Tibetan language

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Tibetan language,

member of the Tibeto-Burman subfamily of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages (see Sino-Tibetan languagesSino-Tibetan languages,
family of languages spoken by over a billion people in central and SE Asia. This linguistic family is second only to the Indo-European stock in the number of its speakers.
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). It is spoken by 5 million people in the Tibet autonomous region and the Qinghai and Gansu provinces of China and in Bhutan, Nepal, the Indian state of Sikkim, and part of Kashmir. There are a number of dialects. Tibetan tends to be monosyllabic and to lack inflection. Word order is, therefore, very important. Tibetan is also tonal, having six tones in all: short high, long high, short low, long low, high falling, and low falling. A system of writing that is a syllabary was devised for Tibetan in the 7th cent. A.D. and is derived ultimately from the northern Gupta alphabet of India, which, in turn, is a descendant of a Semitic script. Tibetan is written from left to right.


See H. N. von Koerber, Morphology of the Tibetan Language (c.1935); S. C. Das, An Introduction to the Grammar of the Tibetan Language (repr. 1972); G. N. Roerich and L. P. Lhalungpa, Textbook of Colloquial Tibetan (2d rev. ed. 1973).

References in periodicals archive ?
Ippolito Desideri, a Jesuit priest from Tuscany who was serving as a missionary in Tibet, was called home by Rome in 1721 and brought with him a refutation of the central Buddhist doctrines of rebirth and emptiness that he had composed in scholarly, classical Tibetan.
Students can focus their language study on either classical Sanskrit or classical Tibetan.
The appendices are particularly useful for the reader possessing knowledge of classical Tibetan, with an interest in reading the original texts.
A desirable book for anyone who wants to understand the style of classical Tibetan art, or simply enjoy a book of extraordinary Tibetan Buddhist drawings.
Called the Silk Road collection, the line includes vibrantly colored, traditional Tibetan handknotted area rugs, which draw upon the imagery of classical Tibetan artistry, with many designs incorporating flowers, fruits and sky symbology.
An ethnographer, she arrived in the village of Karsha on foot with two years of training in classical Tibetan from Harvard and petitioned to be allowed to live among the nuns.
Noonan's "Language abbreviations" (on an unnumbered page in the front-matter) postulate five different varieties of Tibetan: Ti = Tibetan; WT = Written Tibetan; OT = Old Tibetan; LT = Lhasa Tibetan; and CT = Classical Tibetan.
38) that the first syllable is connected with Classical Tibetan ka-rtsam 'sort of oats', and the second with "Classical Tibetan gro 'wheat', Lhasa Tibetan 'bru 'barley' (a form already discussed supra).
The founders of the mission, Heyde, Pagell and Jaschke, had taken a deliberate decision to translate the Bible and other Christian literature into a simplified form of classical Tibetan chos skad rather than the colloquial phal skad.
In these papers from the symposium of 2003, participants describe their work toward a Tibeto-Burman theory with such topics as the Mon language which preceded Burmese as a literary language, the problems presented by the old Tibetan syllable, the primary syntactic categories of the case system in Old Tibetan, Classical Tibetan and modern dialect forms, the evolution of the Burmese phonological system, the Rgyalrong dialect, a little-known text in the early Yi language, the theoretical problem of grammatical iconicity, and a comparison of Tibeto-Burman and Chinese.
Buddhist spiritual physiology is merged with classical Tibetan medical physiology.
This is a review article of: The Classical Tibetan Language.