You are on page 1of 78

S ^ l Textbook of Modern Colloquial Tibetan Conversations


Assisted by Kenneth Liberman


Copyright : 1987 Library of Tibetan Works and Archives First Reprint: 1992 Second Reprint: 1993 Third Reprint: 2002 Fourth Reprint: 2009

All Rights Reserved Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without prior permission of the publisher.

ISBN: 81-85102-57-0

Published by the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, H.P. and printed at Indraprastha Press (CBT), New Delhi-110002.


This collection of informal conversations in modern Tibetan has been compiled to provide students ofTibetan language with an opportunity to practise speaking in everyday situations. Until recently interest in spoken Tibetan has largely been restricted to people in some way connected with the refugee community in exile. However, since Tibet itself is being increasingly opened to foreign tourists it is important that they should be able to communicate with the local Tibetan people, so we hope this book will also be of some help to them. The author, Mr. Tashi, has taught Tibetan language to foreign students for almost a decade during which time he has become familiar with the problems they face and has evolved these materials, amongst others, to suit their needs. During a sabbatical year in the U.S.A. he was assisted in preparing this book by Kenneth Liberman, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon, Eugene. They have been careful to ensure that the English translations follow the Tibetan as closely as possible in order to help students clearly understand both its meaning and form. Perhaps even more important than the book itself is the accompanying cassette on which all the conversations have been recorded in Tibetan, allowing the student further practice in the skills of speaking and listening. We are grateful to the authors for their efforts and hope this work will contribute to strengthening friendly communications between Tibetans and people of other lands.

Gyatsho Tshering Director

0 (r ^
q]% 3^'

^ ,s I ^ ,^T^^ 7 l^3 ;I^ ^ q,zy;^;q^I;,T3 i,s^,a,ql^^3 ;J,q ^^^,


The Textbook of Modern Colloquial Tibetan Conversation is written for those non-Tibetans who have keen interest in learning conversational Tibetan and who have already been studying the language. The textbook is based on the contemporary colloquial language in order to assist students to communicate directly with Tibetan people. It is based upon traditional Tibetan expression and relies upon the proper form and style used among Tibetans in their everyday life. In studying this book, students are advised to rely more heavily upon the tape than the book. The book should be consulted only when necessary, and students should continue their study until they are capable of listening to the entire tape with full comprehension without consulting the book.

Tashi (Daknewa)


1. Eight different short important conversations 1 2. Three different conversations about going to a restaurant 8 3. Going to a tea shop 17 4. Two short conversations asking for directions 19 5. Two short conversations on purchasing books and manuscripts from a shop 21 6. Going to a Tibetan hospital 24 7. A short talk on smoking 28 8. Going for a walk 30 9. A short conversation on Lhasa Apsos 32 10. A talk between Mr. Kalsang and Ms. Sangmo 34 11. A talk between a father and his son 37 12. A conversation on a childs admission to the school 41 13. A conversation on pilgrimage 46 14. A short conversation on Gangchen Kyishong and the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, Dharamsala 50 15. A short conversation on research 55 16. Notes 58 17. Glossary 59 18. A chart of genitives with examples 65 19. A chart of accusative, dative and location cases 66 20. Conjunction 67 21. The connective particles or conjunction 68 22. Dependent particles or conjunction 69

Eight different short important conversations

Tenpa: ^7*1 David: q^a^l

What is your name?

My name is David,

Where is your birthplace?

I am from New York. *W 1 S5 ^ ' ^ ' ( ^ ' ) T5'-^ What are you doing here? '^ !

}^ \
I am studying here. What are you studying? >%>1 ' ^ V 'F l I am studying spoken and written Tibetan.

Are spoken and written Tibetan not difficult?

Not so difficult. Its easy.

q ^ * || Tashi: c ^ rq jq j Ngodup:

s ^ r q j q Ojq^j y ^ 3 f y q | 3 ^ ^ | Ngodup-la, what time is it now?

Twenty minutes past two.

When will you go to the Office?


I will go to the office at ten minutes before 9 oclock. ^ ^1 ^5|] Well then, at what time is lunch? ^ ' 3 ql Lunch is at exactly 12 oclock.

qjlfl^-qy^qsr^J-SlS^SlI This evening, are you going to see the movie at 6:30? *y55r*jq]

a rK '}]
Yes. If [we] go thats fine. Lets leave from here around 6:15.

Sangye: What is todays date?


Isnt todays date the tenth? Yesterdays date was the ninth, probably. <?3|| K^3jq p q q|W ^ | Well then, what day [of the week] is tomorrow?

Tomorrow is Friday.

Isnt it April [the fourth month] this month? o r^ j Yes. It is April.


What is the price of this?

Dhundup: It is fifty rupees. 1(3^1 q ^ q y g ^ ^ q ^ Where did you get this?

I got this from Nepal. ||3 ^ j Isnt it expensive?

Its not expensive, its cheap.


Please lend me your pen for a while.

