Sino-Tibetan Languages (Routledge Language Family Series) by G. Thurgood

By G. Thurgood

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2 The Bodic branch [= Tibetan] The Tibetan division, a subset of Shafer’s Bodic division (1955), contains at least three unquestionable members: the numerous Tibetan dialects; the Tamang-Gurung-ThakaliManang languages, a subgroup called by various names even within this volume; and the small group of languages that includes Takpa. Speculatively, Tshangla has been added to this group. LaPolla notes in Chapter 2, this volume, that the Bodic languages constitute a subgroup based on the shared innovation ‘an *-s ablative/ergative suffix on nouns’.

The languages themselves seem to be the result of relatively recent migration into the area and share features with languages outside the geographical area. Within Tibeto-Burman Ebert notes similarities between the Southeastern Kiranti languages and the Naga and Chin languages, namely, in the prefixed person markers and the participle formation with ka-, similarities whose origins are not yet clear. She also has noted here and elsewhere similarities in rGyalrong to the inverse marking of Camling and Bantawa; these similarities might very well be inherited.

1 *s- prefix The *s- prefix in most cases had a causativizing, denominative, or ‘intensive’ (change of state) function (Wolfenden 1929; Pulleyblank 1973a, 2000; Bodman 1980; Mei 1989). Mei (1989) argues all of these functions are manifestations of a more general directive function. For example, Old Chinese (OC) *mjang ( Ջ ) ‘be gone’ : *smangs ( ໜ ) ‘to lose’; OC *mə k ( ๼ ) ‘ink’: *smə k ( ႕ ) ‘black’: Written Tibetan (WT) smag ‘dark’; OC *C-rjə s ( ‫‘ ) ٴ‬clerk’, ‘minor official’ : *srjəʔ ( ࠌ ) ‘to cause (someone to be an emissary)’, to send’; *tjuʔ ( ࢄ ) ‘broom’ : *stuʔ ( ൿ ) ‘to sweep’; *ljek ( ࣐ ) ‘to exchange’ *sljeks ( ᔅ ) ‘to give’, ‘gift’; WT: grib ‘shade’, ‘shadow’ : sgrib-pa ‘to shade, to darken’; gril ‘a roll’ : sgril-ba ‘to roll together’, ‘to form into a roll’.

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