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The Politics of Language Contact in the Himalaya
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Contents

Contributors

vii

Preface

xi

Introduction: Language Politics and Language Contact

1

Selma K. Sonntag

1.

Language Contact and the Politics of Recognition amongst Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China:
The rTa’u-Speaking ‘Horpa’ of Khams

17

Tunzhi (Sonam Lhundrop), Hiroyuki Suzuki, and Gerald Roche

Vertical and Horizontal Politics of Language Contact in Tibet

17

The rTa’u-speaking ‘Horpa’: Ambiguous Origins and Shifting Polysemy

20

rTa’u-speakers and Contemporary Tibetan Language Politics

30

Conclusion

40

2.

What Happened to the Ahom Language? The Politics of Language Contact in Assam

49

Selma K. Sonntag

The Mandala State

52

The Ahom Kingdom

57

The Colonial State

66

The Modern State

70

Conclusion

74

3.

Transforming Language to Script: Constructing Linguistic Authority through Language Contact in Schools in Nepal

79

Uma Pradhan

Linguistic Authority Through Language Contact

81

Writing Language, Claiming “Authenticity”

85

Language, Dialect, and Making “Corrections”

93

Language, Script, and Social Acceptability

98

Language, Education and Frames of “Legitimacy”

102

Conclusion

105

4.

The Significance of Place in Ethnolinguistic Vitality: Spatial Variations Across the Kaike-Speaking Diaspora of Nepal

109

Maya Daurio

Kaike Speakers

110

Language and Identity

115

Intergenerational Transmission

126

Conclusion

130

5.

Speaking Chone, Speaking ‘Shallow’: Dual Linguistic Hegemonies in China’s Tibetan Frontier

137

Bendi Tso and Mark Turin

The Shape of Linguistic Hegemony: Coercion and Consent

138

Situating Chone County in Time and Place

140

Research Methods and Subject Position

144

Coercion as an Aspect of Linguistic Hegemony

145

The Role of Consent in Shaping Linguistic Hegemony

154

Conclusion

159

6.

Concluding Thoughts on Language Shift and Linguistic Diversity in the Himalaya: The Case of Nepal

163

Mark Turin

List of Tables and Figures

177

Index

179