Dharma Mom

TLAN 103 Colloquial Tibetan I

Lesson 2

Before starting to form simple sentences in Tibetan, it is necessary to know this important feature of the spoken Tibetan language. Although there are first, second and third person (just like “I”, “you” and “he/she/it” in English), the specific forms of Tibetan verbs are used according to the two categories of self and other.

Self (བདག་) usually refers to “me” but is also used for “you”, e.g. when asking someone a question about him-/herself.

Other (བདག་, གཞན་) usually refers to “you” and “he/she/it” but is also used for oneself when making a statement about oneself while taking the perspective of others.

Thus, the categories of self and others are not clearly separable but interchangeable, depending on the context. They reflect the Buddhist view of the illusionary nature of self and other in a fascinating and sometimes playful way. It takes some practice become familiar with their usage. We’ll start using them from now on but will continue discussing this topic.

It is also necessary to know a few important particles. In general, the particles always follow the word they specify or belong to.

བོད་པ་                                     Tibetan

རྒྱ་གར་བ་                                 Indian

ཨ་རི་ནས་                                 from America.

བོད་ནས་                                  from Tibet.

ཁྱེད་རང་བོད་པ་མ་རེད།                          You are not Tibetan.

ང་རྒྱ་མི་མིན།                                          I am not Chinese.

These particles are independent particles because their spelling does not vary, no matter what the suffix of the preceding word is.

Simple sentences can be formed by using the particles introduced above in combination with the new vocab and two possible forms of the verb to be: essential and existential.

The “essential” mode

The “essential” mode (ཡིན་/རེད་ …) expresses the inherent aspect or unchanging nature of someone or something (e.g. name, gender, national origin (with ནས་ or བདག་སྒྲ་), age, profession, religious belief or other essential properties).

The essential verbs function like the verb “to be” in English. ཡིན་ is the form referring to བདག་ (self), whereas རེད་ functions for གཞན་ (other). The negative forms are མིན་ and refer to བདག་ (self) and མ་རེད་ for གཞན་ (other).

Essential Modeབདག་གཞན་
à Refer to inherent/unchanging nature of something or someone. à Used with objective adjectives (= inherent qualities like colours, age)ཡིན་/ མིན་རེད་/ མ་རེད་

བློ་བཟང་བུ་རེད།           Lobsang is a boy.        བློ་བཟང་བུ་མ་རེད།       Lobsang is not a boy.

ང་བུ་མོ་ཡིན།               I am a girl.                ང་བུ་མོ་མིན།               I am not a girl.

ཁྱེད་རང་བུ་མོ་རེད།       You are a girl.              ཁྱེད་རང་བུ་མོ་མ་རེད།    You are not a girl.

བློ་བཟང་བོད་ནས་རེད།   Lobsang is from Tibet.   བློ་བཟང་བོད་ནས་མ་རེད།  Lobsang is not from Tibet.

བློ་བཟང་བོད་པ་རེད།      Lobsang is Tibetan.       བློ་བཟང་བོད་པ་མ་རེད།  Lobsang is not Tibetan.

ང་དགེ་རྒན་ཡིན།          I am a teacher.            ང་དགེ་རྒན་མིན།                    I am not a teacher.

བློ་བཟང་སློབ་ཕྲུག་རེད།   Lobsang is a student.  བློ་བཟང་སློབ་ཕྲུག་མ་རེད།   Lobsang is not a student.

ཁྱེད་རང་སློབ་ཕྲུག་རེད།   You are a student.      ཁྱེད་རང་སློབ་ཕྲུག་མ་རེད།  You are not a student.

བློ་བཟང་ནང་པ་རེད།     Lobsang is a Buddhist. བློ་བཟང་ནང་པ་མ་རེད།  Lobsang is not a Buddhist.

ང་ཚོ་ནང་པ་ཡིན།         We are Buddhists.      ང་ཚོ་ནང་པ་མིན།          We are not Buddhists.

(The personal pronouns ང་, ཁྱེད་རང་, ང་ཚོ་, etc. will be further explained in lesson three.)

Note: In Tibetan final verbs always appears at the end of the sentence!

The “existential” mode

The “existential” mode of the verb to be is used to express a momentary quality, state or place of someone/ something. ཡོད་ is the form refering to བདག་ (self), whereas ཡོད་རེད་ functions for གཞན་ (other). The negative forms are མེད་ refering to བདག་ (self) and ཡོད་མ་རེད་ for གཞན་ (other). འདུག་ and its negation  མི་འདུག་ are verbs used for direct statements.

Existential Modeབདག་གཞན་
 General/inferential statements à Used with subjective adjectives (= temporary qualities), location or possessionཡོད་/ མེད་ཡོད་རེད་/ ཡོད་མ་རེད་
Direct/ testimonial statements à Used with subjective adjectives (= direct judgement about a quality), location or possession འདུག་/ མི་འདུག་

Statements refering to other(s) take the forms and ཡོད་རེད་ or ཡོད་མ་རེད་ when stating something that one knows but does not have direct experience about (i.e. general or inferential knowledge):

བོད་སྐད་ལས་སླ་པོ་ཡོད་མ་རེད།                                              (It is commonly known that) Tibetan is not easy.

བློ་བཟང་བརྩོན་འགྲུས་ཆེན་པོ་ཡོད་རེད།                (It is well known that) Lobsang is diligent.

དགེ་རྒན་ཡག་པོ་ཡོད་རེད།                                   (It is generally accepted that) the teacher is good.

If the speaker has direct (testimonial) knowledge about something and/ or makes a direct judgement, the forms འདུག་ and མི་འདུག་ are used:

ཡིག་ཚད་ཡག་པོ་མི་འདུག                                    (I see that) the exam is not good.

དེབ་དཀའ་ལས་ཁག་པོ་འདུག                               (I think) that the book is difficult.

ལི་ཧི་སྙིང་རྗེ་མོ་འདུག                                         (I find that) Lihi is beautiful!

