Jiarong

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A language of China

Alternate Names
Chiarong, Gyarong, Gyarung, Jarong, Jyarung, Keru, Rgyarong
Population

83,000 (1999 Sun Hong Kai). 25,000 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 151,000 including 139,000 in Situ Jiarong, 12,200 in Chabao and Sidaba (Lin Xiangrong 1993).

Location

North central Sichuan Province. Situ is in the traditional territory of 4 chieftaincies: Zhuokeji, Suomo, Songgang, Dangba. Chabao is in northeast corner of Maerkang county, Chabao district, Longerjia, Dazang, and Shaerzong townships. Sidaba is in Maerkang county, Sidaba district, Caodeng, Kangshan, and Ribu townships; north in southwest corner of Aba county, Kehe and Rongan townships; west along middle Duke river, Rangtang county, between Wuyi and Shili townships; and Seda county at the confluence of Seda and Duke rivers, a small town.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).

Dialects

Chabao (Central Jiarong, Dazang, Northeastern Jiarong, Northern Jiarong), Sidaba (Caodeng, Northwestern Jiarong, Western Jiarong), Situ (Eastern Jiarong). Varieties of Situ are: Ma’erkang, Lixian, Jinchuan (Dajin), and Xiaojin. Varieties of Sidaba are Caodeng and Ribu. Western and Northern phonology are fairly similar but differ greatly from Eastern. Dialects are likely three separate mutually unintelligible languages. Lexical similarity: 75% between Eastern and Northern Jiarong (with significant phonological differences), 60% between Western and Northern, 13% between the Situ dialect and Horpa [ero].

Typology

SOV; phonologically and lexically similar to Tibetan, grammatically more similar to Pumi and Qiang; complex consonant clusters; limited pitch contrast

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes, but intellectuals worry about diminishing use. 56,000 also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn], 950 also use Tibetan [bod], 50 also use Qiang [cng].

Language Development
Radio programs. Dictionary.
Writing
Tibetan script.
Other Comments

Officially classified within Tibetan nationality. Traditional religion, Buddhist (Lamaist).