Nyima: | q|

My pen is missing.

Thats strange. My pen is also missing.


ursjc^j wqj|*/sr$i3^5i!
That s strange. Who has taken [them] ? jy

Most likely my child took them to play with. Please search. Also Ill find out. ^*1] 3rSi| Yes, let me inquire now.


When did you come?


I came yesterday. q y w qgq]r2r^| Where are you staying?

Im staying in Gangchen Kyishong. q ^ ( q^*/ How many days will you stay here?

Ill stay here for a few days.

Where will you go after that? ^ 1 Afterwards, I will go to Nepal.

Where did you come from this time?

This time Ive come from Kullu.

j ^ t ; ^ 3 ^ q * r q | Tsering: Where have you come from?


I have come from Japan. jly ^ R q^cV ( < ^ ' ) ^ * r ^ q * r q j When did you come here?

I arrived just yesterday.

Where is your birth place? pf I was born in Tokyo. 3 ^ | l Y ^ - ^ T ^ - q ^ s i - a T 'i i Where are you now staying?

Now I am staying at a Tibetan hotel. S ^ * s| How many days will you be staying here? ^ ' ^ ' q T ^ 'i '51l1,3i'8lail1 I will stay here for one month and fifteen days.

Tseyang: Dolma-la, how are you?


Fine. And how are you?

Fine. Sit here. Should I bring some tea? gar&n orsjai

m at

No. I wont take any tea. 2 srqj3^| Dont be polite. Have some tea. |[arsi! ar*j^| No, thank you.

Three different conversations on going to a restaurant

g-pR -a^-orqtffsjqisr"

On going to a restaurant....


Today let us (two) go to eat at a restaurant. 3'pR <l]'W3|

Yangchen: Yes. Which restaurant? p ^ *fV 1 That Tibetan Restaurant there. ^ < r ^ i a r^ i Yes, thats right.

Q y5 '')

after arriving at the restaurant....

S ^ | j f c j Hey. Are there any seats?

Yes, come in. Please have a seat.


Where should we sit?

It doesnt matter. Any place we sit is alright. g*ra^ Well then, that seat there?

Yes, thats fine.

on how to orderfood....
(S|aj*ajq|^V2r^| What food do you have?

We have whatever food you order.

What are you going to eat? iv q ^ srq g sr5 ^*] I will order rice and vegetables. &%K']

jfc j q ^ sr q g ^ c q q^STcfcr^q*!]
Hey. Do you have rice and vegetables?

Yes. gS'%^

g*T5] q ^ - q g ^ c ; ] q i ^ 3 f a r ^ ^ f a r ^ gJ|
W )% j| Ro r q ^ s r X ^ c q q p p 1 Well then, a full bowl of rice and vegetables, and then for me bring momos and a hot soup broth. ^qqy^qnJV ( ujc;-) 2 ^ ] We also have sha-bagleb.

^ q q ] '< W o r^ q ] q 2 f ]


Well then, please also bring some sha-bagleb. I like sha-bagleb.


about the taste o f thefood....

Is the food good?

^g^N 5^| Aq ^

^ q ttJ E ^ Tfq^q] j*pf

The food is very good. It s very tasty. It s delicious.


Is it salted alright? ^ c :* | qqjq^vf^ 'q 5 ] ^ \ p ^ q ^ a r q s ^ q*!] Alright. Its salted alright. Do you have any chili?

Yes, this chili is very tasty.

the bill....
jfc q

Hey. How much does the food cost?

Seventeen rupees and fifty paisa.

Thats cheap. Please bring each of us a cup of tea.

What kind of tea should I bring?

Please bring two cups of sweet tea. q 3 ^ * !| *^jqrq'

Today we dont have any tea other than Tibetan tea. Please dont mind.

Well, if you bring Tibetan tea, that will be alright.

Yes. I will bring it right now.


The tea is very good. Well now, let s go. S ' ^ l o r^ ] O.K.

Phuntsok-la, please take this money. g3f3fa|i| 5 ^ ] ^ 1 Yes. Well then, good-bye.

On going to a restaurant...
^ I| Nyima: ^arajqytfcjq*!] Do you have any food? arfli*^ qgq|rq]*^^q]*i| Dorjee: ^'*l| Yes. Please sit down. ^ a |ajq]-q]^C ^| What kind of food do you have?


Momos and noodles.

^ I| ^ q q ^ q ^ q * i |

Dont you have sha-bagleb?

q < ^ *q g^ w V 2 ^ |

Yes. I also have sha-baglebs, and rice too. ^ 1| g ^ j c ; ^ - q q |^ q q g q |v ^ ^ q|ap'| Well then, please bring me [some] sha-baglebs.


W * & ]

c;ry^< W W

Yes. Please wait a short while. Ill bring it right now. ^<H| tq/jjqy-^-q^Eq That doesnt matter. First bring me some sweet tda. g^-ai'^-Jl,q]SjaiX'*Jc s -'S'%ti]5

Oh! Nyima-la, What are you doing here?