You will get to know more about direct and inferential knowledge in lesson 6.

For the existential function of the verb to be the ལ་དོན་ particle is often needed.

བོད་ལ་                                                 in or to Tibet

སློབ་གྲྭར་                                              at school

ཁྱེད་རང་ལ་                                           for you

For existential statements there are two central functions of the ལ་དོན་ :

དགེ་རྒན་ཨ་རི་ལ་ཡོད་རེད།                  The teacher is in America. (inferential knowledge)

བློ་བཟང་འཛིན་གྲྭར་འདུག                      Lobsang is at class. (direct knowledge)

ང་ཚོ་སློབ་གྲྭ་ལ་མེད།                                We are not at school.

In Tibetan, unlike English, the possessor of an action or event is not the subject, e.g.

In English one would say: “I (the subject) have an apple (object)”. In Tibetan however, the possessor is referred to as an object and the ལ་དོན་ comes after the possessor:

ཁྱེད་རང་ལ་སྨྱུ་གུ་ཡོད་རེད།          You have a pen. (Literally: There is a pen to/for you.)

ང་ལ་སློབ་ཕྲུག་ཡོད།                 I have students. (Literally: There are students to/for me.)

ང་ལ་བོད་ཀྱི་དེབ་མེད།              I do not have any Tibetan books. (Literally: There is no Tibetan books to/for me.)

བཀྲ་ཤིས་ལ་གློག་ཀླད་འདུག        (I see that) Tashi has a computer.

In Tibetan adjectives (རྒྱན་ཚིག་) can either have a objective function (when expressing an inherent aspect of the person or thing in question) or an subjective function (when referring to a momentary quality). These two functions are closely related to essential an existential statements and their repective verbs.

ཁང་པ་གསར་པ་ རེད།                            The house is new.

དགོན་པ་དཀར་པོ་རེད།                          The monastery is white.

དེབ་རྙིང་པ་མ་རེད།                                The book is not old.

བློ་བཟང་བརྩོན་འགྲུས་ཆེན་པོ་ཡོད་རེད།                Lobsang is diligent. (inferential statement)

དགེ་རྒན་ཡག་པོ་འདུག                                        The teacher is good. (direct statement)

ང་བརྩོན་འགྲུས་ཆེན་པོ་ཡོད་།                               I am diligent. (general statement)

The Tibetan play with self and other: a question of perspective

Although ཡིན་ and མིན་ are most frequently linked to the first person and རེད་ and མ་རེད་ are linked to the second and third person, this is not always the case. Essentially, ཡིན་ and མིན་ are linked to བདག་ (“self”) while རེད་ and མ་རེད་ are associated with གཞན་ (“other”). This means e.g. that sometimes one uses རེད་ for a statement about yourself that refers to general knowledge or is obvious to everybody else:

ང་རྒྱལ་པོ་མ་རེད།                   (As you all know and see) I am not a king.

One also uses the གཞན་ form when make essential statements about oneself when refering to a movie, story or dream:

རྨི་ལམ་ལ་ང་རྒྱལ་པོ་རེད།             In my dream I am/was a king.

The opposite is also possible: One  might refer to somebody or something and want to point out that he/she/it is very closely related to oneself. Then both forms can be used, e.g

འདི་ངའི་ཁྱི་ཡིན།                 This is my dog!

ངའི་མིང་ལ་བཀྲ་ཤིས་ཡིན།         My name is Tashi (e.g. when introducing oneself).

ངའི་མིང་ལ་བཀྲ་ཤིས་རེད།         My name is Tashi (more general).

There is no need to understand this completely now, just keep it in mind

TLAN 103 Colloquial Tibetan I, lesson 3

You already know a few personal pronouns from lesson 2. Here is an overview of the most important ones (the grey ones are less common):

 First personSecond personThird person
Singularང་, ང་རང་   = I, me  ཁྱོད་, རང་, ཁྱེད་རང་ (H) = youམོ་རང་ = she ཁོ་རང་ = he ཁོང་ (H) = he/she
Pluralང་ཚོ་, ང་རང་ཚོ་ = weཁྱོད་ཚོ་, ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་ (H) ཁྱེད་རྣམ་པ་ཚོ་ (HH)  = youམོ་རང་ཚོ་, ཁོ་རང་ཚོ་,ཁོང་ཚོ་ (H) ཁོང་རྣམ་པ་ཚོ་ (HH) = they

The personal pronouns in black and bold letters are most frequently used, the grey ones less frequently.

(H) = honorific (polite, formal speech).

(HH) = high honorific (for high lamas, rinpoches and very venerable persons)


ང་སློབ་ཕྲུག་ཡིན།           or ང་རང་སློབ་ཕྲུག་ཡིན།           I am a student.

ང་ཚོ་དགེ་རྒན་མིན།       or ང་རང་ཚོ་དགེ་རྒན་མིན།       We are not teachers.

ཁྱོད་སློབ་ཕྲུག་རེད།        or རང་སློབ་ཕྲུག་རེད།    (both informal) or

ཁྱེད་རང་སློབ་ཕྲུག་རེད།  (honorific/formal):          You are a student.

ཁྱོད་ཚོ་དགེ་རྒན་མ་རེད། or ཁྱོད་རང་ཚོ་དགེ་རྒན་མ་རེད།  (both informal) or

ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་དགེ་རྒན་མ་རེད།     (honorific/formal):          You guys are not teachers.

མོ་རང་སློབ་ཕྲུག་རེད།    or ཁོ་རང་སློབ་ཕྲུག་རེད།           (both informal) or

ཁོང་སློབ་ཕྲུག་རེད།        (honorific/formal):          He / she is a student.

མོ་རང་ཚོ་དགེ་རྒན་མ་རེད།        or ཁོ་རང་ཚོ་དགེ་རྒན་མ་རེད།    (both informal) or

ཁོང་ཚོ་དགེ་རྒན་མ་རེད། (honorific/formal):          They are not teachers.

