Some 40 well-established subgroups, of which those with the most
ISO 639-2 / 5
Major branches of Sino-Tibetan:
The Sino-Tibetan languages, in a few sources also known as
Trans-Himalayan, are a family of more than 400 languages spoken in
Southeast Asia and South Asia. The family is second only to
Indo-European in terms of the number of native speakers. The
Sino-Tibetan languages with the most native speakers are the varieties
of Chinese (1.3 billion speakers), Burmese (42 million), and the
Tibetic languages (8 million), but many
Sino-Tibetan languages are
spoken by small communities in remote mountain areas and as such are
poorly documented. Chinese linguists generally include
Hmong-Mien languages, but Western linguists do not.
Several low-level subgroups have been securely reconstructed, but
reconstruction of a proto-language for the family as a whole is still
at an early stage, so the higher-level structure of Sino-Tibetan
remains unclear. Although the family is traditionally presented as
Sinitic (i.e. Chinese) and
Tibeto-Burman branches, a
common origin of the non-
Sinitic languages has never been
1.1 Early work
1.2 Shafer and Benedict
1.3 Study of literary languages
2.1 Li (1937)
2.2 Benedict (1942)
2.3 Shafer (1955)
2.4 Matisoff (1978)
2.5 Starostin (1996)
2.6 Van Driem (1997, 2001)
2.7 Van Driem (2001)
2.8 Blench and Post (2013)
3 Development of dialects and languages
3.1 Change in word structure
3.2 Change in tone
4.1 Word order
4.3 Classifiers and definite marking
6 External classification
10.1 Works cited
11 External links
A genetic relationship between Chinese, Tibetan, Burmese and other
languages was first proposed in the early 19th century and is now
broadly accepted. The initial focus on languages of civilizations with
long literary traditions has been broadened to include less widely
spoken languages, some of which have only recently, or never, been
written. However, the reconstruction of the family is much less
developed than for families such as Indo-European or Austroasiatic.
Difficulties have included the great diversity of the languages, the
lack of inflection in many of them, and the effects of language
contact. In addition, many of the smaller languages are spoken in
mountainous areas that are difficult to access, and are often also
sensitive border zones.
During the 18th century, several scholars had noticed parallels
between Tibetan and Burmese, both languages with extensive literary
traditions. Early in the following century,
Brian Houghton Hodgson
Brian Houghton Hodgson and
others noted that many non-literary languages of the highlands of
northeast India and
Southeast Asia were also related to these. The
name "Tibeto-Burman" was first applied to this group in 1856 by James
Richardson Logan, who added Karen in 1858. The third volume of
the Linguistic Survey of India, edited by Sten Konow, was devoted to
Tibeto-Burman languages of British India.
Studies of the "Indo-Chinese" languages of
Southeast Asia from the
mid-19th century by Logan and others revealed that they comprised four
families: Tibeto-Burman, Tai, Mon–Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian.
Julius Klaproth had noted in 1823 that Burmese, Tibetan and Chinese
all shared common basic vocabulary but that Thai, Mon, and Vietnamese
were quite different.
Ernst Kuhn envisaged a group with two
branches, Chinese-Siamese and Tibeto-Burman.[a]
August Conrady called
this group Indo-Chinese in his influential 1896 classification, though
he had doubts about Karen. Conrady's terminology was widely used, but
there was uncertainty regarding his exclusion of Vietnamese. Franz
Nikolaus Finck in 1909 placed Karen as a third branch of
Jean Przyluski introduced the French term sino-tibétain as the title
of his chapter on the group in Meillet and Cohen's Les langues du
monde in 1924. He divided them into three groups:
Tibeto-Burman, Chinese and Tai, and was uncertain about the
affinity of Karen and Hmong–Mien. The English translation
"Sino-Tibetan" first appeared in a short note by Przyluski and Luce in
Shafer and Benedict
In 1935, the anthropologist
Alfred Kroeber started the Sino-Tibetan
Philology Project, funded by the
Works Project Administration
Works Project Administration and
based at the University of California, Berkeley. The project was
supervised by Robert Shafer until late 1938, and then by Paul K.
Benedict. Under their direction, the staff of 30 non-linguists
collated all the available documentation of Sino-Tibetan languages.
