Tshangla language

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Tsangla
Sharchop
Pronunciation [tsʰaŋla]
Native to Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh, Tibet
Ethnicity Sharchops, Memba
Native speakers
160,000 Tsangla proper  (1999–2007)[1]
none official; Tibetan used
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
tsj – Tshangla
kkf – Kalaktang Monpa (?)
Glottolog tsha1247[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Tshangla, also called Sharchop, is the language of the Memba and Sharchop people, the plurality ethnicity of Bhutan and the principal pre-Tibetan (pre-Dzongkha) people of that country.[3][4]

Population[edit]

Tshangla is found scattered throughout eastern Himalayan ridges, spoken by around 175,000 people. Most of the Tshangla populace live in Eastern Bhutan (Trashigang, Pemagatshel, Samdrup Jongkhar, Mongar, and Trashiyangtse Districts), where they formed an overwhelming major ethic group of the country probably accounting for 25-30% of the total population. Scatterred Tshangla speakers can also be found in neighbouring countries with different names. In the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh they are called Kalaktang Monpa (and are lexically distinct). whereas about 7,000 Tshangla speaking people also live in Pemako (Bomê and Mêdog County) in southeastern Tibet, China and India.[4][5]

The distantly related 'Olekha language of the Black Mountains, also called "Monpa" and predating Dzongkha, belongs to the Tibeto-Burman East Bodish languages.[3][4] 'Olekha is most closely related to the Bumthang language; both are East Bodish languages. Tshangla and related languages form a sister branch not to the East Bodish group, but to its parent Bodish branch. Thus the ambiguous term "Monpa" risks separating languages that should be grouped together, while grouping languages together that are quite separate.[6]:4–7[7]

Classification[edit]

Tshangla is frequently assumed to be close to the Tibetic languages. Bradley (2002) includes in among the East Bodish languages.[8] Van Driem (2011), however, leaves it unclassified within Tibeto-Burman, pending further research.[9]

Writing system[edit]

Tshangla is traditionally an unwritten language and has no official status in any country. When written by native speakers, it is most often rendered in Tibetan script, however grammarians have devised a romanized transcription system.[6]

Phonology[edit]

Below appears a table of Tshangla consonants according to Andvik (2010). Non-native phonemes, in parentheses, are contrasted only marginally with native sounds: /ɬ/ is often nativized to /l/; /dz/ becomes /z/; and /ʑ/ becomes /y/.[6]:8–12

Tshangla consonants
  Labial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Approximant w /w/ ཝ j /y/ ཡ h /h/ ཧ
Nasal m /m/ མ n /n/ ན ɲ /ny/ ཉ ŋ /ng/ ང
Plosive voiceless p /p/ པ t /t/ ཏ ʈ /tr/ ཏྲ k /k/ ཀ
aspirated /ph/ ཕ /th/ ཐ ʈʰ /thr/ ཐྲ /kh/ ཁ
voiced b /b/ བ d /d/ ད ɖ /dr/ དྲ ɡ /g/ ག
Affricate voiceless ts /ts/ ཅ /tsh/ ཆ
voiced (dz /dz/ ཛ) /j/ ཇ
Fricative voiceless s /s/ ས ɕ /sh/ ཤ
voiced z /z/ ཟ (ʑ /zh/ ཞ)
Lateral voiceless (ɬ /lh/ ལྷ)
voiced l /l/ ལ
Flap r /r/ ར

The above table generally describes onset consonants. Consonant clusters in the onset position are limited to consonant plus /r/, with the exception of the syllable /pɕi/, used on only two contexts.[nb 1][6]:14–15 Intervocalic positioning of aspirated onsets /pʰ/ /tʰ/, and /kʰ/ results in lenition to /ɸ/, /θ/, and /x/ or /h/, respectively, with some exceptions.[6]:10 Syllable-final consonants are limited to /p/, /t/, /k/, /s/, /m/, /n/, and /ŋ/.[6]:16

Tshangla vowels appear in the chart below, following Andvik (2010). Vowels in parentheses appear in non-native words inherited from Tibetan, Dzongkha, and the latter's archaic liturgical form, Chöke. Non-native front rounded vowels may be nativized as front unrounded vowels.[6]:12–14

Tshangla vowels
Front Central Back
Unrounded Rounded Rounded
Close i /i/   ི (y /ü/   ུ) u /u/   ུ
Mid e /e/   ེ (œ /ö/   ོ) o /o/   ོ
Open a /a/

Vowel clusters native to the Tshangla lexicon are /ai/ and /au/, and in derived contexts /oi/ and /ui/ also appear (e.g. a verbal ending: /bu-i/, take-IMP). In these native contexts, final /i/ and /u/ are pronounced as if they were /y/ or /w/, respectively. In loanwords /iu/ and /eu/ rarely appear, and tend to be realized as /iwu/ and /ewu/, respectively.[6]:15–16

Tone[edit]

Most dialects of Tshangla do not make lexical distinctions according to tone, however the language overall may be in the process of tonogenesis. Some dialects such as those of Central Monpa and Padma-bkod have replaced voiceless-voiced contrasts with a high-low tone distinction, respectively.[6]:20

Grammar[edit]

