Sino-Tibetan languages

related topics
{language, word, form}
{theory, work, human}
{work, book, publish}
{specie, animal, plant}
{country, population, people}

The Sino-Tibetan languages form a language family composed of, at least, the Chinese and the Tibeto-Burman languages, including some 250 languages of East Asia, Southeast Asia and parts of South Asia. They are second only to the Indo-European languages in terms of the number of native speakers. Some linguists include the Tai-Kadai and Hmong-Mien language families[citation needed].The classification of languages suggested for the Sino-Tibetan family and its subfamilies is still unresolved, and more work must be done before general agreement is reached.

Contents

Validity of language family

The Sino-Tibetan language family has also been defined, principally among Chinese linguists, as including the Tai and Hmong-Mien languages. In the past, Vietnamese and other Mon-Khmer languages were classified under the Sino-Tibetan tree; however, their similarities to Chinese are currently credited to language contact. In the Western scholarly community, the other tonal language families of East Asia, Tai-Kadai languages and Hmong-Mien (Miao-Yao), are no longer classified under the Sino-Tibetan tree either, with the similarities attributed to borrowings and areal features, especially after Benedict's publication (1972). However, in the Chinese scholarly community, Tai-Kadai (actually Zhuang-Dong or Kam-Tai, which excludes i.a. the Kra languages) and Hmong-Mien are still commonly included in the Sino-Tibetan family.[1]

A few scholars, most prominently Christopher Beckwith and Roy Andrew Miller, argue that Chinese is not related to Tibeto-Burman. They point to what they consider an absence of regular sound correspondences, an absence of reconstructable shared morphology[2], and evidence that much shared lexical material has been borrowed from Chinese into Tibeto-Burman. In opposition to this view, scholars in favor of the Sino-Tibetan hypothesis such as W. South Coblin, Graham Thurgood, James Matisoff, and Gong Hwang cherng have argued that there are regular correspondences in sounds as well as in grammar.

Full article ▸

related documents
Atlantic languages
Adverb
Pig Latin
Agglutinative language
Voiceless
Joual
Bambara language
Breathy voice
Reich
Germanic umlaut
Digamma
Nasal consonant
Aragonese language
Allomorph
Frisian languages
Ubbi dubbi
Canadian raising
Abessive case
Sound change
Syllable
Clause
Alliteration
Morphophonology
A
Hebrew numerals
Q
Northeast Caucasian languages
Intransitive verb
Ditransitive verb
Coptic alphabet