Talk:Tibetic languages

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Standard Tibetan[edit]

Do we want to split off a Standard Tibetan article for the grammar, and leave the dialects / languages behind here? kwami (talk) 16:53, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Seems like a good idea to me. Tibetologist (talk) 17:05, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I split it off. Would you like to write the intro for it? I wrote the bare minimum, since I don't know what I'm talking about. (Is Standard Tibetan used for religious purposes in Bhutan? or is that Old Tibetan? etc.) kwami (talk) 01:41, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
I also moved the talk page so that its history would show up there, as most of the discussion concerned the standard language. kwami (talk) 01:47, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Kwamikagami, "Standard Tibetan" (whatever *that* is supposed to mean here) is not used in Bhutan for religious purposes. In Bhutan Chöké Wylie: chos skad or "Religious Language" is used for that purpose. BTW IMO a big problem with this article is that it fails to clearly distinguish between written and spoken Tibetan languages which are actually very different - and there are so-called intermediate forms. User:CFynn, 00:33, 2009 June 16
Chris, knock yourself out. I'm almost completely ignorant on the subject. I would've liked it if s.o. else had stepped up to clean up this mess, where "Tibetan" was a conflation of the language and the language family, and languages were defined by political boundaries rather than in of themselves, but since no-one seemed about to, I did my best given my limited resources. kwami (talk) 09:27, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
OK - but since there seems to be a lot to go over, I'll wait till I have more time and can try do it properly. While someone has obviously spent a lot of time writing the article, as it stands there are no references - so it is hard to figure out where different parts comes from and whose views they reflect. A lot of this is contentious (and sometimes political) so I think statements need to be very well sourced. There is of course one common literary Tibetan language (with old, classical, modern, etc. varieties) which is read and written all over the Tibetan plateau and Himalayan region. Within this area the peoples who share this common written language actually speak many different often mutually incomprehensible Tibetan languages or dialects - which do not normally have their own written forms. What the Tibetan "Tibetan language used for broadcasting within China" is I'm not sure - while it is spoken by Tibetan broadcasters, when I hear them on the radio it seems to me like they are trying hard to sound Chinese! Except on the radio & TV nobody talks like that - so I'm not sure it is fair to call the language used for broadcasting "Standard Tibetan". Chris Fynn (talk) 10:59, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
I think the point of that was that there are three broadcast standards, dBus, Khams, and Amdo, which of course has social ramifications. Better if you could flesh it out, though. Also, the pronunciation of dBus would be nice. kwami (talk) 11:53, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
"dBus" is pronounced something like [y˧˥˧ʔ]. I have added this to the article. Also, note that the Wylie spelling is not really supposed to have non-initial letters capitalised, so I guess it should change to "Dbus" or "dbus" or simply "Ü".—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 12:16, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

No References and Sources[edit]

I've added the Unreferenced template - as there was only a single reference in the whole article-and that reference was a broken link to another website.

A lot of things concerning Tibetan languages are hotly debated amongst linguists - and I think the article also needs to reflect these differing views. Chris Fynn (talk) 07:00, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

The current version reflects almost exactly the views in Bern, and should probably cite their homepage. Tibetologist (talk) 10:14, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Tibetan Historical Phonolgy[edit]

  • The article states "Old Tibetan phonology is rather accurately rendered by the script" without giving a source. While this is a popular view, others seem to contend it is simplistic - see e.g. Denwood (2007). Chris Fynn (talk) 10:38, 16 June 2009 (UTC)


I'm not sure about how the terminology is commonly used for classification, but I would think that "Tsang dialects" would not normally be classed under "Ü", since Tsang is commonly opposed to various Lhasa/standard/capital categories (Tsang is the region around Shigatse while Ü is the region around Lhasa). Should we simply replace "Ü" with "Ü-Tsang"?—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 23:49, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Again I think it is a question of whether one wants to follow the Bern classification (in which case one should do whatever they do) or not. I think what is called Ü here is what is generally referred to as 'Central Tibetan' (and indeed how it is referred to later in the article). It would be better to have a different word for the Ueberbegriff of Ngari-Ue-Tsang and what not as a subfamily. (if indeed they are, which has not been proven, all subgrouping at this level is speculation) Tibetologist (talk) 10:15, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Written Tibetan[edit]

