The Bodish languages, named for the Tibetan ethnonym Bod, are the Tibetic languages in a broad linguistic sense, regardless of whether the speakers are considered ethnically Tibetan. Different scholars divide Bodish differently, but the alternate term "Tibetan" generally excludes East Bodish. Languages in this subgroup are spoken in Tibet, North India, Nepal, Bhutan, and North Pakistan.
Shafer, who coined the term "Bodish" divided the family into "West Bodish", "Central Bodish", "South Bodish", and "East Bodish". Shafer is unclear about how much of the family he believes descends from Old Tibetan ("Old Bodish" in his terminology) but clearly stipulates that "West Bodish" does not. Hill (2010) points out that the West Bodish hypothesis is a historical impossibility, and thus proposes that the two branches of the Bodish family are the East Bodish languages and the Tibetic languages only.
Note that Bradley (1997) includes under the term "Bodish" the West Himalayish, Tshangla, and Tamangic languages, making Bodish equivalent to the term "Tibeto-Kanauri" in other classifications. Within this grouping, he makes a clean break between East Bodish and Tibetan, as two unitary branches of Bodish.
Apart from the Tibetan languages, the Bodish subbranch of Sino-Tibetan is probably among the least researched branches of Sino-Tibetan. Languages regarded as members of this family include Bumthang (Michailovsky and Mazaudon 1994; van Driem 1995), Tshangla (Hoshi 1987; Andvik 1999), Dakpa (Lu 1986; Sun et al. 1991), Zhangzhung (Nagano and LaPolla 2001), and maybe Zakhring (Blench & Post 2011).
According to Shafer, East Bodish languages are the most conservative branch of the Bodish languages.
- Bradley, David (1997). "Tibeto-Burman languages and classification". In Tibeto-Burman languages of the Himalayas, Papers in South East Asian linguistics. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
- van Driem, George (1994). East Bodish and Proto-Tibeto-Burman morphosyntax. Current Issues in Sino-Tibetan Linguistics, Osaka: The Organizing Committee of the 26th International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics.
- van Driem, George (1995). Een eerste grammaticale verkenning van het Bumthang, een taal van midden-Bhutan. Leiden: Onderzoekschool CNWS.
- van Driem, George (2001) Languages of the Himalayas: An Ethnolinguistic Handbook of the Greater Himalayan Region. Brill.
- Hill, Nathan W. (2010) 'An overview of Old Tibetan synchronic phonology.' Transactions of the Philological Society, 108 (2). pp. 110–125.
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