Re: Hurray!!!! A Mongol Word?

On 25 Nov 2005 01:58:16 -0800, Yusuf B Gursey wrote:

> Joseph W. Murphy wrote:
>> On 24 Nov 2005 05:01:25 -0800, Yusuf B Gursey wrote:
>>>> ...The 17th century French biographer, Francois Petis de
>>>> la Croix, has described it, based on a Persian-Turkish account (now lost)
>>>> considered to be the most complete so far. After installing him as their
>>>> ruler, his followers bowed to him ("nine times") according to the
>>>> shamanistic ritual and their prayers concluded in shouts of the ancient
>>>> Mongolian phrase "huree, huree, huree" (not too different, perhaps, from
>>>> the British, 'Hurray').
>>> that's interesting, wonder what it means. middle mongolian did have
>>> initial h- .
>> I've just sent an email to Mikael Thompson asking him to take a look at
>> this thread and see what he thinks. Maybe he knows. Weatherford's email
>> to me that was posted earlier in the thread says it means something like
>> "Amen".
> OTOH I don't think the slavic etymological dictionaries would make too
> obvious an error in this regard. perhaps a mongol invocation was given
> a false turkic etymology by the (qypchaq steppe) Tatars.
> and now that you mention it, I seem to remeber there was some cry that
> the Tatars
> were depicted as giving out in the soviet - russian historical
> films I used to watch a long time ago. the actors were present day
> turkic people,
> and there were snippets of turkic dialogue.
>> Joe Murphy
>> Boy Linguist

Well, here it is! I just got this email from Mikael Thompson:

Quoting jwmurphy700@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx:

> The whole history of this is in the thread but, to summarize, I emailed
> Weatherford to ask about his sourcing on this and he said it came from a
> Mongol ritual involving rotating the hands palms upward counterclockwise and
> chanting "hurray, hurray, hurray (or huree, huree, huree)."

Khuray is one Mongolian word for "hurrah." However, it wouldn't have been
the source for "hurrah" from around the time of Chinggis Khan through
Turkic into Russian because it would have been pronounced [kuraj] (quray)
until about the mid-16th century. (Modern pronunciation is [xor&I] or
[xor&:].) Moreover, the word doesn't appear in the Secret History of the
Mongols, nor do other possibilities, huray, quruy, or uray, so it's quite
likely any ceremonial reenactments of the big events in 1206 involving
quray (I think I've seen such in films) are based on later ceremonies.

It's also quite possible that quray was quruy earlier since the verb
"to circle while chanting quray" is quruyl-; the cry then could have been
remodeled on the cry "uray," which might well be of Turkic origin. (Modern
Mongolian also uses ura from Russian, and uuxay.) If quray is a verbal
form, it would be from the verb qura- "to meet," which is the source of
quraltay (comitative case of qural, "meeting").

As for how Temujin received his name, meaning "blacksmith," he was born at
the moment his father captured the leader Temujin Uge of the Tatars and was
named after him in celebration. (SHM, Para. 59.)

I'll email one of the other mongolists here. She's an anthropologist
specializing in Mongolian state ceremonies and ought to know something of
the history of the word and the ceremony.