Valerio Anselmo
A research on the name Kudara
(published in 1974)
Several hypotheses on Paekche (2)

Hypotheses on Paekche (1)

Hypotheses on Kudara (1)

Several hypotheses on Paekche (part two)

[page 19 of the original (cont.)]
The initial syllable paek could also be connected to the MK .pak 91. “gourd” and, as a consequence, with the surname of the founder of the Silla state, Pak Hyŏkkŏse 朴赫居世. All the legends which tell us about the birth of Hyŏkkŏse from a gourd or from an egg can be connected to a people’s name, or to a totemic link of those populations with the gourd.
[page 20 of the original]
Also with the Puyŏ, 夫餘 (Fu-yü), the population from which presumably came the founders of the state of Paekche, there was a legend which spoke of the birth of the hero from an egg 92.

Paekche, written however with the characters 伯濟, appeared already, as we said before, as one of the 55 small states (kuk ) 93 of Mahan, and some historians are inclined to believe that Paekche took its name after that its founders did settle in this southern state 94. Also the pronounciation of these two characters can be traced back to the MK .pɑjk:tsjəj and to the Chinese pɑktsiei (*păktsiər) 95. The meaning of the two characters taken one by one was “elder brother” or “uncle” for 96 and “ford” for . On the basis of these two meanings we can reconstruct the MK forms mɑt-nɑrɑ 97 and olaba-nɑrɑ  for the 15th century.
[page 21 of the original]
From the form mɑt-nɑrɑ could also derive a meaning of “major ferry”, but in this case it is perhaps more probable that paek phonetically transcribed the name of a people, or that it was connected with the name “king”, and that che meant “castle”, instead of “country”, with both characters doing the function of phonetically transcribing, more than translating. In this case we will have, therefore, the meanings of “fortress of the Pak”, or perhaps also “country of the Pak”, linked to the Pak of Silla, or again the meaning of “fortress of the king”, already considered 98.

The state of Paekche had, besides this, also other names. The Samguk sagi, as we have already seen, says that Onjo in the year 18 B.C. established himself in Wiryesŏng and, assisted by ten subjects, called the state Sipche 99. Since, in order to solve the problem we are studying, it could be necessary to check all the names of this state, we will repeat also for Sipche the analysis done for Paeckche. In the 15th century the (reconstructed) pronounciation of 十濟 was .sip:tsjəj 100, while the Chinese pronounciation given by Karlgren is źi̯əptsiei (*di̯əptsiər) 101. Considering 十濟 to be the translation of a native Korean term, its reconstruction in the 15th century language is .jəl(h)-nɑrɑ. The word “ten” can be found also among the limited number of words that has been left of the language of Koguryŏ, and in that language it has the sound tək 102. Now, if for a moment we wanted to forget about the supposition put forward before, according which Paekche would be a name in southern language, given the connection of the language spoken by the founders of Paekche and that of Koguryŏ we could logically introduce here also the form tək as a reconstruction of the first part of the name, even without arriving to the forming of an hybrid term tək nɑrɑ for 十濟, where only the first part would be in Koguryŏ language, being impossible to reconstruct in that language also the second part with the meaning of “ford” or “country”, because these words did not reach us.

[page 22 of the original]
On the basis of an ancient pronounciation Jəltsas for 十濟, reconstructed with the MK term jəl corresponding to the meaning of the first character (“ten”) and with the MK term tsas (“fortress”) phonetically transcribed by the second character , Yang Chu-dong 103 says that 十濟 (jəltsas) is equivalent to 慰禮城, which in turn would corresponnd to uritsas (“our fortress, our castle”). Not too convincing is, on the contrary, his explanation of a derivation of the name Wiryesŏng (*ɑltsas?) from a variation of the name Paekche (pɑltsas > βɑltsas > ɑltsas), clearly based on a reasoning made about the MK hanɑl () and perhaps a valid one in the case of “sky”, because the -b- in the proposed original form (hanbɑlk ) is situated between voiced boundaries 104, but not tenable for *pɑltsas, a southern name, because, as we have seen, in the southern languages of Korea (Silla etc.) the initial word phoneme *p of the common Altaic was maintained, as it is still today in modern Korean.

