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Sino-Tibetan languages

Tibeto-Burman Languages

The Tibeto-Burman languages include Tibetan, Burmese, and a number of other tongues, among which are the Bodo, Garo, and Lushai of Assam, the Kachin of Myanmar (Burma), and perhaps also the languages of the Chins and Nagas of Myanmar, the Karen tongues of Myanmar and Thailand, and the Lolo of SW China. Tibeto-Burman languages are likely to be tonal and have anywhere from two to six tones. They are less monosyllabic and isolating than the languages of the other Sino-Tibetan families. In fact, they tend to be somewhat agglutinative and exhibit some degree of inflection. In an agglutinative language, different linguistic elements, each of which exists separately and has a fixed meaning, are joined to form one word. Affixes added to an unchanged root serve as the usual method of indicating inflection in the Tibeto-Burman tongues.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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