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  • Linguistic Diversity on the Tibetan Plateau: A Talk with Dr. Gerald Roche

    Monday, December 4, 2017, noon – 1 p.m.
    Q?rius Theater, Ground Floor
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW
    Washington, D.C.

    Research on Tibet’s 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 Tibet’s rich and complex linguistic ecology. This presentation will provide an overview of this emerging picture of Tibet as a cradle of linguistic diversity in the heart of Asia.

    This talk will have two main aims. The first is to present a synthesis of recent linguistic research in Tibet, thus providing some basic background information on how many languages are spoken in Tibet, where, and by whom. The second aim is to present some new findings about language endangerment in Tibet, and the social, political, and historical processes underlying that endangerment. Taken together, these two aspects of the presentation will provide a new view on Tibet’s linguistic diversity, demonstrating that it is not only much richer than previously thought, but also more fragile.

    Dr. Gerald Roche is an anthropologist and ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute. His research focuses on the cultural and linguistic diversity of China’s Tibetan regions, and how this diversity is being transformed in the twenty-first century. His anthropological interests currently relate language endangerment, maintenance, and revitalization, as well as issues of language and social justice.

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