The Linux command “sort” is both powerful and confusing. The manpage tells us that the “-t” switch can be used to set the field delimiter.
If you’ve tried various combinations of “-t” and “\t” to tell sort that your file is tab-delimited without success, try this (bash shell):
TAB=`echo -e "\t"` sort -t"$TAB" myfile
with “-kN” as appropriate, where N is the column on which to sort.