This class is oriented toward students who have had some training in the Tibetan alphabet, spelling, and beginning dialogs (see prerequisites below). The emphasis of the classes will be on developing fluency with spoken Tibetan. Students will focus on training in successively more complex Tibetan colloquial dialogs. The class will cover the material in the first six chapters of The Heart of Tibetan Language by Franziska Oertle. There will be homework assigned weekly.

Required Text: The Heart of Tibetan Language, Franziska Oertle

Prerequisites: At least two 2020 Summer Institute sessions of LAN 500 or equivalent (see details below).

Students should know:

  1. How to pronounce in the Central Tibetan dialect all the letters in the Tibetan alphabet
  2. How to identify the main letter of a Tibetan word
  3. What prefixes, superfixes, subfixes, suffixes, and second suffixes are and how they affect pronunciation
  4. How to verbally spell a Tibetan word
  5. What the essential and existential verbs are and how they are used (yin, min, red, ma red, yod, med, ‘dug, mi ‘dug, yod red, yod ma red)
  6. Demonstrative pronouns (‘di, de, pha gi, etc.)
  7. Personal pronouns (khong, khyed rang, etc.)

This is a continuation of LAN510. We will continue reading Gyelsé Tokmé Zangbo’s 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva རྒྱས་སྲས་ལག་ལེན་སུམ་ཅུ་སོ་བདུན་མ། along with selections from two Tibetan commentaries on his famous text. This is a reading course that assumes a basic understanding of Tibetan grammar.  We will focus on: acquiring and developing reading skills; working with commentaries as a means to unpacking the meaning embedded in a text; and improving reading skills, including pronunciation and fluency. We will also practice the traditional method of spelling in Tibetan, called “jor lo” (sbyor klog), which is a useful tool when consulting with Tibetan scholars and teachers, and there will be regular instruction on grammar. 

Prerequisites: Having attended at least one 2020 Summer Institute session of LAN 510 or equivalent in real time (see details below).

This course is open to students who attended at least one session of LAN510 during the 2020 Nitartha Summer Institute in real time. Those who did not take at least one Summer Institute session or did not participate in real time, please contact our registrar ( before registering. Real time participation is expected unless other arrangements have been made in advance. 

This class is oriented toward beginning Tibetan-language students who are interested in furthering their connections to the language. It assumes no prior knowledge of Tibetan. In order to learn a language and make it your own, it is important to make a wide variety of connections to the language. Even though your focus may be on learning how to read classical Tibetan Buddhist literature, it is still extremely beneficial to gain some proficiency in listening to and speaking Tibetan. The class will begin with proper pronunciation of the Tibetan alphabet and Tibetan words and will lead to elementary conversations. The beginning student will gain practice in listening to, speaking, reading, and writing Tibetan.

No required texts

This year in the Intermediate Literary Tibetan class we will read Gyelsé Tokmé Zangbo’s beautiful, penetrating, and perennial favorite, The Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, along with several Tibetan commentaries to help us unpack the meaning of his verses. Students should know the Tibetan alphabet, spelling rules and have a functional grasp of Tibetan grammar. The course will focus on acquiring and developing reading skills; interesting and important grammatical points will be explained in the context of specific passages.

No required texts