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Dzongkha language resources

Dzongkha is spoken on a daily basis in: Bhutan Dzongkha--> --> --> -->

Additional background on Dzongkha

Dzongkha (??????) is the national language of the Kingdom of Bhutan. The word "dzongkha" means the language (kha, ??) spoken in the dzong (?????), dzongs being the fortress-like monasteries established throughout Bhutan by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the 17th century.

Dzongkha bears a linguistic relationship to modern Tibetan as that between Spanish and Italian. The modern language pairs have lost mutual comprehensibility but they share a common ancestor language which is still used in liturgical contexts. Whereas religious scholars in Spain and Italy study Latin, the religious language of Roman Catholicism, monks in Tibet and Bhutan study Old Tibetan the sacred language of Tibetan Buddhism. In Bhutan this preserved sacred language is referred to as Chhokey.

Dzongkha and its dialects are the native tongue of eight western districts of Bhutan (viz. Phodrang, Punakha, Thimphu, Gasa, Paro, Ha, Dhakana, and Chukha). There are also some speakers found near the Indian town of Kalimpong, once part of Bhutan but now in West Bengal. Dzongkha study is mandatory in all schools in Bhutan, and the language is the lingua franca in the districts to the south and east where it is not the mother tongue.

Linguistically, Dzongkha is a South Bodish language belonging to the proposed Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan group. It is closely related to Sikkimese (Wylie: 'Bras-ljongs-skad), the national language of the erstwhile kingdom of Sikkim; and to some other Bhutanese languages such as Cho-cha-na-ca (khyod ca nga ca kha), Brokpa (me rag sag steng 'brog skad), Brokkat (dur gyi 'brog skad), and Laka (la ka). Modern Tibetan is a Central Bodish language and thus belongs to a different sub-branch.

Dzongkha is usually written in Bhutanese forms of the Tibetan script known as Joyi (mgyogs yig) and Joshum (mgyogs tshugs ma). Dzongkha books are typically printed using the Ucan fonts developed to print the Tibetan syllabary.

Dzongkha is rarely heard outside Bhutan and environs. However, the 2003 Bhutanese film, Travellers and Magicians is entirely in Dzongkha.


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