Documentation and Comparative Study of two Endangered Languages in Tibet: Wutunhua, Daohua
Yeshes Vodgsal Acuo, University of Nankai
Individual Postgraduate Fellowship. Duration: 2004-2006. £49,555
Daohua and Wutunhua are isolated linguistic islands within the vast Tibetan-speaking area. Daohua is spoken by approximately 2,600 people in eastern Tibet, and Wutunhua is spoken by about 2000 people in north-eastern Tibet.
Comparing the two languages, although there is hardly any genetic affinity between them, we find an amazing similarity in their phonological and grammatical structures and lexicon. Their cultural settings and ontogenesis also seem to be close. They exhibit features of both Tibetan and Chinese in lexicon, phonology and syntax, and the expression “heterogeneous but orderly” is a pertinent depiction of their linguistic features.
This project aims to conduct a thorough documentation of the two endangered languages. Our primary goals include collecting a variety of data (audio and video recordings, texts), and writing two quadrilingual dictionaries, two grammatical sketches, and a preliminary comparison of the synchronic typology of the two languages in the context of theories on language contact.