Horpa language

Native to China
Region Sichuan and Tibet
Native speakers
50,000 (2002–2004)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
ero  Horpa
jih  sTodsde (Shangzhai)
Glottolog horp1240[2]

Horpa is one of several closely related Rgyalrongic languages of China. Horpa is better understood as a cluster of closely related yet unintelligible dialect groups/languages. Closely related to Horpa Shangzhai or Stodsde skad. The term Stodsde skad is a Tibetan name meaning "language of the people of the far Northwest".

The cluster of languages variously referred to as Stau, Ergong or Horpa in the literature are spoken over a large area from Ndzamthang county (in Chinese Rangtang 壤塘县) in Rngaba prefecture (Aba 阿坝州) to Rtau county (Dawu 道孚) in Dkarmdzes prefecture (Ganzi 甘孜州), in Sichuan province, China. At the moment of writing, it is still unclear how many unintelligible varieties belong to this group, but at least three must be distinguished: the language of Rtau county (referred as ‘Stau’ in this paper), the Dgebshes language (Geshizha 格什扎话) spoken in Rongbrag county (Danba 丹巴), and the Stodsde language (Shangzhai 上寨) in Ndzamthang.[3]

Horpa is spoken in Dasang District, Danba County of Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan.[4] It is also spoken in nearby Daofu/Dawu County 道孚县 རྟའུ་རྫོང་, Sichuan 四川, where it is called 'Stau', pronounced [stawuske].[5]

Ergong is a non-tonal language (Sun 2013).[6]


  1. Horpa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    sTodsde (Shangzhai) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Horpa–Shangzhai". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Guillaume Jacques; Lai Yunfan; Anton Antonov; Lobsang Nima (January 29, 2015). Stau. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  4. "Chinese: 甘孜州丹巴县大桑区尔龚" Chinese: ; pinyin: Sūn, Chinese: 宏开; pinyin: Hóngkāi (1991). Chinese: 藏缅语音和词汇 [Tibeto-Burman Phonology and Lexicon]. Chinese Social Sciences Press. p. 211.
  5. Gates, J. P. (2016), Verbal Triplication Morphology in Stau (Mazi Dialect). Transactions of the Philological Society. doi: 10.1111/1467-968X.12083
  6. Sun Hongkai. 2013. Tibeto-Burman languages of eight watersheds [八江流域的藏缅语]. Beijing: China Social Sciences Academy Press.

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