Shouldn't we have an article on the written norm of Tibetan, and make it the default redirection for Tibetan language? It's the base of Standard Tibetan in the diaspora and almost all written expressions, in Tibet or otherwise. (The Bhutan chos-skad is the same language, I guess?) (talk) 23:38, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Might be a good idea to separate standard/written from Lhasa dialect, but we already have Standard Tibetan. kwami (talk) 02:04, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Is the written standard the basis for the Standard/Lhasa spoken dialect moreso than for the other dialects? I'm sure there are some peripheral western and southern dialects that are not directly descended from Classical, but my impression is that most dialects are. I don't think Tibetan language should redirect to a written form.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 02:45, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
The spoken Lhasa dialect is very evolved, I guess. But I read a news that scholars in current-day PRC have decided that the standard Tibetan language should use the classical grammar and Central Tibetan pronunciation. And I have read elsewhere that this is already the norm in the exile. Could someone verify if it's true. (Well, such a language is well too artificial to be learned as the mother tongue of anyone...) -- Anonymous Coward ( (talk) 18:06, 14 November 2009 (UTC))

One language, a number of dialects[edit]

This discussion continues from ones that started on Talk:Khams_Tibetan_language and Talk:Amdo Tibetan language. The other day I asked here for us to continue it in the former place in accordance with Wikipedia policy to keep to the page where it started so as to avoid duplications over talk pages. Kwami has requested the discussion be moved here, as this page is more central and I've agreed that makes sense. This actually rolls a number of discussions into one, and in a nutshell, this is the way I see it.

At the beginning of the introduction of Melvyn Goldstein's Modern Literary Tibetan, 2nd edn 1977, (p. xvi), Goldstein makes it clear that he sees "the Tibetan language" as one thing. He refers to it twice:

Recent political events in Tibet have triggered a veritable revolution in the Tibetan language. A new genre of modern written Tibetan has emerged which includes the printed materials emanating from China, Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim and India, and which differs from classical Tibetan to a degree that makes it unintelligible even to scholars who are competent in the classical genre.

The confrontation of the Tibetan language with both modern politics (particularly communist) and modern technology resulted in the borrowing and creation of thousands upon thousands of new vocabulary items as well as certain characteristic stylistic and grammatical modes of expression. A new written style arose.

There is not more than one Tibetan language.

Nicolas Tournadre in his Manual of Standard Tibetan, Snow Lion 2003: 25 has this in the Introduction:

1. The Tibetan language

Tibetan belongs to the Tibeto-Burman family of languages. This group encomasses about two hundred and fifty languages, spoken mainly in the Himalayas, on the Tibetan plateau and in the vicinity of the Mekong and the Salween .Within this linguistic family there are only two ancient literary languages: Burmese (12th century) and Tibetan (7th century). While very different, the common parentage of these two languages means that they share certain characteristics of phonology, syntax and vocabulary...

With the exception of Burmese, Tibetan, both in terms of syntax and vocabulary is entirely different from the other major languages of the region: Chinese, Hindi, Nepali, the Turkish languages (Uigur, Kazakh, Tatar, etc) and Mongolian.

Tibetan in its various dialects is spoken over an area the size of Western Europe, stretching from Baltistan (Pakistan) in the west, to Sichuan (China) in the east. To the north, the linguistic range of Tibetan extends beyond Lake Kokonor (in the province of Qinghai, China). Its southern limits are the southern slopes of the Himalaya, encompassing the independent state of Bhutan, Sikkim (India), the high valleys of Mustang and Dölpo, and Solukhumbu (Nepal), the region of Everest inhabited by the Sherpas of Nepal.

So the varieties of a single Tibetan language in Amdo, Kham, etc are not really languages themselves but rather, dialects. So, then, Central Tibetan is another dialect and standard Tibetan, which Tournadre (same page) treats as deriving from it is another dialect too. This is not surprising, since they share written Tibetan and are mutually intelligible through it, just as the dialects of English share those of written English.

All this affects a few of our articles. Instead of "Tibetan languages", this article needs to be renamed to "Tibetan language" and the content cleaned up accordingly. The articles on the dialects need to be renamed where they have the word "language" in their names and cleaned up. Tibetan language, which currently redirects to standard Tibetan needs to stop redirecting there, as "Tibetan language" will already have become the name of what was previously "Tibetan languages".

Can we start by please looking for *any* reliable source that claims Tibetan is not just one language plus a number of dialects. What do people think?

Tibetologist has already replied to previous strands of this discussion on 14 March with:

The Tibetan language family is as varied as the Romance family. Linguistic works on Tibetan languages refer to them as such. This article does not need to be changed.

