A member of the Tibeto-Burman group of Sino-Tibetan family of languages, spoken by c. 4 million people mainly in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (Xizang) in China, where it has official status, with further speakers in adjoining areas of Nepal and India.
Tibetan was first attested in the 7th century, when Buddhism began to penetrate into Tibet. The old literary language was used for a large output of philosophical, philological and historical works. Modern literary language started emerging in the late 19th century.
There are several major dialects in Modern Tibetan, which are sometimes viewed as different languages. Lhasa dialect seems to be emerging as a potential standard form. The language is spelt in the Tibetan alphabet which is derived from the ancient Indian script, Brahmi.
CLASSIFICATION = Sino-Tibetan family, SCRIPT = Tibetan