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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Tibetan Dialect of Lende (Kyirong): A grammatical description with historical annotations Add Dissertation
Author: Brigitte Huber Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Universität Bern, Linguistik
Completed in: 2002
Linguistic Subfield(s): Historical Linguistics; Language Documentation;
Subject Language(s): Tibetan
Director(s): Roland Bielmeier

Abstract: This dissertation, based on twelve months of fieldwork, provides the first
linguistic description of the Tibetan dialect of Kyirong (sKyid-grong). It
does not only give a synchronic description of the dialect, but it also
attempts to show the historical development of the dialect by comparing it
with Written Tibetan data and, to a lesser extent, with data of other
Tibetan dialects. Kyirong Tibetan is spoken in Kyirong county in western
Central Tibet (today’s Tibetan Autonomous Region TAR), about 70 km north of
Katmandu. The Lende Valley, where the variety described in the thesis is
spoken, lies west of Kyirong, on the border to Nepal.

The dissertation starts with an introduction containing information about
Lende and Kyirong, about dialect classification and closely related
dialects, and about fieldwork. The introduction is followed by the chapter
on phonetics and phonology, where the phoneme inventory is established. In
the chapter on diachronic phonology, the sound changes this dialect
underwent are extensively documented. Part of this is also the description
of the development of tone which leads to three different register tones.
Such a development has not been observed so far among central Tibetan dialects.

In the following chapters of the dissertation, that is “noun phrase”, “verb
phrase” and “clause combining”, synchronic descriptions are separated from
historical observations. In these chapters, most descriptive sections are
immediately followed by a section entitled “historical annotations”. These
sections are graphically discriminated by the use of a different font,
which should facilitate the reading for those only interested in either
synchronic or diachronic issues. The “diachronic sections” provide
etymologies or attempt explanations for the expressions described in the
“synchronic sections”, and here most of the comparisons with other Tibetan
dialects are made.

The last chapter contains an oral text, which is transcribed and
interlinearized. Its goal is to illustrate the use of the dialect. Finally,
the vocabulary occurring in the thesis is listed in three glossaries,
sorted according to Kyirong Tibetan, to English, and to Written Tibetan.

The study represents another small brickstone in the documentation of the
Tibetan linguistic area and contributes to the classification of Tibetan
dialects and to understanding the development of Tibetan in general. In the
field of linguistics, it can furthermore be of interest for typologists,
who, with this thesis, gain another description of a previously undescribed
language with quite a few interesting grammatical and morphosyntactic
peculiarities as a basis for their research.

The dissertation has been published in 2005 in Beiträge zur tibetischen
Erzähl-forschung, edited by Dieter Schuh, VGH Wissen-schafts-verlag, Sankt