Tangut Language


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Tangut Language

 

(also Hsi Hsia), the language spoken by most of the people of the Hsi Hsia kingdom (982–1227). The language was recorded in the syllabic Tangut writing system introduced in 1036. Tangut was spoken by at least 1.5 million people.

Tangut belongs to the Tibeto-Burman group of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Two different phonetic reconstructions exist: that of the Soviet linguist M. V. Sofronov, and that of the Japanese linguist Nishida Tatsuo. Tangut was an isolating language; a monosyllabic morpheme often corresponded to a word, and compound words were formed by combining these morphemes. Case relations were expressed by means of postpositions; the verb had no clearly defined categories of person and tense. Word order in sentences generally followed the pattern of subject (attribute of subject)-object (attribute of object)-predicate.

REFERENCES

Nevskii, N. A. Tangutskaia filologiia. Moscow, 1960.
Sofronov, M. V. Grammatika langutskogo iazyka. Moscow, 1968.
Nishida Tatsuo. Seiko go-no kenkyu, vols. 1–2. Tokyo, 1964–66.

E. I. KYCHANOV