Horpa (Chinese: 道孚语 Daofu, 爾龔語 Ergong) 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 upper village".
|Region||Garzê Prefecture, Sichuan Province|
Ethnologue lists alternate names and dialect names for Horpa as Stau, Daofuhua, Bawang, Bopa, Danba, Dawu, Geshitsa, Geshiza, Geshizahua, Hor, Huo’er, Hórsók, Nyagrong-Minyag, Pawang, Rgu, Western Gyarong, Western Jiarong, Xinlong-Muya, and rTa’u.
Horpa is a type of Rgyalrongic language, a branch of the Qiangic languages of the Sino-Tibetan family. Rgyalrong (proper), Lavrung, and Horpa-Shangzhai are in the Rgyalrongic subgroup. These have been organized into a family tree by Sun (2000). Horpa and Shangzhai are sub-types of Horpa-Shangzhai, a Rgyalrongic language.
Horpa is spoken primarily in western Sichuan province, China, including in Dasang District, Danba County of Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan. There are about 50,000 Horpa speakers in the northwestern Sichuan. It is also spoken in nearby Dawu County, where it is called 'Stau', pronounced [stawuske].
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 to 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.
Ergong is a non-tonal language (Sun 2013).
Varieties of Horpa include Shangzhai Horpa and Gexi Horpa (Sun 2013).
Jackson Sun (2018) lists the following five varieties of Horpa.
- Central Horpa (Stau-Dgebshes) is widely spoken in Rta’u County (Daofu County 道孚县) and Rongbrag County (Danba County 丹巴县), Dkarmdzes Prefecture, as well as a few villages in western Chuchen County (Jinchuan County 金川县), Rngaba Prefecture. It consists of 3 dialects.
- Rta’u (Daofu 道孚) (non-tonal)
- Dgebshesrtsa (Geshezha 革什扎) (non-tonal)
- Upper Stongdgu (Shang Donggu 上东谷) (has constrative phonation)
- Northern Horpa (Stodsde) is spoken in southern Dzamthang County (Rangtang County 壤塘县), Rngaba Prefecture. It is the most conservative Horpa variety, and preserves many archaic morphological features. There are 3 mutually intelligible dialects. For this lect, Ethnologue lists the name sTodsde (Shangzhai 上寨, Western Jiarong). According to Ethnologue, sTodsde is spoken in Shangzhai district, southern Rangtang County, where it is spoken in the townships of Puxi, Shili, and Zongke townships, and around the Duke and Zhongke rivers' confluence. There are 4,100 speakers as of 2004. Dialects are Dayili (Northern), Zongke (宗科乡; Western), and Puxi (蒲西乡; Eastern). Phonologically, the Northern and Western dialects are similar to each other, while the Eastern dialect is divergent. Additionally, Gates (2010) considers Erkai to be a "Western rGyalrongic" (Horpa-Shangzhai) language. Jackson Sun classifies Erkai as a variety of sTodsde (Shangzhai).
- Phosul (Puxi 蒲西)
- Yunasche (Dayili 大依里)
- Sili-Rtsangkhog (Shili-Zongke 石里-宗科)
- Western Horpa is a tonal language scattered throughout several small areas of central and southern Nyagrong County (Xinlong County 新龙县), Dkarmdzes Prefecture. Although speakers refer to themselves as Minyag (mə̀ɲá, mə̀ ɲó, etc.), Western Horpa is not the same language as the Minyag or Muya language. There are 3 dialects that are significantly different from each other. The Nyagrong Minyag (Western Horpa) language has also been documented by Van Way (2018).
- rGyarwagshis (Jialaxi 甲拉西)
- Yangslagshis (Youlaxi 尤拉西)
- Bangsmad (Bomei 博美)
- Northwestern Horpa, an endangered Horpa variety, is spoken in southern Brag’go County (Luhuo County 炉霍县) and adjacent areas of Rta’u County (Daofu County 道孚县). There is heavy Tibetan influence and minor internal diversity. It is non-tonal.
- Eastern Horpa is a divergent Horpa variety spoken in Dpa’bo (Bawang 巴旺) and Nyindkar (Niega 聂嘎) townships, eastern Rongbrag County (Danba County 丹巴县).
The following comparative table of Horpa diagnostic vocabulary items is from Sun (2018:4). The Central Horpa (Rta’u) data is from Niwan Village, Dgebshes Township, Rta’u County (Daofu County), Sichuan. The Rgyalrongic languages Khroskyabs and Rgyalrong are also provided for comparison, since Horpa is one of the Rgyalrongic languages. Cognates are highlighted in bold.
|Gloss||Central Horpa (Rta’u 道孚)||Northern Horpa (Rtsangkhog 宗科)||Western Horpa (Rgyarwagshis 甲拉西)||Eastern Horpa (Dpa’bo 巴旺)||Northwestern Horpa (Nyinmo)||Khroskyabs (’brongrdzong)||Rgyalrong (Tshobdun)|
|sun||ɣbə||ʁɟə̀||ɣbə̀||ʁʷbə||ɣbə||ɣnəʔ ~ ʁbjə||tɐ́-ŋɐ|
|eat||ⁿgə||dzə́||dzə́||dzi||ⁿgə ~ tsə||dzeʔ||ⁿdze|
|sleep||rgə||ⁿjáp ~ rgə́||rgə́||rgə||rgə||jəv||rⁿgu|
|exist (be put on)||stʰə||stî||tu|
Shangzhai Horpa (Puxi Shangzhai) is a dialect of the Horpa language noted by a single consistently non-syllabic causative prefix "s-", which exerts pressure on the already elaborate onset system and triggers multiple phonological adjustments (Sun 2007). Gexi Horpa language not only has split verbal agreement system like rGyalrong but also has a hybrid system involving a more intricate interplay of functional and syntactic factors (Sun 2013). The verbs in the rGylarongic family are marked for person and agreement, and Horpa language also has subtype of hierarchical agreement.