The result was eight copies of a 15-volume typescript entitled
Sino-Tibetan Linguistics.[b] This work was never published, but
furnished the data for a series of papers by Shafer, as well as
Shafer's five-volume Introduction to Sino-Tibetan and Benedict's
Sino-Tibetan, a Conspectus.
Benedict completed the manuscript of his work in 1941, but it was not
published until 1972. Instead of building the entire family tree,
he set out to reconstruct a Proto-
Tibeto-Burman language by comparing
five major languages, with occasional comparisons with other
languages. He reconstructed a two-way distinction on initial
consonants based on voicing, with aspiration conditioned by
pre-initial consonants that had been retained in Tibetic but lost in
many other languages. Thus, Benedict reconstructed the following
k(h) ~ g
k(h) ~ g
g ~ k(h)
g ~ k(h)
t(h) ~ d
t(h) ~ d
d ~ t(h)
d ~ t(h)
*n ~ *ń
p(h) ~ b
p(h) ~ b
b ~ p(h)
b ~ p(h)
ts ~ dz
s ~ tś(h)
dz ~ ts ~ ś
z ~ ś
tś ~ dź
*dj ~ *zj
Although the initial consonants of cognates tend to have the same
place and manner of articulation, voicing and aspiration is often
unpredictable. This irregularity was attacked by Roy Andrew
Miller, though Benedict's supporters attribute it to the effects
of prefixes that have been lost and are often unrecoverable. The
issue remains unsolved today. It was cited together with the lack
of reconstructable shared morphology, and evidence that much shared
lexical material has been borrowed from Chinese into Tibeto-Burman, by
Christopher Beckwith, one of the few scholars still arguing that
Chinese is not related to Tibeto-Burman.
Study of literary languages
Ancient Chinese text on bamboo strips
Old Chinese is by far the oldest recorded Sino-Tibetan language, with
inscriptions dating from 1200 BC and a huge body of literature from
the first millennium BC, but the Chinese script is not alphabetic.
Scholars have sought to reconstruct the phonology of
Old Chinese by
comparing the obscure descriptions of the sounds of
Middle Chinese in
medieval dictionaries with phonetic elements in
Chinese characters and
the rhyming patterns of early poetry. The first complete
Grammata Serica Recensa of Bernard Karlgren, was
used by Benedict and Shafer. It was somewhat unwieldy, with many
sounds having a highly non-uniform distribution. Later scholars
have refined Karlgren's work by drawing on a range of other sources.
Some proposals were based on cognates in other Sino-Tibetan languages,
though workers have also found solely Chinese evidence for them.
For example, recent reconstructions of
Old Chinese have reduced
Karlgren's 15 vowels to a six-vowel system originally suggested by
Nicholas Bodman on the basis of comparisons with Tibetic.
Similarly, Karlgren's *l has been recast as *r, with a different
initial interpreted as *l, matching
Tibeto-Burman cognates, but also
supported by Chinese transcriptions of foreign names. A growing
number of scholars believe that
Old Chinese did not use tones, and
that the tones of
Middle Chinese developed from final consonants. One
of these, *-s, is believed to be a suffix, with cognates in other
Old Tibetan text found at Turfan
Tibetic has extensive written records from the adoption of writing by
Tibetan Empire in the mid-7th century. The earliest records of
Burmese (such as the 12th-century Myazedi inscription) are more
limited, but later an extensive literature developed. Both languages
are recorded in alphabetic scripts ultimately derived from the Brahmi
script of Ancient India. Most comparative work has used the
conservative written forms of these languages, following the
dictionaries of Jäschke (Tibetan) and Judson (Burmese), though both
contain entries from a wide range of periods.
There are also extensive records in Tangut, the language of the
Western Xia (1038–1227). Tangut is recorded in a Chinese-inspired
logographic script, whose interpretation presents many difficulties,
even though multilingual dictionaries have been found.
