Amdo Tibetan

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Native to China
Region Qinghai, Gansu, Tibet Autonomous Region, Sichuan, Amdo
Native speakers
1.8 million (2005)[1]
Tibetan alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3 adx
Glottolog amdo1237[2]
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The Amdo language (Tibetan: ཨ་མདོ་སྐད་Wylie: A-mdo skad, Lhasa dialect IPA: [ámtokɛ́ʔ]; also called Am kä) is the Tibetic language spoken by the majority of Amdo Tibetans, mainly in Qinghai and some parts of Sichuan (Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture) and Gansu (Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture).

Amdo is one of the four main spoken Tibetic languages, the other three being Central Tibetan, Khams Tibetan, and Ladakhi. These four related languages share a common written script but their spoken pronunciations, vocabularies and grammars are different. These differences may have emerged due to geographical isolation of the regions of Tibet. Unlike Khams and Standard Tibetan, Amdo language is not a tonal language. It retains many word-initial consonant clusters that have been lost in Central Tibetan.


Dialects are:[3]

  • North Kokonor (Kangtsa, Themchen, Arik, etc.)
  • West Kokonor (Dulan, Na'gormo, etc.),
  • Southeast Kokonor (Jainca, Thrika, Hualong, etc.)
  • Labrang (Labrang, Luchu)
  • Golok (Machen, Matö, Gabde)
  • Ngapa (Ngapa, Dzorge, Dzamthang)
  • Kandze

Bradley (1997)[4] includes Thewo and Choni as close to Amdo if not actually Amdo dialects.


Inside China
  • The Qinghai Television station broadcasts in Amdo Tibetan and Mandarin Chinese language.[5]
  • The Qinghai Tibetan Radio (མཚོ་སྔོན་བོད་སྐད་རླུང་འཕྲིན།) station broadcasts in Amdo Tibetan on FM 99.7.[6]
  • Radio Free Asia broadcasts in three Tibetan languages: Standard Tibetan, Khams language and Amdo language.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Amdo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Amdo Tibetan". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ N. Tournadre (2005) "L'aire linguistique tibétaine et ses divers dialectes." Lalies, 2005, n°25, p. 7–56 [1]
  4. ^ Bradley (1997) Archived December 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Qinghai Television". 
  6. ^ 青海藏语广播网 མཚོ་སྔོན་བོད་སྐད་རླུང་འཕྲིན། - 青海藏语广播网 མཚོ་སྔོན་བོད་སྐད་རླུང་འཕྲིན།
  7. ^ "བོད་སྐད་སྡེ་ཚན།". 


  • Norbu, Kalsang, Karl Peet, dPal Idan bKra shis, & Kevin Stuart, Modern Oral Amdo Tibetan: A Language Primer. Edwin Mellen Press, 2000.

External links[edit]