Amdo Tibetan

The Amdolese language (Tibetan: ཨ་མདོ་སྐད་, Wylie: A-mdo skad, Lhasa dialect: [[Help:IPA/Tibetan|[[[Help:IPA/Tibetan|[ámtokɛ́ʔ]]]]]]; also called Am kä) is the Tibetic language spoken by the majority of Amdolese, mainly in Qinghai and some parts of Sichuan (Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture) and Gansu (Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture).

Amdolese is one of the four main spoken Tibetic languages, the other three being Central Tibetan, Khams Tibetan, and Ladakhi. These four related languages share a common written script but their spoken pronunciations, vocabularies and grammars are different. These differences may have emerged due to geographical isolation of the regions of Tibet. Unlike Khams and Standard Tibetan, Amdolese language is not a tonal language. It retains many word-initial consonant clusters that have been lost in Central Tibetan.

Native toChina
RegionQinghai, Gansu, Tibet Autonomous Region, Sichuan, Amdo
Native speakers
1.8 million (2005)[1]
Tibetan alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3adx


Dialects are:[3]

  • North Kokonor (Kangtsa, Themchen, Arik, etc.)
  • West Kokonor (Dulan, Na'gormo, etc.),
  • Southeast Kokonor (Jainca, Thrika, Hualong, etc.)
  • Labrang (Labrang, Luchu)
  • Golok (Machen, Matö, Gabde)
  • Ngapa (Ngapa, Dzorge, Dzamthang)
  • Kandze

Bradley (1997)[4] includes Thewo and Choni as close to Amdo if not actually Amdo dialects.

Hua (2001)[5] contains word lists of the Xiahe County 夏河, Tongren County 同仁, Xunhua County 循化, Hualong County 化隆, Hongyuan County 红原, and Tianjun County 天峻 dialects of Amdo Tibetan in Gansu and Qinghai provinces.


Inside China
  • The Qinghai Television station broadcasts in Amdolese Tibetan and Mandarin Chinese language.[6]
  • The Qinghai Tibetan Radio (མཚོ་སྔོན་བོད་སྐད་རླུང་འཕྲིན།) station broadcasts in Amdolese Tibetan on FM 99.7.[7]
  • Radio Free Asia broadcasts in three Tibetan languages: Standard Tibetan, Khams language and Amdolese language.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Amdolese at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Amdo Tibetan". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ N. Tournadre (2005) "L'aire linguistique tibétaine et ses divers dialectes." Lalies, 2005, n°25, p. 7–56 [1]
  4. ^ Bradley (1997) Archived December 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Hua Kan 华侃主编 (ed). 2001. Vocabulary of Amdo Tibetan dialects [藏语安多方言词汇]. Lanzhou: Gansu People's Press [甘肃民族出版社].
  6. ^ "Qinghai Television". Archived from the original on 2009-12-27. Retrieved 2009-12-22.
  7. ^ 青海藏语广播网 མཚོ་སྔོན་བོད་སྐད་རླུང་འཕྲིན། - 青海藏语广播网 མཚོ་སྔོན་བོད་སྐད་རླུང་འཕྲིན།
  8. ^ "བོད་སྐད་སྡེ་ཚན།".


  • Norbu, Kalsang, Karl Peet, dPal Idan bKra shis, & Kevin Stuart, Modern Oral Amdo Tibetan: A Language Primer. Edwin Mellen Press, 2000.
  • Hua Kan 华侃主编 (ed). 2001. Vocabulary of Amdo Tibetan dialects [藏语安多方言词汇]. Lanzhou: Gansu People's Press [甘肃民族出版社]. (Contains word lists of the Xiahe County 夏河, Tongren County 同仁, Xunhua County 循化, Hualong County 化隆, Hongyuan County 红原, and Tianjun County 天峻 dialects in Gansu and Qinghai provinces.)

External links

2008 Sichuan riots

In Sichuan province, in an area incorporating the traditional Tibetan areas Kham and Amdo, Tibetan monks and police clashed in riots on 16 March in Ngawa county after the monks staged a protest. It formed part of the 2008 Tibetan unrest and was one of two major events to happen in Sichuan during 2008, the other being the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in May 2008.