Gong Hwang-cherng has compared Old Chinese, Tibetic, Burmese and
Tangut in an effort to establish sound correspondences between those
languages. He found that Tibetic and Burmese /a/ correspond to
Old Chinese vowels, *a and *ə. While this has been considered
evidence for a separate
Tibeto-Burman subgroup, Hill (2014) finds that
Burmese has distinct correspondences for
Old Chinese rhymes rhymes
-ay : *-aj and -i : *-əj, and hence argues that the
development *ə > *a occurred independently in Tibetan and
The descriptions of non-literary languages used by Shafer and Benedict
were often produced by missionaries and colonial administrators of
varying linguistic skill. Most of the smaller Sino-Tibetan
languages are spoken in inaccessible mountainous areas, many of which
are politically or militarily sensitive and thus closed to
investigators. Until the 1980s, the best-studied areas were
northern Thailand. In the 1980s and 1990s, new surveys were
published from the
Himalayas and southwestern China. Of particular
interest was the discovery of a new branch of the family, the Qiangic
languages of western
Sichuan and adjacent areas.
Several low-level branches of the family, particularly Lolo-Burmese,
have been securely reconstructed, but in the absence of a secure
reconstruction of a Sino-Tibetan proto-language, the higher-level
structure of the family remains unclear. Thus, a conservative
classification of Sino-Tibetan/
Tibeto-Burman would posit several dozen
small coordinate families and isolates; attempts at subgrouping are
either geographic conveniences or hypotheses for further research.
In a survey in the 1937 Chinese Yearbook,
Li Fang-Kuei described the
family as consisting of four branches:
Tai (later expanded to Kam–Tai)
Tai and Miao–Yao were included because they shared isolating
typology, tone systems and some vocabulary with Chinese. At the time,
tone was considered so fundamental to language that tonal typology
could be used as the basis for classification. In the Western
scholarly community, these languages are no longer included in
Sino-Tibetan, with the similarities attributed to diffusion across the
Southeast Asia linguistic area, especially since Benedict
(1942). The exclusions of Vietnamese by Kuhn and of Tai and
Miao–Yao by Benedict were vindicated in 1954 when André-Georges
Haudricourt demonstrated that the tones of Vietnamese were reflexes of
final consonants from Proto-Mon–Khmer.
Many Chinese linguists continue to follow Li's classification.[d]
However, this arrangement remains problematic. For example, there is
disagreement over whether to include the entire Tai–Kadai family or
just Kam–Tai (Zhuang–Dong excludes the Kra languages), because the
Chinese cognates that form the basis of the putative relationship are
not found in all branches of the family and have not been
reconstructed for the family as a whole. In addition, Kam–Tai itself
no longer appears to be a valid node within Tai–Kadai.
Benedict overtly excluded Vietnamese (placing it in Mon–Khmer) as
Hmong–Mien and Tai–Kadai (placing them in Austro-Tai). He
otherwise retained the outlines of Conrady's Indo-Chinese
classification, though putting Karen in an intermediate
Shafer criticized the division of the family into
Sino-Daic branches, which he attributed to the different groups of
languages studied by Konow and other scholars in
British India on the
one hand and by
Henri Maspero and other French linguists on the
other. He proposed a detailed classification, with six top-level
Shafer was sceptical of the inclusion of Daic, but after meeting
Maspero in Paris decided to retain it pending a definitive resolution
of the question.
James Matisoff abandoned Benedict's Tibeto-Karen hypothesis:
Some more-recent Western scholars, such as Bradley (1997) and La Polla
(2003), have retained Matisoff's two primary branches, though
differing in the details of Tibeto-Burman. However, Jacques (2006)
notes, "comparative work has never been able to put forth evidence for
common innovations to all the
Tibeto-Burman languages (the
Sino-Tibetan languages to the exclusion of Chinese)"[f] and that "it
no longer seems justified to treat Chinese as the first branching of
the Sino-Tibetan family,"[g] because the morphological divide between
Tibeto-Burman has been bridged by recent reconstructions
of Old Chinese.
Sergei Starostin proposed that both the
Kiranti languages and Chinese
are divergent from a "core"
Tibeto-Burman of at least Bodish,
Lolo-Burmese, Tamangic, Jinghpaw, Kukish, and Karen (other families
were not analysed) in a hypothesis called Sino-Kiranti. The proposal
takes two forms: that
Sinitic and Kiranti are themselves a valid node
or that the two are not demonstrably close, so that Sino-Tibetan has
three primary branches:
Sino-Tibetan (version 1)
Sino-Tibetan (version 2)
Van Driem (1997, 2001)
Van Driem, like Shafer, rejects a primary split between Chinese and
the rest, suggesting that Chinese owes its traditional privileged
place in Sino-Tibetan to historical, typological, and cultural, rather
than linguistic, criteria. He calls the entire family "Tibeto-Burman",
a name he says has historical primacy, but other linguists who
reject a privileged position for Chinese continue to call the
resulting family "Sino-Tibetan".