^ *i| q { ^ * r q ^ q ]* i|

^ ] r ,siSYT,1
Oh! Tashi Deleg. Sit here. Today, lets [two] eat together. Before we eat, do you want some tea?

I wont take any tea. Ill order a meal.


What food will you order?


Ill order some noodles.


'^<JN]lj q^-(q^-)q(S^'^q]%q|-uA'(uK)
q g q y X 'q ^ S ^ 'l Dorje-la, Please bring some noodles here also.
W ^]

Yes. The noodles are ready.


Please give these noodles to Phuntsok-la.

Today you will be my guest.


The food is good. Now, after eating, lets each have some tea.

No, Thanks. I wont take any tea.

^ o r q q ] ^ 3 ^ c ^ ^ |

Well then, lets go. Dorje-la, what is the cost of the meal?

Twelve rupees and fifty paisa.

Please take this money.

3 ^ 'a ^ 'a r < s |a r a i q y 3 ^ *|q*r

On eating at the restaurant....

j f c j q ^ S q y S iy q s q Hey. Do you have any momos? q^rafa]5^] ^ ' ^ q l s r q ^ j We have momos. Just now we made [some].

I see, please bring a plate of momos. q|srafarqgq]'q]q] Shall I bring vegetables? q i ^ SffarSf^jqy( S r ^ j V ) j

^ q ^ ' q ^ - q ^ l^q wV ( ujc;)

I dont want vegetables; if you have a bowl of broth, please bring it. The momos you made are very good. Theyre extremely delicious; indescribably delicious. How much is the price for the food?

Four and half rupees.

O.K. Please take this money.

Going to a tea shop

|' 3 j

Dawa la, I am very thirsty. Lets go have tea.



Yes, that s fine. Ive also been thirsty for a while now.

Which tea shop shall we go to? yqj ^ ^ ^ pc^rqj<V ( s j ^ - ) ^ q * p ^ Lets go to that Tibetan tea shop.

q ^ qgsjl jfc l Hey, first please bring each of us a glass of water. 5 ^ | a5q'q^^ a ^ y 5 % q j ^ |
^ S T ^ S ^ q ^ q S ^ j

Yes. This water is very cold. Ive just taken it out of the refrigerator. q ^ q ^ j $ K ] s q q ^ R ^ q ^

Oh! This water is very cold. Please bring us each a cup of sweet tea.

Yes. How many spoonfuls of sugar shall I put?

q ] ^ ^ q ] ^ q ^ q ] 3 ^ 'q ^ q y

I dont want much sugar. If you put one and a half spoonfuls it will be alright. Youve made some good tea, but the sweet tea is better in the Indian tea houses.

Thats right. The sweet tea we make is never like the sweet tea made in Indian tea shops. 3^5,q t ^ q ^ a r ^ q ^ s r a A ^ q y ^ ^ j How much are the two teas?

Its one and half rupees.

Please have this money.

Thank you. Well then, good-bye.



Two short conversations on asking for directions.

1 SJC^Ol] j f c ] ^


Hey. Which path is the way to go to the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives? This way [or] that way?


That way. From there you need to go up.

Thank you. How far is it? qsj^Tj q q |^ Q 3 w |^ X ^ ] It s not far. It will not take more than perhaps ten minutes.

I see. Thanks.

Which is Geshe Losangs place?


That [one] on top of the hill up there.

How can I get there?

You need to take the middle path up there.


From there, will it be alright if I go straight? q^c^Ij <*T^| o r p R ^ ^ % q ] 3Tqy^] ^ S ^ q g j s r ^ V ( ^ */ )

Yes. First go straight. Then there is a yellow house on the right-hand side. He stays close to there. sjSr'ijoij isrofo] I see. Thank you.


Two short conversations on purchasing books and manuscripts from a shop.


Do you have any Tibetan language studies textbooks?


aj-ar^j q^ql*q5*q[q q ]q ^ ^ |
Yes, I have seven different textbooks. Which do you want to buy? q a r ^ ^ q * $ c f c ^ $l3j] Possibly Ill buy all the books. How much are they?

sjS jv^l

fp r I|

If you buy all the books, its one hundred and five rupees. 3jjvTjOl| ^ ^ ^ q ' 5 q ] ,q]3jc;ttjq],3iq]*I^YJ:j^] Cant you reduce the price a little bit?

We never reduce the price. Im sorry



Well then, Ill buy all the Tibetan language textbooks. Also , please make a receipt.

Yes. This is the receipt.


Thank you.


Well then, good-bye.


Sir, How much is this pecha?

Ngawang: Its twenty rupees.


How much is it really?

Thats really it.

I really will buy it. Please tell me the exact price.


X q jsr^ c;']

We never lower the price. Please dont get angry.

Yes. Well then, this time I wont buy it. c ;q |^ q ^ | qyVq]3p^ r ^ | | That doesnt matter.


