Matthew Kapstein mkapstei at MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU
Sun Jul 11 14:03:16 UTC 2004

The entry in the Dung dkar tshig mdzod sub. bya gag, on p. 1465,
makes clear that some confusion attends this term, though it
is unequivocally taken to refer to a kind of bird, either
a domestic duck (chu bya dkar po) or a rooster (khyim bya de pho).
Dung dkar thinks the term may originally have referred to any sort of
migratory bird that set down among human habitations (grong),
though this explanation strikes me as farfetched. Elsewhere (e.g.
tshig mdzod chen mo) the word is regularly explained to mean "duck",
and the gag element is related to expressions such as
gag ge gog ge, "crawling" (like a baby; and like a duck on
dry land). But perhaps this offers a clue: could the expressing
have also once been taken to mean "crawling/slithering after birds"?

Matthew Kapstein

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