Like Matisoff, van Driem acknowledges that the relationships of the
"Kuki–Naga" languages (Kuki, Mizo, Meitei, etc.), both amongst each
other and to the other languages of the family, remain unclear.
However, rather than placing them in a geographic grouping, as
Matisoff does, van Driem leaves them unclassified. He has proposed
several hypotheses, including the reclassification of Chinese to a
Western (Baric, Brahmaputran, or Sal)
Northwestern (Bodic): Bodish, Kirantic, West Himalayish, Tamangic and
Southwestern: Lolo-Burmese, Karenic
Southeastern: Qiangic, Jiarongic
a number of other small families and isolates as primary branches
(Newar, Nungish, Magaric, etc.)
Van Driem points to two main pieces of evidence establishing a special
Sinitic and Bodic and thus placing Chinese within
Tibeto-Burman family. First, there are a number of parallels
between the morphology of
Old Chinese and the modern Bodic languages.
Second, there is an impressive body of lexical cognates between the
Chinese and Bodic languages, represented by the Kirantic language
In response, Matisoff notes that the existence of shared lexical
material only serves to establish an absolute relationship between two
language families, not their relative relationship to one another.
Although some cognate sets presented by van Driem are confined to
Chinese and Bodic, many others are found in Sino-Tibetan languages
generally and thus do not serve as evidence for a special relationship
between Chinese and Bodic.
Van Driem (2001)
Van Driem has also proposed a "fallen leaves" model that lists dozens
of well-established low-level groups while remaining agnostic about
intermediate groupings of these. In the most recent version, 42
groups are identified:
Bodo–Koch + Konyak
Van Driem also suggested that the Sino-Tibetan language family be
renamed "Trans-Himalayan", which he considers to be more neutral.
Blench and Post (2013)
Roger Blench and Mark W. Post have criticized the applicability of
conventional Sino-Tibetan classification schemes to minor languages
lacking an extensive written history (unlike Chinese, Tibetic, and
Burmese). They find that the evidence for the subclassification or
even ST affiliation at all of several minor languages of northeastern
India, in particular, is either poor or absent altogether.
While relatively little has been known about the languages of this
region up to and including the present time, this has not stopped
scholars from proposing that these languages either constitute or fall
within some other
Tibeto-Burman subgroup. However, in absence of any
sort of systematic comparison – whether the data are thought
reliable or not – such "subgroupings" are essentially vacuous. The
use of pseudo-genetic labels such as "Himalayish" and "Kamarupan"
inevitably give an impression of coherence which is at best
— Blench & Post (2013), p. 3
In their view, many such languages would for now be best considered
unclassified, or "internal isolates" within the family. They propose a
provisional classification of the remaining languages:
Nagish: Ao, Kuki-Chin, Tangkhul, Zeme, Angami–Pochuri and Meitei
Western: Gongduk, 'Ole, Mahakiranti, Lepcha, Kham–Magaric–Chepang,
Tamangic, and Lhokpu
However, because they propose that the three best-known branches may
actually be much closer related to each other than they are to "minor"
Sino-Tibetan languages, Blench and Post argue that "Sino-Tibetan" or
"Tibeto-Burman" are inappropriate names for a family whose earliest
divergences led to different languages altogether. They support the
proposed name "Trans-Himalayan".
Development of dialects and languages
Change in word structure
The phenomenon of drift, proposed by American linguist Edward Sapir,
occurred in many languages and dialects in the Sino-Tibetan family.
Proto-Chinese and Proto-
Tibeto-Burman are both agglutinative
languages. The change in Proto-Chinese to
Old Chinese around the Shang
Dynasty could be found in the Book of songs when the classifications
of the noun, verbs, and modifier were all dependent on prefixes such
as *s-, *p-, *-k. After the Warring State Period in China, Old
Chinese developed and started to use tones as the classification of
words. The suffix *-s also presented in the new classification
system. The characteristics of
Old Chinese were maintained in most
dialects of southern China.