Going to a Tibetan hospital.


Hey. Is there a Tibetan hospital around here?

p :;^ ^ 0 ^ % q y q ^ q y q ]c :|


Yes. Near that fruit seller there is a large yellow house? Thats the hospital. Go straight there.

Thank you. g ^ -p R -^ -a j-g jq ^ -q c c l^ -a ]-

the hospital....

Is there a doctor there? fjV&J] O lq^q] * ^ 3T

Yes. Please wait for a while. It wont be more than a few minutes.


Yes. Is there a toilet around here?

Yes there is. There is a patient standing there. Next to that [patient] is the toilet.

}^ \

o j - ^ i (owir<r|r1$l) Thanks.

a short while later

|ja r s i| j f c l

Hey. Now there is no one with the doctor. Please go quickly.

Thank you.

^ jS q y u ft- ( ^


Doctor, Tashi Deleg. My name is David. For the past few days Ive not been at all well. My stomach has not been well either. I was taking non-Tibetan medicine for several days, but that didnt make it better; therefore, today I have come to see a doctor.


q f s r ^ j g q j- q f ^ - ^ l That doesnt matter. After doing a thorough examination, let me give you medicine. Most likely, youll definitely get better after two or three days. It seems you have a little bit cold; therefore, wear warm clothes. And for a couple of days dont eat different kinds of food. Dont worry, you will get better.

Yes. Thank you. Where can I get the medicine? $sr% | Ijarsraiq^i Dolma-la, please give him the medicine.

ojq]i|*rargi| j^ | O.K. Please come here. After finishing breakfast you need to take this medicine with hot water. Take this [other] medicine after lunch. And please take this [other medicine] with boiled water after finishing dinner.

}% ?]
How much is the medicine?

Four rupees and sixty paisa.

O.K. Please take this money. Thank you.




g-5jq]-q]^ k 'a j - q ^ q S ja j'^ c ;- ^ iT |

A short conversation on smoking

^ '3 1


My friend, do you have a cigarette? o r ^ j Rarg s jq y ^ j

^ '3 1

No. I dont have a cigarette.


Well then, do you have a match?

' ) si^ |

I dont have a match either.

^ '3 1

Oh! Youve stopped smoking cigarettes, havent you?


Yes. Ive stopped smoking cigarettes since last year.

^ '3 1

Y ^ '5 'o r ^ ^ p q y

^ 5^

-u jq ^ -

I see. If its like that, that s very good. Now please, never smoke cigarettes [again]. I have tried the best methods for stopping cigarettes, but at this moment its a bit difficult. But gradually I too will try to stop smoking cigarettes completely.

( u ^ )T

^ |

( UJR*) q y ^ q y ^ ^ S T q ^ Sr

Yah! O f course. Smoking cigarettes costs a lot of money; thats o.k., but its also very harmful to the body. These days, H.H. The Dalai Lama often advises that [we] need to give up cigarettes; therefore, you too must gradually quit cigarettes, please,

^ q ^ q y q ^ j

Yes, friend, Now I will definitely stop smoking cigarettes soon.

If you stop smoking cigarettes completely, I may give you a special gift.


Going for a walk


|prsrajcr|*i| R 3 T ' s r ^ 1 ^ T ^ q ^ 'qaB*ra r Dolma-la, shall we go for a walk in that park there?


Yes. Seldon-la said that perhaps she will also come. Let s go together. o r^ j Yes. Well then, shall I call her?

*^ 1
f ^ l

5 ^ '^ ] Dekyi-la, dont go over there. She is going to come over here now. ip io ifiil Seldon: Are you ready to go walking? I thought you already left.


Until now we were staying here waiting for you. Now lets go. Shall we?

Yes. Dolma-la, are you ready to go? V si]

Im ready to go, but I am making some sweet tea for you two first.

%W T ^ I wont have any tea now. Lets go. If we stay here like this, well spend all of our time inside the house. And if the children arrive from the school, it will be difficult to go for a walk. q]j<*r|]3j] *^3j] Ifl Well then, lets go quickly and not take so much time. Its almost 3:30.

^ Ih i

Y ^ ^ fn
Yes, Lets go now.


A short conversation on Lhasa Apsos


Dolkar-la, is there an Apso seller around here? Please see.

|p r = ^ | Dolkar: Do you like dogs? O l^ j W ^T|

Yes. I like Apsos very much. Most Apsos are very cute. My friend also has some cute Apsos. j

'* )1

If you have a great love of Apsos, Ill surely find an Apso.

y^j1 } w]
They say that in Tibet there are different kinds of dogs, isnt it?



^ -B l
^ ^ 1 S)3i3^] m^q-Xw]-<3)-SI^'^N^q]C};5;SI^ Thats right. There are Apsos, watchdogs, and hunting dogs. But I like only Apsos.