8th Arjia Rinpoche

8th Agya Hotogtu (Lobsang Tubten Jigme Gyatso) (Tibetan: ཨ་རྒྱ་ཧོ་ཐོག་ཐུ་, Amdo Tibetan ar.ɟa.hɔ.tʰɔk.tʰʊ, born 1950) is one of the most prominent Buddhist teachers and lamas to have left Tibet. At age two, Arjia Rinpoche was recognized by Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama as the 20th Arjia Danpei Gyaltsen, the reincarnation of Je Tsongkhapa's father, Lumbum Ghe, the throne holder and abbot of Kumbum Monastery. He has trained with lineage teachers, such as the 14th Dalai Lama, the 10th Panchen Lama, and Gyayak Rinpoche—from whom he received many sacred teachings and ritual instructions.

During the Cultural Revolution in Chinese controlled Tibet, Arjia Rinpoche was forced to leave his monastery and attend a Chinese school, yet secretly continued to practice and study with his tutors. In addition, he was required to work in a forced Labor Camp for 16 years. Following the Cultural Revolution, Rinpoche continued serving as Abbot of Kumbum—overseeing the renovations in the monastery and reestablishing monastic studies. In 1998, due to the strained political climate in Tibet, Arjia Rinpoche went into exile because he would not compromise his spiritual beliefs and practices. He escaped to the United States where he now lives and started a Buddhist Center for Compassion and Wisdom (TCCW) in Mill Valley, California, a center committed to the preservation of Buddhist teachings, art and culture within and outside of Tibet and Mongolia. In 2005, he was appointed Director of the Tibetan Cultural Center (TCC) in Bloomington, Indiana by the 14th Dalai Lama. TCC was recently renamed the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center. Presently, he directs both TCCW and TMBCC.

Arjia Rinpoche excels in the knowledge and understanding of Tibetan art, architecture and the Tibetan Language. He has given classes in Buddhist Art and Sutra throughout the United States, Canada, Taiwan, India and Guatemala. In 1999, Rinpoche built a three-dimensional Kalachakra mandala and presented it to the Dalai Lama. Later, the Dalai Lama donated this mandala to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Kumbum Monastery, one of the six largest monasteries of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, is the birthplace of Je Tsongkhapa (founder of the school which is now headed by the Dalai Lama). Kumbum Monastery was once the home of 3,600 monks and well revered by the four well known Buddhist Colleges for higher learning: The Institute of Sutra, Institute of Tantra, Institute of Tibetan Medicine, and the Institute of the Kalachakra (Astrology). In the 1980s, after Buddhism began to revive in Tibet and in China, Arjia Rinpoche reestablished monastic life and traditional studies at Kumbum.

Throughout his life, Arjia Rinpoche was tutored by specialized teachers in the area of Buddhist philosophy, sutra and tantra teachings, as well as in Buddhist art and architectural design. He was in charge of the renovations of Kumbum monastery in 1991 and launched several projects including the following: Red Cross Organization in Kumbum, Disaster Relief Project for local villages, a clinic for villagers run by monks of the Tibetan Medical Institute and a school for local village children.Arjia Rinpoche became vegetarian in 1999.

Aku Pema

Aku Pema (Tibetan: ཨ་གུ་པད་མ་, Wylie: a gu pad ma; Amdo Tibetan [akʰɯ panma]) is a Tibetan song, written by the Tibetan singer Palgon (Wylie: dpal mgon, Amdo Tibetan [χʷalɡon]). It is mainly considered to be calling for the Dalai Lama to return, but this is indirect. At no point during the song do the lyrics mention the Dalai Lama. The reference to the Dalai Lama is through a nickname Aku Pema, Tibetan for Uncle Lotus, which is a name for the Dalai Lama in Amdo, Tibet.

The song won the best lyrics award at the 2003 Tibetan Music Awards.