When addressing the second and third person, it is good to use the honoric forms. Tibetans are very polite. In particular, people from Lhasa and Central Tibet use honorific language (ཞེ་ས་) a lot. So, it is fine to use the honorific pronouns (except for informal contexts, e.g. when you are with a good friend).

High honorific pronouns are used for venerable persons:

ཁྱེད་རང་བླ་མ་རེད།                      You (singular) are a lama.

 ཁྱེད་རྣམ་པ་ཚོ་བླ་མ་རེད།         You (plural) are lamas.

ཁོང་རྣམ་པ་ཚོ་བླ་མ་རེད།          They are lamas.

This particle is called འབྲེལ་སྒྲ་ (“connecting sound”) because it is inserted between two words in order to connect or link them. It follows directly the word that it modifies. The meaning can be translated as “of” (functioning like the genitive case in English). It has five different spellings that vary according to the suffix of the word to which it is attached. This is why it is called “dependent particle”. (Note: There are also independent particles, such as the source particle.)

ག་      or  ང་  à གི་

བློ་བཟང་གི་པར་           Lobsang’s picture (“of Lobsang”)                             

ད་      or  བ་  or  ས་  à ཀྱི་

བཀྲ་ཤིས་ཀྱི་མེ་ཏོག་             Tashi’s flower                  

ན་      or  མ་  or  ར་  or  ལ་  à གྱི་           

དགེ་རྒན་གྱི་སློབ་ཕྲུག     The teacher’s student

འ་      or no suffix   à འི་ or  ཡི་

བུ་ཡི་ཨ་མ་ལགས་         The boy’s Mum                 ནམ་མཁའི་སྐར་མ་       The stars of the sky

In Colloquial Tibetan འི་ and གི་ are mostly used.

These are formed by combining the personal pronouns with a connective particle. The འབྲེལ་སྒྲ་ is simply added right after the pronouns (according to the spelling rules explained above):

ཁྱེད་རང་གི་མོ་ཊ་ཆེན་པོ་འདུག                                              Your car is big. (direct statement)

ཁོང་གི་ཁང་པ་དཀར་པོ་རེད།                                                   His/her house is white. (essential  statement)

ངའི་གྲོང་ཁྱེར་ཨ་རི་ལ་ཡོད་རེད།                                            My town is in America. (general statement)

ང་ཚོའི་གྲོང་ཁྱེར་ཨ་རི་ལ་ཡོད་རེད།                                     Our town is in America. (general statement)

DistanceSingularPluralAdverbs of place
Closeའདི་  this              འདི་ཚོ་  theseའདི་ལ་  འདིར་  here
A bit further awayདེ་  that             དེ་ཚོ་  thoseདེ་ལ་  དེར་  there
Further awayཕ་གི་  that over there   ཕ་ཚོ་  those over thereཕ་གི་ལ་  ཕ་གིར་  over there
Further away and aboveཡ་གི་  that up there     ཡ་ཚོ་  those up thereཡ་གི་ལ་  ཡ་གིར་   up there
Further away and belowམ་གི་  that down there        མ་ཚོ་  those down thereམ་གི་ལ་  མ་གིར་   down there

All demonstratives vary according to their relative distance from the object they indicate. There are two kinds:

འདི་  སྐུ་འདྲ་རེད།                                                                            This (thing) is a statue.

དེ་ཚོ་  ཁྱེད་རང་གི་སྨྱ་གུ་རེད།                         Those (things) are your pens.

ཕ་གི་  དགོན་པ་རེད།                                   The (thing)over there is a monastery.

དེ་ བུ་མོ་རེད།                                                                                        That (person) is a girl.                   

ཕ་ཚོ་  མེ་ཏོག་རེད།                                     Those (things) over there are flowers.

འདི་  ཡག་པོ་འདུག                                     This is good.                     

In Tibetan the demonstrative adjective comes after the noun that it specifies!

སྐུ་འདྲ་འདི་                                                   This statue

རྟ་འདི་ཚོ་                                                       These horses

གྲོང་གསེབ་དེ་                       That village

ཤིང་ནགས་དེ་ཚོ་                    Those forests

མཆོད་རྟེན་ཕ་གི་                    That stupa over there

རི་ཕ་ཚོ་                                              Those mountains over there

ལམ་ཀ་ཡ་གི་                        That street up there

ཤིང་ནགས་མ་གི་                    That forest down there

The most common word order in a Tibetan sentence is:

Noun (+ adjective + number / second adj.) + demonstrative + rest of sentence

བུ་མོ་དེ་  སྙིང་རྗེ་པོ་འདུག                                                                               That girl is beautiful (direct statement).        

དགོན་པ་དེ་དཀར་པོ་(མ་)རེད།                                  That monastery is (not) white.

རི་ཕ་གི་སྙིང་རྗེ་པོ་འདུག                                    That mountain over there is beautiful (direct)

ཤིང་ནགས་དེ་ཚོ་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོ་ཡོད་རེད།                       Those forests are vast (inferential).

Nouns connected to demonstratives can be followed by adjectives that directly characterize the noun. Then the demonstrative follows the adjective:

བུ་མོ་སྙིང་རྗེ་པོ་དེ་  བཀྲ་ཤིས་ཀྱི་འཛིན་གྲོགས་རེད།           That beautiful girl is Tashi’s classmate.

མེ་ཏོག་དམར་པོ་ཕ་ཚོ་  སྙིང་རྗེ་པོ་འདུག                       Those red flowers over there are beautiful.

We can also add another adjective, e.g. to express quantity:

མེ་ཏོག་སྙིང་རྗེ་པོ་མང་པོ་དེ་ཚོ་ བཀྲ་ཤིས་ཀྱི་རེད།             Those many beautiful flowers are Tashi’s.

When followed by a ladon-particle ལ་ or ར་, the demonstrative becomes an adverb of place and is used to make existential statements about posession or location:

བུ་མོ་དེ་ལ་མེ་ཏོག་འདུག                               That beautiful girl has a flower (direct).