When will you be able to find an Apso for me? Can you get one in a week? After ten days I will probably have to return to Delhi. If I dont absolutely get one this time, its alright. I have to come here again in two months, so it will be alright if I get one then. f V '^ l 2 i^ l qqr2j*rsr^q3fl q]on)'

Yes. It will be good if I can find [one] this time. In case I cant find [one], Ill definitely be able to find one after a month. Dont worry.


A talk between Mr. Kalsang and Mrs. Sangmo

Sjarqgiq q ^ Srajq^] ui*^q*i| q<^rq^3yq^q]*q q^<V

Kalsang: Sangmo-la, come in. Have a seat. Sit here. Will you take some tea?

qg^ S] Sangmo: Yes, thank you. I will take a cup of tea.

*jorqgc;| s q ^ s j E ^ E ^ c ^ i How much milk would you like? q^RS] I dont want a lot of milk. ^jOlqgi;] g ^iqjqj$]^yq*<] How much sugar? If I put a full spoonful, Will it be alright? aj-qguySy^i E ^ 'I 'a o j Itll be alright, thank you. ^q^*] Please have tea. Have your tea while its hot.



Yes. Usually I am unable to drink my tea very hot. I like it a cooler temperature.

(a few minutes later)

^ 0 ^ 3 R] Have another cup of tea.

No. I wont take any. Thats enough. 5j|arqg*;| * T ^ | No, First have [another] cup of tea.

Really, I wont take any now. Thank you. ^jorqgc;] q]*r]<E;*rai| q]*r*J<R*r*rq]^c;]

Oh, youre doing mzang [being polite]. Dont do mzang, have a cup.

Thanks, Now I ask your permission [to leave]. ^orqgcq Please stay a little longer.


qg^ lGj

aj*j3^| No. Now Ill go. Now I must go to the market to buy some vegetables.


^ P ^ O.K, will you please post this letter at the post office on your way to the market?


u ja ^ c ^ ] w a j3 ^ R g q ]p c^ |qyggqj
O f course, Ill post it at the post office right away.

^ o rq g tq g j^ | Well then, good-bye. q ^ ST ] q g q | T ^ 3 ^ q |* ||| Good-bye.


A talk between a father and his son

q ^ o S ^ ] q <*W |l]


T1 Father! Today is our school holiday; therefore, shall we carry our lunch and go to the top of that mountain? 1 ? ? ^ ] Tfgjj



O.K. Well my son, go and ask your mother if she wants to go.

q ^ ' q j ^ j wr*row]l] 0^*^5^353^353^0^^ ^ q ^ v ^ a ^ * } c ;q|*l| Mother! Today lets carry our lunch and go for a walk to the top of that mountain. Father says hell also come.

^q] Chonzom: My son, of course. First put on some clean clothes , and also call your friend Tenpa-la. Let s go together.

q ^ q l ^ j WT*r0W]l| q]V q]3jc;^^q]

q < *W ]T

Mother, Ive brought Tenpa-la here. What is father doing? Now lets go. S w ifa w ]^ ] Well, go call father, q ^ q ^ j q <*W ]*J| ^ ^ q T f q ^ q ^ q ^ ivjE;

Pala, lets go now. My friend Tenpa-la said he will come with me, too. q ^ * !|

Thats good. Let me finish this work first. It wont take more than two minutes.

on top o f the mountain

q ^ q ^ j q *W]*J| Father, how pleasant it is on top of this mountain!


q] ^ 6^ ^ ,^ ,ojR,q,qa],^,q,^ ,a3^ ^ ^ < | ^ q ^ '

W % ]
<fr|a r f p ^ j ^c;3^*r^Eq ^ q j ^ s rq ^ My son, most of the places in our country are much more pleasant than this, [with] snow on the

mountain tops, rocky mountains below, meadows below that, and forests and all kinds of flowers growing; its really very pleasant.

Father, when will we return to Tibet.

My son, we will be able to return to Tibet soon. Before you arrive in Tibet, you must first complete your studies well.

Father, I will keep all of your advice. Im studying extremely well. Recently, during the schools monthly exams, I was top of the class.

^ * o jojci]c*jqi%c;raf^^ Thats good. Dont be content with that. You must do your studies well. Our day will definitely come, and there will be a time when we will return to Tibet.

f l^ l

Yes, father. Today we have had a good time. Let s go home now. I have some studying to do at home tonight. q ^ S jj Tfajj q'q^3jq aiq|rj^

Well then, lets return slowly Tenpa-la, you should study well, too.

I also study very well. In my class I always take the first rank.

Thats good. It is still very important for you two to study well.


A conversation on a childs admission to the school.

q<sjq]*rq]^q ^ j* J| Chodon: Please come in. Please sit down. 3 ^ q y < w ^ v ^ * r Dechen: S*r|jajl If you are busy, please first complete your work.

Well, sorry. Please wait for a while. It wont be more than one or two minutes.

Yes. Please dont hurry.

^ q y ^ a f^ l ^ 3 r 3 y a rq j^ X q]*rq]3^i Today I need to go to the Indian pass [port] office; therefore, Im in a little bit of hurry. What are the most important [matters] you need to discuss? Please tell me those first.


