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U320/U520  Introduction to Sino-Tibetan Linguistics
Christopher Beckwith

This course will constitute a survey of the languages now thought to belong to the putative Sino-Tibetan family of languages, namely the Sinitic (Chinese) and Tibeto-Burman languages. The discussion will focus on historical and typological approaches to the problem of Sino-Tibetan reconstruction, using the earliest attested language data as much as possible. Topics covered include: the main theories, and their criticism; problems of morphological analysis; lexically-based historical linguistics; "basic vocabulary" and loanwords; reconstruction of Common Tibeto-Burman and Proto-Tibeto-Burman, including study of each major branch, but especially the branches represented by medieval literary languages, namely Tibetan (Tibetic), Zhangzhung (West Himalayan), Pyu (perhaps Karenic), Burmese (Burmic), Newar (Central Himalayan), Tangut (Qiangic), and Manipuri (Kuki-Chin); internal reconstruction of Middle Chinese, Old Chinese, and Proto-Chinese; use of loanwords to establish phonology for earlier periods of Chinese and Tibeto-Burman; loans from Austronesian, Indo-European, and other language families; loans into Taic and Proto-Japanese-Koguryoic; and other topics.

Prerequisites: One course in historical linguistics or phonology, and upper-class standing (for U320) or graduate standing (for U520).

Course requirements: Regular attendance and participation in class discussions, and completion of all assignments by the date due (for reading assignments, before class). Assignments, other than readings, will consist of several short projects and a term paper.

Texts: A reading list will be distributed for books and articles available in the library.

Days and Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 11:15-12:30.