The Chinese dialects of Min and Wu which were mainly spoken in
southern parts of China, had similarities in pronunciation with
reptiles and birds as seen in the Old
Tai-Kadai language according to
You Rujie's research. The prefixes used for differentiating reptiles
and birds in Chinese dialects showed similar features with the Old
Tai-Kadai language. The old
Tai-Kadai language was mainly used in
the Xiangxi and Guizhou areas of China. You believed that these unique
prefixes maintained by both the local dialects and the old Tai-Kadai
language could be a product of local environmental influence.
Dialects in the
Tibeto-Burman language area developed more
conservatively; they keep the rules for pronunciation and word
structure the same compared to Proto-Tibeto-Burman. The Tibetic
languages are classified between fusional and analytic language; the
Lolo-Burmese languages are mostly analytic languages, and the Jingpho
languages are a mix of an agglutinative and fusional language. The
Bodo–Koch and the
Kuki-Chin–Naga languages kept some particular
characteristics of the Proto-
Tibeto-Burman language such as
agglutination and vowel prefixes. This phenomenon could be that the
two language groups were separated early from the Proto-Tibeto-Burman
language therefore did not undergo much development. The same happened
to Sinitic, where its agglutinative property was kept even when it
developed into an analytic language.
Old Tibetan and the Qiangic both
exhibit consonant clusters caused by the dropping of vowel prefixes,
which is believed to be the same structure Proto-Sino-Tibetan had.
Old Burmese and
Old Tibetan dropped the vowel prefixes during the
dialect acquisition, leaving only Tibeto-Burmese, Jingpho, the
Kuki-Chin–Naga languages that kept the vowel form of
Lolo-Burmese languages and other languages from the
Bodish-Himalayish language group preferred a suffix structure which
they inherited from the Tibetan-Qiangic-Lolo-Burmese group. Their
similarities could be proven by example like the phonetics of the
Tibetic language for "sun": ŋi ma; Achang for "sun": ni31 mɔ31; the
Hakun language for "sun": nɔ55 ma33; and Naxi for "sun": ŋi33 me33.
These inherited suffixes were later retained in these languages and
became widespread in dialects of Old Tibetan, which caused the usage
of the prefix in the modern language to decrease.
According to Dai Qingxia, half of the vocabulary in the Jingpho
language are disyllabic as well as most of the nouns of Jingpho. This
significant amount of disyllabic words came from the consonant cluster
in monosyllabic words and compound words mainly found in the
Tibeto-Burman language. The development of the Sino-Tibetan
language had been focused on solving the problem of phoneme rhyme, as
well as coordinate the crucial point between monosyllabic morpheme and
disyllabic word. Because the Sino-Tibetan language consists of a
monosyllabic root, a prefix and suffix are needed for classifying word
meaning and point of view (aspect?). The prefix *a- appeared in many
Sino-Tibetan dialects to coordinate different morpheme structures. The
repetition of a syllable has the same coordination effect.
Change in tone
Chinese and the
Tai–Kadai languages are analytic
languages that have similar grammar, pronunciation, and syllable
structure. They all started with four tones, soon afterward developed
into different phonological tones such as checked tone because of the
voiced and voiceless properties of the initial. The aspiration of the
initial and the length of the vowel in checked tone led to further
tone development of dialects in these languages. Cantonese in
Jiangyang area for Chinese developed eight different tones because of
the length of the vowel. The aspiration property also determined the
tone development of Tai-Kadai, of which the tone eventually developed
into sixteen types of tone. Zongdi dialect of
Hmong-Mien had also
experienced the change in tone because of the aspiration property.
Except for the Chinese, Karen, and Bai languages, the usual word order
Sino-Tibetan languages is object–verb. Most scholars believe this
to be the original order, with Chinese, Karen and Bai having acquired
subject–verb–object order due to the influence of neighbouring
languages in the Mainland
Southeast Asia linguistic area. However,
Chinese and Bai differ from almost all other VO languages in the world
in placing relative clauses before the nouns they modify.
