A Grammar of the Thangmi Language Vol I: Ethnography & Grammar
ISBN: 978 9937 597 74 6
A Grammar of the Thangmi Language Vol II: Texts & Lexicon
ISBN: 978 9937 597 75 3
This monograph is a grammar of Thangmi, an endangered Tibeto-Burman language spoken in the districts of Dolakha and Sindhupalcok in central-eastern Nepal. The language is spoken by upwards of 30,000 people belonging to an ethnic group of the same name. The Thangmi are one of Nepal’s least documented communities.
These two volumes include a grammatical description of the Dolakha dialect of Thangmi, a collection of glossed oral texts and a comprehensive lexicon with relevant examples. In addition, the reader will find an extensive ethnolinguistic introduction to the speakers and their culture.
For students and scholars of anthropology and linguistics, this study is a compelling illustration of the interweaving of these disciplines in the context of Himalayan studies.
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Mark Turin (PhD, Linguistics, Leiden University, 2006) is an anthropologist and linguist, and an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He is cross-appointed between the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Department of Anthropology. He first visited Nepal in 1991.
This is a great contribution to Thangmi studies due to its many insightful details in the discussion, and is an invaluable resource that will be of great interest particularly to those working on Tibeto-Burman linguistics, anthropology, historical linguistics and linguistic typology.
—Narayan P. Sharma, HIMALAYA, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies
The grammar of the Thangmi language is now documented by Mark Turin in a monograph that serves as a true monument to the Thangmi language and culture. Linguists will greatly appreciate Turin’s exemplary linguistic description, but this remarkable book is not merely of interest to those specialist colleagues. Turin’s expertise combines anthropology and descriptive linguistics, and in this treasure trove of new information on the Thangmi, Turin offers us the best of these two fields. The monograph includes comprehensive discussions of many aspects of Thangmi life and culture, so that much of this book will appeal to anyone who is interested in the cultural and linguistic diversity of Nepal. Turin’s style is clear and comprehensive, and his analyses are transparent and convincing. This monograph documents and describes previously undescribed aspects of the Thangmi language, clarifies earlier linguistic discussions and contains new manifestations of the Thangmi language, which makes it an immensely valuable storehouse of information on Thangmi. Mark Turin’s wide interests and extensive research have resulted in a magnificent grammar that should serve as a compelling model for future descriptive linguists and should be treasured by all those interested in the various linguistic and cultural traditions of Nepal.
—Heleen Plaisier, European Bulletin of Himalayan Research
In addition to a comprehensive description of Thangmi grammar, the work under review contains an ethnographic survey of the Thangmi. The detail and clarity of presentation far exceeds the level of cultural description found in most grammars. A short review cannot do justice to the wide array of observations on family structure, diet, clothing, religion, etc., many of which may be of great import for the comparative study of Himalayan anthropology. By laying bear the mediated nature of his own acquisition of the language Turin achieves an honesty and explicitness that few linguists attempt. The importance of this excellent description of an endangered Himalayan language is difficult to overstate; the book is a triumph.
—Nathan W. Hill, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
This is an excellent and comprehensive grammar of a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in north central Nepal. Overall, this grammar is an ideal model that provides a thorough background on the language and its cultural context, especially concerning kinship, with a great deal of additional cultural information embedded in the texts provided in volume two. It also discusses phonology, morphology, and all major areas of clause syntax, and all claims can easily be verified and exemplified in the texts as well as from the extensive text-derived examples throughout the grammar. A large lexicon for comparative and other purposes is also provided. The author is to be congratulated for this excellent and comprehensive work.
—David Bradley, Anthropological Linguistics