I need to talk about admitting my son to school. Sr|j3j]

w afo]

q ^ ^ V

I see. Please leave that for today. It will be better if we can discuss this in detail at our leisure. ^ ^ ] o r ^ i g*r^] qyjjsrqw 'i] O.K. Well then, when should I come?

Im thinking you can come tomorrow evening. But please, first telephone me early in the morning. |j ^ l g r^|

Yes. Well then, Ill call you tomorrow morning. SVfja)] ^ j'q3fi*r^T|*1' q p p 'l O.K. Thank you. Today, I must go to the Indian pass [port] office at once. Im sorry [please dont mind].

It doesnt matter. Well, good-bye.

Yes. Well, good-bye.


the next day

[telephone ringing] Hello. Who are you?

^ 'j l y ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ a r^ q ^ q y q q a r^ sr g sr^ ] I am Dechen. Good morning. When should I come to talk about admitting my son to school? Yesterday, you told me to telephone you this morning; therefore, I am calling you now. * r|J^ | q ^ ^ 'O ^ S } ]
^5*T ^1

^ a ^ q ^ S ^ 'q ^ ^ T

1 2 o r g y ^ ^ q<VS}c;^ |

q ^ 'g j qjStfy

^ ; * r q *l^3T*lr


Dechen-la, Thats right. Its very good that you telephoned me. Thank you. Today, I need to go again to the Indian pass [port] office; therefore, first, please tell me your sons name, date of birth, and what class [level] he has attained. Basically, we must find some time tomorrow to meet to talk in detail about your sons admission to school. Please also remind our Education Office about your son. I will also telephone from here right now. Today Im unable to see you. Im sorry.

Thats quite alright. But you must find a definite time to see [me] tomorrow please.

Ill do that. Tomorrow Ill definitely find time to see [you].

Thank you. Would you like me to come tomorrow morning or evening?

Please come tomorrow morning.

What time should I come?

Please come here at 10:30 a.m.


Yes. Ill do that. Well then, we can meet tomorrow. S V fp,] O J ^ I ^ c ^ ^ a r c f c j


( ujr*)

Yes. Well meet tomorrow. Ill telephone about your son right away Please dont worry. You also should remind [the Education Office] please. q ^ ^ j

Thank you. Ill do that. I trust youll also take [this] seriously. SVfjaj]

Thank you. I definitely will take [it] seriously. Lets talk about the details carefully tomorrow.

Thank you. Well then, let us meet tomorrow. $ V |[^ i o r^ | o r^ j Yes, yes.


q ]3 ^ ^ a ra rq g y * jq * I|

A conversation on pilgrimage


q|^E ;'S ^^q]'^q*r]p3^ ^ jT ^ l Phuntsok: Mr. Sonam-la, these days is any one going to Bodh Gaya for pilgrimage and Dharma teachings?

Sonam: q^ lT ^ I

Yes, people are going. Im also going. raw | I see. Are you also going to Bodh Gaya?

t ^ qqsr&!p3^3^q*l] Yes. I am also going. Phuntsok-la, are you also going to Bodh Gaya?

qSj Sq]^] R'ufor^sjpgjo^i q^^W O J^Srjl^Riyiq*/

I ain also going. Sonam la, what places will you go to? q^fy^sw j ^ r q |3 ^ r


First I will go directly to Varanasi. Then, after visiting some pilgrimage places Ill go to Bodh Gaya to receive some dharma teachings from His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

r^ 1 I see. Isnt anyone going straight to Bodh Gaya? Because I dont speak Hindi well, it may be difficult on the way.

You know the man in that house over there, the one with the door curtain? Well he is going directly to Bodh Gaya. g^'3Tq]j|

q^M ] ^ w ^ qq)q]q)5r^yq*ij I dont know him well. Sonam-la, Im wondering if it is possible for you to go directly to Bodh Gaya with me. Wouldnt it be alright if we went together? ^ ^ ^ * g q ] X q ] ^ ,O J ^ ^ q]%q]^J^q]%q]'q^^^SI



If you definitely need my assistance, it would be good if you can go along with me to Varanasi first.

Wouldnt it be alright if you dont go to Varanasi [definitely ]? Lets go directly to Bodh Gaya first.


gT#q q ^ l ^ q q j q y ^ q ^ Thats so, but it wont be alright if I dont go to Varanasi first this time. My grandmother came from Tibet for a family meeting and is staying in Varanasi these days waiting for me. That s why if I dont go directly to Varanasi this time it wont be alright.

Xq]*rq|3^| wr%j|

Oh! If thats so you must definitely go to Varanasi, please. Probably, I will also come with you to Varanasi first. Then will I stay with you at your place?


O f course. Well then, lets go together. Now I am a little bit rushed. I need to meet some acquaintances around here; in any case, lets meet the day after tomorrow at the bus station at 5:30 in the evening.