ཕ་གིར་མེ་ཏོག་དམར་པོ་འདུག                        There are red flowers over there (direct).                             

དགོན་པ་དཀར་པོ་མ་གིར་འདུག                      The White Monastery is down there (direct).                             

འཛིན་ཁང་འདི་ལ་ཅོག་ཙེ་མང་པོ་ཡོད་རེད།         There are many tables (here) in this classroom (inferential).

བུ་མོ་འདི་ལ་གློག་ཀླད་གསར་པ་ཡོད་རེད།           This girl has a new computer (general).

The word order can be changed, which then goes along with a change in meaning or emphasis. Note: Whatever is close to the verb is emphasized.

སྨྱུ་གུ་འདི་  ཁྱེད་རང་གི་རེད།                                    This pen is yours.

ཤིང་ནགས་འདི་ལ་ཤིང་སྡོང་ཡོད་རེད་/འདུག       (Here) in this forest there are trees. (inferential/direct knowledge)

དགོན་པ་དཀར་པོ་ཡ་གི་རེད།                         The white monastery is the one up there.

(special emphasis on the location).

TLAN 103 Colloquial Tibetan I, lesson 4

In general, nouns in Tibetan do not have plural forms. So, if there is no indication of either singular or plural, one needs to understand them from the context:

རྒྱ་གར་ལ་གྲྭ་པ་ཡོད་རེད།               There is a monk (or there are monks) in India.

ངའི་སྐྱེ་ས་ལ་གངས་རི་ཡོད་རེད།   In my birthplace there is a  (or there are ) snow mountain (s).

In case of specific statements about one or many, special particles are added in order to express “the”, “a”, or plural.

Examples for plural:

ངའི་གྲོགས་པོ་ཚོ་ཨ་རི་ལ་ཡོད།                         My friends are in America.

(Lit.: “I have my friends in America.”)

Note that the plural marker ཚོ་ can be added directly to persons but not to things and animals.

When we speak of things and animals, the plural marker is not directly added to the noun. Instead, the plural forms of demonstratives are used to indicate that we are talking about more than one:

གཡག་འདི་ཚོ་སྙིང་རྗེ་པོ་འདུག                         The/these yaks are beautiful.

སྨྱུ་གུ་དེ་ཚོ་འཛིན་ཁང་ལ་ཡོད་རེད།                    The/those pens are in the classroom.

If you want to talk about a thing or person in singular, you can add an indefinite particle:

ང་ཚོ་ལ་གྲོགས་པོ་རིག་པ་སྤྱང་པོ་ཞིག་ཡོད།                     We have a clever friend (i.e. one in particular).

ངའི་གྲོང་གསེབ་ལ་མཆོད་རྟེན་ཞིག་(or གཅིག་)ཡོད་རེད།             There is a (or one) temple in my village.

ཅིག་, ཞིག་ and ཤིག་ are identical in meaning. They all derive from གཅིག་ = “one”. Since they are dependent particles, their spelling depends on the last letter of the preceding syllable. Here are the spelling rules:

After the suffix letters (རྗེས་འཇུག་)  ག་         ད་       བ་                                     à ཅིག་

After the suffix letters            ང་       ན་       མ་       འ་       ར་       ལ་ (or no suffix) à ཞིག་

After the suffix letter              ས་                                                                   à ཤིག

Good news: In spoken Tibetan it is fine to use ཅིག་ or ཞིག་ only.


ཤིང་ནགས་ལ་གྲོང་གསེབ་ཅིག་ཡོད་རེད།   In the forest there is a village.

ཁྱེད་རང་དགེ་རྒན་ཞིག་རེད།                You are one (of the) teacher(s).

ང་ལ་སྨྱུ་གུ་ཞིག་ཡོད།                          I have a pen.

ནང་ཆོས་ཆོས་ལུགས་ཤིག་རེད།              Buddhism is a religion (one amongst others).

If the number 1 ist emphasized, the Tibetan གཅིག་ is used, which literally means “one”:

ང་ལ་དགའ་རོགས་གཅིག་ཡོད།              I have one lover (not two or more …)

The meaning of the indefinite particle is very similar to “one” (གཅིག་). However, there is a small difference that becomes important in certain contexts:

འཛིན་གྲྭ་འདིའི་སློབ་ཕྲུག་ཅིག་རྒྱ་ནག་ནས་རེད།               A student of this class is from China.

འཛིན་གྲྭ་འདིའི་སློབ་ཕྲུག་གཅིག་རྒྱ་ནག་ནས་རེད།  (Exactly) one student of this class is from China.

So, can you figure out the difference between the following two sentences???


དགོན་པ་འདི་ལ་གྲྭ་པ་སེམས་པ་བཟང་པོ་གཅིག་ཡོད་རེད།             …

There are no question marks in Tibetan. Instead, a question particle is used at the end of the sentence. Their spelling depends on the last letter of the preceding syllable:

ང་                                                                                                 à ངས་

ག་                                                                                                 à གས་

ད་       ན་       བ་       མ་       འ་       ར་       ལ་       ས་                           à པས་

Question particles can be used for different kinds of questions. In general, there are three kinds:

བཀྲ་ཤིས་གྲྭ་པ་རེད་པས།                               Is Tashi a monk?

ཡིག་ཚད་འདི་དཀའ་ལས་ཁག་པོ་འདུག་གས།      Is this exam difficult?

ལུང་པ་འདིར་གཡག་ཡོད་རེད་པས།                  Are there yaks in this area/valley?

སྐྱིད་པོ་བྱུང་ངས།          Was it fun for you? (the general usage of བྱུང་ will be introduced in lesson 8)

ཁྱེད་རང་གི་ནང་མི་རྒྱ་ནག་ལ་ཡོད་མ་རེད་པས།    Is your family not in China?

པར་འདི་ལ་མི་མི་འདུག་གས།               Are there no people (here) on this picture?

འདི་སུ་རེད་པས།                                         Who is this?

འདི་བཀྲ་ཤིས་རེད།                                    Answer: This is Tashi.

