A synoptic overview of Bjokapakha grammar

Grollmann, Selin (21 May 2014). A synoptic overview of Bjokapakha grammar (Unpublished). In: Berner Zirkel für Sprachwissenschaft. Bern, Schweiz. 21.05.2014.

Bjokapakha is the language of the Bjokapa people living in the Bjoka geo within
the Zh'ämgang district in south-eastern Bhutan. Since 2012, I have conducted field
research in Geneva with two speakers of the Bjokapakha language. This resulted
in a sketch grammar written as a Master's thesis, representing the first descriptive
account of Bjokapakha. The language belongs to the Tshangla cluster of the
Trans-Himalayan language stock. The Tshangla branch is far from being exhausti-
vely documented, rather most of the varieties remain undescribed which makes in-
depth comparative studies within the Tshangla branch impossible. Major descrip-
tions of Tshangla languages have been crafted by Andvik (2010) and Bodt (2012),
other documentations include the wordlist by Egli-Roduner (1987) and the sketch
grammar on Central Monpa by Das Gupta (1968).
Bjokapakha exhibits several linguistic traits which differ from the Tshangla, as
described by Andvik (2010) and the variety presented as Standard Tshangla in
Bodt (2012). Rather, Bjokapakha resembles some of the archaic varieties of
Tshangla, i.e. the Dungsam dialects, in presenting a number of linguistic features
which are not found in other varieties and which are deemed to be archaic. This
makes Bjokapakha of major interest for a diachronic understanding of the Tshan-
gla subgroup as a whole. In addition to these archaic features, Bjokapakha repre-
sents a particularly intriguing Tshangla variety because the language verges on
several other language groups in Bhutan, such as the East Bodish language
Khengkha and the Trans-Himalayan isolate Gongduk, resulting in various peculiar
contact influences. In this talk, the most salient features of Bjokapakha grammar shall be presented in a synoptic way and the most striking diverging and archaic
traits with respect to other Tshangla varieties shall be shown.

Andvik, Erik (2010). A Grammar of Tshangla. Leiden/Boston: Brill. (Languages of
the Greater Himalayan Region, vol. 5/10).
Bodt, Timotheus A. (2012). The New Lamp Clarifying the History, Peoples, Lan-
guages and Traditions of Eastern Bhutan and Eastern Mon. Wageningen: Monpa-
sang Publications.
Das Gupta, K. (1968). An Introduction to Central Monpa. Itanagar: Directorate of
Research, Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.
Egli-Roduner, Susanna (1987). Handbook of the Sharchhokpa-lo/Tsangla (lan-
guage of the people of Eastern Bhutan). Thimpu: Helvetas. Swiss Association for
Development and Cooperation.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

Grollmann, Selin


400 Language > 410 Linguistics


Selin Grollmann

Date Deposited:

05 Nov 2018 10:53

Last Modified:

05 Nov 2018 10:53



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