Hodgson had in 1849 noted a dichotomy between "pronominalized"
(inflecting) languages, stretching across the
Himalayas from Himachal
Pradesh to eastern Nepal, and "non-pronominalized" (isolating)
languages. Konow (1909) explained the pronominalized languages as due
to a Munda substratum, with the idea that Indo-Chinese languages were
essentially isolating as well as tonal. Maspero later attributed the
putative substratum to Indo-Aryan. It was not until Benedict that the
inflectional systems of these languages were recognized as (partially)
native to the family. Scholars disagree over the extent to which the
agreement system in the various languages can be reconstructed for the
In morphosyntactic alignment, many
Tibeto-Burman languages have
ergative and/or anti-ergative (an argument that is not an actor) case
marking. However, the anti-ergative case markings can not be
reconstructed at higher levels in the family and are thought to be
Classifiers and definite marking
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There is no language originally in the Sino-Tibetan family that had
classifiers, but some subgroups did develop some properties of
classifier, such as the
Lolo-Burmese languages which had
cognate nouns as classifiers.
also developed classifiers that are used more commonly in South East
Asia and are mainly use without numerals, such as in Rawang lègā tiq
bok [book one classifier] meaning "one book", lègā bok meaning "the
book"; in Cantonese yat55 ga33 che55 [one classifier vehicle] meaning
"one car", ga33 che55 meaning "the car" (verbally). Some other
Sinitic languages developed the same
use as definite or specific marking. Definite marking did not appear
in the Proto-Sino-Tibetan language either, but there is some use of it
in Qiangic of the Tibeto-Burmese languages, where the markings
seem to evolve from demonstratives.
See also: List of numbers in various languages
隻 *tjek "single"
Beyond the traditionally recognized families of Southeast Asia, a
number of possible broader relationships have been suggested. One of
these is the "Sino-Caucasian" hypothesis of Sergei Starostin, which
posits that the
Yeniseian languages and
North Caucasian languages
North Caucasian languages form
a clade with Sino-Tibetan. The
Sino-Caucasian hypothesis has been
expanded by others to "Dené–Caucasian" to include the Na-Dené
languages of North America, Burushaski, Basque and, occasionally,
Edward Sapir had commented on a connection between Na-Dené
and Sino-Tibetan. A narrower binary
Dené–Yeniseian family has
recently been well-received, though not conclusively demonstrated. In
Laurent Sagart proposes a Sino-Austronesian family relating
Sino-Tibetan to the Austronesian and Tai–Kadai languages.
Proportion of first-language speakers of larger branches of
The most numerous are the Han Chinese, numbering 1.3+ billion. The
other more numerous peoples speaking other
Sino-Tibetan languages are
the Burmese (42 million),
Han Taiwanese (22,5 million), Tibetans (7,5
million), Yi (Lolo) (7 million) and Karen (5 million).
Main article: Sino-Tibetan homeland
J. A. Matisoff proposed that ancient
Sino-Tibetan homeland was around
the upper reaches of the Yangtze, Brahmaputra, Salween, and Mekong.
Tibetan people (Han Chinese, Burmese and Tibetans) started to
split off from common ancestors a few thousand years ago. This view is
in accordance with the hypothesis that bubonic plague, cholera, and
other diseases made the easternmost foothills of the
China and India difficult for people outside to migrate in, but
relatively easily for the indigenous people, who had been adapted to
the environment, to migrate out.
^ Kuhn (1889), p. 189: "wir das Tibetisch-Barmanische einerseits,
das Chinesisch-Siamesische anderseits als deutlich geschiedene und
doch wieder verwandte Gruppen einer einheitlichen Sprachfamilie
anzuerkennen haben." (also quoted in van Driem (2001), p. 264.)
^ The volumes were: 1. Introduction and bibliography, 2. Bhotish, 3.
West Himalayish, 4. West central Himalayish, 5. East Himalayish,
6–7. Digarish–Nungish, 8. Dzorgaish, 9. Hruso, 10. Dhimalish, 11.
Baric, 12. Burmish–Lolish, 13. Kachinish, 14. Kukish, 15.
^ Karlgren's reconstruction, with aspiration as 'h' and 'i̯' as 'j'
to aid comparison.
^ See, for example, the "Sino-Tibetan" (汉藏语系 Hàn-Zàng
yǔxì) entry in the "languages" (語言文字, Yǔyán-Wénzì)
volume of the
Encyclopedia of China (1988).
^ For Shafer, the suffix "-ic" denoted a primary division of the
family, whereas the suffix "-ish" denoted a sub-division of one of
^ les travaux de comparatisme n’ont jamais pu mettre en évidence
l’existence d’innovations communes à toutes les langues
« tibéto-birmanes » (les langues sino-tibétaines à
l’exclusion du chinois)
^ il ne semble plus justifié de traiter le chinois comme le premier
embranchement primaire de la famille sino-tibétaine
^ Handel (2008), pp. 422, 434–436.
