Linguistic evidence for a closer relationship between Lhokpu and Dhimal

Including some remarks on the Dhimalish subgroup

In: Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale
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  • 1 Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Bern

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Lhokpu is a hitherto undescribed and unclassified Trans-Himalayan language spoken by some 2,500 speakers in southwestern Bhutan. Fieldwork in 2015 now enables linguistic research on the language, including accounts on its phylogenetic position within the language family. This paper presents morphological, lexical, and phonological evidence for a closer phylogenetic relationship between Lhokpu and Dhimal (southeastern Nepal). Dhimal is conventionally grouped together with Toto under “Dhimalish.” We argue in this paper that the similarities between Lhokpu and Dhimal are equally profound and numerous, and that Lhokpu, Dhimal, and Toto are three closely related languages within the Trans-Himalayan family.

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