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Rethinking Tibeto-Burman: Linguistic identities and classifications in the Himalayan periphery

Abstract : “To be human you must have a tribe. To have tribe you must have mother tongue” stated a Shona tribesman, when asked by the fieldworker John Hofman for a definition of his identity (Hofman 1977: 289). While by no means a universal truth, this assertion encapsulates a widespread sentiment held by both indigenous peoples and those who study them: that language and identity are inextricably linked. In this short article I offer some structured reflections on linguistic identities along the Tibetan margins and the classificatory tools that are used to define them. In particular, I argue against the uncritical extension of models of linguistic classification to categorise ethnic communities in the Himalayan periphery.
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Mark Turin. Rethinking Tibeto-Burman: Linguistic identities and classifications in the Himalayan periphery. P. Christiaan Klieger. Tibetan borderlands, 2, Brill, pp.35-48, 2006, Proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the IATS, 2003, 978-90-04-15482-7. ⟨halshs-03083344⟩

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