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Lecture

The Tibeto-Burman languages of Southwest China: Diversity, complexity, endangerment

Date
Tuesday 10 July 2018
Time
Series
Summer School 2018 evening lectures
Location
Lipsius
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Room
0.03

Abstract

Southwest China is a particularly rich linguistic area where several sub-groupings of the Tibeto-Burman language family intersect. In this area, a transition between distinct language types (synthetic and analytic) contributes to a great linguistic diversity and complexity. However, many local languages are currently endangered by the encroaching national language, Mandarin, and they are bound to disappear over the next decades. Traditionally, the languages of this mountainous area are surprisingly little-documented, mainly because they are spoken in the back of beyond. Fortunately, recent years witnessed an increase of documentation projects, one of which focuses on the moribund language of Duoxu. Using Duoxu as a case study, I will talk about dealing with the challenges of diversity, complexity, and endangerment in descriptive and comparative linguistic work.

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