OT^I g*T3j|

IT ^ arq ]'

^ ,ql Yes. Well, please go meet those acquaintances of your first. Then lets definitely meet at the bus station in the evening of the day after tomorrow. Right? aiX^] <?3j] Yes, Well, good-bye.

Good-bye. Well see each other soon.


A short conversation on Gangchen Kyishong &c LTWA, Dharamsala

f % ^] David:

jf c ] Hey, when is the bus going to Dharamsala? ^ e ;* iq q ^ S 'Y q ^ ,cjaj'tQ q]^| j y * t;'^ * r * r


Seven oclock in the evening. Are you going to Dharamsala?

^ 1 S ^ ' S T ^ I Yes. This is the first time I am going to Dharamsala; therefore, I dont have very much of an idea.

What are you going to do in Dharamsala?

q ^ ffs jp a ^ ] I am going to Dharamsala to study the Tibetan Buddhist religion and language.

Ah yes. If that is the case its very good.


Where is the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives in Dharamsala located?

The Library of Tibetan Works & Archives is in Gangchen Kyishong.

Where is the place called Gangchen Kyishong?

^ i ^ ,^ ,^ T P z;,^ ,aj,^ ql,iIl3i;^ ,^ Y w ^ s r q ^ ^ l

^ 3 | p c

Gangchen Kyishong is midway between upper and lower Dharamsala. All the main offices of our

government in exile are in Gangchen Kyishong. If you leave on tonights bus, you will arrive in lower Dharamsala at 9 or 10 oclock in the morning. After that you can take a porter [coolie] and go directly to Gangchen Kyishong. Then if you ask about the Tibetan Library, you can obtain a room in the Tibetan Library itself. In case you dont get a room, nearby there is a guest house. If you stay there its alright. From lower Dharamsala up to Gangchen Kyishong, it would be good, if you get a porter [coolie]. You dont need to pay him more than eight and a half rupees.

Is there a restaurant in Gangchen Kyishong?

Although there is not a special restaurant, there is a kitchen for the Gangchen Kyishong workers. If you eat meals there, itll be alright. jf c l

Alright. Say, if you are not in a hurry, let us two go up to the tea stand for a cup of tea.

O.K., lets go. You speak Tibetan extremely well. Where did you learn?

* ^ q y |jq - |p 5 J -

A friend of mine lives in Nepal these days. I studied from him for more than a year. Still, I am going to the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives to continue my study ofTibetan Buddhist religion and language.

I see. Thats very good. ^ tT

^ '3 ^ 0 ^

What things are there in the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives?

^ v T jq ^ q q q ^ E q q ^ q q ^ a r ^ s r

^sj3iq ^ ^ ^ ,pq],5jc;;5 ,%q],^rq],^ ^ | There are many different things in the Tibetan Library. The most important are the many Tibetan Kangyur, Tangyur and manuscripts, etc. And a large museum in which you will see very many statues. Then there is an excellent thangka painting and wood carving school. Not only that, there are many other different departments.

? |,q^5|'^'^a])'^5|c.'?|-ai^-5.Yc)?i| Are there Dharma and language classes going on at the Tibetan Library these days?

i3 V 2 f(T q ^ 3 ^ * || Yes, yes. There are Dharma and language classes going on every year. Oh, now excuse me if I leave, its time for my bus. 1F?^| Yes. Well then, good bye [go peacefully].

Good-bye [stay peacefully]. Well see each other again in Dharamsala.


A short conversation on research

q ^ -q s's ,] Tenzin: ^orq=3R| Kalsang: I arrived here a few months ago. When did you come to Dharamsala?

What sort of work are you doing these days?

These days I am doing a lot of work compiling materials from Tibetan history and the development of Dharma.

Thats really very good. The text facilities at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives are very extensive. Generally, these days researchers of Tibetan secular or religious history are very rare, so please keep on doing your fine research.

S)arq*c;| Ill do what you say.

q ^ q^c;u ^ f ^ q*l| So, eventually will you publish a book of your collected research? ^orqgR l o rf^ l Yes, I plan to publish a book, q ^ q g ^ l |j2 f^ | R( oft) 5*^1 1 ^

I see. These days I am also doing research on the origin of the Tibetan language; therefore, if you have time, please give me a little help. sjaj-qgc.1 ] g r# q Ive done some research on that also; therefore, Ill certainly be able to give some help. ( K ')

^1 ^ s r J ^ ^ - g r g 3 ) S ) 3 jj Yes, Thank you. I still have some questions, but later there will be plenty of time for me to ask them. sjOrq-aR] 5 ^ ||| cSVa^-ar

Yes, Ill explain clearly what I know. If you have the tim e, because tomorrow is Sunday, it would be good if you could come to my home during the morning. Together we will be able to work out what is confusing us. q ^ - q ^ ] a j-^ i R ^ rw

Yes. If you have time tomorrow, Ill come for sure.

