Eastern rGyalrong
Native toChina
Language codes
ISO 639-3(included in jya)

Situ (Chinese: 四土话; pinyin: Sìtǔhuà) is a Rgyalrong language spoken in Sichuan, China. The name "Situ", literally "four Tusi", comes from a historical name of the Ma'erkang region.[1]


Gates (2012: 102-103)[2] lists the following locations where Zbu is spoken. It is spoken by over 35,000-40,000 people in 57 villages.


Gates (2012: 103)[2] lists 7 dialects of Situ.


Consonants of Brag-dbar Situ
Labial Alveolar Retroflex Alveolo-
Palatal Velar/
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t c k
voiced b d ɟ ɡ
prenasalized ᵐb ⁿd ᶮɟ ᵑɡ
Affricate voiceless t͡s t͡ʂ t͡ɕ
aspirated t͡sʰ t͡ʂʰ t͡ɕʰ
voiced d͡z d͡ʑ
prenasalized ⁿd͡z ⁿd͡ʐ ⁿd͡ʑ
Fricative voiceless (f) s ɕ χ
voiced v z ʑ
Lateral l
Sonorant w r j
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e ə o
Near-open ɐ
Open a


Verbal agreement

Data adapted from Lin (1993).[5] Columns indicate the patient, and rows the agent. For example, the item tə-no-n in row "2sg" and column "3" means "you(singular) drive him/her/it/them.two/them".

1sg 1du 1pl 2sg 2du 2pl 3
1sg ta-no ta-no-ntʃ ta-no-ɲ no-ŋ
1du ta-no ta-no-ntʃ ta-no-ɲ no-tʃ
1pl ta-no ta-no-ntʃ ta-no-ɲ no-i
2sg kə-w-no-ŋ kə-w-no-tʃ kə-w-no-i tə-no-n
2du kə-w-no-ŋ kə-w-no-tʃ kə-w-no-i tə-no-ntʃ
2pl kə-w-no-ŋ kə-w-no-tʃ kə-w-no-i tə-no-ɲ
3sg wə-no-ŋ wə-no-tʃ wə-no-i tə-w-no tə-w-no-ntʃ tə-w-no-ɲ no-u
3du wə-no-ŋ wə-no-tʃ wə-no-i tə-w-no tə-w-no-ntʃ tə-w-no-ɲ no-ntʃ
3pl wə-no-ŋ wə-no-tʃ wə-no-i tə-w-no tə-w-no-ntʃ tə-w-no-ɲ no-ɲ

Stem alternation

Some Situ dialects have rich stem changes. For example, stem alternations is quasi-ubiquitous in Brag-bar, observed in both inflectional and derivational morphology.

Inflectional stem changes

Inflectional stem alternations in Brag-bar occur in different TAME and argument indexation categories.[6] Generally speaking, stem I is used in most non-past categories as well as inferential past, and stem II in non-inferential past and egophoric present contexts. In most cases, stem II is derived from stem I by tonal inversion between a high and falling tones, sometimes with vowel alternations between the central grade (ə, ɐ, a) and non-central grade (i/u, e/o, iɛ).

Verbs with particular syllable structures distinguish stem I’ or stem II’, sensitive to phonological environment. Verbs with an open syllable and a high tone, as well as those with a closed syllable ending in a stop, distinguish stem I’ from stem I, occurring in non-suffixing non-past and inferential forms; verbs with an open syllable and a falling tone may distinguish stem II’ from stem II in non-suffxing non-inferential past and egophoric present forms. Stem I’ and stem II’ are formed by a unidirectional vowel shift to the non-central grade.

Inflectional stem alternations in Brag-bar
Citation form Stem I-suffix Stem I’-ø Stem II-suffix Stem II’-ø
ka-phô 'to flee' phô phó
ka-lát 'to release' lát liɛ̂t
ka-siɛ́t 'to kill' sát siɛ́t siɛ̂t
ka-viɛ̂ 'to do' viɛ̂ viɛ́

Derivational stem changes

Stem changes are also observed in Brag-bar derivational morphology, governed by a unidirectional tonal alternation rule, either to a high or to falling tone. Tonal alternations are often accompanied with vowel changes, of which the direction is likely to be correlated with the verb stem’s syllable structure. For open syllable verb stems, alternations to high tone happens with vowel shift to the non-central grade, whereas that to falling tone co-exists with vowel shift to the central grade.

Kinship terminology

Zhang and Fan (2020)[7] show that the Brag-bar terminology preserves indirect traces of the Omaha kinship terminology, characterized by a cross-parallel distinction and skewing rules. Omaha skewing is directly observed in the Japhug terminology and might once have existed in Tangut.[8]


  1. ^ "Jiāróng rénwén" 嘉绒人文 [Rgyalrong Culture]. Ma'erkang City Government website.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b Gates, Jesse P. (2012). Situ in Situ: Towards a Dialectology of Jiāróng (rGyalrong) (MA thesis). Trinity Western University – via
  3. ^ Zhang (2016).
  4. ^ Zhang, Shuya (2020). Le rgyalrong situ de Brag-bar et sa contribution à la typologie de l'expression des relations spatiales: l'orientation et le mouvement associé (PhD thesis). INALCO.
  5. ^ Lin, Xiangrong 林向荣 (1993). Jiāróngyǔ yánjiū 嘉戎语研究 [A Study on the rGyalrong Language] (in Chinese). Chengdu: Sichuan minzu chubanshe.
  6. ^ Zhang, S. (2018). "Stem alternations in the Brag-bar dialect of Situ Rgyalrong". Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area. 42 (2): 294–330. doi:10.1075/ltba.18009.zha.
  7. ^ Zhang, Shuya; Fan, Jingming (2020). "Brag-bar kinship system in synchronic and diachronic perspectives". Bulletin of SOAS. 83 (3): 479–503. doi:10.1017/S0041977X2000261X.
  8. ^ Jacques, Guillaume (2012). "The Tangut Kinship System in Qiangic Perspective". In Hill, Nathan (ed.). Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages IV. Leiden: Brill. pp. 211–257.