I would like to ask for elaboration on these sources. Kwami on 15 March had a suggestion for which sources to follow:

Follow the ISO link in the info box, for one.

I cannot understand this comment but am keen to learn more.

Moonsell (talk) 10:58, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

P.S. Another article needing cleanup is Moonsell (talk) 11:11, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

There are two conceptions of "language" here: members of an ethnicity share a common language, and members of a language can understand each other. Tibetan is a language by the first def, but a family of langs by the second. Tibetan is not really mutually intelligible through writing; rather, speakers of various forms all learn a literary language based on Classical Tibetan. By that argument, French and Romanian are dialects of a single language because they are mutually intelligible through Latin (though only for the literate, as in the case of Tibetan). One might even argue that in the Middle Ages, English, Irish, Italian, Polish, Hungaria, and Basque were dialects of "European", as they were all mutually intelligible through their written form (Latin). As for ethnicity, by that argument Zhuang is a dialect of Chinese, even though it belongs to a different language family, because they consider it to be a dialect of Chinese. This may have parallels in Tibetan: It is not even clear that Tibetan is a valid linguistic node, as it may simply be those East Bodish languages spoken by ethnic Tibetans, whereas East Bodish languages spoken by non-Tibetans are not considered Tibetan, even though they may be just as closely related.
As for the ISO, go to the individual language articles, at at the bottom of the info box there is an ISO code with a link. That will take you to the language article at Ethnologue. kwami (talk) 11:40, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Talking about writing seems to be obscuring matters. Your suggestion that written Tibetan to Tibetans is like Latin to Europeans is unconvincing.
Your argument seems based at root on the fact that speakers from different parts of Tibet have difficulty understanding each other. I promise you, speakers of English in Australia, Scotland and India have even more problems but English is still one language. By your argument, there would be no such thing as dialects that are unintelligible to each other.
I've followed your instructions to find Ethnologue and failed. I have provided sources. Please let me see yours. Moonsell (talk) 21:13, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
kwami is explicit that people use multiple concepts of "language" that people use; according to one concept a "language" is a set of speech varieties in which the speakers of each variety can understand the speakers of the other varieties (perhaps with difficulty), and a "dialect" is a subset of "language". In this sense, two "dialects" of the same language by definition cannot be mutually unintelligible — otherwise, they wouldn't be part of the same language. According to other concepts of "language", the same logic would not apply.
The situation of Tibetan strikes me as quite comparable both to Chinese and to the Romance languages in medieval Europe, before the vernacular literatures had developed. In the former case, we habitually refer to it as "a language", but in the latter as "languages". We should probably describe Tibetan however it is most commonly described in scholarly works. I notice that for Chinese we have an article titled Chinese language, but it its first line reads "Chinese or the Sinitic language(s) is a language family consisting of languages mutually intelligible to varying degrees", i.e. the text describes it as a family of languages—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 01:08, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
The way they've done it for Chinese language sounds like two bob each way and I don't think it would fit our case. Either the foremost scholars in the field concur that there is no dispute, as it seems they do in the case of Tibetan, or else they accept that there is a dispute, as in the case of Chinese. It's not our place to argue with that. Moonsell (talk) 01:26, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

In general the various varieties of Tibetan are often referred to as 'dialects'. Unsurprizingly, Sherpa, Ladakhi, Balti, and Dzongkha (i.e. the varieties of Tibetan spoken outside the PRC) are usually referred to as different languages. It would be inappropriate to follow this method in Wikipedia because it is intellectually incoherent. Either Balti and Dzongka are Tibetan dialects or Amdo is a Tibetan language. I would be happy with either solution, but prefer referring to all of the subbranches of the TIbetan family as 'languages'. Tournadre has made the comparison with Romance explicitly. Tibetan languages are as different as French and Spanish. cf. page 17 of [1] or even better the first page of this one

Based on my 20 years of field work throughout the Tibetan language area and on the

existing literature, I estimate that there are 220 ‘Tibetan dialects’ derived from Old Tibetan and nowadays spread across 5 countries: China, India, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan. As I discuss in Tournadre (in progress), these dialects may be classed within 25 dialect groups, i. e. groups which do not allow mutual intelligibility. The notion of ‘dialect group’ is equivalent to the notion of language but does not entail any standardization. Thus if we set aside the notion of standardization, I believe it would be more appropriate to speak of 25 languages derived from Old Tibetan. This is not only a terminological issue but it gives an entirely different perception

of the range of variation. When we refer to 25 languages, we make clear that we are dealing with a family comparable in size to the Romance family which has 19 groups of dialects.


