06 June 2011

Tibetan Language

One of my cultural proof credits is a study of Tibetan language. I have some basic knowledge from a class I took on my campus winter semester, but I have a long way to go.

I bought a little book by Norbu Chophel entitled Say it in Tibetan: Conversations in colloquial Tibetan to guide my language study. Here is my schedule for studying the book (based on headings of different sections):

May 15-June 5: pronunciation guide, introductory phrases, social phrases, basic questions and answers
June 6-12: talking about yourself, making yourself understood, travel directions, bus and taxi
June 13-19: post office, telephone, restaurant
June 20-26: sightseeing, visiting a monastery, hiking and camping
June 27-July 3: shopping, books and stationery shop
July 4-10: parts of the body, stores and services, domestic items
July 11-17: clothing and accessories, colours, materials
July 18-24: meat, vegetables, grains and cereals, fruits
July 25-31: weather, time, days of the week
August 1-7: months and seasons, family members and relatives, counting

Though I can't reasonably attempt to memorize the entire book, my goal in this study is to learn phrases and words to use when speaking with my host family and in brief exchanges with Tibetans I meet. Throughout the process I will be keeping a vocabulary log of words I learn and want to remember. My host parents are learning English, so I help them with their homework and in return they are happy to help me pronounce words and produce sentences.

The most difficult part of Tibetan is reading and writing the script. I will be studying the 30 Tibetan consonants and learning to write and pronounce each one. I will also learn to write my name in three different ways.

Other proofs will be listening to spoken Tibetan on television, radio, and in person to increase comprehension. Usually, during meals, the Tibetan television or radio station is on, and occasionally I tune in to see what familiar words I can pick out. Over the three months my vocabulary will increase, and so will the number of words I recognize.

Et voila!

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