Amdo (Tibetan: ཨ༌མདོ [ʔam˥˥.to˥˥]; Chinese: 安多; pinyin: Ānduō [antwó]) is one of the three traditional regions of Tibet, the other two being Ü-Tsang and Kham; it is also the birthplace of the 14th Dalai Lama. Amdo encompasses a large area from the Machu (Yellow River) to the Drichu (Yangtze). In the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), Qinghai Lake was called the West Sea (Chinese: 西海; pinyin: Xī Hǎi), and substantial numbers of Han Chinese lived in the Xining valley. While historically, culturally, and ethnically a Tibetan area, Amdo was administered by a series of local rulers since the mid-18th century and the Dalai Lamas have not governed the area directly since that time. From 1917 to 1928, much of Amdo was occupied intermittently by the Hui Muslim warlords of the Ma clique. In 1928, the Ma Clique joined the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party), and during the period from 1928 to 1949, much of Amdo was gradually assimilated into the Qinghai province (and part of Gansu province) of the Kuomintang Republic of China. By 1952, Communist Party of China forces had defeated both the Kuomintang and the local Tibetans and had assumed control of the region, solidifying their hold on the area by 1958 and formally spelling the end of the political existence of Amdo as a distinct Tibetan province.

Amdo was and is the home of many important Tibetan Buddhist monks or lamas, scholars who had a major influence on both politics and religious development of Tibet like the 14th Dalai Lama, Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama, and the great Gelug reformer Je Tsongkhapa.

Baima people

The Baima people (simplified Chinese: 白马人; traditional Chinese: 白馬人; pinyin: Báimǎ rén; literally: 'White Horse people'), also called Baima Tibetans (simplified Chinese: 白马藏人; traditional Chinese: 白馬藏人; pinyin: Báimǎ Zàngrén), are a subgroup of Tibetans living in the southeast of Gansu and the northwest of Sichuan in China, especially in Pingwu and Jiuzhaigou Counties of Sichuan and Wen County, Gansu.

Like the Songpan people of Tibet, Baima people call themselves Bai. Unlike Standard Tibetan, the Baima language does not use a written script, although a hieroglyphic system is used in religious practice. In religion, they still keep ancient nature worship and totem worship, which practices were later influenced by Bon, and in some degree they also believe Buddhism and Daoism, but there are no temples or lamas (monks). To many of the Baima, the Mountain God is the highest god. The most important religious event for them is the Caogai Dance (曹蓋, which means domino in Baima).

The Baima people are said to be the descendants of Baima Di (白馬氐) and after Songtsen Gampo established the Tibetan Empire, they gradually became part of the Tibetan people. The Di (氐) were an ancient large ethnic group living in west China who were associated with the Qiang (羌), also called Di Qiang (氐羌). The change from their original Di language to Amdo Tibetan probably took place in the 7th century CE. The area Baima people live in is the region that was previously called Jiandi Dao (湔氐道) before the Tibetan empire was established.

Bonan language

The Bonan language (pronounced [p⁼aoˈnaŋ], Baonang) (Chinese 保安语 Bǎo'ān yǔ, Amdo Tibetan Dorké) is the Mongolic language of the Bonan people of China. As of 1985, it was spoken by about 8,000 people, including about 75% of the total Bonan ethnic population and many ethnic Monguor, in Gansu and Qinghai Provinces and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture. There are several dialects, which are influenced to varying degrees — but always heavily — by Tibetan and Chinese, while bilingualism in Wutun is less common. The most commonly studied is the Tongren dialect. There is no writing system in use. The language is also referred to as "Manegacha", natively.

Choni language

Choni (Jone) and Thewo are dialects of a Tibetic language spoken in western China in the vicinity of Chone County.

Choni has four contrastive aspirated fricatives: /sʰ/ /ɕʰ/, /ʂʰ/, /xʰ/.

Datong River

The Datong River (Chinese: 大通河; pinyin: Dàtōng hé), known as the Julak Chu in Amdo Tibetan, is a river in China in the Yellow River basin. It has a total length of 560 kilometres (350 mi), and a basin area of 15,130 square kilometres (5,840 sq mi). It has an average annual flow of 90.5 cubic meters per second. It was previously spelled Tatung in English.

The river forms in Tianjun County, part of Qinghai Province's Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It then flows easterly separating the Qilian Mountains from the Daban Mountains. The main centre of population along its length here is Menyuan. The Datong meets the Huangshui River at Qinghai's border with Gansu. While it is a tributary of the Huangshui in name, the Datong is actually the main stem of the Huangshui River system and is considerably longer than the Huangshui.

