Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Isolating Words

That's usually the first issue those aspiring to learn Tibetan. The words don't have any clear separation, you need to find the patterns of syllables and where words end and others start. And the syllables are separated by this tiny upper dot called TSEK.

One way it to learn to see that many words end with pa, po, ba, ma or mo. These are a form of particles, indicating male of female aspects. As a footnote, pa, ba and po indicate masculine words, activity, engagement. Words ending with ma and mo indicate female qualities, wisdom, insight. Now ma means mother, and pha means father (not pa even if it's close!). mo is either the famous divination form, or a lady, as well. So if you see lots of these, find the last one and go backwards a little bit.

A BIG NOTE! ma also is a negation, placed in front of something, like ma yin, it is not. So it's not the end of a word. It's a classical gotcha. Actually ma yin is many times condensed to the word min.

It's easier to find the beginning and ending words, look at the long line, SHAH, and that's where an expression ends. The word at the end is usually a verb, or another particle.

There are other patterns you start to see after a while. As an auspicious exersize, check out the 8000 Verses of the Perfection of Wisdom.

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