The Kwanggaet'o stone 105, of the 414 A.D. has for Paekche the name Paekchan 百殘 106. Kanazawa Shōzaburō 107 says that chan “the remains” corresponds to the Korean törö (tŏrŏ), while che corresponds to naru. Keeping in mind the relation existing between n and t 108, the two words, going back to the ancient forms tar  and nara, would result correspondent; therefore, Pak-tar and Pak-nara would have the same meaning of “country of the Maek”, already mentioned. Yi Pyŏng-do 李丙燾 109 gives on this subject another explanation: Paekchan 百殘 would be the abbreviation of 百濟殘賦, that is “the remains of the rebels of Paekche”, an hypothesis, this one, that seems much more reliable than the previous one.
[page 23 of the original]
An explanation still more convincing about this Paekchan is given by Yang Chu-dong 110 who, starting from phonetic considerations, explains that the original name Pɑlktsas (transcribed by the characters 百濟), when followed by a word beginning with n, as it is the case with pɑlktsas nara  百濟國 (> pɑlktsan nara) and pɑlktsas nimgɨm  百濟王 (> pɑlktsan nimgɨm), is pronounced Pɑlktsan because of a well known phenomenon of assimilation 111. As a consequence, the name Paekchan (< pɑlktsan) would be exactly equivalent to Paekche (< pɑlktsas).

All these researches on the name Paekche up to this point did not bring any contribution to the solution of the problem of the name Kudara, although if they let us catch a glimpse of some rather interesting possibilities of interpretation, like the above mentioned expressions “all the countries” (a confederation of states), “fortress of the king”, “our fortress”, or also “country of the Pak”. The reconstructed readings .on-nɑrɑ, mɑt-nɑrɑ, olaba-nɑrɑ, jəl-nɑrɑ seem not to offer any chance for the reconstruction of the name Kudara 112, since the difference of the consonantal sounds is too strong to allow us to suppose a derivation of Kudara from one of these reconstructed names. Moreover, as we said, being these names reconstructed on the basis of the MK, they would not be reliable enough in the case that the name Paekche happened to be the transcription or the translation of a name originally in the Paekche's language, not being taken by the new nation on the basis of a previously existent southern name.

Hypotheses on Paekche (1)

Hypotheses on Kudara (1)