Well, please come tomorrow some time after eight oclock. Ill be waiting for you. q ^ q ^ j <T|ri|$1 ^ 1 Yes. Thank you. Well, see you tomorrow.



1. gSJC J" complete; full - almost exclusively used as pleonastic addition, to the tens up to a hundred (Das). 2. refers to a prevalent Tibetan cultural habit of being polite in public company. 3. On occasion (where) can mean which. 4. is an abbreviation of (see glossary) 5. (a) is sometimes best translated as some. 6. means half of one unit of currency. 7. Tibetan orthography for the English glass. 8. | p | is the honorific form of to put (e.g., sugar, salt, butter, etc.) and also to put on (e.g., clothes, hat) and to arrange (e.g., chairs, tables, etc.). is honorific for asked, told, and in this case was going. 10. ^ sorry; literally means dont let your mind get angry. 11. While is in the past tense, it can refer to the present or future tenses. 12. In Tibetan, the and ( ^ ) is placed after the first member of a series, not before the last member as in English. 13. When prefaced by a name, may refer to either a male or a female. (over there) (door) (curtain) (hanging) (house) (that) (in) (man) (a) (isnt it) You know the man in that house over there, the one with the door curtain?

9 -TL


Glossary of colloquial Tibetan expressions


When did [you] come?


Where will [you] go?

Some; for a while; a little bit q ju j^ rq qp*;Xq|*rq]3^| Please loan/borrow qgjq^-q^ qq)qj*rq^qi Alright q)q^vj}q^q]


<vq 2F|

Extremely; very


B w i ^ s p X ^ s r q ] ^ '] Good-bye [go peacefully] i ^ U |^ 3 ^ q y 3 ^ | [It] doesnt matter; never mind

Will [you] eat\drink? qq]srgq)Sl^| No/[I] dont want any (hon.) T^1 Thank you qgqi^ r ^ ' ^ i Shall [I] bring? q jlq ^ ^ R T s jl Please keep an eye on 1*^1 Saying/telling

Will [it] be possible to get?

q^R X q ]^ ^ ] q ^ * q g q ]^ l

Please dont worry

Sit here

q ^ a r ^ a ^ X ^ ^ c ; ]


[Please] drink tea [hon.]

[Will] finish; complete

To keep and... S r^ i] [I] dont want [it] fsr^ l [I am] feeling thirsty. qyw $q*r|*;q|3p''T ] Where will [you] go? T^| a j^ ^ j sj^loj] Over there ^ST^P] 3 |* T W ^ ] [Its] tastier [used in comparison]

On the; on top < ^ r^ l Nearby


w i 3^| Nearby; at the place

Will [you] come/go? flr a ^ 5 fli Saying; telling (hon.) uiqyTfo^R^ f j V ^ ]

X iyu 'sftx :]
Please do [your] best.

^ i When [I] should come? [hon.]

[Please] have a sit; good-bye [stay peacefully] ql*rq)l] [I] think q rfp ^ q ^ j [Its] time to go ^ W * J| ^qr*ri3j| Did [she/he/you] come?




Will tell; will do


Important Note

j]-P ] I'q ^,^<j'lij]-^sl 'S iy|^-q]3jc;-*,?(3|^ i j ] a i ' ^

In general in ordinary colloquial Tibetan the grammatical rules o f sentence construction for genitives and possessives are notfollowed strictly,\ especially when such construction would impede the ease o f movement of the tongue. Nevertheless, it is important to know these grammatical rules, which are summarized on the chart below.


A chart of genitives with examples

f ^ l
Suffixes Particles Examples q||q|9|^$j jfc ^ -g q ^ q j

r ^

*r T I-

< * T

^ ^ 1 w f-^ a q ^g^-Sr^l w^-35j

< V^

* Srprsi^j] ar



A chart of accusative, dative and location cases

3^1 Suffixes r q] q * > y 3 j* *r ojq ^ sjqq^ Particles T 5' 5' Vrj]

f ^ l Examples

W 5I

^ 1 ^ '5 1 "W i^ i

* ^ 1 9 ^ 1 ^ 'T ^ l S ]^qjf^| SIEjq^qgoj]

N 3





f ^

Suffixes qy ^ q- T


<wjni'g^j ar^-g^i q]gq-g^-] 5w !rgi;] qW 3 H

R- 3f *T <T */

< M R *

^SSITXKI ^aj,^lR,|

q q ^ ujc;|
q* jq q ^ F Hjc;

^ q R | ^ q ttjc;!



The connective particles or conjunction

^ q ^q ] Suffixes Y qy * >

S^l Particles

fv ^ i Examples

w *r

<v ia*r^ # 5 ^ 1 qWVj] q |W ^ |

ay */ or r


^Tj-pj sr*jj

Dependent particles or conjunction

Sql'3^1 Suffixes R y Particles or ^ |*r Spf ^

8 T<v
*T Y T


%R %*T %<? %3j %qy

$ p $|qy