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A Subgrouping of the Sino-Tibetan Languages: The Interaction Between Language Contact, Change, and Inheritance

Authored by: Graham Thurgood

The Sino-Tibetan Languages

Print publication date:  December  2002
Online publication date:  May  2006

Print ISBN: 9780700711291
eBook ISBN: 9780203221051
Adobe ISBN: 9781135797188

10.4324/9780203221051.ch1

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Abstract

The Sino-Tibetan speaking people are associated in the literature with the Neolithic Yang-shao culture which originated in Yellow River valley in the central plains of northern China. Eventually this group of Sino-Tibetan speakers split into Sinitic (essentially Chinese) and Tibeto-Burman. No records of the original language exists, of course, and what was once a single language has been split into a family of languages. What was originally a single language has developed into a vast, diverse family of languages under the pressures of natural change, intermingled with frequent and often intimate contact with speakers of other languages. Much of this historical overview is concerned with describing, analysing, and cataloguing the results of natural change and language contact.

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