Gongduk

During a linguistic survey of the kingdom of Bhutan, two previously unknown Tibeto-Burman languages were discovered by George van Driem. These were the Black Mountain language and Gongduk. Gongduk is spoken in an inaccessible enclave in the Kheng district of eastern Bhutan. Gongdukpas generally pass themselves off as Kheng speakers when they are outside of their native area. Gongduk is in a class by itself and appears to be the sole representative of a unique branch of the Tibeto-Burman language family. A public presentation entitled ‘The Gongduk Language of Bhutan’ was held on the 8th of October, 1991, at Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok during the XXIVth International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics. There, George van Driem presented the Gongduk pronominal system and of Gongduk verbal agreement morphology.

Currently, George van Driem is working towards the completion of a description of Gongduk based on his work with native speakers in the Gongduk area.