Stau is often used as an alternative name for Horpa, but in fact Stau is just one of several Horpa languages (Jacques et al. 2014). The Stau language is primarily spoken in Daofu County of Ganzi Prefecture, but is also spoken in the southeastern corner of Luhuo County and in the village of Dangling of western Danba County. Currently Jesse P. Gates is writing a comprehensive grammar of the Stau language (Gates to appear). Other articles on aspects of Stau grammar include Gates (2017), Gates & Kim (2018), Gates et al. (2019), and Gates et al. (accepted).
Stau (Horpa) language follows some traits of the Tibetan language (Bradley 2012). As a Qiangic language, Horpa has unique verb inflection and morphology such as the strategy of inverting the aspiration feature in the formation of the past and progressive stem(s) (Sun 2000).
The Horpa verb agrees with its subject. For example, zbəcʰa-i [zbəcʰe], means ‘you beat’, and zbəcʰa-u [zbəcʰo], means, 'I beat’.
- Horpa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
sTodsde (Shangzhai) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- "Horpa". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
- Sun, Jackson T. S. "Stem alternations in Puxi verb inflection: toward validating the rGyalrongic subgroup in Qiangic" (PDF). Language and Linguistics. 1: 161–190.
- "Chinese: 甘孜州丹巴县大桑区尔龚" Chinese: 孙; 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.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Gates, J. P. (2016), Verbal Triplication Morphology in Stau (Mazi Dialect). Transactions of the Philological Society. doi: 10.1111/1467-968X.12083
- Jacques, Guillaume, Anton Antonov, Yunfan Lai & Lobsang Nima. 2017. Stau (Ergong, Horpa). In Graham Thurgood & Randy LaPolla (eds.), The Sino-Tibetan Languages (2nd edition), 597–613. London: Routledge.
- Sun Hongkai. 2013. Tibeto-Burman languages of eight watersheds [八江流域的藏缅语]. Beijing: China Social Sciences Academy Press.
- Sun, Jackson T.-S.; Tian, Qianzi (2013-01-24). "Verb Agreement in Gexi Horpa". Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics. 7 (2): 203–223. doi:10.1163/2405478X-90000120. ISSN 2405-478X.
- Sun, Jackson T.-S. 2018. The Ancestry of Horpa: Further Morphological Evidence. Taipei: Academia Sinica.
- Gates, Jesse. 2010. On the edge with Erkai: A preliminary investigation of Erkai’s place in Western rGyalrongic. Presentation at the 43rd International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics (ICSTLL 43), 15 Oct 2010, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
- Gates, Jesse P. 2012. Situ in situ: towards a dialectology of Jiāróng (rGyalrong). M.A. thesis, Trinity Western University.
- Van Way, John (2018). The Phonetics and Phonology of Nyagrong Minyag, an Endangered Language of Western China. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Hawaii at Manoa.
- Jacques, Guillaume, Anton Antonov, Yunfan Lai & Lobsang Nima. 2017. Stau (Ergong, Horpa). In Graham Thurgood & Randy LaPolla (eds.), The Sino-Tibetan Languages (2nd edition), 597–613. London: Routledge. Stau (Ergong, Horpa).
- Sun, Jackson T.-S. (2007-01-24). "Morphological Causative Formation in Shangzhai Horpa". Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics. 2 (1): 211–232. doi:10.1163/2405478X-90000031. ISSN 2405-478X.
- Jacques, Guillaume, Anton Antonov, Yunfan Lai & Lobsang Nima. 2014. Person marking in Stau. Himalayan Linguistics 13(1). 82–92. 
- Gates, Jesse P. (2017). "Verbal triplication morphology in Stau (Mazi dialect)". Transactions of the Philological Society. 115 (1): 14–26. doi:10.1111/1467-968X.12083.
- Gates, Jesse P.; Kim, Won Ho (2018). "Vowel harmony in Stau". Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area. 41 (2): 263–293. doi:10.1075/ltba.17016.gat.
- Gates, Jesse P.; Tub.bstan.nyi.ma, & Tshe.ring.rgyal.mtsan (2019). "Tibetan dining etiquette: A sociolinguistic analysis of a normative discourse text in Stau". Himalayan Linguistics. 18 (2): 73–81. doi:10.5070/H918242739.
- Gates, Jesse P.; Honkasalo, Sami; Lai, Yunfan (accepted). "From transitive to intransitive and voiceless to voiced in Proto-Sino-Tibetan: New evidence from Stau, Geshiza, and Khroskyabs". Language and Linguistics. TBA: TBA. Check date values in:
- Bradley, David. "Tibeto-Burman languages of China". Cite journal requires
- Sun, Jackson T. (2013). "Horpa Language in Xichuan Province [Chinese: 川西霍爾語格西話動詞對協初探.]". Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics.
- Horpa at the Endangered Languages Project.
- Lewis, M. Paul; Gary F. Simons; Charles D. Fennig, eds. (2015). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (18th ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. http://glottolog.org/resource/languoid/id/horp1239