«BULLETIN OF THE IRKUTSK STATE UNIVERSITY. GEOARCHAEOLOGY, ETHNOLOGY, AND ANTHROPOLOGY SERIES»
ISSN 2227-2380 (Print)

List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2017. Vol. 21

About the Ethnonyms “Buryat” and “Bulagat”: a New Look at the Problem of Origin

Author(s)
S. B. Bolkhosoev
Abstract

The article discusses the origin of the ethnonyms "Buryat" and "Bulagat", which to date remain largely controversial and not fully elucidated. Therefore, the study of this topic is one of the actual problem whose solution would clarify some unknown aspects of ethnogenesis and ethnic history of Buryats and origin of its individual local components. In this context, this article presents a new theory according to which the occurrence of these names was due to the migration areas of the Baikal region of ethnic groups of Mongolian origin, representing a military formation and divided into six compounds, related with the image of a wolf. This is indicated by the etymological analysis of the ethnonym "Buryat", which, according to the author, dates back to the Turkic basis and have been used in indigenous ethnic groups of the Baikal region as a nickname of Mongolian migrants. The latter called themselves by Mongolian (Buryat) word "Bulagat", having a value of "invaders", and that due to ancient military and hunting traditions tracing their origins to the wolf totem. This really shows ethnic terms for indigenous Bulagat genera constituting according to genealogical legend, the six associations included in the main group of the tribe. In the literature, they are known as Alaguy, Khurkhud, Dalkhay, Buryukha, Khoygo, Sagan and each of these names indicate specific external and functional characteristics of a wolf. Based on this, we prove the relationship of the symbols of this society with the ethnonym "Buryat" and "Bulagat" Dating back to common sources, related to not only ethno-cultural aspects, but also ethno-political processes in Central Asia and Southern Siberia in the Late Medieval. In the end the conclusion that the name "Buryat" was originally an exonym and "Bulagat" ‒ a social name, translating eventually into ethnonyms. The first, because of the influence of Bulagat enterprises, has spread among other tribes and genera of the Baikal region and subsequently established as a self-name of the Buryat ethnic group.

Keywords
etymology, ethnonyms, ethnic groups, Buryats, Bulagats, wolf, totem, euphemisms
UDC
39 (=512.31)
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