Tibetan Language

by Paula

How did you learn the Tibetan language?

ANSWER: By Patricia from Tibetan Life

In 1998 I began a 2 year program called the LRZTP which stands for the Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translater Program in Dharamsala, India. It is run by the FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition). Both are a mouthful I know!

This program was excellent and taught me colloquial as well as written or classical Tibetan. The course is located in the main Tibetan exile community so the opportunities to practice the daily lessons were plentiful!

In 2000, when the program finished, I went to Darjeeling in eastern India to continue my studies. I attended the Manjushree Center of Tibetan Culture there for 8 months. The school has wonderful teachers and a very interesting program. I don't recommend this town for absolute beginners as most of the Tibetans in the area have a mixed language of Nepali (Sherpa), Hindi and Tibetan. If you don't understand a bit of Tibetan first then you won't know the difference!

I then moved back to Dharamsala and continued self study and taught the local monks english. They taught me a few new Tibetan words everyday.

In 2004 I became the director of Tushita, the local meditation retreat center and that brought abundant opportunities to practice as many of the staff were young Tibetan guys who needed to be scolded a lot! (just joking!)

In 2005 I married a Tibetan man. You would think that this would be the perfect way to polish up a language but I soon discovered that he spoke a completely different dialect than the one I had studied! Check out his photo here: https://www.tibetanlife.com/about-tibetan-life.html

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