Sal languages

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
India, Bangladesh, Burma
Linguistic classification: Sino-Tibetan
Glottolog: brah1260

The Brahmaputran or Sal languages are a family of Tibeto-Burman languages spoken in eastern India, parts of Bangladesh, and Burma.


Benedict (1972:7) noted that the Bodo–Garo, Konyak, and Jingpho (Kachin) languages, as well as the extinct Chairel language, shared distinctive roots for "sun" and "fire". Burling (1983) proposed a grouping of the Bodo–Garo, Koch, Konyak (Northern Naga) and Jingpho languages, characterized by several shared lexical innovations, including:

  • *sal "sun" (for which the branch is named)
  • *war "fire"
  • *s-raŋ "sky"
  • *wa "father"
  • *nu "mother"

He called the proposed group Sal, after the words sal, san and jan for "sun" in various of these languages.

The family is generally presented with three branches (Burling 2003:175, Thurgood 2003:11):

Shafer had grouped the first two as his Baric division, and Bradley (1997:20) also combines them as a subbranch. Bradley considers Pyu and Kuki-Chin–Naga to be possibly related to Sal, but is uncertain about this.

The Brahmaputran branch of van Driem (2001) comprises the above three branches plus the small Dhimal group. Ethnologue calls the pre-Dhimal (Sal) family simply "Jingpho–Konyak–Bodo".