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Altaic etymology :

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Proto-Altaic: *pélaba(nV)
Meaning: a figure made of stone or clay
Russian meaning: фигура из камня или глины
Turkic: *bAlbal
Mongolian: *barimal
Tungus-Manchu: *pelbu
Japanese: *páníwá, *panipai, *panima
Comments: The comparison is very tempting, although one has to suppose secondary folk-etymological reanalysis in Mong. (where barimal /a regular development < *balima-r/) is associated with bari- 'to build', and in Jpn., where all the variants are associated with pani 'red clay'.

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