Tibetan Course - Online and Classroom Classes

Why study Tibetan?Tibetan Course in Dharma City - Manjushri

Many Buddhist scriptures in Sanskrit have been lost or destroyed, but a significant amount of these ancient texts came down to us in Tibetan. In Tibet itself, a stunning Buddhist and lay literature came to flourish. Hence learning classical Tibetan is a key to this corpus of extraordinary wisdom texts in their original version. Spoken Tibetan, in turn, opens the door to a unique tradition carried on by Tibetans.

We offer the following course levels:

Beginner 1
            Colloquial Tibetan: After learning the Tibetan script, students gradually discover how to build basic sentences using the verbs to be and to have. They study vocabulary and grammar basics such as the verbal distinction between testimonial and indirect knowledge, the pronominal categories of བདག་ (self) and གཞན་ (others), the main usages of la dön particle, honorifics, personal pronouns and plural marker. The grammar lectures are complemented by various games and interactive methods, which help to assimilate the material in an entertaining way.
            Classical Tibetan: Once students know how to read, the course runs parallel with colloquial Tibetan. In this way students discover similar topics from two perspectives and can understand the similarities and discrepancies between spoken and classical Tibetan. In addition to the above mentioned topics (see “Colloquial”), the following is introduced: Dharma vocabulary, lists/enumerations, cardinal and ordinal numbers, indefinite particle, connective particle, structure of nominal groups, etc.

Beginner 2
            Colloquial Tibetan: This course aims at consolidating the basics covered in Beginner 1 in order to proceed further with new grammatical structures and vocabulary. Students learn how to make questions using question words and question particles. Other topics include the verbal categories of ཐ་དད་པ་ and ཐ་མི་དད་པ་ (a concept similar to transitive and intransitive), agentive particles, etc.
            Classical Tibetan: During this course students learn how to translate nominal groups and basic sentences from Tibetan into English. The new topics go hand in hand with topics from the colloquial class. The course also covers areas such as: emphasizing and terminating particles, additional usages of agentive particles, imperative and vocative mood, new vocabulary, etc.

Beginner 3
            Colloquial Tibetan: During this course students study the past, present and future tenses and their different usages – depending on the source of knowledge (direct or inferential), subject (self or others) and volition (intentional and non-intentional). Other verbal tenses such as present perfect and “volunteering” are also introduced, and of course new vocabulary.
            Classical Tibetan: The course focuses on the nominal usage of particles. The following particles are covered: la dön, concessive, ‘and/or’ and source particles. Last but not least, the important topic of “relative clauses” is introduced, and of course new vocabulary.  

Intermediate 1
            Colloquial Tibetan: The course covers: new vocabulary, the imperative tense, the connective gar particle, the distinction between ‘to have’, ‘to be’ and ‘to become’, postpositions and verbalizers. Students will also learn how to express date and time.
            Classical Tibetan: The course focuses on nominal and verbal usages of the main particles – namely connective particles, concessive particles, instrumental particles, etc. The students start translating actual Dharma texts and discover new vocabulary and grammatical subtleties.

Intermediate 2
            Colloquial Tibetan: Students learn how to use the secondary verbs ‘to be able’, ‘to want’, ‘to need’ and so forth. Along with new vocabulary, they study how to say ‘only’ and ‘unless’, how to construct conditional sentences and how to use conjunctions such as ‘because’, ‘even though’, ‘in spite of’ etc.
            Translation Project: Students train by translating sadhānas, sūtras and different types of scriptural commentaries. This working material provides plenty of opportunities to learn new vocabulary and grammatical subtleties.

PechasIntermediate 3
            Colloquial Tibetan: One of the most common verbal structure is introduced: expressing probability. It is an extensive subject involving many subtleties; for instance different structures are used depending on the degree of probability, certainty and assertiveness. Other important topics to be covered are: direct and indirect reported speech, comparative and superlative sentences, nominalizers, present continuous, relative clauses and of course new vocabulary.
            Translation Project: Students train by translating sadhānas, sūtras and different types of scriptural commentaries. This working material provides plenty of opportunities to learn new vocabulary and grammatical subtleties.

Advanced 1-2-3
            Colloquial Tibetan: Students progress gradually, building on previously acquired grammar structures and vocabulary. They learn constructions such as present continuous, expressing simultaneous actions, speaking about future or past projects, expressing "I just did..." and "I am about to do...", Tibetan onomatopoeia, expressing "I got the opportunity to...", rhetoric questions, expressing "to make someone do something", expressing doubt and uncertainty, and of course new vocabulary.
            Translation Project: Students train by translating sadhānas, sūtras and different types of scriptural commentaries. This working material provides plenty of opportunities to learn new vocabulary and grammatical subtleties. When they are ready, each student works on an individual translation for a class presentation.

Please contact us directly to know which levels are currently offered. Anyone who is sincerely interested in learning Tibetan is welcome. We will do our best to give a learning opportunity that suits your level – whether you need a foundation in alphabet and grammar, or an advanced training to develop written and oral skills.

Teachers:

Jampa-NorgyalJampa Norgyal was born in Tibet. He directed and took part in several projects connected with preserving and teaching Tibetan language, including at the Esukhia organization in India. His knowledge of both Tibetan Buddhism and language is excellent. Students appreciate Jampa's soft and patient teaching style.
 
 

Khenpo-Thupten-Lodru-NyimaLopön Tsering Gönpo (Khenpo Thubten Lodrö Nyima) was born in Tibet in a nomad family. His father taught him how to read and write. At the age of sixteen, he enters Dzogchen Shri Singha University in Kham, eastern Tibet and completes the monastic college (shedra) in fifteen years, obtaining the "Khenpo" title - an equivalent of the "Doctor" title. Khenpo Thupten has been teaching various subjects to Westerners in a kind and precise manner.

chloe-crop-1Chloe Cramer was born in Switzerland. In 2010 she went to Kathmandu to learn Tibetan and Buddhist philosophy, attending Rangjung Yeshe Institute's Bachelor program. She presently studies in RYI's Master program, helps teaching Tibetan at ZPI and occasionally serves as an interpreter.


yury-crop1Yury Gruznov was born in Russia. In 2010 he went to Kathmandu to learn Tibetan and Buddhist philosophy, attending Rangjung Yeshe Institute's Bachelor program. He presently works as a computer engineer and helps teaching Tibetan at Zangdok Palri Institute (ZPI - Belgium), occasionally working on Tibetan written translations.