Rule of anticipation: This is important for all kinds of question.

As mentioned before, the usage of the བདག་ forms  ཡིན་and ཡོད་ is not essentially linked with ང་(ཚོ་) and the usage of the གཞན་ forms རེད་ and ཡོད་རེད་ is not essentially linked with  ཁྱེད་རང་(ཚོ་)/ ཁོང་(ཚོ་). It depends on our perspective and the context.

So, let us come back to yes-or-no questions: When asking such questions, the speaker addresses the other person by anticipating his/her answer and using the corresponding བདག་ form and vice versa, e.g.:

ཁྱེད་རང་ནང་པ་ཡིན་པས།                                      Are you a Buddhist?

ལགས་ཡིན།      ང་ནང་པ་ཡིན།                                Yes, I am a Buddhist (polite form).

ང་མི་ལེ་ལོ་ཚ་པོ་ཞིག་རེད་པས།                                  Am I a lazy person?

མ་རེད་ མ་རེད། ཁྱེད་རང་མི་ལེ་ལོ་ཚ་པོ་མ་རེད།              No no, you are not a lazy person!

ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་ཆོས་ལུགས་ཚང་མ་ལ་དོ་སྣང་ཡོད་པས།        Are you interested (lit. “do you have interest) in all religions?

ལགས་ཡོད།      ཆོས་ལུགས་ཚང་མ་ལ་དོ་སྣང་ཡོད།         Yes, I do. I am interested in all religions.

You can turn an actual question into a statement that just asks for confirmation in the sense of “isn’t it?”, “right?”. For this the suffix ས་ from the three question particles is simply omitted:

ང་                                                                                                 à ང་

ག་                                                                                                 à ག

ད་       ན་       བ་       མ་       འ་       ར་       ལ་       ས་                           à པ།      

ཁོ་རང་རིག་པ་སྤྱང་པོ་འདུག་ག                                   He is clever, isn’t he?

སྐྱིད་པོ་བྱུང་ང་།                                         It was fun (for us), wasn’t it?

(for the general usage of བྱུང་ see lesson 8)

མོ་རང་རྒྱ་གར་བ་རེད་པ(also pronounced རེ་བ།)         She is Indian, isn’t she?

ཁོ་རང་རྒྱ་ནག་ནས་རེད་པ། (also pronounced རེ་བ།)       He is from China, isn’t he?

ཁྱེད་རང་གི་ཕ་མ་ཁོང་ཚོའི་ཕ་ཡུལ་ལ་ཡོད་རེད་པ།  Your parents are in their father land, aren’t they?

The same formula applies when refering to oneself, which could then be translated as “as you know” or ”that’s clear, isn’t it?”.

ང་རང་རྒྱ་གར་བ་མ་རེད་པ།                           I am not Indian, as you know. (That’s clear, isn’t it?)

TLAN 103 Colloquial Tibetan I, lesson 5

As mentioned before, questions with question words aim for new information about where, whom, what, … When the following question words appear in a Tibetan sentence, there is no need for a separate question particle པས།, གས། or ངས།. If it is added, it puts an extra emphasis on the question.

In the following examples you will see that the rule of anticipation applies, just like for the yes-or-no questions.

You will also see that the information asked for is represented by the question words. In the answer the structure of the question sentence remains the same and the question word is replaced by the new information.

ག་རེ་     = what?               

དེ་ག་རེ་རེད་(པས)།                                 What is that?

དེ་ཇ་དམ་རེད།                                    That is a thermo.

ཁོང་ལ་ག་རེ་ཡོད་རེད(པས)།                      What does he/she have?

ཁོང་ལ་དཀར་ཡོལ་ཞིག་ཡོད་རེད།                 He/she has a cup.

ཁྱེད་རང་ལ་ག་རེ་ཡོད་(པས)།                     What do you have?

ང་ལ་སྡོང་མོ་ཞིག་ཡོད།                            I have a churn for making Tibetan tea.

ག་དུས་ = when?                            

ལོ་གསར་ག་དུས་རེད་(པས)།              When is Losar (Tibetan New Year)?

ལོ་གསར་ལོ་རྗེ་མ་རེད།                    Losar is next year.

འཛིན་གྲྭ་ག་དུས་ཡོད་(པས)།              When do you have class?

འཛིན་གྲྭ་སང་ཉིན་ཡོད།                  I have class tomorrow.

སུ་      = who?                

ཁྱེད་རང་གི་ཟླ་བོ་སུ་རེད་(པས)།           Who is your spouse?

ངའི་ཟླ་བོ་མི་ཕ་གི་རེད།                    My spouse is the person over there.

ཕ་གིར་སུ་འདུག་(གས)།                   Who is over there?

ཕ་གིར་བཀྲ་ཤིས་འདུག                   Over there is Tashi.

When combined with a connective particle (འབྲེལ་སྒྲ་), སུ་ becomes a question word about possession:

སུའི་   = whose?                           

ཇ་བསྲུབས་མ་འདི་སུའི་རེད་(པས)།       Whose churned tea is this?

ཇ་བསྲུབས་མ་འདི་རྨོ་རྨོ་ལགས་ཀྱི་རེད།   This churned tea is Grandma’s.

བུ་དེ་སུའི་གཅུང་པོ་རེད་(པས)།           Whose younger brother is that boy?

བུ་དེ་སྒྲོལ་མའི་གཅུང་པོ་རེད།             That boy is Dolma’s younger brother.

Similarly, སུ་ can be combined with a ལ་དོན་ and thereby becomes a question word meaning “for whom”, “to whom”:

ཇ་མངར་མོ་དེ་སུ་ལ་རེད་(པས)།                   For whom is that sweet tea?

ཇ་མངར་མོ་དེ་ཁྱེད་རང་གི་ཁྱོ་ག་ལ་རེད།          That sweat tea is for your husband.