Tshangla grammar features nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs. Word order is generally subject–object–verb (SOV). Its morphology is generally agglutinative, though most unmarked Tshangla lexicon comprises one or two syllables. Nouns are arranged into either head-first or head-last noun phrases. Demonstratives, relative clauses, and genitive phrases precede nouns, whereas markers for definiteness, number, topic, focus, case, and other particles follow the noun.[6]

While adjectives comprise a lexically distinct category in their own right, some adjectival words are grammatically nouns. This dichotomy is complicated by equally common relative clauses that function as adjectives. For example, dukpu waktsa means "(the) poor child," and waktsa dukpu means "(the) child who is poor." Some combinations are strictly noun-adjective, however.[6]

Tshangla is a pro-drop language, with two otherwise notable features. First, multi-valent verbs drop objects even though they are not recoverable from context, through which verbs reduce their valency (i.e., become intransitive). In other situations where the argument is topically important, and where confusion is impossible, a "zero" (impersonal) pronoun is used. Otherwise, personal pronouns are extensively used. They appear below:[6]

Tshangla personal pronouns
Singular Dual Plural
1p jang a-ching ai
2p nang na-ching na
3p ro da-ching rokte

When pronouns are followed by numbers, plurals is not used (e.g., ro nyiktsing, "the two of them").

Noun cases include absolutive (nominative), agentive (ergative)/instrumental (-gi), genitive (-ga-), ablative (-gai), and dative/locative (-ga). These suffices undergo devoicing in certain circumstances.[6]

Verbs are generally transitive or intransitive. The transitivity of some verbs corresponds to lexical distinctions: yekpa means "to speak" in a transitive sense, but "to be called" in an intransitive sense. Similarly, lekpe means "to like" in a transitive sense, but "to be good" in an intransitive sense, with the agent suppressed.[6]

The copula, which has many forms, is used extensively in marking Tshangla verbs. Verbs are marked differently depending on whether they are predicate (finite), or relative or participial (non-finite). Only finite verbs take personal conjugations, while various non-finite forms take different suffices. Adverbs appear as suffices on non-final and participial verb forms.[6]

Negation of adjectives, nouns, and verbs take different forms. Sentence-final particles include interrogatory and non-declarative mood markers.[6]

Dialects[edit]

Tshangla dialects represent a continuum centered around the town of Trashigang, whose dialect is considered by Tshangla speakers to be the prestige dialect. Differences between dialects do not prevent mutual intelligibility, and many loanwords have come through Classical Tibetan (Chöke).[6]

In Arunachal Pradesh, Tshangla is spoken in the Dirang area of West Kameng. The dialect there, called "Central Monpa", is spoken by some 6,000 people. More speakers of Tshangla dialects live in Kathmandu, Darjeeling and Assam.[6]

In Bhutan, Tshangla is virtually identical to Cāngluò (Chinese: 仓洛) of southeastern Tibet, also called "Mòtuō (Bomê) Monpa". The Bomê County region of Tibet, formerly known as Padma-bkod or Pemako, contains remnants of these Tshangla communities separated by hundreds of miles.[6]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The cluster /pɕi/ is used only in the words for "four" (/pɕi/) and "to fart" (/pɕi pʰule/).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tshangla at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Kalaktang Monpa (?) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Tsangla". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ a b van Driem, George L. (1993). "Language Policy in Bhutan" (PDF). London: SOAS. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  4. ^ a b c van Driem, George (2001). Languages of the Himalayas: An Ethnolinguistic Handbook of the Greater Himalayan Region. Brill. p. 915 et seq. 
  5. ^ "Tshangla". Ethnologue Online. Dallas: SIL International. 2009. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Andvik, Erik E. (2010). A Grammar of Tshangla. Tibetan Studies Library 10. Brill. ISBN 90-04-17827-9. 
  7. ^ Blench, Roger; Post, Mark (2011). "10. Chaos and Resolution: 'Monpa'". (De)Classifying Arunachal Languages: Reconsidering the Evidence. Kay Williamson Educational Foundation. pp. 8–9. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  8. ^ David Bradley (2002), "The Subgrouping of Tibeto-Burman", in Beckwith & Blezer, Medieval Tibeto-Burman languages, BRILL, pp. 73–112
  9. ^ George van Driem (2011), "Tibeto-Burman subgroups and historical grammar", Himalayan Linguistics Journal 10(1):31–39

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Egli-Roduner, S. (1987). Handbook of the "Sharchhokpa-lo/Tshangla". Thimphu: Helvetas. 
  • Hoshi, Michiyo (1987). A Sharchok Vocabulary; A Language Spoken in Eastern Bhutan: Integral Study on the Ecology, Languages and Cultures of Tibet and Himalayas 8. Tokyo: Tokyo Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (YAK). 
  • Andvik, Erik (1993). "Tshangla verb inflections: a preliminary sketch". Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area 16.1: 75–136. 
  • Andvik, Erik (2003). "Tshangla". In Graham Thurgood & Randy J. LaPolla. The Sino-Tibetan languages (London & New York: Routledge): 439–455. 
  • Andvik, Erik (2004). ""Do" as subordinator in Tshangla". In Anju Saxena. Himalayan Languages Past and Present. Trends in Linguistics, Studies and Monographs (Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter) (149): 311–40. 
  • Andvik, Erik (2012). "Tshangla orthography". In Gwendolyn Hyslop, Stephen Morey, and Mark Post. North East Indian Linguistics (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press India Pvt. Ltd.) 4.