I'm Learning Tibetan

Well, I’m finally doing it — I’ve started studying Classical Tibetan. After many years of procrastinating I’ve taken the leap. You may wonder why anyone would need to know Classical Tibetan — the answer is that it is the language used in all the classical Tibetan Buddhist texts. One of my main interests in life — although not one that is featured in this blog — is Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, which after studying almost everything else, is the only philosophical tradition that is both scientific and useful enough to be of any practical value, in my opinion. At this point I’ve read just about every translation of classical Tibetan texts available in English, so the only way I will be able to go further is to read the original Tibetan texts themselves — there are tens of thousands of incredibly profound and important texts that haven’t been translated yet. I’m very excited about being able to read these myself. The next step after that will be to learn Modern Tibetan so I can actually speak to Tibetans, but that will be later on. So currently I am trying to reshape my brain to write and think in Tibetan, a language that is sort of like a cross between Chinese, Hungarian and Sanskrit! Yikes — it’s a completely new way of thinking and requires incredible concentration, at least at this stage — but I’m hoping that after a few months it will start getting easier. Wish me luck! And by the way if you are serious about learning Tibetan I can recommend a great tutor.

13 thoughts on “I'm Learning Tibetan”

  1. good luck! i’m learning too. i’ve found a great way of learning a language: immersive blogging. unfortunately, there are no tibetan blogs that i know of. do you?

  2. i am a tibetan buddist and would like to learn tibetan as well. if possible, can you tell me how to get started and share some of your experience with me? thanks. good luck.

  3. I am also a Tibetan Buddhist who is trying to find a teacher to learn Tibetan. I am taught myself some basic Sanskrit, but my main interest is certainly Tibetan. I have applied to University here to hopefully study Asian Studies and in the process find someone who will teach me Tibetan.
    Good luck with your studies!

  4. Hello Nova,
    you might be interested by a free open-source tool I wrote a few years ago to search
    an electronic Tibetan dictionary
    (Rangjung Yeshe Tibetan-English)
    See the attached URL.
    bde brjod (best wishes)

  5. Hello Nova,
    Thanks for the great blog, always offering something new to chew on.
    You wrote:
    “is the only philosophical tradition that is both scientific and useful enough to be of any practical value, in my opinion.”
    Another one that is both scientific and useful is spiritism, and I have noticed that many spiritists who also are familiar with the buddhist philosophy appreciate both.
    Good luck with your studies!

  6. Hi,
    Good luck in your studies. I am interested in learning Tibetan as well.
    In a month I will be married to a Tibetan woman. If I don’t learn Tibetan I will spend the rest of my life listening to it but not understanding.
    She learned English, I have to learn Tibetan.
    I do want to learn it though..
    Is your teacher near NYC?

  7. Hi Nova,
    It’s a long time you’ve posted the news you were going to learn Tibetan. What’s up about that? I am a sino- and tibetologist, a Frenchman moreover, so fond of Eastern languages (as once they were called) : I’ve been seduced by your reflexion on “self-awarenes”. I’m sure you know Tibetans are extraordinary on that subject, especially in the “Great Perfection” litterature. I hope you can now dive in those written marvels.
    Please let me know more of your projects…

  8. Hello,
    Hope you’ve had much success with your studies. I’m also in the Boston area and interested in learning Tibetan. Are you still taking classes and is your teacher taking on more students? Inquiring minds want to know so please keep me posted.

  9. Nova,
    It’s now January, 2006. I’m wondering how your attempt to learn Classical Tibetan has gone. (It seems there are enough of us responding to your interest to start a class.) I wish you luck.

  10. I am a tibetan language tutor living in Nepal and I have good knowledge of tibetan traditions, religion and culture as I was a monk in tibet for more than ten years. if anyone wants to learn tibetan in nepal, don’t hesitate to contact me.
    good luck

  11. Tashidelek Trinley,
    I am French girl who are comming in Nepal and desire to learn Tibetan at 29th june 2008.
    I am searching someone to teach me ths language, so if you are interested to teach me, please contact me.
    I have some question…I hope you will see this mail…I don’t get other way to contact you.

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