Talk:Tibeto-Burman languages

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search



Where does this classification come from? Ethnologue? — ishwar  (SPEAK) 06:07, 2005 Apr 3 (UTC)

Missing group - Tibetic[edit]

(Copied stuff from Talk:Tibetan language)

Ethnologue lists the order of classification for the Tibetan language as Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Himalayish, Tibeto-Kanauri, Tibetic, and then the Tibetan language. Wikipedia seems to skip the group Tibetic. See this link: Any thoughts? ---User:Hottentot

Ethnologue has a lot of wierd stuff on it. The most normal classification is that given by Benedict in his Conspectus, but I and many think that the subgrouping of the Tibeto-Burman laguages is merely speculation. --Nathan hill 18:38, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I recommend amending Wikipedia to reflect the Ethnologue classification. At points where serious modern scholarship suggests a subclass is grouped incorrectly in the Ethnologue, it's sensible to include links at that point in Wikipedia hierarchy to the alternative scholarship. But we need at least a straw man hierarchy to start with, and the Ethnologue is the best candidate. Nathan, have you read the Conspectus or do you have a copy? From what I can find in a web search [1], PK Benedict did not disagree with the existence of a Tibeto-Burman language family. You must be referring to classification choices made further out in the tree. For our education can you give us the classification of Tibetan per Benedict to show where it differs from the Ethnologue? technopilgrim 18:33, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I wouldnt recommend Ethnologue: they are too general. Better to use more specific sources. I'll provide references at some unknown date. peace – ishwar  (speak) 06:32, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Seems to me that in the absence of other cited genealogies, ethnologue is okay (so long as we note that we are using it). However, ethnologue often makes a lot of strange choices, and I think that, whenever possible, we should try to find a better, more specific, source for each individual language family. john k 06:40, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

There have been 4 major classifications (i think). Benedict's (in the 1970s) was the most influential. There is a recent one made in the 90s. I dont see any problem with including all 4 classifications. it may be interesting for readers to compare them. it would also be indicative of how much more research is needed to determine the details of this family. many languages havent been adequately described (some only have words lists written by missionaries). Ethnologue does have bible translators in these areas, so their classification may be not bad. but, i wouldnt really know, not having read about this family. peace – ishwar  (speak) 20:52, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
If you have info on the other versions, this would definitely be the way to go, I think. john k 22:00, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Complete Classification and List of Languages[edit]

I added a complete list of languages and complete classification based on the Ethnologue [in the article, later moved here]. Comments are welcome especially concerning classification. If you know of more languages or dialects I have missed, please add them. Imperial78 16:29, 2005 September 27

This appears to be from Eth.13. I have placed an asterisk by those names which are red links and not the primary ISO name at this date. Some of them may have articles without redirects (hopefully not many). At least some are typos; I've corrected the obvious ones, but I assume there are others. Redlinks without an asterisk are (unless I missed a few) at their current ISO names, and simply don't have articles. Many starred links are due to ISO name changes since this list was compiled. However, in some cases it would appear this list is wrong, in that some of the names do not appear in E14, E15, or E16. — kwami (talk) 19:30, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

Many of these names were from Ruhlen, and support was dropped in E14.

copying here for now[edit]

The list contains a language called Kom. There is an African language called Kom and the link from this list goes there now. Obvieously, a disambiguation page is necessary here. (now at Kom language (India)) The list should be converted into a tree of articles and stubs. Nannus 21:29, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

This one might help a bit (van Driem 2008); it's got a huge list of TB languages: (talk) 01:34, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
Plus, Kusunda is not a Chepang or even a TB language; it is a language isolate. — Stevey7788 (talk) 01:49, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
Sure, but this is just the E13 classification. We should support all entries so that anyone looking up an E13 language is directed to the correct article.
And great ref, thanks! — kwami (talk) 02:10, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
Ruhlen 1987

Different spellings or names from the above:

Sihia, Ulu, Ko-p'u, Weining, Nyi, Ahi, Phun, Tsaiwa, Moso, Jinghpaw, Trung, Ng'men, Langet, Lamgang, Kolhreng, Hallam, Kamhau, Zo, Nruanghmei, Khoirao, Chakrima, Zumomi, Kezhama, Mongsen, Thukumi, Lophomi, Chutiya, Tangsa, Ch'iang, Eryuan, Hoking, Tali, Pa-o, Pho, Leke, Phlon, Brec, Gekho, Pakü, Kaman, Digaro, Midu, Tagen, Nishi, Monpa, Gyarung, Manang, Western Tibetan, Kham, Vayu, Bunan, Thebor, Sumchu, Sungam, Kanauri, Chitkhuli, Manchati, Chamba, Rangloi, Thami, Bhramu, Chaurasya, Umbule, Rai, Khambu, Nachereng, Rodong, Lambichong, Athpare, Lohorong, Kiranti

