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Talk:WikiJournal of Humanities/A grammatical overview of Yolmo (Tibeto-Burman)

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Article information

Gawne, L; et al.. 


editorial recommendations

Comments by Amy Fountain
These comments were submitted on , and refer to this previous version of the article

In a first pass of review, we noted the following small issues for your consideration:

1. in the 'History' section, the language is identified as 'poYolmo'. I think this is the first, and maybe only, mention of that entity, so perhaps you could eliminate or explain the usage of 'po-'?


PoYolmo was a typo and has been corrected

2. in the discussion of 'dialects', would it be useful to link to the wikipedia entry for 'dialect', or some other resource that might help readers access a discussion of the 'dialect' vs. 'language' distinction?


I added a link to the Dialect page of Wikipedia, and also added a bit more information and a link on ‘mutual intelligibility’

3. in the 'vowels' section, near the first set of example vowels (in which you use an acute accent to indicate tone, I think), include a note about what the diacritics mean? I think it's clear from the examples in the 'tone' section, but having an explicit statement of this before presentation of the first example is useful for readers.


Thanks for this suggestion. I’ve added a brief note, and a cross-link to the tone section.

Thank you for your work on this contribution. As we route the contribution to peer reviewers, we will do our best to keep you updated on the process.

--AmyFou (discusscontribs) 16:14, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

Plagiarism check

  Pass. A plagiarism check by the WMF copyvio tool using TurnItIn found only trivial similarities with other documents (e.g. names of references and phrases such as "...a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in Nepal". AmyFou (discusscontribs) 14:52, 26 October 2018 (UTC)

First Peer review

review copied and pasted from email by --AmyFou (discusscontribs) 16:18, 15 October 2018 (UTC) Dr Nathan W. Hill, Reader in Tibetan and Historical Linguistics, Head of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Review by Nathan W. Hill , SOAS University of London
This review was submitted on , and refers to this previous version of the article

This is an excellent article. The author has done a very good job of providing a detailed overview of the language, but with in a short amount of space.

I only have a few small suggestions, some of them almost copy editing.


These response boxes are Gawne replying to the reviewer outlining changes made in the article

The term "Tibetic" should be linked.


This is linked in the first reference out of the abstract (in Language Family section), but is also now linked in the abstract, along with other terminology words 'Tibeto-Burman' and 'Nepal'. If the editors prefer no linking in the abstract please roll back this change

I am rather uncomfortable with the statement that the Yolmo are Nyingmapa and even more uncomfortable with the description of them as having bon shamans.

I assume that by Nyingmapa is meant there are patrilineal temples that provide religious services to villagers and that the lamas are themselves enthusiastic about Padmasambhava and this enthusiasm is reflected in their cult practices. It would be very easy for the reader to think that Nyingmapa meant an affiliation with at Tibetan institution such as Dilgo Khyentse's monastery.


I've updated this - including a reference - to avoid the term Nuingmapa and have instead mentioned the patrilinial nature of the temple life

This problem is much more serious when it comes to bon. There is an established religion with monastic education, a corpus of the written scriptures, etc. That refers to itself by this name. I assume that that is not what is meant. This name is also used for the pre-the Buddhist religion of Tibet, which is also clearly not meant. I suspect that "bon" is the autonym of the practitioners of the non-Buddhist rituals in question. If this is the case, it should be made clear. There are many ethnic groups in Nepal that have religious functionaries referred to as bon, but one must be very careful not to necessarily identify this with any particular group or set of practices on the Tibetan plateau itself, or in the Tibetan exile community.

The word 'shaman' is even more of a problem. Typically this word is associated with religious practices in Siberia that involve going into trances and having visions of the spirit world. In less the author intends to make a direct comparison with these Siberian practices, it would be better not to use the word shaman. I would instead propose something like "non-Buddhist ritual experts (locally referred to as bon)" without a link on the word bon.


In response to the last two paragraphs, I have reworked this section of the text. I've clarified reference to 'bon' and also indicted that 'shamanism' is how the practice is usually referred to in the literature without specifically identifying this practice as such

There is a missing space before the mention in text of figure 6.



The phrase "a dialect closely related to Yolmo" is redundant and can be removed.



Please do not refer to the visarga as a colon. In that Devanagari script this character is called visarga.


updated, and linked to Visarga page on Wikipedia

I don't think the inclusion of Tibetan in the table is particularly helpful. In any case, if the author thinks it is helpful there should be more effort made to distinguish, for instance by shaded boxes, where the Tibetan and of the Yolmo are different. Tibetan after all is base 10. The Romanization of Tibetan is neither a strict transliteration nor a phonemic transcription. For example one can either write gcig or something like cíq (where q is a glottal stop).


the Tibetan was left in the table from the earlier version of the Wikipedia page. I have decided to take the reviewer's comment as support to remove it. As the Standard Tibetan language page did not have information on the counting system I have moved the Standard Tibetan elements over there so that they original contribution is still available, on a more relevant page

My final comment is that I think it would be helpful to include a full verb paradigm of one transitive and one intransitive verb. Such a paradigm would make clear to what extent the different aspectual, modal, tense suffixes are morphosyntactically in contrast, or whether they have been categorized in the way they have along functional/semantic ground. This would also make clear to what extent the verbal system can be analyzed as having slots,


thanks for this suggestion, there is now a new subsection in the 'verbs' section at the end which has a paradigm, which acts as a nice summary to the section

Please feel free to include my name along the review.