  1. See Tusiŏnhae ch’ogan, VIII, 10.
  2. On this subject see Pak Si-in, Tongmyŏngwang nansaeng iju sŏlhwa-ŭi yŏn’gu 東明王 卵生 移住 說話의 硏究, in «Sŏul taehakkyo nonmunchip», 12, 1966, p. 435-465.
  3. In this case must not be translated with the word “state” (cf. note 89 and Gardiner, The Early History..., cit., p. 21).
  4. Somebody says that the new state took the name of the ancient state of Paekche 伯濟 when, after having occupied the territory of this people, established here its capital city (see Kuksa chŏnghae 國史精解, ed. Minjung sŏgwan 民衆書舘, Seoul 1968, note on p. 77). From one side we can instead suppose that the name was taken, not when the capital was established in the territory of the Paekche 伯濟, but when, after a certain period from the foundation of the capital Hansan, the founders succeded in conquering this southern people. It is probable that, when Wani went to Japan in the year 405, the state had already from a certain time taken the official name of Paekche 百濟, but that the Japanese, which had with this state previous relations, knew it under another name. If it were not so, we could suppose that the Nihon shoki had to keep trace of the name Kudara written with other Chinese characters, besides those of 百濟. On the other hand, we can also think that the group that later had to become dominant, that is the group of the founders of Paekche 百濟, was in Paekche 伯濟 already before the 313 (date supposed by Gardiner, The Early History..., cit., p. 45), perhaps around the year 300, and, given the Chinese control, that this group wanted to camouflage itself as a population of a Mahan state, that is of the same Paekche 伯濟. This seems also to be the opinion of the Chōsen-shi taikei (cit. ed., p. 28 of the 1st vol.) when it says that «when Paekche 伯濟 unified Mahan, it became Paekche 百濟».
  5. See Tongguk chŏngun, cit. ed., p. 17 and 422, and Karlgren, Grammata..., cit., 782i, and 593o.
  6. In the language of Koguryŏ the character paek was used to transcribe the pronounciation of the verb “to meet” (see Yi Ki-mun, Koguryŏ-ŭi..., cit., p. 132), but this should have nothing to do with the paek of Paekche 伯濟, which was one of the countries of Mahan.
  7. About mɑt see Yang Chu-dong, Koga..., cit., p. 77. Pak Si-in (Alt'ai..., cit., p. 304) gives for 伯濟 the reconstructions madzidzɑj and madidzɑj and puts them in connection with the meaning “mountain of the elder brother” (兄山).
  8. As we have already seen, we put the character in connection with the meaning “bright” (pɑlk-). Pak Si-in (Alt'ai..., cit. p. 32) adds also to the list of the characters that transcribed this meaning and gives for 伯濟 the meaning “castle of the sun” 日城 (ibid., p. 304).
  9. See also Samguk yusa 三國遺事, kwŏn 2 卷第二, Nam Puyŏ 南夫餘, Hu Paekche 後百濟, p. 97 of the edition by Ch’oe Nam-sŏn, Seoul 1969.
  10. The pronounciation of 十濟 according to the Tongguk chŏngun had to be .ssip:tsjəj (see Tongguk chŏngun, cit. ed., p. 245 and 422), but as a matter of fact probably it was rather similar to .sip:tsjəj according to what is confirmed by the form .sip for “ten” which is found in the most part of the textes of the MK.
  11. See Karlgren, Grammata..., cit., 686a and 593o.
  12. See Yi Ki-mun, A Genetic..., cit., p. 98.
  13. See Yang Chu-dong, Koga..., cit., p. 570-571.
  14. See Yang Chu-dong, Koga..., cit., p. 6.
  15. Kwanggaet'o 廣開土, 19th king of Koguryŏ, reigned from 391 to 413.
  16. See M. Maurice Courant, Stèle chinoise du royaume de Ko Kou Rye, in «JA», 9-11-2, 1898, and E. Chavannes, Les monuments de l'ancien royaume coréen de Kao-Keou-Li, in «T’oung Pao» 2-9, 1908, for the text of the stone. See also Bolesław Szczesniak, The Kôtaiô Monument, in «Monumenta nipponica», VII, 1951.
  17. See Chōsen-shi taikei, cit. ed., p. 115-116.
  18. As a matter of fact, the following relations have been proved: between k and ng (cf. Yi Sung-nyŏng, Chŏmmisa -k(g)-, -ng- e taehayŏ 接尾辭 -k(g)-, -ŋ- 에 對하여, in «Sŏul taehakkyo nonmunchip», 4, Seoul 1956, between the l and k (Ogura Shimpei, Chōsengo..., cit., p. 218-219 of the 1st vol.: tol - tok in the dialects), and between k and p (see Ogura Shimpei, Chōsengo..., cit., p. 246 of the 1st vol.: puk - pup 大鼓 in the dialects) in the word's final position, and between m and p when they are initial sounds of the syllable (see Sŏ Chae-gŭk 徐在克, Ŏdu /p/./m/ŭi kyoch’e-wa ŏsa punhwa 語頭 /p/./m/의 交替와 語辭分化, in «Kugŏ kungmunhak», 27, Seoul 1964, p. 167-178), but still not enough the relation between t(d) and n. For the variation t > n due to phonetic reasons in the word's final position, see what was said about Paekchan, where the final s of tsas behaves like a t.
  19. See Yi Pyŏng-do, Han'guk-sa 韓國史, Kodae-p’yŏn 古代篇, Seoul 1959, p. 275.
  20. See Yang Chu-dong, Koga..., cit., p. 571.
  21. See G. J. Ramstedt, A Korean Grammar, Helsinki 1939, repr. 1969, p. 7.
  22. Even if the correspondence Kor. o - Jap. u could solve the difficulty of the different vowels in the initial syllables of .on-nɑrɑ and Kudara.

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© Valerio Anselmo