Why do we call Lạc Long Quân “Lạc” Long Quân? The character in his name which we transcribe as “lạc” is 貉. In Chinese today this character is pronounced as “hao,” “he,” or “mo.”

Edwin G. Pulleyblank’s Lexicon of Reconstructed Pronunciation in Early Middle Chinese, Late Middle Chinese, and Early Mandarin (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1991) indicates that this character probably originally ended in the sound “ak.” However, the initial “l” has nothing to do with the “h” or “m” with which this word begins. I don’t fully understand the symbols which Pulleyblank uses, but the “x” is supposed to be some form of an “h” or maybe a bit of a “kh.”

In Pulleyblank’s work, the older pronunciations are on the right. So the current pronunciation of “hao” could have evolved from “yak” to “hfiak” to “haw” to “hao.”

In any case, as far as I know, there is no linguistic connection between “h” and “l” or “m” and “l.” So how can Lạc Long Quân be “Lạc” Long Quân? Shouldn’t he be something like “Hạc Long Quân”? Why is this character pronounced this way? Do we know when people started to pronounce it this way? What evidence do we have about the linguistic history of this term?