Khams Tibetan is a Tibetic language spoken by about 1.38 million people, mainly in western China in an area that was known as Kham, and was one of the three traditional regions of Tibet. This area is now part of the provinces of Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan, and the Tibet Autonomous Region. There are also about 1,000 speakers of Khams Tibetan in eastern Bhutan, and about 300 speakers in Kachin State in northern Myanmar / Burma.
Khams Tibetan is also known as Kam, Kami, Kang, Khamba, Khampa, Khams, Khams Bhotia or Khams-Yal. Dialects include:
Eastern Khams: spoken by about 996,000 people in Kangding (康定 / དར་རྩེ་མདོ), a city in the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in western Sichuan.
Hor / Western Khams: spoken by about 158,000 in Nagqu Prefecture in the north of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Southern Khams: spoken by about 135,000 people in the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the northwest of Yunnan.
Central Khams: spoken in Dêgê County, part of the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in the northwest of Sichuan, and in Chamdo, a city in the east of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the southwest of Qinghai.
Northern / Northeastern Khams: spoken by about 91,000 people in Nangqên County in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the south of Qinghai.
Gêrzê: spoken in Gêrzê County in Ngari Prefecture in the northwest of the Tibet Autonomous Region. It sometimes considered a variety of Western Khams.
There is fairly low mutual intelligiblity between the Khams Tibetan dialects, however they are considered parts of a single language. Khams Tibetan is closely related to Central (Ü-Tsang) Tibetan languages such as Lhasa Tibetan, and they are mutually intelligible at a basic level.
Khams Tibetan is officially classified as a language of a recognized nationality in China. It is written with the Tibetan script, although Modern Literary Tibetan is the standard language of literature.
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