Totemic Last Names?
- From: firevue@xxxxxxxxx
- Date: 1 Jun 2006 22:46:26 -0700
I recently read an article by Kao-Ly Yang entitled, Problems in the
Interpretation of Hmong Clan Surnames, in a book called Hmong/Miao in
Asia (a collection of talks given at a Hmong conference) in France in
1998. He (or maybe it's a she) states a few interesting things about
the Hmong last names, mainly that there are certain last names that
carry a second last name with it. For example that you can ask a
person koj yog Hmoob dab tsi xeem dab tsi? which would imply that
there are suppose to be two answers to this question which we usually
take to be synonomous. i.e. Hmoob Taaj Xeem Haam (p.189) He also
gives example of two last names such as the Muas have also Zag as their
last name. Kao-Ly makes the mistake to say that Zag was a tone change
from Zaj, but it really is Zag as in Donkey. He also dismisses Ma
Yin's ( a chinese researcher) idea that the last name has totemic
origins by arguing that of his list of last name alternatives, there
were only some that were animals and not all. I recently talked to my
dad about this and he gave me a list of all the ones he remembers
Vaj Qaum Vag
Ham menyuam ntsuag ( so no animal)
He says that each clan name has its own animal associated with it but
he did not know why nor did he have a complete list. So although
Kao-Ly makes a few very interesting observation, he completely
dismisses an idea which may be crucial in understanding our xeem.
Since my dad was not able to complete the list, I am wondering you guys
would mind asking you parents/grandparents/strangers, etc. for all the
other animals associated with the last names and posting it here. It
would be of great worth to get it all down together. Thanks
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