Please also take note of the title of Zeisler's book Relative tense and aspectual values in Tibetan languages: a comparative study. It is clear that experts in the field refer to these langauges as separate languages, not as dialects. Tibetologist (talk) 09:41, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Many thanks for the time you've taken here, Tibetologist. Your quote from Tournadre at and your mention of him comparing French and Spanish on page 17 of seem to be the missing links in this discussion. The title of Zeisler's book Relative tense and aspectual values in Tibetan languages: a comparative study also looks valuable as a source.
Clearly there is ground for maintaining the status quo on Wikipedia, which is a relief to me since I have no experience of moving articles and others probably don't have the time. However, if we want the Tibetan articles to look unfunky to a newcomer with some knowledge of the field, the more conventional preference for one language, several dialects still has advantages.
Before I participated in it I carefully studied the various Wikipedia articles on Tibetan and their talk pages. I found this discussion already more than a year old (May 2008 at Talk:Khams Tibetan language) but none of the material you have shown us was there, although you had mentioned your argument for consistency. At the very least, we need some material citing these sources and explaining that there is a controversy over "languages" versus "dialects", whether an incipient or a well-developed one. Does anyone have access to contact with Nicolas Tournadre to clarify how developed this debate has become and how close it is to a resolution, perhaps through email? Moonsell (talk) 10:54, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
There isn't going to be a resolution, because people use the word "language" and "dialect" in different ways, and will continue to do so. The words are simply ambiguous. kwami (talk) 13:19, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Kwami -- it is natural for linguists to see Tibetan as a language family and discuss the different Tibetan languages it comprises, but I think that most native speakers would consider Tibetan to be a single language with a number of (not necessarily mutually intelligible) dialects. Exactly the same issues occur with other 'languages' with mutually unintelligible 'dialects' such as Chinese and Zhuang. Whether something is a language or a dialect depends entirely on your point of view. BabelStone (talk) 14:25, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

West Tibetan and Ladakhi languages[edit]

I added mention of the language of West Tibet (tö ke, stod-skad) to the pages on Amdo and Khams languages. Tibetans commonly speak of this as the fourth form of Tibetan. It is my understanding that they do not call it "Ladakhi" or think of it as the same language as Ladakhi. People have changed the red links to "west Tibetan" to point to Ladakhi language. Is there something I need to learn here about the relation between the west Tibetan and Ladakhi languages? Moonsell (talk) 01:40, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

I think people conventionally talk about three main "regions of Tibet", i.e. Kham, Amdo, and Ü-Tsang, which conveniently correspond to three large dialect groups. I'm not sure how "West Tibetan" fits into that model, since according to this article the Ngari dialects (which I'm guessing are the most notable western dialects in the TAR) are part of the Ü-Tsang cluster. Ladakhi is certainly a western dialect/language, but it's not the only thing people mean when they say "western Tibetan" and I'm guessing it's not what they most commonly mean. I don't see any reason why western Tibetan should be linked to Ladakhi language, but I also don't see why western Tibetan needs to be mentioned alongside Kham and Amdo. Why not mention southern and northern dialects as well?—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 05:17, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Some "western Tibetan" lects are part of Central Tibetan rather than Western Tibetan as a primary branch of Tib. Western (Archaic) Tibetan is Ladakhi, Balti, and Burig. These are sometimes considered a single language, as they are partially mutually intelligible, in which case Ladakhi = W.Tib. I don't know, but I'm guessing the view from within Tibet might be a bit narrow, with WT maybe assumed to be western CT within Tibet itself? kwami (talk) 10:40, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't think wikipedia will be able to resolve the Stammbaum of the Tibetan languages. The general impression now is that West Tibetan (Ladakhi and Balti) forms a cluster, and that so does Amdo, but that there is not really such a thing as 'Kham' Tibetan. The Central Tibetan dialects all share several innovations, but they may be independent innovations due to contact. Tournadre's classification in his conjunct/disjunt article is the best authority until his book comes out. Tibetologist (talk) 11:35, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Tournadre classification, 2008[edit]

Fortunately for us, the Tournadre article that Tibetologist mentions above is available on Tournadre's website: "Arguments against the Concept of ‘Conjunct’/‘Disjunct’ in Tibetan". Here is his summary of the 25 Tibetan dialect groups or Tibetic languages (in a footnote, he points out that another researcher has used "Tibetic" to refer to a group consisting of the languages/dialects descended from Old Tibetan + Kanauri + Tamangic, and Ethnologue has picked up this usage, but he, Tournadre, prefers to use "Tibetic" to refer specifically the languages/dialects descended from Old Tibetan). He describes the first 12 as major and the others as minor dialect groups, the latter often including only one dialect with a few thousand speakers or fewer.

