTB *ya, cf. 八 OC *pret (Baxter) ‘eight’, PTB *b‑ryat, Mand. . However Schuessler believes that this word is derived from ‘to open’ (PST *pe), with the addition of *‑t marking “nouns of naturally occurring objects”. See Schuessler 2007:161, 414. This hypothesis could also explain the etymology of the PTB etymon under discussion here.

^ 1.
The semantic association VAGINA ⟷ love has not been noted elsewhere, but the phonological fit of this form with the present etymon is perfect.
^ 2.
Tamang ¹pit is of key importance in establishing the ‑t final for Himalayish.
^ 3.
This is an antonymic compound meaning literally “vagina-penis”.
^ 4.
Ahi ni²¹ is the same as the first syllable of Ahi ni²¹ tɕi²² ‘lip’.
^ 5.
Hugh Stimson, “A tabu word in the Peking dialect” (Language 42.2:285-294). Cited in Bauer 1991:150.
^ 6.
Untitled manuscript circulated as a handout at ICSTLL #21, Lund, Sweden.