Gangou language

Gangou is a variety of Mandarin Chinese that has been strongly influenced by Monguor (Mongol) and Amdo (Tibetan). It is representative of Chinese varieties spoken in rural Qinghai that have been influenced by neighboring minority languages.Gangou Mandarin is spoken in Minhe Hui and Tu Autonomous County, at the very eastern tip of Qinghai, an area of the Gansu–Qinghai Sprachbund with a large minority population, and where even today Han Chinese were a minority in close contact with their neighbors. Many of the local Han may actually have little Chinese ancestry. The dialect has a number of common words borrowed from Monguor, as well as kinship terms from Monguor and Tibetan. Some syntactic structures, such as an SOV word order and direct objects marked by a postposition, have parallels in Monguor and to a lesser extinct Tibetan.

There are also phonological differences from Standard Mandarin, though it is not clear whether these are shared by local Mandarin dialects not so strongly influenced by minority languages. For example, Standard y and w are pronounced [z] and [v], so yi 'one' is [zi] while wu 'five' and wang 'king' are [vu] and [vã]. There is no distinction between final -n and -ng: both are replaced by a nasal vowel. The consonants represented by j, q, x in pinyin do not exist; they are replaced by z, c, s before i and by g, k, h elsewhere, at least in some cases reflecting their historical origin. Thus 解 jiě 'untie' is pronounced gai, not unlike Cantonese gaai², and 鞋 xié 'shoe' is pronounced hai, like Cantonese haai⁴.

Gserpa language

Gserpa (Wylie: gser pa) is an eastern Tibetic language of Sichuan. It is spoken by a few hundred or thousand people in Sêrba (Tibetan:གསེར་པ་; Wylie: gser pa; Tibetan pinyin: Sêrba; Chinese: 色尔坝; pinyin: Sè'ěrbà) District, Sêrtar County, Sichuan, China and is different from the Amdo Tibetan language, the dominant Tibetan language in the surrounding region.

Hongyuan County

Khyungchu (Hongyuan) County (Tibetan: སྐ་ཆུ་རྫོང་། or སྐ་ཁོག་རྫོང་།; Chinese: 红原县) is a county in the north of Sichuan Province, China. It is under the administration of the Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. There is a river called Kachu (སྐ་ཆུ།) in the area and khok means "valley" or "area"; thus it means the area of the Kachu River.This is the only county under the Prefecture with entirely yak herding pastoralists. The average altitude above the sea level is 3,600 m (11,800 ft). About 8,398 square meter and about 40,000 people reside (2004) mostly Amdo Tibetan. The language is spoken is also Amdo Tibetan. The county seat is Khyunchu Town.

Southwest University for Nationalities maintains the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau Ecological Environmental Protection and Advanced Technology for Animal Husbandry in Hongyuan County.

Khams Tibetan

Khams Tibetan (Wylie: Khams skad, THL: Khamké) is the Tibetic language used by the majority of the people in Kham, which is now divided between the eastern part of Tibet Autonomous Region, the southern part of Qinghai, the western part of Sichuan, and the northwestern part of Yunnan, China. It is one of the six main spoken Tibetic languages, the other five being Central Tibetan language, Amdo, Ladakhi , Dzongkha and Balti. These Tibetic languages share the same written script, but their pronunciations, vocabularies and grammars are different. These differences may have emerged due to geographical isolation of the regions of Tibet. Khams Tibetan is used alongside Standard Tibetan and Amdo Tibetan in broadcasting. Khams Tibetan is not mutually intelligible with other Tibetic languages.

Like Central Tibetan, Khams Tibetan is a tonal language.Khampa Tibetan is also spoken by about 1,000 people in two enclaves in eastern Bhutan, the descendants of pastoral yak-herding communities.

Qieyang Shenjie

Qieyang Shenjie, also known as Qieyang Shijie (Chinese: 切阳什姐; pinyin: Qièyáng Shíjiě; Tibetan: ཆོས་དབྱིངས་སྐྱིད་, Wylie: chos dbyings skyid, ZYPY: Qoiying Gyi, Lhasa dialect: [tɕʰǿjiŋ cîʔ], also known as Choeyang Kyi; Amdo Tibetan language: [tɕʰeɣjaŋ ʂcəl]; born November 11, 1990) is a Chinese race walker. She was born in Haiyan, Haibei T.A.P, Qinghai province, and her family are herders. She won silver medal in the Women's 20 km walk race in 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She is the first ethnic Tibetan to compete and win a medal in the Olympics. After winning the medal, Qieyang Shenjie said she was most grateful to her coach. As Russia's Olga Kaniskina was disqualified in March 2016 for doping, she is expected to be awarded the silver medal.

