The Ladakhi language (), now also called Bhoti, and by linguists more generally called Western Archaic Tibetan when the Balti and Burig or Purig or Purki dialects are included, is the predominant language in the Ladakh region of the Jammu and Kashmir state of India, and is also spoken in Baltistan. Ladakhi is closely related to Tibetan, and the Ladakhi people share cultural similarities with Tibetans, including Tibetan Buddhism. There is disagreement as to whether they should be considered distinct languages, but Ladakhi and Central Tibetan are not mutually intelligible, though they share a written form dating back to Old Tibetan. Ladakhi has approximately 200,000 speakers in India, and perhaps 12,000 speakers in the Tibet region of China, mostly in the Changthang region. Ladakhi has several dialects, Ladakhi proper (also called Lehskat after the capital of Ladakh, Leh, where it is spoken); Shamskat, spoken to the northwest of Leh; Stotskat, spoken to the southeast in the Indus valley; and Nubra, spoken in the north. The varieties spoken in Upper Ladakh and Zangskar have many features of Ladakhi and many other features of western dialects of Central Tibetan.
Most dialects of Ladakhi lack tone, but Stotskat and Upper Ladakhi are tonal like Central Tibetan.
Written Ladakhi is most often romanised using modified Wylie transliteration, with a th denoting an aspirated dental t, for example.
Ladakhi is usually written using Tibetan script with the pronunciation of Ladakhi being much closer to written Tibetan than most other Tibetan dialects. Ladakhis pronounce many of the prefix, suffix and head letters that are silent in Amdo, Kham, -Tsang or Lhasa Tibetan. This tendency is more pronounced to the west of Leh, and on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control, in Baltistan. For example, a Tibetan would pronounce sta 'axe' as [ta ], but a Ladakhi would say [sta]. While a Tibetan would pronounce bras 'rice' as [ ], Ladakhis say [dras], and the Kargilpa (Burig) say [bras].
The question of whether to write colloquial Ladakhi in the Tibetan script or to write only a slightly Ladakhified version of Classical Tibetan is controversial in Ladakh. Muslim Ladakhis speak Ladakhi but most do not read the Tibetan script and most Buddhist Ladakhis can sound out the Tibetan script but do not understand Classical Tibetan, but some Ladakhi Buddhist scholars insist that Ladakhi must be written only in a form of Classical Tibetan. A limited number of books and magazines have been published in colloquial Ladakhi.
On 27 Feb 2011, The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh passed a resolution for the inclusion of the Bhoti language in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution without any opposition.
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