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The Australian National University

Bumthangkha [kjz]

Bumthang is the major language of north-central Bhutan, being spoken in four main valleys (Chokor, Chume, Tang and Ura), each with its own dialect.

George Van Driem (also: here) has worked on Bumthang, reporting on the Chume dialect.

Beginning in 2013 Mark Donohue led a class investigating the Ura dialect of the language.

Bumthang is subgrouped as a sister of Kurtoep and Khengkha, but appears to have a very different structure to that reported for Kurtoep.

Bumthang has a basic SOV order, with a preverbal focus position that is obligatory with question words. Identificational focus is post-verbal, leading to a range of different attested clausal orders, based on pragmatic variation, which includes ellipsis of arguments altogether. By contrast, NP order is fixed, with some prenominal elements (demonstratives, possession and relative clauses), and some postverbal (adjective phrases, numeral phrases). Bumthang inflection is strongly suffixing on both nouns and verbs, via affixes and clitics; there is little derivational morphology, such functions being carried out in the syntax. The stacking of multiple inflectional elements can lead to a quite agglutinative profile, especially on verbs, where different copular verbs have been incorporated into the inflectional system through cycles of grammaticalisation.

More information on Bumthang (the Ura dialect) can be found here.

Updated:  18 September 2013/Responsible Officer:  Mark Donohue /Page Contact:  Mark Donohue