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Title: What is Sino-Tibetan? Snapshot of a Field and a Language Family in Flux
Author(s): Zev Handel
Journal Title: Language and Linguistic Compass
Volume: 2
Issue: 3
Page Range: 422-441
Publication Date: Apr-2008
Abstract: Sino-Tibetan is one of the great language families of the world, containing hundreds of languages spoken by over 1 billion people, from Northeast India to the Southeast Asian peninsula. The best-known languages in the family are Chinese, Tibetan, and Burmese. Although the existence of the family has been recognized for nearly 200 years, significant progress in reconstructing the history of the family was not achieved until the latter half of the twentieth century. In recent decades, this progress has accelerated, thanks to an explosion of new data and new approaches. At the same time, a number of interesting controversies have emerged in the field, centered on such issues as subgrouping and reconstruction methodology.

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