Major dialect groups:

  1. Ü-Tsang
  2. Kham-Hor
  3. Amdo
  4. Thewo-Chone (spoken east of Labrang)
  5. Ladakhi
  6. Balti
  7. Purki (spoken in Ladakh)
  8. Spiti (spoken in northern India)
  9. Dzongkha (the national language of Bhutan)
  10. Drenjong (spoken in Sikkim)
  11. Sherpa
  12. Kyirong-Kagate (spoken on both sides of the Nepalese-Tibetan border)
  13. Jirel
  14. Tsamang
  15. Lakha
  16. Dur
  17. Mera-Sakteng
  18. Zhongu
  19. Gserpa
  20. Khalong
  21. Dongwang
  22. Dhromo
  23. Zitsadegu
  24. Baima
  25. Drugchu

We should probably incorporate this information into the article, if it's the most authoritative available classification.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 04:13, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Done. However, we need to ID the red links: Zhongu, Khalong, Dongwang, Dhromo, Gserpa, Zitsadegu, Drugchu. From the 2005 article, it's clear that Zhongu, Khalong, and Dongwang are not part of the higher branches. (Dongwang is ex-Khams.) Is Dhromo maybe Tromowa? The others I can't ID. — kwami (talk) 01:59, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, Dhromo is the same as Tromowa (gro-mo-ba).—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 03:36, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Any idea what Gserpa, Zitsadegu, Drugchu are then? — kwami (talk) 03:42, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
I haven't found anything about the languages specifically, but those three are all identifiable locations. Gserpa or Serpa (gser-pa, Sêrba) is possibly a district in Serthar County, Kardze Prefecture, Sichuan , but I wouldn't be surprised if Serpa in context just means "a person or thing from Serthar" rather than a specific district (we should be careful not to confuse Serpa with Sherpa). Zitsadegu (gzi-rtsa-sde-dgu, Sizadêgu) is the Tibetan name for Jiuzhaigou County, the famous tourist area in Ngawa Prefecture, Sichuan. Drugchu or Drukchu (ʼbrug-chu, Zhugqu) is a county in Kanlho Prefecture, Gansu (the easternmost county in Tibet). Note that Drukchu and Zitsadegu are both near Ĉhone – this seems to be an area of high linguistic diversity. Actually, all of Kham and the area east of Labrang are mountainous, so it makes sense there would be a lot of linguistic diversity
By the way, based on Tournadre's classification, I think it would also make sense to move this page to Tibetic languages. "Tibetan languages" is confusing—most people think of "Tibetan" as a language, but the usage is confusing as to which dialects are included. It would be clearer to avoid "Tibetan" and use "Standard Tibetan" and "Tibetic languages".—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 17:46, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
That sounds good. We currently just have it as a redirect. — kwami (talk) 18:42, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

New proposal for Tibetan naming conventions[edit]

I have put up a new set of proposed Tibetan naming conventions. Please see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Tibetan) and Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Tibetan)#New naming convention proposal. Your comments and feedback are requested.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 23:33, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved to Tibetic languages Mike Cline (talk) 19:35, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Tibetan languagesTibetic languages – Per Tournadre's classification. I think the current title can be confusing since it's really about a language family but readers will expect "Tibetan language" to be a specific language (either the standard spoken or the written form). Tibetan language is also a redirect to this article. I would suggest that that article should be a disambiguation linking to Tibetic languages, Classical Tibetan, Standard Tibetan, and Kham and Amdo for good measure.Greg Pandatshang (talk) 02:16, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

And Central Tibetan language. Sounds like a sound proposal. — kwami (talk) 03:21, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I doubt any name for this exact topic is in common usage generally. I cited Tournadre, one of the leading experts in Tibetan linguistics, but he makes it clear that his terminology is not followed generally. The most common term is probably just "Tibetan", but this is highly ambiguous.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 22:30, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Suppport. There are sometimes cases in which a subject is described in multiple reliable sources, but not under one common name. In this case, we have to look to guidelines other than just "common name". "Tibetic" reduces confusion with Standard Tibetan, and does not prejudice against the languages of people who don't identify as "Tibetan" (Ladakhis, Ngalops, etc.). Shrigley (talk) 19:54, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment Probably the reason that this article is here is that on Ethnologue "Tibetic" is a higher taxon, consisting of Tibetan (this article) plus Tamangic, Tshangla, and Dhimal. Though since we don't accept such a grouping, we're free to use the word for something else. — kwami (talk) 08:26, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

