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Lecture by Gerald Roche: New Views of Tibetan Linguistic Diversity

December 5, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Research on Tibetan linguistic diversity in the West dates back to at least the mid-nineteenth century. However, a surge in descriptive and documentary linguistics in the twenty-first century has radically altered our understanding of the rich and complex linguistic ecology in Tibetan areas. This presentation will provide an overview of this emerging picture of the region as a cradle of linguistic diversity in the heart of Asia. The talk will have two main aims. The first is to present a synthesis of recent linguistic research in Tibetan areas, thus providing some basic background information on how many languages are spoken in Tibetan areas, where, and by whom. The second aim of the talk is to present some new findings about language endangerment in Tibetan areas, and the social, political, and historical processes underlying that endangerment. Taken together, these two aspects of the presentation will provide a new view on Tibetan linguistic diversity, demonstrating that it is not only much richer than previously thought, but also more fragile.   

Gerald Roche is an anthropologist and currently serves as the ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute. Previously a post-doctoral research fellow at Uppsala University’s Hugo Valentin Centre, Gerald completed his doctorate in Asian Studies at Griffith University and lived on the northeast Tibetan Plateau for eight years. Among his various educational and cultural initiatives, Gerald collaborated in the creation of the world’s largest online archive of oral traditions from the Tibetan Plateau.


December 5, 2017
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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Nau Hall 342
1540 Jefferson Park Avenue
Charlottesville, VA 22903 United States


Tibet Center