IPA: [kɯrɯ skɤt]
PronunciationIPA: [tɕɤpʰɯ]
Native toChina
Language codes
ISO 639-3(included in Jiarong [jya])

Japhug is a Gyalrong language spoken in Barkam County, Rngaba, Sichuan, China, in the three townships of Gdong-brgyad (Chinese: 龙尔甲; pinyin: Lóng'rjiǎ, Japhug IPA: [ʁdɯrɟɤt]), Gsar-rdzong (Chinese: 沙尔宗; pinyin: Shā'rzōng, Japhug IPA: [sarndzu]) and Da-tshang (Chinese: 大藏; pinyin: Dàzàng, Japhug IPA: [tatsʰi]).

The endonym of the Japhug language is IPA: [kɯrɯ skɤt]. The name Japhug (IPA: [tɕɤpʰɯ]; Tibetan: ja phug; Chinese: 茶堡; pinyin: Chápù) refers in Japhug to the area comprising Gsar-rdzong and Da-tshang, while that of Gdong-brgyad is also known as IPA: [sɤŋu] (Jacques 2004), but speakers of Situ Gyalrong use this name to refer to the whole Japhug-speaking area.


Japhug is the only toneless Gyalrong language. It has 49 consonants and seven vowels.


Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Alveopalatal Palatal Velar Uvular
Occlusive nasal m n ɲ ŋ
prenasalized ᵐb ⁿd ⁿdz ᶯɖʐ ᶮdʑ ᶮɟ ᵑɡ ᶰɢ
voiced b d dz ɟ ɡ
voiceless p t ts c k q
aspirated tsʰ tʂʰ tɕʰ
Continuant voiced w l z ʐ ʑ j ɣ ʁ
voiceless ɬ s ʂ ɕ x χ
Trill r

The phoneme /w/ has the allophones [β] and [f].

The phoneme /ʁ/ is realized as an epiglottal fricative in the coda or preceding another consonant.

The prenasalized consonants are analyzed as units for two reasons. First, there is a phoneme /ɴɢ/, as in /ɴɢoɕna/ "large spider", but neither /ɴ/ nor /ɢ/ exist as independent phonemes. Second, there are clusters of fricatives and prenasalized voiced stops, as in /ʑmbri/ "willow", but never clusters of fricatives and prenasalized voiceless stops.

Japhug distinguishes between palatal plosives and velar plosive + j sequences, as in /co/ "valley" vs. /kjo/ "drag". These both contrast with alveolo-palatal affricates.

There are at least 339 consonant clusters in Japhug (Jacques 2008:29), more than in Old Tibetan or in most Indo-European languages. Some of these clusters are typologically unusual: in addition to the previously mentioned clusters of fricatives and prenasalized stops, there are clusters where the first element is a semivowel, as in /jla/ "hybrid of a yak and a cow".


Japhug has eight vowel phonemes: a, o, u, ɤ, ɯ, y, e and i. The vowel y is attested in only one native word (/qaɟy/ "fish") and its derivatives, but appears in Chinese loanwords.


Jacques (2008) is a short grammar and Jacques and Chen (2010) a text collection with interlinear glosses. Other studies on morphosyntax include Jacques (2010) on direct–inverse marking, Jacques (2012a) on valency (passive, antipassive, anticausative, lability etc.), Jacques (2012b) on incorporation and Jacques (2013) on associated motion.