What to do with Tibetan language[edit]

I have started a discussion at Talk:Standard Tibetan.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 22:54, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Tshangla language[edit]

I don't think text about Tshangla should be included. When this article was moved to Tibetic languages at my suggestion, my idea was to use the term specifically in Nicolas Tournadre's sense: by definition, Tibetic languages are those descended from Old Tibetan, what might informally be called "dialects of Tibetan". Tshangla seems to be a close cousin of these languages. I would suggest moving the text in question to Bodish languages.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 18:31, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

We do mention it at Bodish, and at East Bodish, but it's not clear that it belongs there either. Basic info like that belong at the lang article; don't know why they didn't bother. I added a couple lines on classification. — kwami (talk) 23:26, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Ok, sounds good. Tibetologist (talk) 09:25, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Western studies of various Tibetic languages, dialects, and Classical Tibetan[edit]

These are a list of works written by various Tibetologists from from 19th and early 20th centuries, on various Tibetic languages and Classical Tibetan. Includes grammars, dictionaries, etc.

Tibetan Manual By Vincent C. Henderson, rev. Edward Amundsen

Primer of Standard Tibetan By Edward Amundsen

A Grammar of the Tibetan Language, in English By Sándor Kőrösi Csomaándor+Kőrösi+Csoma%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7zIeU7XVHsnl0wH9oYGYDQ&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

A grammar of the Tibetan language, in English By Sándor Kőrösi Csoma

Grammar of the Tibetan Language By Sándor Kőrösi Csoma, József Terjék

Essay Towards a Dictionary, Tibetan and English (1834)

Essay towards a dictionary, Tibetan and English By Sándor Kőrösi Csomaándor+Kőrösi+Csoma%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7zIeU7XVHsnl0wH9oYGYDQ&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

Essay Towards a Dictionary, Tibetan and English By Sándor Kőrösi Csoma, Saṅs-rgyas-phun-tshogs

Essay Towards a Dictionary, Tibetan and English: Prepared, with the Assistance of Bandé Sangs-rgyas Phun-tshogs, a Learned Láma of Zangskár By Sandor Csoma De Koros, Alexander Csoma de Kőrös

Körösi Csoma Sandor dolgozatai By Sándor Kőrösi Csoma, Tivadar Dukaándor+Kőrösi+Csoma%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=YDMeU6bwOMbr0gGnuIDgAg&ved=0CCcQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q&f=false

Bell's colloquial Tibetan English dictionaries and grammars

Grammar of Colloquial Tibetan By C. A. Bell

Grammar of Colloquial Tibetan By Sir Charles Alfred Bell

Manual of Colloquial Tibetan By Sir Charles Alfred Bell

The People of Tibet By Sir Charles Alfred Bell

The Religion of Tibet By Charles Bell, Sir Charles Alfred Bell

The Colloquial Language of Tibet; or, The Occurrences of Daily Life, indoors and out, described according to the Lhasa idiom in a series of exercises, including grammatical and other notes Unknown Binding – 1897 by C. H. Polhill Turner (Author)

Jaschke english tibetan dictionary with special reference towards the prevailing dialects.

A Tibetan-English Dictionary: With Special Reference to the Prevailing Dialects, to which is Added an English-Tibetan Vocabulary By H. A. Jäschkeäschke%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=yF4fU7mtNLCh0gGHwoHABQ&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

A Tibetan-English Dictionary: With Special Reference to the Prevailing Dialects, to which is Added an English-Tibetan Vocabulary By H. A. Jäschke

A Tibetan-English Dictionary: With Special Reference to the Prevailing Dialects, to which is Added an English-Tibetan Vocabulary By Heinrich August Jäschke

A Tibetan-English Dictionary By H. A. Jaschke

A Tibetan-English Dictionary By H. A. Jaschke

A Tibetan-English Dictionary : 'Compact Edition By Heinrich August Jäschke

Romanized Tibetan and English Dictionary By H. A. Jäschkeäschke%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=yF4fU7mtNLCh0gGHwoHABQ&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

