Back to listing

Gerald Roche & Yudro Tsomu: "Language Diversity and Endangerment in Tibet: The Gochang Language in Context", 20 Nov 2015

Shape, University of Melbourne

Date: 20 November 2015

Where: Room 407, Babel (Building 139), University of Melbourne

When: 2-3pm, 20 November 2015

This presentation will explore Tibet's little-known linguistic diversity. We will provide some basic background information on the languages of Tibet, and discuss how current developments are leading to widespread language endangerment and shift in the region. Facing rapid modernization, increasing integration into the Chinese state, and the disruptions of an expanded globalized market economy penetrating into some of China's poorest regions, many of the languages of Tibet face endangerment, with several currently on the verge of extinction. This is particularly the case for Tibet's many minority languages - the non-Tibetan languages of the region.

In this presentation, we focus on Gochang, a language spoken by about 7,000 Tibetans in eastern Tibet. We discuss the challenges being faced by Gochang's speakers, which relate primarily to their predicament of being a double minority: a linguistic minority in Tibet, and an ethnic minority in China. We discuss to what extent Gochang is representative of the broader situation of Tibet's minority languages, and to what extent it informs us about broader trends of language endangerment in Tibet, China, and around the world.

Phone: +61 3 8344 7482

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University