Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tibetan Grammar and Phrasebook

Here's a nice free book, Tibetan grammar and phrasebook by Silvia Vernetto in collaboration with Tenzin Norbu.

It's a nice 70+ PDF based file, covers a lot of the basic grammar, how to form sentences, pronouns, verbs, and so on. And it's free, in the tradition of giving to others.

byang lho

To continue with our directions, byang is north, and lho is south.

To give an example of telegram-style Tibetan, let's say a text that tells that various colors of light arrive from certain directions, it would look something like:

lho ser, in south yellow.

byang ljang, in north green.

shar dkar, in east white.

nub dmar, in west red.

Note that in many texts the expression are ten directions, this means that there are the four cardinal directions, the other four intermediate (ordinal) directions, north-east and so on. And in addition, there's above and below. So that should cover the space.

Monday, June 26, 2006

shar nub

To continue with directions, we have shar, east, and nub, west.

Example of shar: nyi shar, sunrise, nyi is short for nyi ma, sun, and the sun rises in the east.

Examples of nub: nyi nub, you could figure out what that means...

nub kyi gling gsum, west of three islands.


Let's look at everywhere and nowhere. A common word to indicate everywhere is kun, as in kun skyes, grows everywhere. Other examples are kun na, everywhere, note the particle na that means when. kun shar, shines everywhere, is another example.

It's a little bit harder to find a common word for nowhere. Here's an example, gnas pa ma min, literally translated abides-not, or does not abide anywhere.

gnas pa is a good word to memorize, it's to abide, stay, dwell, or something is located in a specific place. The shorter form is gnas, place, location, site. And mi gnas, is non-abiding, a common term when dealing with emptiness teachings and commentaries.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

nang dang phyi

Another set of location word are nang, inside, and phyi, outside.

To look at phyi, there are examples such as phyi rol, outside, phyi nas, from the outside, and so on.

Examples of nang are: nang nas, from the inside, nang du, within, and so on.

There's even a staccato-form of Tibetan, phyi nang, outer and inner, in Tibetan you don't need to write down each word, such as the missing and in this case.

steng dang 'og

Let's continue with words related to placement. Here's a common combination. steng means above, 'og below. dang is the binding word, let's say and in this case.

You could see combinations such as steng la, from above, or 'og la, from below.

Notice how the last word does not have a stroke in this mini sentence as the ga letter is considered already having a stroke in it.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

g.yon and g.yas

These two words are good to learn, g.yon means left, and g.yas means right.

Notice the weird way of spelling Wylie. The dot indicates that the ya letter should not be stacked, instead placed after the ga letter. In ACIP formatting this looks like G-YON and G-YAS. If this is not indicated, it is assumed that the ya letter is stacked below the ga letter.

I think we should look at other direction words next. You encounter a lot of such words, especially in tantric text and commentaries where placement of meditational objects are described.

New Blog for Tibetan on the Mac

See Tibetan on the Mac, a new blog by Michael Essex that will document all kinds of issues when using MacOSX with Tibetan fonts and other tools.

Many of us use Mac systems for Tibetan editing, so this is a good way to learn about all kinds of issues and tricks. It's been about ten years since I first heard that Unicode will finally work with various operating systems, and I think that day will happen very, very soon. MacOSX 10.4 is close to good, still glyph problem with stacked fonts, but hopefully that is fixed in the next major release.

Meanwhile, check out Michael's great new resource, I will add this one to the blogroll.