Romanized Tibetan and English Dictionary, Volume 2 By Heinrich August Jäschke

Handwörterbuch der tibetischen Sprache By Heinrich August Jäschke

Handwörterbuch der Tibetischen Sprache, Part 1 By H. A. Jäschkeäschke%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=yF4fU7mtNLCh0gGHwoHABQ&ved=0CE4Q6AEwCA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Jaschke Tibetan Grammar

Tibetan Grammar By Heinrich August Jäschke

A Short Practical Grammar of the Tibetan Language, with Special Reference to the Spoken Dialects By H. A. Jäschkeäschke%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=yF4fU7mtNLCh0gGHwoHABQ&ved=0CDUQ6wEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

English Tibetan dictionary

Sarat Chandra Das Tibetan Grammar

Das Tibetan English dictionary

A Tibetan-English Dictionary with Sanskrit Synonyms, Volume 1 By Sarat Chandra Das

A Tibetan-English Dictionary: With Sanskrit Synonyms By Sarat Chandra Das

A Tibetan-English Dictionary, with Sanskrit Synonyms By Sarat Chandra Das

A Tibetan-English Dictionary with Sanskrit Synonyms By Sarat Chandra Das

A Tibetan-English Dictionary with Sanskrit Synonyms By Sarat Chandra Das

Avadānakalpalatā: a collection of legendary stories about the Bodhisattvas By Kṣemendra, Sarat Chandra Das, Satis Chandra Vidyabhusana, Harimohana Vidyābhūṣaṇa

Indian Pandits in the Land of Snow By Sarat Chandra Das

Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet By Sarat Chandra Das

A Grammar of the Tibetan Language: Literary and Colloquial By Herbert Bruce Hannah

A grammar of the Tibetan language, literary and colloquial. With copious illustrations, and treating fully of spelling, pronunication, and the construction of the verb, and including appendices of the various forms of the verb (1912)

Tibetan texts

Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia

Tibetan Bible

Grammatik der tibetischen Sprache

This is written in Balti Tibetan language in Perso-Arabic script.

St. Matthew (in Balti) (1908)

Western Tibet: a practical dictionary of the language and customs of the districts included in the Ladák Wazarat By H. Ramsay

Ladakhi English English Ladakhi: dictionary

Ladakhi Songs (1899)

Ladakhi Grammar

Ladak, physical, statistical, and historical ; with notices of the surrounding countries (1854)

Travels in Ladâk, Tartary, and Kashmir (1862)

A trip to Cashmere and Ladâk (1877)

Sandberg colloquial central Tibetan handbook

Hand-book of colloquial Tibetan: A practical guide to the language of Central Tibet ... By Graham Sandberg

Manual of the Sikkim Bhutia Language Or Dénjong Ké By Graham Sandberg

Manual of the Sikkim-Bhutia language, or, Dé-jong Ké (1888)

The Exploration of Tibet: Its History and Particulars from 1623 to 1904 By Graham Sandberg

An Itinerary of the Route from Sikkim to Lhasa: Together with a Plan of the Capital of Tibet and a New Map of the Route from Yamdok Lake to Lhasa By Graham Sandberg

Tibet and the Tibetans By Graham Sandberg

Tibet and the Tibetans (1906)

A dictionary of the Bhotanta or Boutan language, printed from a manuscript copy made by the late Rev. Frederic Christian Gotthelf Schroeter, edited by J. Marshman: To which is prefixed a grammar of the Bhotanta language By Friedrich Christian G. Schroeter, John Clark Marshman

A dictionary of the Bhotanta, or Boutan language By Frederic Christian Gotthelf Schrœterœter%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=RTUeU7irFILr0gGEjYDIBg&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

A Dictionary of the Bhotanta, Or Boutan Language By Friedrich Christian Gotthelf Schroeter, William Carey

A Grammar of the Bhotanta, Or, Boutan Language By Friedrich Christian Gotthelf Schroeter


A Grammar of the Bhotanta, Or, Boutan Language By Friedrich Christian Gotthelf Schroeter

Physical Geography of Western Tibet By H. Strachey

Early Jesuit Travellers in Central Asia: 1603-1721 By Cornelius Wessels

To Lhasa in Disguise: A Secret Expedition Through Mysterious Tibet By William Montgomery McGovern

Lands of the Thunderbolt: Sikhim, Chumbi & Bhutan By Lawrence John Lumley Dundas Marquis of Zetland

Folk-lore and Customs of the Lap-chas of Sikhim By C. De Beauvoir Stocks

Balti-English / English-Balti Dictionary By R. K. Sprigg

Balti-English English-Balti Dictionary By Richard Keith Sprigg

This is written in Balti Tibetan language in Perso-Arabic script.

