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From Isaan.Live

The Om mani padme hum mantra in Tibetan

Tibetan (བོད་སྐད་ / ལྷ་སའི་སྐད་) 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.

We have a separate Amdo Tibetan phrasebook for that dialect.

Pronunciation guide

While Tibetan spelling in the written language is fairly standard throughout the ages and regions, spoken pronunciation is very diverse and there are many, often mutually incomprehensible, dialects.

In recent times "Lhasa dialect" has been taught to foreigners as a standard. However, there is neither an easy nor a widely agreed standard on how to indicate the phonetics of speaking Tibetan using the Latin alphabet. So be prepared for confusion and fun as you try to pronounce these phrases and hear many different pronunciations from the locals.

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).
ཁ 
Like cart (IPA: kʰa)
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).
ཕ 
Like "fa" in "farm" (farm)
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 "sa" in "sand" (sa).
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

Hello. 
Tashi deleg (<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས།)
Hello. (informal
De-po ()
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? (polite) Khye rang gi ming ga re yin (informal)
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 (<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ།)
You're welcome. 
()Yin dang yin
Yes. 
Re (<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />རེད།)
No. 
Ma re (<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />མ་རེད།)
(Note: Yes and no are usually expressed using an affirmed or negated version of the question ending.)
Excuse me.

gong-pa-ma-tsom / gong-ta

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

kha lay shug (said to other person if they are staying): kha lay pheb (said to other person if they are going)

I can't speak Tibetan [well]. 

nga pö-kay [yag-po] kyab gi mey

Do you speak English? 

khye-rang in-ji-kay she gi yö pey?

Is there someone here who speaks English? 
dhir inji-kay shenyan yö pey.
Help! 
Rog pa je
Look out! 
Phar toe
Good morning. 
ngadro deleg
Good evening. 
gondro deleg
Good night. 
Sim shag nang
I don't understand. 
Ngai she gyi med

ha kho gi mey

Where is the toilet? 

Sang chod gawa yö rey.

Problems

Numbers

  • 1 chig
  • 2 nyi
  • 3 sum
  • 4 zhi
  • 5 nga
  • 6 drug
  • 7 dun
  • 8 gyey
  • 9 gu
  • 10 ༡༠ chu
  • 11 ༡༡ chu chig
  • 12 ༡༢ chu nyi
  • 13 ༡༣ chu sum
  • 14 ༡༤ chu zhi
  • 15 ༡༥ chob nga
  • 16 ༡༦ chu drug
  • 17 ༡༧ chu dun
  • 18 ༡༨ chu gyey
  • 19 ༡༩ chu gu
  • 20 ༢༠ nyi shu
  • 21 ༢༡ nyi shu tsa chig
  • 22 ༢༢ nyi shu tsa nyi
  • 23 ༢༣ nyi shu tsa sum
  • 30 ༣༠ sum chu
  • 40 ༤༠ zhib chu
  • 50 ༥༠ ngab chu
  • 60 ༦༠ drug chu
  • 70 ༧༠ dun chu
  • 80 ༨༠ gyey chu
  • 90 ༩༠ gub chu
  • 100 ༡༠༠ gya

Time

Clock time

Duration

du ring

Days

today 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />དེ་རིང་ (de ring)
yesterday 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />ཁ་སང་ (kha sang)
tomorrow 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />སང་ཉིན་ (sang nyin)
last week 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />གཟའ་འཁོར་སྔོན་མ་ (za khor ngön ma)
next week 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />གཟའ་འཁོར་རྗེས་མ་ (za khor jey ma)
Sunday 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />གཟའ་ཉི་མ་ (za nyi ma)
Monday 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />གཟའ་ཟླ་བ་ (za da wa)
Tuesday 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />གཟའ་མིག་དམར་ (za mi mar)
Wednesday 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />གཟའ་ཧླག་པ་ (za hlag pa)
Thursday 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />གཟའ་ཕུར་བུ་ (za phur pu)
Friday 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />གཟའ་པ་སངས་ (za pa sang)
Saturday 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />གཟའ་སྤེན་པ་ (za pen pa)

Months

When referring to months, the Tibetans distinguish between their own calendar and the internationally used calendar. For the purposes of this phrasebook we only want to refer to the latter and this is quite easy, since it follows the pattern:
"foreigner-month-<number 1-12>-pa"
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />ཕྱི་ཟླ་<xx><templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />པ་
chhi da <xx> pa

The numbers are listed above. The only exception is for January, because the Tibetan for 'first' is not chig pa but <templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />དང་པོ་ dang po, so:
January = chhi da dang po

Writing time and date

Colors

Color 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />ཚོན་མདོག་ tseun dok
Blue 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />སྔོན་པོ་ ngeun po
Yellow 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />སེར་པོ་ ser po
Green 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />ལྗང་ཁུ་ jang koo
Red 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />དམར་པོ་ mar po
Brown 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />སྨུག་པོ་ mook po
Black 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />ནག་པོ་ nak po
Orange 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />ལི་ཝང་ li wang
White 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />དཀར་པོ་ kar po

Transportation

Bus and train

Directions

Taxi

Lodging

Money

Eating

Bon appetit! 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />ཞལ་ལག་མཉེས་པོ་ནང་གོ། shelak nye po nang ko
delicious 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />ཞིམ་པོ་ སྤྼོ་པོ་(H) shimpo t(r)opo (H)
meal 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />གསོལ་ཚིགས་ sol tsi'
meal, food 
<templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />ཁ་ལག (NH) <templatestyles src="Tibetan/fonts.css" />ཞལ་ལག (H) kalak, shelak

Bars

Shopping in Tibetan phrasebook

Driving

Authority


Learning more

Tibetan language disambiguation page - Standard Tibetan and Tibetan phrasebook in Wikidata together