Central Tibetan language

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Not to be confused with Central Tibetic languages.
Central Tibetan
དབུས་སྐད་ Dbus skad / Ükä
དབུས་གཙང་སྐད་ Dbus-gtsang skad / Ü-tsang kä
Pronunciation [wýkɛʔ, wýʔtsáŋ kɛʔ]
Native to China (Tibet), Nepal, India
Native speakers
1.1 million  (1990 census)[1]
Standard forms
Tibetan script
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
bod – Lhasa Tibetan
dre – Dolpo
hut – Humla, Limi
lhm – Lhomi (Shing Saapa)
muk – Mugom (Mugu)
kte – Nubri
tsk – Tseku
ola – Walungge (Gola)
loy – Lowa/Loke (Mustang)
tcn – Tichurong
thw – Thudam

Central Tibetan, also known as Dbus AKA Ü or Ü-Tsang, is the most widely spoken Tibetic language and the basis of the standard language.

Dbus and Ü are forms of the same name. Dbus is a transliteration of the name in Tibetan script, དབུས་, while Ü is the pronunciation of the same in Lhasa dialect, [wy˧˥˧ʔ] (or [y˧˥˧ʔ]). That is, in Tibetan, the name is spelled Dbus and pronounced Ü. All of these names are frequently applied specifically to the prestige dialect of Lhasa.

There are many mutually intelligible Central Tibetan dialects besides that of Lhasa, with particular diversity along the border and in Nepal:[2]

Limi (Limirong), Mugum, Dolpo (Dolkha), Mustang (Lowa, Lokä), Humla, Nubri, Lhomi, Dhrogpai Gola, Walungchung Gola (Walungge/Halungge), Tseku

Ethnologue reports that Walungge is highly intelligible with Thudam.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lhasa Tibetan at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Dolpo at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Humla, Limi at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Lhomi (Shing Saapa) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Mugom (Mugu) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Nubri at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    (Additional references under 'Language codes' in the information box)
  2. ^ N. Tournadre (2005) "L'aire linguistique tibétaine et ses divers dialectes." Lalies, 2005, n°25, p. 7–56 [1]