The question word ག་པར་ (= where?) also contains a ལ་དོན་ (alternative spelling: ག་པ་ལ་)

བློ་བཟང་ག་པར་འདུག་གས།               Where is Lobsang? (refers to direct knowledge)

བློ་བཟང་དེ་ལ་འདུག                      Lobsang is there.

རྒྱ་ནག་ག་པར་ཡོད་རེད་(པས)།           Where is China? (general)

རྒྱ་ནག་ཤར་གླིང་ལ་ཡོད་རེད།             China is in Asia. (general)

ག་ནས་ =  from where? 

ཁྱེད་རྣམ་པ་ཚོ་ག་ནས་ཡིན་(པས)།                 Where are you from? (HH)                                        

ང་ཚོ་ཁམས་ནས་ཡིན།                     We are from Kham. (HH)                                            

ག་གི་   = which?                            

ཁྱེད་རང་ལ་དེབ་ག་གི་ཡོད་(པས)།                 Which book do you have?

ང་ལ་བོད་སྐད་ཀྱི་སྦྱོང་དེབ་ཡོད།          I have the Colloquial Tibetan exercise book.

ག་ཚོད་ how many?       

དཀར་ཡོལ་ག་ཚོད་འདུག་(གས)།           How many cups are there? (refers to direct knowledge)

དཀར་ཡོལ་ཅིག་འདུག                    There is one cup.

However, when you ask for the price of something, you have to say: “How much is it for …?”

གློག་ཀླད་ལ་ག་ཚོད་རེད་(པས)།           How much is it for the computer?

Without ལ་དོན་ the meaning changes:

གློག་ཀླད་ག་ཚོད་ཡོད་རེད་(པས)།         How many computers are there?

གང་འདྲས་     how? + adjective or noun           

བོད་ཇ་འདི་གང་འདྲས་འདུག    How is this Tibetan tea?                ཨའོ་ཙ་འདུག      It’s OK …

རྨོ་རྨོ་ལགས་གང་འདྲས་འདུག    How is Grandma? (refers to direct knowledge) (She is OK …)

གང་འདྲས་ཟེ་  how? + verb (àwill be discussed later)

All Tibetan verbs can be classified within the two categories

ཐ་དད་པ་  (lit. “separate”) and ཐ་མི་དད་པ་ (lit. “inseparate”).

This difference is very important! It is similar to the distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs in English but not identical; the underlying  concepts differ.

In most cases ཐ་དད་པ་ verbs are transitive and ཐ་མི་དད་པ་ verbs are intransitive – but not always. However, you do not need to worry about this because in this class we will use the Tibetan categories ཐ་དད་པ་  and ཐ་མི་དད་པ་.

ཁ་ལག་བཟོ (root form) or བཟོ་བ་ (infinitive form)    

=  making food. (food maker and food are separate things)

ཆང་འཐུང་                = drinking chang

དབང་ཞུ་                   = taking empowerment(s) h (humilific)

Some verbs are used together with a ལ་དོན་ to mark the direct object; that depends on the individual verb.

པར་ལ་ལྟ་                  = looking at a picture

– In Tibetan, a verb is ཐ་མི་དད་པ་  when the agent and the action are not separate from each other. There are several kinds of ཐ་མི་དད་པ་  verbs. They are distinguished in terms of volitional (བྱེད་འབྲེལ་ལས་ཚིག་) and non-volitional (བྱེད་མེད་ལས་ཚིག་) actions:

1. Non-volitional verbs: བྱེད་མེད་ལས་ཚིག་

ན་  (root form) or ན་བ་ (infinitive form)  = being sick (being sick is treated as a verb in Tibetan!)

མགོ་ན་བ་                      = having a headache (མགོ་ = head)

2. Verbs of perception (also non-volitional = བྱེད་མེད་ལས་ཚིག་):

ཧ་གོ་(བ་)                      to understand (infinitive form)

ཞི་མི་མཐོང(བ་)              Seeing a cat 

Note that the volitional form of མཐོང་ (to see) is ལྟ་ (to look at), which is a ཐ་དད་པ་ verb and takes a separate direct object, as in ལྟད་མོ་ལྟ་ (to watch a movie)

3. Verbs of motion (or “still motion”) (volitional verbs བྱེད་འབྲེལ་ལས་ཚིག་)

འཛིན་གྲྭ་ལ་འགྲོ་(བ་)                                  going to school

ནང་ལ་བཞུགས་(པ་)                                   staying at home (H = honorific)

In spoken colloquial Tibetan more than half of the main verbs (full verbs) use the same form for all three tenses. Others have only two tense forms, i.e. past and presence. We will discuss this later.

The specific features of the present, future and past tenses will be further explained  in lessons 6 to 8.

Auxiliaries are another peculiarity of the Tibetan language. Unlike classical Tibetan, the main verb does not stand alone in spoken Central Tibetan, it is usually combined with an auxiliary. Auxiliaries are added after the main verb at the very end of a sentence. They can specify many things, e.g. the time of the action (past, present or future), whether the action refers to self or other, or whether it is directly witnessed or inferential.

Most auxiliaries are just the various forms of the verbs to have and to be, connected to the main verb by a preceding འབྲེལ་སྒྲ་ (connective particle).

You have already learned the difference between self and others, existential and essential main verbs (ཡིན་,  རེད་,  ཡོད་རེད,  འདུག་) and direct or general/inferential speech. These categories also apply when the to be-verbs are used as auxiliaries in sentences with main verbs. You will learn more about this in lesson 6 to 8.

For now, let us start with a few simple sentences using main verbs in the present tense (དུས་ད་ལྟ་བ་):

Kind of main verbSubject/doerDirect object/ destination/location …Main verbPresent tense auxiliary = འབྲེལ་སྒྲ་ + existential verb to be
ཐ་དད་པ་ (vol., with direct object)ང་  པར་ལ་  ལྟ་  གི་ཡོད། = I am looking/I look at a picture
ཐ་མི་དད་པ་ (non-vol.)ཁོང་   ན་གི་འདུག = He/she is sick (direct)  
ཐ་མི་དད་པ་ (vol. verb of motion with destination)ང་ཚོ་  འཛིན་གྲྭ་ལ་  འགྲོ་  གི་ཡོད། = We are going/we go to school
ཐ་མི་དད་པ་ (verb of perception, non-vol.)ཁྱེད་རང་གིས་   ཧ་གོ་  སོང་ = You (have) understood.

