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The Contribution of Tangut to Trans-Himalayan Comparative Linguistics

Hill, Nathan W. (2015) 'The Contribution of Tangut to Trans-Himalayan Comparative Linguistics.' Archiv orientální, 83 (1). pp. 187-200.

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Abstract

Tangut is among a handful of Trans-Himalayan1 languages with an early date of attestation and a vast literature. First recorded from 1042 C.E., Tangut is younger than Chinese (c. 1200 B.C.E) and Tibetan (650 C.E.), but older than Burmese (1113 C.E.). With the loss of the Tangut polity to the Mongols in 1227 C.E., the language gradually declined, with the most recent known text from 1499 C.E. The decipherment of Tangut became possible after Pyotr Kozlov excavated a sizable number of documents at Khara-Khoto in 1909 and transferred them to St Petersburg. The language and its literature are now reasonably well understood and actively researched. Nonetheless, the diachronic development of the language has garnered scant attention. The work under review treats the phonology and morphology of Tangut in comparative context. Jacques makes particular reference to Japhug Rgyalrong, a spoken language of our day. By any standard the methodological rigor and philological sophistication of this work is outstanding. The author has mastery over Tangut philology and its attendant secondary literature; written in French, the work consults research in Russian, Chinese, and Japanese. Tangut texts are cited at first hand and lucidly presented. In addition, Jacques brings his extensive fieldwork on Japhug Rgyalrong to bear throughout.

Item Type: Book Reviews
Keywords: Tangut, phonology, Tibetan, Old Burmese, Trans-Himalayan, Tibeto-Burman, Sino-Tibetan
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia
Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of Linguistics
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
ISSN: 0044-8699
Depositing User: Nathan Hill
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2015 19:48
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/20059

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