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The Australian National University

Kurtöp [xkz]

Work on Kurtöp began when Pema Chhophyel happened across the Linguistics Department at the University of Oregon and expressed concern for the loss of his language. He subsequently began working as a language consultant for the Field Methods class in 2005-2006, including making two field trips for the class. The class produced a number of small papers and two theses, and led into a larger documentation project. In collaboration with a local research team and the Dzongkha Development Commission in Bhutan, the Kurtöp Documentation Project aims to document Kurtöp in as many socio-cultural contexts as possible. The Endangered Languages Documentation Project, the National Science Foundation, the Association for Asian Studies, and the University of Oregon have provided support for the research.

Kurtöp is an East Bodish (

Kurtöp has verb-final syntax with a strong preference for suffixes and enclitics and case marking postposition. Core arguments generally precede the verb and in the case of bivalent verbs, the A argument will precede the O argument. However, this AOV order is a generalization; in natural speech speakers may move the S, A and/or O argument to follow the verb, depending on pragmatic factors. Verbal arguments are not required overtly and in fact, are often missing in natural discourse.

Kurtöp tends toward an agglutinating morphological profile, with many words consisting of more than one morpheme. Verbs are usually composed of two to three morphemes within three to four syllables and it is not unusual for verbs to consist of five syllables. There is one prefix in the language (the negative marker) and the remainder of verbal morphology is comprised of suffixes and enclitics.

Gwen Hyslop is investigating Kurtöp.

Dungkar surrounds Dungkar village

Updated:  7 July 2012/Responsible Officer:  Mark Donohue /Page Contact:  Mark Donohue