Thank you Nathan


Thanks Nathan for you attentive reading and thoughtful comments!

Second Peer Review

Peer review added here by --AmyFou (discusscontribs) 21:13, 6 November 2018 (UTC)

Review by Kristine Hildebrandt , SIU Edwardsville
This review was submitted on , and refers to this previous version of the article

Overall, this is an information-rich sketch of the Yolmo language. I have a few suggestions for some elaboration and also two sections that might provide information on Yolmo in greater areal-typological perspective.


Thank you Kristine for engaging with the text and pointing out some places where more information would be helpful. Comments regarding each piece of feedback are given below.

1. Language Vitality: Could this be more specifically indexed, using Lewis & Simons 2010 or Simons & Lewis 2011, for example? (see references below)\


This has been updated, including reference to the EGIDS rating and relevant sources

2. Yolmo in typological perspective. This might be beyond the scope of this sketch, but if the Gawne so desires, she might want to include some basic typological summary of Yolmo, perhaps using selected chapters from WALS ( for a comparative foundation. For example:

a) C & V inventory size: and (my guess is "small")

b) Voicing in plosives & fricatives: (and not all languages in this region have contrastive obstruent voicing)

c) The velar nasal: (not all T-B languages of Nepal permit word-initial velar nasal)

d) Syllable structure: (pretty simple, but not as simple as extreme S-T)

e) Presence of tone: (very "Tibetan Plateau" in presence and types of tonal contrasts) And I might suggest you cite our paper, as Yolmo is cited there:


Thanks! Reference added!

f) Degree of (verbal) synthesis:

g) Number of cases:

h) Suffixes vs. prefixes:

i) Languages with both tense & aspect: there are several chapters, look at 65-60 on the WALS page

j) The coding of evidentiality:

k) Word Order: (and several other chapters beyond that)

l) Syntax of relativization:

The only reason I suggest this is that many typologists look to grammars for "quick snapshots" of the big features that they use to constrct multi-factoral typologies. A summary of this at the start of your sketch provides a basic typological snapshot of the language before you jump into the rest of the description.


After giving it much consideration, I've decided to not add a section that does this. I have gone through each of the elements above and made sure they're clearly addressed in this article, but given the variety of questions typologists may ask, it's difficult to know exactly which of these to include and how to structure this information in a way that doesn't just recapitulate what has already been discussed.

3. Tone section (or else Morpho-phonemic processes): Does tone show any kinds of morpho-phonemic alternations? Is there anything to say about the manifestation of tone on disyllabic or poly-morphemic word-forms?


added to text on tone: "On words with more than one syllable the tone is marked on the initial syllable. Subsequent syllables eventually level off. Tone on all words is influenced by prosody, and may become more or less neutralised in running speech.[36]" (citation to Teo et al 2015). Also added information on the only feature that's close to morpho-syntactic variation, which is about the handful of valency-distinct minimal pairs

4. Adjectives: Are they more verb-likein their morpho-syntactic distribution, more nominal-like (ie. inflecting as nouns do, standing as the head of a phrase), or are they truly their own lexical class? It might be worth briefly citing studies that have shown that adjectives align either with different P.O.S. or stand as their own in closely related or regionally proximal languages, for example Grunow-Harsta (2011) and Genetti & Hildebrandt (2004).


more information added, and some examples also added

5. Language Contact. This is another optional section that I recommend. It is telling that the Swadesh does not show any Indic/Nepali influence. Do you have a sense of loanword infiltration in Yolmo? How about code-switching in discourse? In the loanwords that you do observe (even if they are few in number), does the Nepali phonotactics/phonological profile remain, or are these words adapted to Yolmo/T-B phonological profile?


a new section 'Language Contact' has been created and information added


Genetti, C. and K.A. Hildebrandt. 2004. The two adjective classes in Manange. In R.M.W. Dixon and A.Y. Aikhenvald (eds.) Adjective Classes: A Cross-Linguistic Typology. 74-97. Oxford University Press.

Harsta, Karen Grunow. 2011. Adjectives and adjectivals in Magar. Himalayan Linguistics 10.1

Lewis,M. Paul& Simons,Gary F.2010.AssessingendangermentE: xpandingFishman'sGIDS. RevueRoumainede Linguistique55(2): 103-120.( images/RRL-0-2010-Lewis.Pdf).

Simons, G.F. and M.P. Lewis. 2011. The world's languages in crisis: A 20-year update. In E. Mhias, B. Perley G. Rei-Doval and K. Wheatley (eds.) Responses to Language Endangerment: In honor of Mickey Noonan. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Comment on image rights

Figures 3, 4, and 7 show relevant texts associated with the language discussed in this article. However, while all three images were taken by the author, the book covers themselves are likely copyrighted to others, probably the authors of those texts (Hari & Lama, Hari, and the Himalayan Indigenous Society-Nepal[?], respectively). If any of these works are licensed under a suitable free license, that should be indicated on the file description pages; or if they are not currently but the authors are willing to freely license them, that should be done via the OTRS process; otherwise, they should not be included in the article and removed from Wikimedia Commons. All the best and great work on the article, Bobamnertiopsis 15:47, 5 January 2019 (UTC)

Apologies, I just realized a note was never left about this. Thank you for raising this and the peer review coordinator confirmed with the submitting author that the cove images were copyright unless they had specifc knowledge to the contrary - resulting in this edit to remove them. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 07:24, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
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