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 14:47, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Koro language[edit]

Koro language should also be included. ~~Andrew Keenan Richardson~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:00, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

History of the name[edit]

This article seems to rely on Van Driem's account of the history of "Tibeto-Burman", a number of variations of which occur in his publications. Unfortunately that account is made quite confusing by his habit of always using his own definition of the term (the family including Chinese, which nearly everyone else calls "Sino-Tibetan"). For example, in the Languages of the Himalayas (2001) p. 334 he says "Klaproth outlined the Tibeto-Burman family" and "Klaproth observed that Tibeto-Burman included Chinese". But in a paper in 2008 he acknowledges that Klaproth did not name any of his Asian phyla. So he means that in 1823 Klaproth outlined a family containing Tibetan, Burmese and Chinese but not Thai, Vietnamese or Mon, namely the family Van Driem calls "Tibeto-Burman".

The term "Tibeto-Burman" was first used in 1856 by James Richardson Logan, in the obvious sense of a family consisting of Tibetan, Burmese and dozens of less well-known languages related to these two, and later authors seem to use it the same way. Indeed Shafer avoided the term precisely because it denoted a group that he felt was not a valid subgroup of ST. But this is obscured because Van Driem just says "Tibeto-Burman" all the time. As far as I can see no-one before him used the term for a family that included Chinese. Kanguole 00:22, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Now the Section uses 'Sino-Tibetan' in a Matisoffian way to mean Chinese and Tibeto-Burman together. This is an equally misleading and anachronistic presentation of von Klaproth. Tibetologist (talk) 13:43, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
That seems unlikely, given that von Klaproth did not call his grouping "Sino-Tibetan" or "Tibeto-Burman", or indeed anything else.
The lead should define the topic of the article, rather than the meaning of a term (which would be appropriate in a dictionary). The topic of this article is a clearly-delineated group of languages (not including Chinese), even though there is disagreement over the genetic relationships between these languages and in relation to Chinese. The larger group that van Driem calls "Tibeto-Burman" is a different topic, on which we have an article under the name almost everyone else uses for it, namely "Sino-Tibetan". Although Matisoff uses that term, he was not the first, and it's also used by many people who do not accept Chinese as a top-level branching; use of the term certainly does not imply his view. Similiarly most people accept that the term "Tibeto-Burman" is the most common name for all the languages in that larger group other than Chinese, regardless of whether they accept it as a genetic grouping. Most of the article can be agnostic about the structure of these groups. For example the Survey section lists widely accepted lower-level groupings, essentially van Driem's "fallen leaves".
Changing "Tibeto-Burman and Chinese" to "Tibetan, Burmese, and Chinese" in relation to Kuhn and Conrady is inaccurate. They were indeed comparing the Tibeto-Burman grouping of dozens of languages described by Hodgson, Logan, Forbes and Avery with Chinese and Tai, apparently unaware of von Klaproth.
Finally, whatever you think of Matisoff, surely you can acknowledge that his binary model is the most widely known. Kanguole 17:28, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Agree with Kanguole; before I saw this I'd reverted apart from the "Tibetan, Burmese, and Chinese" comment, which AFAIC remember is how van Driem reports the history - correct me if I'm wrong. WP articles are indeed on topics rather than terms, unless they're specifically on the term itself, in which case the article should probably be moved to Wiktionary. — kwami (talk) 19:31, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Van Driem says "Tibeto-Burman", but his account is confusing because of his insistence on imposing his preferred terminology.
I'd also like to take issue with the second part of "However, some scholars deny that Tibeto-Burman comprises a monophyletic group. For them, Sino-Tibetan and Tibeto-Burman are synonyms." Apart from the logical contradiction, the second part is untrue. Kanguole 22:49, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand. If TB is not monophyletic, it's synonymous with ST. — kwami (talk) 23:45, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
It's not that complicated: TB is not monophyletic. ST=TB. Ergo ST is not monophyletic.
Rather, as Jacques puts it, "Certains auteurs, tel que G. van Driem, emploient « tibéto-birman » comme synonyme de notre « sino-tibétain », mais l'usage le plus courant est d'en faire un groupe où sont inclues les langues sino-tibétaines à l'exclusion du chinois." They simply say that the group of languages known as TB isn't a clade, and focus on the larger group, which they call ST. (They're not synonyms for van Driem either: for him the larger group is called TB and any mention of ST must be condemned.) Kanguole 07:39, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
