Spoken all across China, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, Western Thailand, Ladakh and Nagaland - the Sino-Tibetan language family is generally regarded as the second largest linguistic family in the world with more than 400 different languages, after the Indo-European language family.
There are two branches in the Sino-Tibetan language family (汉藏语系 the Sinitic branch (汉语支 and the Tibeto-Burman branch (藏缅语支. These languages are spoken by the ethnic Han Chinese (汉族, Tibetans (藏族, Qiang (羌族, Tangut (党项族, Bamar / Myanmar (缅族, Nakhi (纳西族, Tujia (土家族, Derung (独龙族, Kachin / Jingphaw (克钦族 / 景颇族 and the Bai (白族, amongst many others.
Some features found in Sino-Tibetan languages includes:
- Inflections (except Chinese, but Old Chinese also used to carry inflections)
- Subject-Object-Verb Sentence Structure (SVO also accepted in Chinese)
- Contrasting aspirated & unaspirated stops / affricates (/p/ VS /pʰ/)
- Mostly Tonal (Originally non-tonal)
- Glottal Stops
Eastern Qinghai (青海省东部 is said to be the urheimat of the Sino-Tibetan speaking people who split apart from one another more than 7000 years ago. However, there are still many similarities in terms of vocabulary to be found between the Sino-Tibetan languages.
"Bitter" in Old Chinese -> 苦 *kʰˁaʔ
"Bitter" in Tibetan -> kha
"Bitter" in Tangut -> khie
"Black" in Old Chinese -> 黑 *smək
"Black" in Tibetan -> smag
Other similarities, cognates and specific description of Sino-Tibetan languages: http://bartos.web.elte.hu/sinotib/thur-lapolla-ST.pdf