Compared to other Sino-Tibetan languages, the Chinese languages have a lot less inflection. Why is that? Did Old Chinese lose affixes and agreement systems? Or did other languages in the family get influenced by other languages with more complex grammar?

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    I've been told by many specialists that Old Chinese lost affixes and therefore agreement systems.
    – jlawler
    Dec 18, 2017 at 3:30
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    Sinitic is definitely the more innovative branch. The loss of morphology (which was virtually complete by Early Middle Chinese) may have been the result of language contact. Dec 18, 2017 at 5:16

1 Answer 1


Yes, Old Chinese did loose a previously existent system of affixes (and simplified their syllable structure significantly). With respect to inflection, the Tibetan languages are more conservative than the Sinitic ones.

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