We will discuss the present tense in more detail in lesson 6.

The general formula for the ending of a sentence with a main verb is

Main/full verb (pres.) + connective particle + auxiliary (pres.)

You will find the complete set of present tense auxiliaries on the handout for lesson 6. For now, just make yourself familiar with the structure of the example sentences.

ང་ཁ་ལག་ཟ་གི་ཡོད།                                   I am eating/I eat food.

ཁོང་ཚོ་ཉོ་ཆ་རྒྱག་གི་ཡོད་རེད།                                 They do the shopping.

རྨོ་རྨོ་ལགས།      ཁྱེད་རང་མོག་མོག་ཞིམ་པོ་བཟོ་གི་ཡོད་རེད

Grandma, you make yummy momos. (general)

TLAN 103 Colloquial Tibetan I, lesson 6

The present tense (དུས་ད་ལྟ་བ་) can either express

  1. a present action happening within a limited duration of time, e.g.

ང་སློབ་སྦྱོང་བྱེད་ཀྱི་ཡོད།                               I am studying.


(The duration of the period mentioned can refer to the present moment or a longer duration, e.g. one semester, but it is always limited.)

བོད་པ་ཇ་མང་པོ་མཐུང་གི་ཡོད་རེད།                Tibetans drink a lot of tea.


Time adverbs like ནམ་རྒྱུན་ (“usually”) clarify the exact period of time.

For now it is easiest to place them at the beginning of a sentence.

It is through context that one must distinguish between the two different usages of the present tense (namely an ongoing action or a general / regular action).

When using the present tense (དུས་ད་ལྟ་བ་) in Tibetan there are two particular features of any verb:

  1. When stating something about oneself (བདག་), Tibetans distinguish whether the action is volitional or non-volitional.
  2. When talking about somebody else (གཞན་), there is a difference between direct and general/inferential knowledge (as discussed in the context of existential statements, lesson 2).

Accordingly, there are two different sets of present tense auxiliaries depending on direct and inferential knowledge / volition and non-volition:

བདག་ (self)གཞན་ (other)
(volitional = བྱེད་འབྲེལ་ལས་ཚིག་) གི་ཡོད། གི་མེད། (question with anticipation of self) གི་ཡོད་པས།/ གི་མེད་པས།(inferential) གི་ཡོད་རེད། གི་ཡོད་མ་རེད། (question) གི་ཡོད་རེད་པས། གི་ཡོད་མ་རེད་པས།
(non-volitional = བྱེད་མེད་ལས་ཚིག་) གི་འདུག གི་མི་འདུག (question) གི་འདུག་གས། གི་མི་འདུག་གས།(direct) གི་འདུག གི་མི་འདུག (question) གི་འདུག་གས། གི་མི་འདུག་གས།

Volition is an important issue in Tibetan. It is directly related to the action and therefore expressed by the various main verbs and their auxiliaries.

As explained in  lesson 5, it is the ཐ་དད་པ་ verbs that usually express volitional actions taking a direct object (e.g. “to make sth.”, “to eat/drink sth.”) whereas ཐ་མི་དད་པ་ verbs can either express non-volitional actions (e.g. “to feel hungry”, “to be bored”) or volitional actions, e.g. actions of movement (like  “to go”).

You will get to know the categories along with the verbs that you learn. They are important because the usage of the auxiliaries and agentive particle (བྱེད་སྒྲ་) depends on them.  

From the Tibetan viewpoint, a non-volitional verb expresses an action that happens to someone and therefore has no main agent (བྱེད་མེད་ལས་ཚིག་), whereas volitional verbs include intention and have a main agent (བྱེད་འབྲེལ་ལས་ཚིག་).

གུང་སེང་ལ་ང་ཚོ་སྐྱིད་པོ་གཏོང་གི་ཡོད།    During holidays we enjoy ourselves. (ཐ་དད་པ་). à habitual

ནམ་རྒྱུན་ང་ཚོ་འཛིན་གྲྭ་ལ་ཇ་འཐུང་གི་མེད།    We usually do not drink tea in class.

ང་ཁ་ལག་ཟ་གི་ཡོད།                                  I (usually) eat food / I am eating food (ཐ་དད་པ་).

When one’s own actions happen unintentionally, the auxiliary གི་འདུག་ actually pertains to གཞན་, which expresses that oneself is not in control of what happens, but other conditions are causing the action to happen.

In general, the auxiliary གི་འདུག་ expresses one’s direct knowledge / experience of something happening at the moment of speech, which is also the case with non-volitional actions happening to yourself: you observe yourself from an outer viewpoint and make a direct statement about what happens to you, like sensations or emotions.

ང་ཚ་བ་འཚིག་གི་འདུག                                          I am feeling hot (ཐ་མི་དད་པ་).

ད་ལྟ་ང་འཁྱག་གི་མི་འདུག                                      Right now I don’t feel cold. (ཐ་མི་དད་པ་).

ང་ཉོབ་ཀྱི་འདུག                                                  I am feeling bored. (ཐ་མི་དད་པ་).

Non-volitional actions can only take the general auxiliaries when they become general statements about regular events:

དགུན་ཁ་(ལ་)ང་འཁྱག་གི་ཡོད།                                  In winter I (usually) feel cold (ཐ་མི་དད་པ་).

(Here I do not observe myself right now and do not make a direct statement.

I am rather talking about a regular thing happening to me every winter.)

མོ་རང་ཉི་མ་རྟག་པར་ཇ་འཐུང་གི་ཡོད་མ་རེད།             She does not drink tea everyday (ཐ་དད་པ་).

