Khams Tibetan language

Khams Tibetan Language

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Khams Tibetan language

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Khams Tibetan (; also called Kham kä) is the Tibetan language used by the majority of the people in the Kham region of eastern Tibet (E. Tibet Autonomous Region, S. Qinghai, W. Sichuan, Yunnan). It is one of the four main spoken languages of Tibetan, the other three being those of U-Tsang (ü kä), Amdo (am kä) and Western Tibetan (tö kä). All four Tibetan language groups share the same written script, but their pronunciations, vocabularies and grammars are different. These differences may have emerged due to geographical isolation of the regions of Tibet. Khams Tibetan is used alongside Central Tibetan and Amdo Tibetan in broadcasting, but shares the classical Tibetan orthography with them. Khams Tibetan is, however, not intelligible with Amdo, Central Tibetan, or Ladakhi. Like Central Tibetan, it is a tonal language.

Khams Tibetan is not closely related to the Kham language spoken by the Kham Magars of western Nepal.


There are three <!--Ethnologue gives six different 'dialects' --> main dialect groups of Khams Tibetan, with low mutual intelligibility, and Ethnologue says they may be separate languages:

  • Central Kham spoken in the Derge (W. Sichuan & T.A.R.) and Chamdo (T.A.R.) areas.
  • Southern Kham spoken in the Dechen area (Yunnan & T.A.R.). Several varieties due to the mountainous terrain causing isolation, as well as contact with neighboring language communities for trade.
  • Northeastern Kham......
  • ...

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