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Altaic etymology :

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Proto-Altaic: *zēra
Nostratic: Nostratic
Meaning: light; moon, moon cycle (year)
Russian meaning: свет, светлый; луна
Turkic: *jar-
Mongolian: *sara
Tungus-Manchu: *sē
Korean: *sǝ̄r / *săr
Japanese: *sátúkúi
Comments: Lee 1958, 116 (Kor.-TM), АПиПЯЯ 294. Mong. jara- 'to shine, glimmer', which is usually compared with the PT form (see KW 216, Владимирцов 317, VEWT 189) is an obvious loanword from Turkic. Illich-Svitych (ОСНЯ 1, ХV) regards Mong. sara as a prosodic variant of sira- 'yellow', which is hardly the case. Jpn. tone seems to contradict TM length, but the root is only attested in compounds and may be itself a contraction (see below), so the tone may well have been displaced. If the Jpn. word is indeed to be analysed as *sa- 'early spring' (+ *tukui 'month', 'moon'), then its original meaning must have been '(beginning of a new) moon cycle, season' - cf. the meaning 'season' in Kor. and TM, and especially 'beginning of the year' in Kor. (note that TM *sē biaga has also the meaning 'first month of the year' > Manchu se-bija, Jurch. sei-bi(a)ha, see the discussion in Lee 1958). The form *sa itself has to be explained as reflecting a suffixed *zēr(a)-gV or *zēr(a)-ŋV - cf. Jurch. sejŋe-r and Mong. *sara-ɣu-l.

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