Sino-Tibetan languages

From Academic Kids

Sino-Tibetan languages form a language family of about 250 languages of East Asia, second only to Indo-European in terms of the number of speakers. Many of the languages are tonal, which however is usually considered to be an areal feature rather than evidence of a genealogical relationship. (Chinese and Tibetan, for example, were not tonal in their earlier stages.)

A few scholars such as Christopher I. Beckwith, Roy A. Miller, and W. S. Coblin question whether the Sinitic languages are related to Tibeto-Burman. No regular sound laws relating the Sino-Tibetan (or Tibeto-Burman) languages have been found. Thus, although the Sino-Tibetan hypothesis enjoys widespread support, it is not as well demonstrated as the Indo-European family. Other linguists, especially in China, believe the Tai-Kadai and Hmong-Mien languages belong in Sino-Tibetan, though this view has fallen out of favor in the West, with the similarities being credited to borrowings and areal features.

James Matisoff's widely accepted classification is as follows:

Sino-Tibetan

Several recent classifications have demoted Chinese to a sub-branch of Tibeto-Burman, rather as the Semitic component of Hamito-Semitic was demoted to a sub-branch of Afro-Asiatic. The following classification from George van Driem is one:

Tibeto-Burman

The relationships of the "Kuki-Naga" languages (Kuki, Mizo, Manipuri, etc.), both amongst each other and to the other Tibeto-Burman languages, is unclear, so this classification does not support Matisoff's Kamarupan hypothesis (above).

External links

es:Lenguas sino-tibetanas fr:Langues sino-tibtaines id:Bahasa Sino-Tibet lt:Kinų-tibetiečių kalbų šeima hu:Sino-tibeti nyelvcsald zh-min-nan:Hàn-Chōng gí-hē nl:Sino-Tibetaanse talen pl:Języki chińsko-tybetańskie ru:Китайско-тибетские языки fi:Sinotiibetiliset kielet vi:Hệ ngôn ngữ Hán-Tây Tạng zh:汉藏语系

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