Lhasa Tibetan

Authored by: Scott DeLancey

The Sino-Tibetan Languages

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

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


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Various dialects of Tibetan are spoken in a broad area reaching from northern Pakistan to Qinghai, Sichuan, and Yunnan provinces in China. The place of Tibetan within Tibeto-Burman is discussed in Chapter 16. A great deal of work remains to be done on Tibetan dialectology. The most comprehensive current classification is that of Nishi (1986), who distinguishes six major groups: Central or U-Tsang (Lhasa, Shigatse, Sherpa, Kagate, etc.), Western Archaic (Balti, Ladakhi, Purik), Western Innovative (Lahul, Spiti), Southern (dialects of Sikkim and Bhutan), Khams, and Amdo. Lhasa, the best-known contemporary Tibetan dialect, belongs to the Central group. It serves as a lingua franca, and to some extent as a standard, in both the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the diaspora communities.

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