St. Matthew (in Balti) (1908)

Rajmaan (talk) 10:53, 20 April 2014 (UTC)




Rajmaan (talk) 20:55, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

Central Tibetan vs. Central Tibetic[edit]

At Central Tibetan language there is a hatnote saying "not to be confused with Central Tibetic languages", which then redirects to the Classification section here. Yet, the Classification section only mentions Central Tibetan. It does mention that some authors break up Central Tibetan. What is the difference and how does it relate to that break up by some authors? --JorisvS (talk) 11:31, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Different academics use the term "Tibetic" with various senses. We have adopted the usage of Nicolas Tournadre, who makes "Tibetic languages" basically synonymous with "Tibetan languages". By this usage, "Central Tibetic" would be identical to "Central Tibetan". Not sure, but I don't think anybody uses "Central Tibetic" in this sense. The hatnote you're referring might be based on a different classificatory system that uses "Tibetic" for a larger grouping. In any event, we should probably remove or clarify the hatnote, because it's certainly confusing the way it is.–Greg Pandatshang (talk) 21:23, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
That's why I've brought it up. Any ideas how to improve this? The internal classification of Tibetic is not presented very clearly and the infobox lists a different subclassification than the section. --JorisvS (talk) 21:50, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Hmmm, perhaps there can be a distinction between "Central Tibetic" vs. "Central Tibetan" even using Tournadre's classification. DeLancey uses both here. "Central Tibetan" is a somewhat traditional category, roughly what a Tibetan might call Wükȋ (dbus.skad) i.e. roughly the Ü-Tsang (dbus.gtsaṅ) dialects (dbus being the Tibetan word for "central"), one of which forms the basis for the standard language and the exile koiné. "Central Tibetic" might be part of a newfangled classification that tries to break the category of "Tibetic" down into a few large chunks. DeLancey doesn't define what he means by it, but he describes Dzongkha as "Central Tibetic", and I doubt anyone thinks of Dzongkha as part of dbus.skad (although it is clearly closely related).
That said, we simply don't have much info about this concept of "Central Tibetic". I think we should remove all references to it.–Greg Pandatshang (talk) 22:21, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Regardless of what we do with that, there is the matter of the disordered internal classification. There is nothing that makes clear to the reader which varieties exists. Some are only mentioned in the Languages section, others only in the Classification section. This makes me seriously doubt whether all known varieties are even mentioned somewhere. Also, those two sections look like they would be better as one section, but I'm currently unsure as to the best way to merge them. --JorisvS (talk) 22:37, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Exactly what I mean: going through an old version of Central Tibetic languages (before it became a redirect) [1], I've found Jad language, which is mentioned nowhere on this page. --JorisvS (talk) 22:50, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
There is also Mugom dialect, which is at least mentioned at Central Tibetan language. --JorisvS (talk) 22:57, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Well, I think many language-related articles have the problem of conflicting or otherwise confusing classifications. The fact of the matter is that it's often difficult for the experts on a particular language family to agree on a "family tree"; and, even when they agree on the facts, they might not agree on the terminology. I don't know who would be in a position to give us an authoritative opinion on which classification we should use–I'm sure I'm not. But I know a bit of Tournadre's work and we've adopted his use of the term "Tibetic", so I'd be inclined to give prominence to the Tournadre classification that was posted above in March 2010.
By this classification, it looks like the Jad language would be considered part of the "Spiti language" and Mugom dialect part of the "Ü-Tsang language" (perhaps a bit broader than what would normally be classed as dbus.skad based on social boundaries). It doesn't seem surprising that there are "languages" or "dialects" which will be counted as primary nodes in some classifications but as subtypes in others.
Now, if we do choose to give prominence to Tournadre's classification, will that dovetail with whatever higher-level classifications (Bodish, etc.) that we might also want to use? I'm really not sure. That seems like potentially a thorny problem. I wonder how other languages with complex phylogenetic problems (which is to say, most of them) have dealt with this.–Greg Pandatshang (talk) 23:55, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
The problem of a family tree could be because there may not really be one, but instead a linkage, with certain varieties/dialects having undergone some innovations that cut right across the areas of other innovations. --JorisvS (talk) 12:00, 9 November 2014 (UTC)