Rong Xinjiang, The Name of the So-called “Tumshuqese” Language

This article traces the discovery and investigation of the so-called Tumshuqese documents and the early history of the Tumshuq area, concluding that the majority of documents in this language should be dated to the Tang dynasty (618-907) and that the name of the Tumshuq area at that time was Jushide (in Tibetan, Gustig). While philologists have been unable to specifically date the Tumshuqese documents, the word Tumshuq, which they used to designate the language of the documents, is of a very late date and thus not a satisfactory one. Comparison of the dating formula in Tumshuqese secular documents with those in similar documents in Niya Prakrit, Khotanese, and Sogdian revealed that the word gyā´źdi previously assigned the meaning "divine," is actually a toponym. Its phonetic similarity with the Chinese toponym Jushide indicates that the word gyā´źdi was actually the name of this area in the local language. Therefore the language itself should more appropriately be name Gyā´źdese, rather than Tumshuqese.