Tibetan is classified into several different categories. Each category possesses certain languages or certain dialects. But are there really any languages similar to Tibetan?
What will I learn?
Yes, there are some. Most of them are actually the different dialects of the same language. People consider them as separate languages.
This article discusses similar languages and a few facts about the Tibetan language. Keep reading for clarification.
Languages Similar To Tibetan – Are There Any?
Tibetan has categories of Sino Tibetan and Proto Tibetan languages. Each of these has some languages in it. Below are some of the basic languages similar to Tibetan:
1. Mandarin/Chinese – Is It From The Languages Similar To Tibetan:
Although the parallels aren’t immediately apparent, the words do share some shared roots. If you learn Tibetan and Chinese languages at the same time, you’ll see that they have a lot in common.
The basic numerals 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 have nearly identical pronunciations. This issue exists in Thai as well. They will be more similar if they use south Chinese languages.
Tibetan and Han’s people speak the old Qiang language. This is because their forefathers came from the ancient Qiang.
The Tibetans eventually moved to the west plateau areas as a result of the war’s influence. They are now known as the plateau Han.
Tibetans abandoned the ancient Qiang script and adopted the Sanskrit transcription. This happened after the advent of Buddhism.
In the Central Plains, the old Qiang people gradually blended with the People of Huaxia. And their language changed dramatically as a result.
It gradually becomes ancient Chinese due to the addition of tones. However, it has excluded numerous consonants.
2. Dzongkha – Is It Among The Languages Similar To Tibetan:
Dzongkha is a Sino Tibetan language that is written in Tibetan script. It employs the Tibetan script as well. It has nearly identical spelling to the Tibetan language.
Tibetan and Dzongkha are mutually comprehensible to a degree of 50 to 80 percent. Both literary forms have significant impact from liturgical practices (clerical).
Buddhist monks have utilized the classical Tibetan language. This was referred to in Bhutan as Chöke for centuries. Until the early 1960s, Chöke was the official language of Bhutan.
Then Dzongkha took its position in public schools. Dzongkha, while developed from Traditional Tibetan, has a lot of unpredictable sound changes.
As a result, the standard pronunciation and official spelling are further off. They are different than they are in Standard Tibetan.
Classical orthography and current phonology are two separate systems that follow different norms.
3. Sikkimese – One Of The Languages Similar To Tibetan:
The Sikkimese language, known as Sikkimese Tibetan or Bhutia, is the South Tibetan language. People in Sikkimese, Tibet, speak this language. Sikkimese uses Tibetan script for writing, which it acquired from Classical Tibetan.
However, Sikkimese pronunciation and vocabulary differ significantly from Classical Tibetan. The writing system of Sikkimese is hence referred to as “Bodhi style” by SIL International.
In 2001, 68 percent of Sikkimese Bhutia learnt Tibetan script, according to SIL. Standard Tibetan, on the other hand, is just 42% lexically comparable to Sikkimese.
Sikkimese devoiced consonants use a somewhat breathy voice and a low pitch. They are the remains of voiced consonants that were devoiced in Classical Tibetan.
4. Amdo Tibetan:
The Tibetan dialect spoken in Amdo is Amdo Tibetan (Tibetan script: ཨ་མདོའི་སྐད་]. It has two dialects: farmer and nomad.
The Amdo language is one of the 3 branches of Tibetic language categorization. It keeps the word-initial consonant clusters. Therefore, Amdo Tibetan’s nomad dialect is closest to classical written Tibetan.
It’s non-tonal, and in the Ü-Tsang branch, both are now omitted (including Lhasa Tibetan). As a result, the Amdo Tibetans take pleasure in the rigidity of their phonology.
Is Tibetan Hard To Learn Compared To Other Languages Similar To Tibetan?
It’s harder than European languages but easier than Chinese or Arabic, for example. There is an alphabet to learn, which isn’t difficult if you get enough practice and exposure.
There are a few things to remember. For an English speaker or hearing ear, Tibetan features sounds are similar to each other.
Interesting Facts About Tibetan
Below are some fascinating facts about this ancient tongue.
1. Change Of Words For Respect:
In Tibetan, nouns and verbs have respectful forms or ‘honorifics.’ This means that language might change to express respect based on who you are speaking to.
The different words often have similarities, but they can also be completely unrelated.
2. Stacking Of Letters To Make New Words:
The Tibetan alphabet’s letters not only link to one another individually. One of the letters is chosen as the root, after which the remaining letters are appended.
It doesn’t only place the letters before and after the root but also on top of and beneath it.
3. Vowel Sounds:
Every letter in Tibetan follows the vowel sound ‘a’ by default. It also uses a diacritic sign to modify the vowel sound.
It’s a symbol to signify a change in pronunciation. The o, e, and i sounds are placed near the word’s root letter. On the other hand, u tone is placed below.
4. Silent Words:
Even though a word can have up to seven letters, these characters are not always pronounced. As a result, a lot of words could have a similar. pronunciation
They only distinguish from one another in writing. The differing spelling of identical sounding terms distinguishes them in writing.
Also, several of the letters might not even be uttered. But they may alter the consonant or vowel cluster pronunciation in the word.
5. Tibetan Alphabet:
The Tibetan alphabet consists of 30 characters with a logical order. The order of rows is according to the sound’s articulation (the way of making sound).
The arrangement of sounds in the column is according to their acoustics. This is according to the level of voice involvement.
Many terms in the Tibetan language, as well as the alphabet used, originated in India.
This is due to the fact that many of the original Tibetan books were Sanskrit translations. These were the translations of Buddhist literature.
6. No Standard Punctuation Or Separation In Words:
Tibetan language does not use standard punctuation. There are a variety of used symbols, which are mostly decorative.
Syllables make up the Tibetan language. It uses the apostrophe-like dot known as the ‘tsheg’ to separate these syllables.
Moreover, it leaves the margins of words unmarked. The reader has to decide where a word begins and finishes.
The Tibetan language, like the history of the 6 million Tibetans who speak it, is legendary. It is the Dalai Lama’s as well as dharma’s language, the Buddhist philosophy.
Tibetan is a lovely enigma for its tongue-tying accent and complex writing system. It has very few similarities with other languages.
Some of the ancient dialects of Tibetan are now separate languages. People of different nations use these dialects as their native languages.
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