Thursday, May 04, 2006

Back to Basics Part 2

Ok, after learning the letters and how to separate words, the next step is to see the sentence patterns. Learn the basic structure of subject - object - verb. First find the subject in the beginning of the sentence, then hunt for the first verb, and then (usually) go backwards and find various attributes such as objects, and supplements to the subject and object.

Then learn what is sometimes called particles (you will notice after a while that there's no common definitions for the Tibetan grammar). With particles we mean tiny words that bind together two parts -- and most importantly it happens from right to left.

Here's an example, sangs rgyas kyis chos bstan.
The subject is sangs rgyas, Buddha.
Go after the verb, ok, bstan, taught.
Go backwards, chos, object, dharma.
Then you see the particle, kyis, Instrumental, by. Glue together the right side with the left side, dharma by Buddha.
Puzzle it all together: Dharma was taught by the Buddha.
Rewrite it so it sounds easier to read: Buddha taught the dharma.

Bonus: Think of using English words in case you are addressing an audience that don't know the Sanskrit word Dharma: Buddha taught the doctrine.


Anonymous said...

Dear Kent,
"bstan pa" is not "taught". It is not verb at all as you of course know.
And the sentence is not finished. It is a phrase, but not a sentence.
Why just not to drop "pa" in the end?
Or if you want:
sangs rgyas kyis bstan pa ni chos yin.

Kent Sandvik said...

Yes, it's an adverbial, I will remove the pa at the end, thx, Kent.