The Sino-Tibetan Etymological Dictionary and Thesaurus

STEDT is a long-term linguistics research project at the University of California at Berkeley. It is directed by Professor James A. MATISOFF of Berkeley's Linguistics Department. Our goal is the publication of an etymological dictionary of Proto-Sino-Tibetan (PST), the ancestor language of the large Sino-Tibetan language family. This family includes Chinese, Tibetan, Burmese, and over 200 other languages spoken in South and Southeast Asia. The project was founded in 1987 and has enjoyed the support of the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The first major dissemination of STEDT research came in the form of A Handbook of Proto-Tibeto-Burman: System and Philosophy of Sino-Tibetan Reconstruction, an introduction to the reconstructed phonology and lexicon of Proto-Tibeto-Burman and the philosophical underpinnings on which the STEDT project rests. This volume (HPTB) included over 1500 reconstructed Proto-Tibeto-Burman roots. In the next phase of the project, additional STEDT etymologies and data will be published systematically, by semantic field, in electronic form.

Current STEDTniks

ICSTLL 45 Program

The ICSTLL 45 program is currently available:

Workshop Update

Attention ICSTLL Attendees:

There is still space at the STEDT Workshop at ICSTLL 45!

The workshop will be held from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM on Thursday, October 25. Location to be announced. We would like to remind potential participants that all-day attendance is not required! There will be two identical sessions, a morning session from 9:30 to 12:30 and an afternoon session from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. This will make it feasible for people to attend multiple workshops that day.

The schedule of each session is as follows:

New Data: Tangkhulic, etc.

Once again, thanks to David Mortensen, the STEDT database now contains thousands of forms from his fieldwork on the Tangkhulic languages, as well as much of the data from Brown's 1837 work, Comparison of Indo-Chinese Languages.

New Data: Sorbung

Courtesy of David Mortensen, the STEDT database now contains 770 forms from Sorbung, a previously-undocumented language of Manipur!

Workshop Overview

Organizer: John B. Lowe, with grateful acknowledgment of the assistance of STEDT staff.

To facilitate the use of the STEDT Database and to gather feedback on the web interface, an informal workshop, focused on "hands-on" practice with the database, will be offered at ICSTLL 45 in Singapore on October 25, 2012.

Interface Update: Search by form

The STEDT Simple Search interface has now been updated to support searches on the form of an etymon or reflex. Check it out!

New Data: Phula languages

The STEDT database now contains 5,925 lexical items from the Phula languages, courtesy of Jamin Pelkey!


When encountering unexplained variation in a particular language or subgroup, reconstructed PTB allofams (word families) are a vital tool for determining whether the origin of that variation can be located as far back as PTB.

The Ao languages of Nagaland (Mongsen & Chungli), for example, show intra- and inter-lingual variants of 'seven(ty)' that cannot be explained by regular sound change from a single Proto-Ao form. As it turns out, this variation can be understood as the preservation of two allofams of PTB *s-ni-s SEVEN:



45th International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 26 - 28 October 2012

20 Feb 2012: First Circular and Call for Papers

15 Apr 2012: Second Circular and Call for Papers

20 Aug 2012: Third Circular

Interface Update: Search by language group

The STEDT Simple Search interface has now been updated to support searches within a particular language group. Check it out!


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