Tibetan Alphabet Learning Tools


The Tibetan Language Project is a collection of audio, visual and text materials for the study of various aspects of the Tibetan Language – reading and writing, grammar and translation. The materials for these tools have been gathered from Tibetans in various monastaries across the Himalayan region. The material has been compiled by Dr Fabian Sanders and is part of the Shang Shung Institute Austria Ka-Ter Translation Project.

While filming the calligraphers, we chose to leave them complete freedom of movement (of the writing board, hand, pen and so forth), trying to compensate for unwanted shifts during the editing phase. Sometimes this may have resulted in some residual shifts and movements impossible to remove. We apologise for that!
The Tibetan Language Project includes the following features:

  1. Fabian Filming600pxA series of short video clips illustrating the alphabet, the sound of the letters and the way to write them exemplified by standard Tibetan readers and calligraphers, in addition to computer graphics. Furthermore the construction of a Tibetan syllable is stressed, again with pronunciation of the spelling and calligraphy, spanning all possible syllables and thus enabling the student to read any Tibetan text. These video clips have already been prepared and are ready to be used (See Here). Further plans are to add other dialects (mostly eastern Tibetan and Amdo) and Ume (headless) calligraphic styles (currently only Uchen, blockprint style, is used). For the Dzogchen community similar material will be produced to learn Chögyal Namkhai Norbu's Drajyor phonetic system used in the practice books.
  2. Another series of videos, interspersed with some video recorded lessons and text materials will illustrate the grammar of the classical Tibetan language. The entire structure of the language will be explained starting from the formation of words, grammatical particles and so on. Through the use of colored text to highlight various grammatical functions, these are illustrated in a clear and easily understandable way. All examples have Tibetan audio. The first results of this method, which has been produced thanks to an initial sponsorship by the Shang Shung Institute Ka-Ter Translation Project, have been successfully experimented with students from the Ca’ Foscari university in Venice, and of the Ka-Ter Translation Courses of the Shang Shung Institute.
  3. The last aspect of the project is to produce a series of short videos on various aspects of Tibetan language, like readings in different dialects of the same text with subtitles, interviews with Tibetan grammarians and scholars as well as with western translators of Tibetan texts. This will constitute, over time, a substantial database of information on all aspects of Tibetan language.
Tibetan Text Tibetan Text 2 Tibetan Text 3 Tibetan Text 4

Students will start studying the basics, pronunciation and grammar, on their own or during the translation courses where they will work according to their possibilities (basic, intermediate and advanced). All students will receive exercises and a kind of ‘homework’ (short text parts to translate) and then we will correct it and send it back along with explanations and suggestions.

This project is produced by Dr Fabian Sanders and Margherita Pansa in collaboration with the International Shang Shung Institute. If you wish to find out more about the project, you may contact Dr Fabian Sanders Here.

Help to Support This Project

The Tibetan Language Project is only possible due to the generosity of our sponsors and there is much more to come. Please give generously...