A grammar of Japhug

Guillaume Jacques  


Japhug is a vulnerable Gyalrongic language, which belongs to the Trans-Himalayan (Sino-Tibetan) family. It is spoken by several thousand speakers in Mbarkham county, Rngaba district, Sichuan province, China. This grammar is the result of nearly 20 years of fieldwork on one variety of Japhug, based on a corpus of narratives and conversations, a large part of which is available from the Pangloss Collection. It covers the whole grammar of the language, and the text examples provide a unique insight into Gyalrong culture. It was written with a general linguistics audience in mind, and should prove useful not only to specialists of Trans-Himalayan historical linguistics and typologists, but also to anthropologists doing research in Gyalrong areas. It is also hoped that some readers will use it to learn Japhug and pursue research on this fascinating language in the future.


  • Review in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies by Sami Honkasalo published March 14, 2022
    [...] In all, "A grammar of Japhug" is a remarkable achievement that offers immense contributions to Tibeto-Burman lingusitics and is of great value for typologists as well. While every language should be described in its own terms with respect to its particularities, Jacques's landmark description of Japhug will be highly valuable in future descriptive work of other Gyalrongic languages, an urgent taks in field linguistics of Southwestern China that will undoubtedly substantially benefit from the publication of the grammar. At the same time, "A grammar of Japhug" serves as a model and source of inspiration for both experienced and aspiring grammatographers of years to come.


Author Biography

Guillaume Jacques, Centre national de la recherche scientifique

Guillaume Jacques has been doing fieldwork on Japhug (Gyalrongic, Trans-Himalayan) since 2002. He is currently directeur de recherche (senior researcher) at CNRS (CRLAO laboratory, Paris), and is also affiliated with INALCO and EHESS. In addition to Japhug, he has also done research on several other Gyalrongic languages (Zbu, Situ, Stau) as well as on various languages of other branches of the Trans-Himalayan family, in particular Khaling (Kiranti). Several of his PhD students have written grammars of Gyalrongic languages, including Lai Yunfan (Khroskyabs), Gong Xun (Zbu) and Zhang Shuya (Situ). His interests include language documentation, typology (in particular voice and indexation), panchronic linguistics, neogrammarian historical linguistics, language phylogeny and ethnolinguistics.


March 17, 2021
LaTeX source on GitHub

Online ISSN


Print ISSN

Cite as
Jacques, Guillaume. 2021. A grammar of Japhug. (Comprehensive Grammar Library 1). Berlin: Language Science Press. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4548232


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Details about the available publication format: PDF


ISBN-13 (15)


Publication date (01)




Details about the available publication format: Hardcover


ISBN-13 (15)