Tibetan Language

Tibetan Language is Tibetic language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman group of the Sino-Tibetan language family. It is mainly spoken in the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, Nepal, Bhutan, and parts of Northen India.

Standard Tibetan has three main registers: natural speech (Phal-skad), formal speech (Zhe-sa), and the formal literary and religious style (Chos-skad), which is used in religious and classical literature.

Many scholars divide the Tibetan language into groups of four dialects; Central, Southern, Nothern, Eastern, and Western.

According to the census, there are 1.2 million speakers of Standard Tibetan. Which is also known as Lhasa Tibetan and is the Tibetic dialect with the most speakers. It is mainly in the Central part of Tibet. Hence known as central Dialect.

The Southern dialect is mainly used in the Southern part of Tibet, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Nepal.

The sound systems in the western dialects are more conservative, having best preserved the initial consonant clusters and the final stops (sounds formed with complete closure in the vocal tract) of Old Tibetan and having less development of tones than the other dialects.

The Northern Tibetan Dialect is mainly spoken in the nomadic community in Northern Tibet, some part of Sichuan and Qinghai province of China. It is commonly known as the Amdo Language.

The eastern Tibetan dialect is also called as Kham dialect. It is spoken in the Part of Qinghai, Sichuan, Part of Yunnan and Eastern Tibet prefecture of Qamdo.

Though the spoken dialect in the Tibetan language is different from localities to localities. Yet the Written word is all the same.

Tibetan script by Tashi Mannox

Written Tibetan

According to Tibetan Buddhist history, The written language was first introduced in the 7th Century by the Thonmi Sambhota. He was sent to India by Tibetan King Songtsan Gampo to learn the language in India to make a new and common Tibetan written language. He is then reputedly devised a script for Tibetan based on the Devanagari model. Sambhota also wrote a grammar of Tibetan based on Sanskrit grammars.

The new Tibetan alphabet was used to write Tibetan translations of Buddhists texts. The first Sanskrit-Tibetan dictionary, Mahavyutpatti, appeared in the 9th century. Woodblock printing introduced from China and it was used in Tibet from an early date. Nowadays it is still used in a few monasteries.

Tibetan literature is mainly concerned with Buddhist themes and includes works translated from Sanskrit and Chinese and original Tibetan works.

Yet, there are many books about the Bön Religion, The Pre-Buddhist religion native to Tibet. According to many Bön scholars The Tibetan, written languages is existing before the 7th Century with a difference. And during the 7th century, the Thonmi Sambhota help to standardize it.

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