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Tibetan phrasebook

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The Om mani padme hum mantra in Tibetan

Tibetan is the main language of Tibet, and its accompanying regions and among overseas Tibetan communities around the world. Tibetan is spoken by several million people in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of the Chinese People’s Republic, the Chinese provinces of Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan, as well as the neighboring countries Bhutan (around 4,000 speakers), India (over 124,000 speakers), and Nepal (around 60,000 speakers). Written Tibetan is used as the religious language in the countries where Tibetan Lamaistic Buddhism is practiced (e.g. in Mongolia and parts of China proper). Tibetan communities also exist in Taiwan, Norway, Switzerland and the United States of America.


Pronunciation guide

Tibetan spelling and pronunciation diverged around the 11th century, and there is no widely agreed standard on how to spell phonetic Tibetan with the Latin alphabet.

Vowels

ཨ 
Like "a" in "alone"; like "a" in "cat" (a).
ཷ 
Like "aw" in "paw" (å).
ེ 
Like "e" in "bet" (e).
ི 
Like "i" in "in" (i).
ཱི 
Like "ee" in "seen" (í).
ོ 
Like "o" in "so" (ó).
ྲྀ 
Like "e" in "father" (ö).
ཱུ 
Like "ue" in "glue" (ú).
ུ 
Like "oo" in "soon" (ū).
ུ 
Like "ee" in "seen" but with rounded lips (ü).
ེ 
Like "ay" in "day" (ą).

Consonants

ཀ 
Like "k" in "skill" (k).
ག 
Like "g" in "garden" (g).
ང 
Like "ng" in "sing" (ng).
ཅ 
Like "ch" in "charge" (ç).
ཇ 
Like "j" in "jar" (j).
ཉ 
Like "ny" in "canyon" (ñ).
ཏ 
Like "t" in "stop" (t).
པ 
Like "p" in "spot" (p).
ཙ 
Like "ts" in "weights" (ţ).
ཛ 
Like "ds" in "adds" (ds).
ཟ 
Like "z" in "zoo" (z).
ཞ 
Like "s" in "treasure" (ž).
ར 
Must be trilled - just like Italian "r" (r).
ས 
Like "s" in "suck" (s).
ཤ 
Like "sh" in "shut" (š).

Common diphthongs

ཁ 
Like "k" in "kill" (kh).
ཆ 
Like "ch h" in "punch hard" (çh).
ཐ 
Like "t" in "time" (th).
ཕ 
Like "p" in "pit" (ph).
ཚ 
Like "ts h" in "fights hard" (ţh).

Phrase list

Some phrases in this phrasebook still need to be translated. If you know anything about this language, you can help by plunging forward and translating a phrase.


Basics

Common signs

OPEN 
Kha chad
CLOSED 
Kha gyabpa
ENTRANCE 
Go xhugsa
EXIT 
Go Dhonsa
PUSH 
Bigyar gyab
PULL 
Than
TOILET 
Sangchod
MEN 
Pho mi
WOMEN 
Mo mo
FORBIDDEN 

Jyed machogpa

Hello. 
Tashi deleg (བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས)
Hello. (informal
Demu (བདེ་མོ།)
How are you? 
Khye-rang ku-zug de-po yin-pe ()
Fine, thank you. 
De-po yin. Thug je che.
What is your name? 
Khye-rang gi tshen-la ga-re zhu-gi yod? ()Or Khedrand ming Gangyin.
My name is ______ . 
Ngai ming ___ yin.
Nice to meet you. 
Khye-rang jel-ney ga-po joong ()
Please. 
Thuk-je zig ()
Thank you. 
Thuk-je-che (ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ།)
You're welcome. 
()Yin dang yin
Yes. 
Red (རེད།)
No. 
Ma-red
Excuse me.

gong-pa-ma-tsom / gong-ta

I'm sorry. 
Gong dag
Goodbye 
Chagpo nang, as in take care

Shug dan ja (when other person is staying): kha-lay-pheb (when other person is going)

I can't speak name of language [well]. 

nga pö-kay yak-po kyab gi mey

Do you speak English? 

khye-rang yin-ji-kay rgyab thub gi yin pe?

Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Dhir Engi shenyan yod Pai.
Help! 
Rog pa jed
Look out! 
Phar toe
Good morning. 
ngado deleg
Good evening. 
gondo deleg
Good night. 
Sim shag nang
Good night
I don't understand. 
Nai she gyi med

ha kho gi mey

Where is the toilet? 

Sang chod gawa yod red.

Problems

Numbers

One

  Chig

Two

  Nyi

Three

  Sum

Four

  Zhi

Five

  Nga

Six

  Dug

Seven

  Dun

Eight

  Gyed
 

Nine

  Gu

Ten

  Chu

Twenty

  Nyi-shu

Thirty

  Sum-chu

Forty

  Zhi-chu

Fifty

  Nga-chu

One Hundred

  Gya tham-pa

===Time===Due tsod

====Clock time====chutsod duetsod

====Duration====ring, kab

====Days====nyin ma

====Months====dawa

Writing time and date

yige dipai due dang tse

Colors

Transportation

Bus and train

Directions

Taxi

Lodging

Money

Eating

Bars

Shopping

Driving

Authority

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Learning more

Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages