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Historical Linguistics and the “Sino-Tibetan Language Family”

April 18 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Speaker: Yeshes Vodgsal Atshogs (Ch. Acuo), Professor in Linguistics, Nankai University, Visiting Scholar, Harvard University (Spring 2024)

Moderator: Lauran Hartley, Director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program; Associate Research Scholar, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University

Discussant: Ross Perlin, Linguist, Endangered Language Alliance; Adjunct Lecturer in Linguistics, Columbia University

The origin and spread of what is widely recognized in linguistics as the Sino-Tibetan Language Family is not without controversy.  Professor Acuo is the leading Tibetan linguist in China and has deeply researched this topic and published broadly. Using ample evidence, he seeks to draw a distinction between lexical development and the development of grammar and syntax in the Tibetan language by comparing the latter with the Altai Language Family.

Speaker’s Bio: Prof. Dr. Yeshes Atshogs has been a professor and doctoral student advisor in the Chinese Department at Nankai University since 2008, where he also serves as a doctoral supervisor in the linguistics program. In 2003, he earned his Ph.D. in linguistics from Nankai University under the guidance of Professor Zeng Xiaoyu. Subsequently, his academic achievements have been noteworthy. In 2004, he was honored with the “Hashimoto Santaro Chinese Historical Phonology Award” and the “Young Scholar Award” by the International Association of Chinese Linguistics (IACL). Notably, in 2005, Prof. Yeshi Atso received the prestigious “National Excellent Doctoral Dissertation Award.” His remarkable contributions continued as he consecutively secured the second and third prizes for “Outstanding Achievements in Humanities and Social Sciences in Chinese Universities” in the fourth and fifth editions of 2006 and 2009, respectively.

This event is hosted by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and co-sponsored by the Modern Tibetan Studies Program.


  • To attend this event in-person, please register HERE.
  • To attend this event online, please register HERE.

Contact Information

Julie Kwan