So you're saying ST/TB is not a valid language family, whether Chinese is included or not. That's a minority opinion. I'm talking about the majority people who do accept the family. — kwami (talk) 08:03, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm pointing out that the wording you inserted implies that, explaining why I said it was self-contradictory. Kanguole 08:34, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Okay, this is a misunderstanding of terminological conventions, then. When a subordinate clade is found to be polyphyletic, then the only monophyletic clade which contains those languages is the superordinate one. That is, the name for the subordinate clade, when all clades are required to be monophyletic, becomes synonymous with the superordinate clade. So, if T+B−C is polyphetic, then TB becomes a synonym for ST. This is a common pattern in the renaming of language families. For example, when Finnic+Ugric is found to be polyphyletic without the inclusion of Samoyed, then Finno-Ugric and Uralic become synonyms. Usually the name of the superordinate clade is used in such situations, but not always: when the subordinate name is better known and includes most of the family, this can be seen as adding a new branch to the subordinate clade. So, Chinese is added to TB, and van Driem uses the name TB for the result. Similarly, most Uralicists use the name 'Uralic' for the family, but a few prefer Finno-Ugric as the longer-established term, with Samoyed added as a new branch. S.t. similar has happened with the subordinate but better-known names Indo-European and Niger-Congo taking over from the superordinate names Indo-Hittite and Niger-Kordofanian. — kwami (talk) 09:35, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
That is not the common usage in this case. Only van Driem speaks of adding Chinese to TB. Everyone else who disputes the validity of TB as a node simply regards it as a term of convenience for the non-Sinitic members of ST, in the same way as they refer to polyphyletic geographical groupings. When they're talking about the clade, they use the pre-existing name, ST. Van Driem has campaigned for a renaming, but he has not been followed. Kanguole 10:17, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Who uses the term TB even though they believe there's no such thing as TB? — kwami (talk) 10:51, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Not a valid node isn't the same as "no such thing". You were the one claiming it was used as a synonym for ST. I've already cited Jacques. Here (bottom of the page) is another example. Kanguole 11:00, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Neither of those is an example. — kwami (talk) 12:58, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
They're examples of people who do not accept TB as a valid node nevertheless accepting it as a term for a number of languages. Perhaps you're looking for an example of something else, though I'm not sure what. Kanguole 15:30, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
But they're not describing their own position, so what they believe is irrelevant. Show me a classification which does not have TB as a node, yet uses the term TB for those languages. — kwami (talk) 00:54, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not claiming that they're using it as part of a classification, just that they accept it as referring to a collection of languages, without any genetic implication, and are not trying to apply it to the larger monophyletic group. The "synonym" wording has no support in usage except for van Driem. Kanguole 08:19, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd still like to see a source that anyone uses it that way. Using a name for a non-family is not the same thing as using the name for a family which you don't accept. — kwami (talk) 10:34, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I'm certainly not claiming anyone is using it for a family they don't accept, just as a convenient term for a non-family. Kanguole 10:58, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
When James Richardson Logan coined the term 'Tibeto-Burman' did he explicitly specify that Chinese was not included? If not, then he was using the term exactly like van Driem does. Any phrasiing along the lines of 'the Tibeto-Burman languages, together with the Sinitic languages constitute the Sino-Tibetan languages' implicitly endorses Matisoff's Stammbaum. Even Matisoff himself has moved away from this model, calling the languages family 'Sino-Tibeto-Burman' in his preface to Chris Button's new book. Tibetologist (talk) 12:08, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Also, who says Matisoff is better known than van Driem or other scholars. One must present evidence for such claims. Tibetologist (talk) 12:11, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Logan speaks for example of "Chinese, Tibeto-Burman, Mon-Anam and Dravirian". However he also says "The relationship that subsists between the Chinese, the Tibeto-Burman and the Mon-Anam tongues presents many points of resemblance."
Saying that "Tibeto-Burman" customarily refers to the non-Chinese members of Sino-Tibetan is not the same as asserting that Tibeto-Burman is a valid subtree. The evidence for that is that although many agree with van Driem on the latter point, hardly any have adopted his re-definition of the term.
The claim was that Matisoff's model was better known than any of the others. Do you seriously dispute that? Kanguole 15:30, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
To repeat, we should not be presenting as fact van Driem's claim that 'Tibeto-Burman' is an older term for the whole phylum including Chinese. His account is rendered opaque by his habit of retrospectively imposing the terminology he is campaigning for, and is self-contradictory. Kanguole 23:22, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
I did not present it as a fact, I said that van Driem said it. — kwami (talk) 23:27, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
That depends on how one parses the sentence, Van Driem argues that the Sino-Tibetan family should be called "Tibeto-Burman", as that name has historical priority for the family, but this usage has not been widely adopted. You say it implies that the first two clauses (but not the last) are things he is arguing for, but that is far from clear. The alternative interpretation that his argument is the first clause, and the middle one is a fact that he is using as a rationale is at least as plausible. One could make it clear by making it longer, but why do we need to open this can of worms in the lead? Kanguole 23:55, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Article not very useful to laypeople[edit]

I think this article puts too much emphasis on disputes among academic linguists while failing to give they lay audience much useful substance. LADave (talk) 19:44, 9 August 2013 (UTC)