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Re: Law[-]Abiding New Papers

David Marjanovic a Ãcrit :
That's what it says in the English one, and what it also says in the Turkish one ("'Al', TÃrk [...] 'altÄn' [...]. Altay daÄÄnÄn [...] Al=altÄn, tay=taÄ/daÄ [...] Al-tay=altÄn daÄ" -- "golden mountain"), but even Kazakh and Uyghur treat _Altay_ as a meaningless name and put "mountain(s)" behind it: transcribed into Turkish spelling conventions, Kazakh http://kk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%90%D0%BB%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B9_%D1%82%D0%B0%D1%83%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%8B has _Altay tau(larÄ)_, and Uyghur http://ug.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%A6%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%8A_%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%BA_%D8%AA%D9%89%D8%B2%D9%85%D9%89%D8%B3%D9%89 has _Altay taÄ_ (...what a coincidence... these are just those Arabic letters that I can read!). Kazakh is actually spoken in at least part of the mountain range, and Uyghur is at least close geographically.

None of the other Turkic languages (except Chuvash, which doesn't count) seem to have a Wikipedia article on the Altay, unfortunately. Especially the Altay language (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altay_language) would be interesting in that respect.

Most of the Altay is in Mongolia, and the meaning "gold" reportedly extends into Mongolian. Well... http://mn.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%90%D0%BB%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B9%D0%BD_%D0%BD%D1%83%D1%80%D1%83%D1%83 _Altayn nuruu_.
We shall not overlook that "Altai Mountains" and its litteral translations may represent a tautological (or pleonastic) toponym which would be easily explained by the contraction you gave in detail, David. Such toponyms are quite frequent in English, French, and many other languages (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tautological_place_names, or http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toponyme_pl%C3%A9onastique) because the former meaning of a river, a mount or any place was forgotten. Or just because the word was borrowed from another language and its original meaning was not known (that's the case of many Europeanized topographic names). For instance, many people say incorrectly 'Fujiyama Moutain' instead of either 'Fujiyama' or 'Mount Fuji'.

Interestingly, the Altai was formerly known in Chinese as Kin-Chan (forgive me, Chinese native speakers, this is an old English/French transcription) meaning 'Gold Mount'.

Just a wild guess: is there a link between the Latin 'aurum' and the Altaic 'alta'/'altin' ?