Tibetan, a representative member of the Sino- Tibetan family, is actually a close-knit ‘Tibetic’ subgroup comprising a host of distinct languages. Ever since H. A. Jaschke’s observations on the ‘provincial dialects’ in his ground-breaking lexicographical work, attempts have been made to record and accommodate the various regional Tibetic forms spoken over vast areas of Central and Eastern Asia. However, much of this enormous diversity still awaits proper documentation and interpretation, and Tibetic dialectology still remains an immature field.
This edited book contains original contributions on five under-researched Tibetic varieties: Purik (Kargil, India), Dongwang (Yunnan, China), Cone, Kami and Thebo (all spoken in Sichuan, China), some of which are distinct enough to merit independent language status. Each chapter contains a detailed account of the target variety’s synchronic sound system and its diachronic evolution, a summary of the characteristic innovations, notes on its genetic subgrouping, as well as an English-Tibetic vocabulary of around one thousand items. The publication of this collection of firsthand phonological and lexical materials will fill an important gap in the fundamental documentation of a rich but endangered linguistic heritage, and make an inspiring contribution to the advancement of Tibetic and Sino-Tibetan linguistics.