Interculturality and multilingualism in the Amdo region: the Wutun language community The term Wutun refers to a community officially recognized as part of the Tù minority (that includes also Mongolic language speakers, such as the Monguor and the Baonan), settled in three villages close to the city of Longwu, (Tongren county, current Qinghai province, People’s Republic of China). Wutun are culturally close to Tibetans, and they speak a Sinitic language strongly influenced by Tibetan. The history of the Wutun community is controversial: while some studies describe them as a Sinitic population settled in Qinghai assimilated to Tibetans, Wutun oral narratives tell about a migration from Central Tibet for military reason during the kingdom of Songtsän Gampo (VIIth-IXth century).
The research encompasses different disciplines such as linguistics, linguistic anthropology, and history. The project aims at identifying dynamics of ethnic identification and the role played by the language, religion, and material culture in the integration into the local Tibetan community. The project includes also a study of the lexicon of Wutun, in order to have a better understanding of the contribution of Amdo local varieties as well as of Standard Chinese to the development of the language.