She was selected into the Qinghai Team in April 2008 by Yuan Dejiu (袁德久), the major coach of the team who found her speciality when let accompany someone other to run and gave her her nickname "little tokyi". In June 2010, she was selected by Zhang Fuxin (张阜新), who later became her coach, into the National Team.

Salar language

Salar is a Turkic language spoken by the Salar people, who mainly live in the provinces of Qinghai and Gansu in China; some also live in Ili, Xinjiang. It is an eastern outlier of the Oghuz branch of Turkic, the other Oghuz languages (Turkish, Azerbaijani, Turkmen) being spoken mostly in West-Central Asia. The Salar number about 105,000 people, about 70,000 (2002) speak the Salar language; under 20,000 monolinguals.

According to Salar tradition and Chinese chronics, the Salars are the descendants of the Salur tribe, belonging to the Oghuz Turk tribe of the Western Turkic Khaganate. During the Tang dynasty, the Salur tribe dwelt within China's borders and lived since then in the Qinghai-Gansu border region.. Contemporary Salar has some influence from Amdo Tibetan and Chinese.

Tebbu people

The Tebbu people (Chinese: Diebu ren, 迭部人) are a Tibetan-Himalayan ethnic group indigenous to the Min Mountains along the Bailong River and its tributaries in Tewo County and possibly the eastern part of Zhugqu County in southern Gansu Province, Tibet. They speak the Amdo Tibetan language. The Tebbu population is currently estimated at more than 20,000 individuals.

Tibetan language

Tibetan language may refer to:

Classical Tibetan, the classical language used also as a contemporary written standard

Standard Tibetan, the most widely used spoken dialect

any of the other Tibetic languages

Tibetic languages

The Tibetic languages (Tibetan: བོད་སྐད།) are a cluster of Tibeto-Burman languages descended from Old Tibetan, spoken across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering the Indian subcontinent, including the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas in Baltistan, Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. Classical Tibetan is a major regional literary language, particularly for its use in Buddhist literature.

The Central Tibetan language (the dialects of Ü-Tsang, including Lhasa), Khams Tibetan, and Amdo Tibetan are generally considered to be dialects of a single language, especially since they all share the same literary language, while Dzongkha, Sikkimese, Sherpa, Ladakhi, and Balti are generally considered to be separate languages.Tibetic languages are spoken by some 6 million people.

With the worldwide spread of Tibetan Buddhism, the Tibetan language has spread into the western world and can be found in many Buddhist publications and prayer materials; with some western students learning the language for translation of Tibetan texts. Outside Lhasa itself, Lhasa Tibetan is spoken by approximately 200,000 exile speakers who have moved from modern-day Tibet to India and other countries. Tibetan is also spoken by groups of ethnic minorities in Tibet who have lived in close proximity to Tibetans for centuries, but nevertheless retain their own languages and cultures.

Although some of the Qiang peoples of Kham are classified by China as ethnic Tibetans (see rGyalrongic languages; rGyalrong people are identified as 'Tibetan' in China), Qiangic languages are not Tibetic, but rather form their own branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.

Classical Tibetan was not a tonal language, but some varieties such as Central and Khams Tibetan have developed tone registers. Amdo and Ladakhi-Balti are without tone. Tibetic morphology can generally be described as agglutinative.

Tshobdun language

Tshobdun (Chinese Caodeng 草登) is a Rgyalrong language spoken in Sichuan, China. It is surrounded by the Zbu, Japhug , and Amdo Tibetan languages.

Zbu language

Zbu (Chinese Ribu 日部), or Showu, is a Rgyalrong language spoken in Sichuan, China.

The Khalong Tibetan language has a Shawu (Zbu) substratum, as evident from its phonology and grammar.

Varieties of
West Himalayish
Tibetan language topics

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