Dzongkha

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Not to be confused with Tsonga language.
Dzongkha
Dzongkha-02.svg
Native to Bhutan
Ethnicity Ngalop people
Native speakers
171,080 (2013)[1]
Second language: 470,000[citation needed]
Sino-Tibetan
Dialects
Adap
Tibetan alphabet
Dzongkha Braille
Official status
Official language in
Bhutan
Regulated by Dzongkha Development Commission
Language codes
ISO 639-1 dz
ISO 639-2 dzo
ISO 639-3 dzoinclusive code
Individual codes:
lya – Laya
luk – Lunana
Glottolog nucl1307[2]
Linguasphere 70-AAA-bf
Dzongkha native language districts.svg
Districts of Bhutan in which the Dzongkha language is spoken natively are highlighted in light beige.
Jakar Dzong, representative of the distinct dzong architecture from which Dzongkha gets its name

Dzongkha (རྫོང་ཁ་; Wylie: rdzong-kha, Roman Dzongkha: Dzongkha[3]), occasionally Ngalopkha ("language of the Ngalop people"), is the national language of Bhutan.[4] The word "dzongkha" means the language (kha) spoken in the dzong "fortresses"—the fortress-like dzong architecture characterises monasteries established throughout Bhutan by its unifier, Ngawang Namgyal, 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche, in the 17th century.

Classification and related languages[edit]

Dzongkha is a South Tibetic language. It is closely related to and partially intelligible with Sikkimese (Wylie: 'Bras-ljongs-skad), the national language of the erstwhile kingdom of Sikkim, and to some other Bhutanese languages such as the Chocangaca language, the Brokpa language, the Brokkat language and the Lakha language.

Dzongkha bears a close linguistic relationship to J'umowa, which is spoken in the Chumbi Valley of Southern Tibet, and to Sikkimese.[5] It has a much more distant relationship to Standard Tibetan. Although spoken Dzongkha and Tibetan are largely mutually unintelligible, the literary forms of both are both highly influenced by the liturgical (clerical) Classical Tibetan language, known in Bhutan as Chöke, which has been used for centuries by Buddhist monks. Chöke was used as the language of education in Bhutan until the early 1960s when it was replaced by Dzongkha in public schools.[6]

Although descended from Classical Tibetan, Dzongkha shows a great many irregularities in sound changes that make the official spelling and standard pronunciation more distant from each other than is the case with Standard Tibetan. "Traditional orthography and modern phonology are two distinct systems operating by a distinct set of rules."[7]

Usage[edit]

Dzongkha and its dialects are the native tongue of eight western districts of Bhutan (viz. Wangdue Phodrang, Punakha, Thimphu, Gasa, Paro, Ha, Dagana and Chukha).[8] There are also some speakers found near the Indian town of Kalimpong, once part of Bhutan but now in West Bengal.

Dzongkha was declared as the national language of Bhutan in 1971.[3] Dzongkha study is mandatory in all schools in Bhutan, and the language is the lingua franca in the districts to the south and east where it is not the mother tongue. The 2003 Bhutanese film Travellers and Magicians is entirely in Dzongkha.

Writing[edit]

Dzongkha is usually written in Bhutanese forms of the Uchen script forms of the Tibetan alphabet known as Jôyi (Wylie: mgyogs yig) "cursive longhand" and Jôtshum (Wylie: mgyogs tshugs ma) "formal longhand". The print form is known simply as Tshûm (Wylie: tshugs ma).[9]

Romanization[edit]

Roman Dzongkha is the standard romanization of the Dzongkha language. It is a phonological transcription rather than a transliteration of the Dzongkha script. Roman Dzongkha was developed by the linguist George van Driem.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dzongkha at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Laya at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Lunana at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Nuclear Dzongkhic". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ a b c "Guide to Official Dzongkha Romanization" by G. van Driem
  4. ^ "Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Art. 1, § 8" (PDF). Government of Bhutan. 2008-07-18. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  5. ^ van Driem, George (2007). "Endangered Languages of Bhutan and Sikkim: South Bodish Languages". In Moseley, Christopher. Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages. Routledge. p. 294. ISBN 0-7007-1197-X. 
  6. ^ George, Van Driem; Tshering of Gaselô, Karma (1998). Dzongkha. Languages of the Greater Himalayan Region. I. Leiden, The Netherlands: Research CNWS, School of Asian, African, and Amerindian Studies, Leiden University. pp. 7–8. ISBN 90-5789-002-X. 
  7. ^ Driem, George van (1998). Dzongkha = Rdoṅ-kha. Leiden: Research School, CNWS. p. 110. ISBN 90-5789-002-X. Traditional orthography and modern phonology are two distinct systems operating by a distinct set of rules. 
  8. ^ George, Van Driem; Tshering of Gaselô, Karma (1998). Dzongkha. Languages of the Greater Himalayan Region. I. Leiden, The Netherlands: Research CNWS, School of Asian, African, and Amerindian Studies, Leiden University. p. 3. ISBN 90-5789-002-X. 
  9. ^ Driem, George van (1998). Dzongkha = Rdoṅ-kha. Leiden: Research School, CNWS. p. 47. ISBN 90-5789-002-X. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • van Driem, George (2007). "Endangered Languages of Bhutan and Sikkim: South Bodish Languages". In Moseley, Christopher. Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages. Routledge. pp. 294–295. ISBN 0-7007-1197-X. 

External links[edit]

Vocabulary[edit]

Grammar[edit]