^ Logan (1856), p. 31.
^ Logan (1858).
^ a b Hale (1982), p. 4.
^ van Driem (2001), p. 334.
^ Klaproth (1823), pp. 346, 363–365.
^ van Driem (2001), p. 344.
^ Finck (1909), p. 57.
^ a b Przyluski (1924), p. 361.
^ Sapir (1925), p. 373.
^ Przyluski (1924), p. 380.
^ Przyluski & Luce (1931).
^ Miller (1974), p. 195.
^ Miller (1974), pp. 195–196.
^ Matisoff (1991), p. 473.
^ a b Handel (2008), p. 434.
^ Benedict (1972), pp. 20–21.
^ Benedict (1972), pp. 17–18, 133–139, 164–171.
^ a b Handel (2008), pp. 425–426.
^ Miller (1974), p. 197.
^ Matisoff (2003), p. 16.
^ Beckwith (1996).
^ Beckwith (2002b).
^ Matisoff (1991), pp. 471–472.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 25–26.
^ Bodman (1980), p. 47.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 197, 199–202.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 315–317.
^ Beckwith (2002a), pp. xiii–xiv.
^ Thurgood (2003), p. 17.
^ Gong (1980).
^ Handel (2008), p. 431.
^ Hill (2014), pp. 97–104.
^ Matisoff (1991), pp. 472–473.
^ Hale (1982), pp. 4–5.
^ Matisoff (1991), pp. 470, 476–478.
^ Handel (2008), p. 435.
^ Matisoff (1991), p. 482.
^ Handel (2008), p. 426.
^ DeLancey (2009), p. 695.
^ Li (1937), pp. 60–63.
^ a b c Handel (2008), p. 424.
^ Matisoff (1991), p. 487.
^ Benedict (1942), p. 600.
^ Benedict (1972), pp. 2–4.
^ Shafer (1955), pp. 94–96.
^ Shafer (1955), pp. 99–108.
^ Shafer (1966), p. 1.
^ Shafer (1955), pp. 97–99.
^ van Driem (2001), pp. 343–344.
^ van Driem (2001), p. 383.
^ van Driem (1997).
^ Matisoff (2000).
^ van Driem (2001), p. 403.
^ van Driem (2014), p. 19.
^ van Driem (2007), p. 226.
^ Wu (1987).
^ Wang (1980), p. 221.
^ Wu (2002), pp. 9-10.
^ You (1982).
^ Wu (2002), p. 12.
^ Sun (1996).
^ Wu (2002), pp. 10,12.
^ Wu (2002), p. 10.
^ Dai (1997).
^ Wu (2002), p. 11.
^ Shi (1991).
^ Wu (2002).
^ Dryer (2003), pp. 43–45.
^ Dryer (2003), pp. 50.
^ Handel (2008), p. 430.
^ LaPolla (2003), pp. 29–32.
^ LaPolla (2003), pp. 34–35.
^ Xu (1989), pp. 15-23.
^ Dai (1994), pp. 166-181.
^ Bradley (2012), pp. 171-192.
^ Baron (1973).
^ LaPolla & Huang (2003).
^ Thurgood & LaPolla (2017), p. 46.
^ Baxter (1992).
^ a b Hill (2012).
^ a b Burling (1983), p. 28.
^ van Driem (1987), pp. 32–33.
^ Sharma (1988), p. 116.
^ Yanson (2006), p. 106.
^ Shafer (1952).
^ Sagart (2005).
^ Lewis, Simons & Fennig (2015).
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The Genetic Position of Chinese, by Guillaume Jacques
Bodish (Tibetic, East Bodish)
Myanmar tribal belts
Kukish (aka Chin, Zo)
Sinitic (Chinese, Bai)
Dubious (possible isolates)
Hrusish (Hruso, Miji)
List of primary language families
East Geelvink Bay
Northeast New Guinea?
Hawai'i Sign Language
Plains Sign Talk
Plains Sign Talk
(extant in 2000)
Maku-Auari of Roraima
List of sign languages
Families with more than 30 languages are in bold. Families in italics
have no living members.