ལོ་ལྟར་ཁོང་ཚོ་བོད་ལ་འགྲོ་གི་ཡོད་རེད།                       Every year they go to Tibet (ཐ་མི་དད་པ་).

If there is no time adverb, the auxiliary གི་ཡོད་རེད། indicates that there is no direct experience of the action at the moment of speech but rather inferential/ general knowledge, or something is done habitually.

ད་ལྟ་གངས་འབབ་གི་འདུག                                     It’s snowing now (ཐ་མི་དད་པ་).

ཁོང་སློབ་གྲྭ་ལ་འགྲོ་གི་འདུག                                    He / she is going to school (ཐ་མི་དད་པ་)

(I can see her going)

དེ་རིང་ཆར་པ་འབབ་ཀྱི་མི་འདུག                              Today it’s not raining (ཐ་མི་དད་པ་).

The usage of གི་འདུག is limited to an action taking place right now or to an action which the speaker has witnessed once or twice.

Questions with main verbs are handled in the same way as questions with to be-verbs: The correct spelling form of the question particle is simply added to the respective auxiliary:

ཁོ་རང་ཤ་ཟ་གི་ཡོད་རེད་པས།                                                Does he (usually) eat meat? (general)

རྒྱ་ནག་ལ་དགུན་ཁ(ར)་གངས་འབབ་ཀྱི་ཡོད་རེད་པས།         Does it snow in China during winter? (general)

ད་ལྟ་ཉི་མ་ཤར་གྱི་འདུག་གས།                                                   Is the sun shining now? (direct)

ཁོང་གྲོད་ཁོག་ལྟོགས་ཀྱི་མི་འདུག་གས།                        Is he not hungry? 

Mind the rule of anticipation: When addressing someone else directly with a question, take the perspective of the person who will answer and use the auxiliaries connected with བདག་:

ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་ནམ་རྒྱུན་ཕྱུ་པ་གྱོན་གྱི་ཡོད་པས།                Do you usually (plural) wear chupas?

ཁྱེད་རང་ཤ་ཟ་གི་ཡོད་པས།                                     Do you eat meat? (general) /

Are you eating meat? (ongoing action)

ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་དབྱིན་སྐད་སྦྱོང་གི་ཡོད་པས།                                 Do you guys learn English? /

Are you guys learning English?

When asking someone about something which involves a non-volitional verb, use འདུག་གས།:

ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་ཉོབ་ཀྱི་འདུག་གས།                                  Are you (plural) feeling bored?

ཁྱེད་རང་ན་གི་འདུག་གས།                                       Are you sick?

As we said before, question words do not need a question particle (but you can add one to make the question stronger):   

ཁྱེད་རང་ག་རེ་འཐུང་གི་ཡོད་(པས)།                            ང་ཇ་འཐུང་གི་ཡོད།                

 What are you drinking? / What do you drink?                    I am drinking tea / I drink tea.

འདི་ལ་སུ་ཕེབས་ཀྱི་འདུག་(གས)།                                འདི་ལ་རྒན་ལགས་ཕེབས་ཀྱི་འདུག         

Who is coming here? (H)                                                           The teacher is coming here.

བལ་ཡུལ་ལ་ཆར་པ་ག་དུས་འབབ་ཀྱི་ཡོད་རེད་(པས)།        བལ་ཡུལ་ལ་ཆར་པ་དབྱར་ཀ་ལ་འབབ་ཀྱི་ཡོད་རེད།                When does it (usually) rain in Nepal?                                   In Nepal it (usually) rains in summer.

Exception: When the question word ག་འདྲས་ is connected to a main verb, asking “how” something is done, it takes a special form: (ག་འདྲས་ཟེ་). You can place it directly before the main verb:

ཁྱེད་རང་མོག་མོག་ག་འདྲས་ཟེ་བཟོ་གི་ཡོད།                    How do you make Momos?

The agentive particle བྱེད་སྒྲ་ is mostly needed for the past tense. Technically, it consists of a འབྲེལ་སྒྲ་ with a ས་ added. It is a dependent particle (ཕྲད་གཞན་དབང་ཅན་) and undergoes the same spelling rules as the འབྲེལ་སྒྲ་ (see lesson 3):

ག་      or  ང་                   à གིས་         e.g. ཁོང་གིས་ཁ་ལག་བཟོ་གི་ཡོད་རེད།

ད་      or  བ་  or  ས་           à ཀྱིས་             e.g. ཁྱོད་ཀྱིས་ཁ་ལག་བཟོ་གི་ཡོད་རེད།

ན་      or  མ་  or  ར་  or  ལ་  à གྱིས་           e.g. དགེ་རྒན་གྱིས་ཁ་ལག་བཟོ་གི་ཡོད་རེད།

no suffix   or འ་         à ས་ or ཡིས་             e.g. ངས་ཁ་ལག་བཟོ་གི་ཡོད།

The agentive marker (བྱེད་སྒྲ་) is generally not required in the present tense – except for cases of potential confusion (འཁྲུལ་གཞི་) about who is the agent and who is the object:

ངས་ཁྱེད་རང་མཐོང་གི་འདུག                         I am seeing you (not you seeing me). (ཐ་མི་དད་པ་)

སྟག་འདིས་དོམ་གསོད་ཀྱི་འདུག                      This tiger is killing a bear (not the bear killing the tiger). (ཐ་དད་པ་)

It can also be used for emphasizing the doer:

ངས་མོག་མོག་འདི་ཚོ་བཟོ་གི་ཡོད།                    I am making these Momos. (It is me who does it.)

Another (less common) function of the བྱེད་སྒྲ་ is its usage with a subsidiary (secondary) agent of an action (བྱེད་པ་པོ་ཕལ་བ་). This means that the བྱེད་སྒྲ་ can also be used to mark the instrument or means by which the action of the verb is done. In this case there are two agents, since the main agent is still there:

བློ་བཟང་གིས་བག་ལེབ་ལག་པས་་ཟ་གི་འདུག       Lobsang (main agent) is eating bread with his hands (instrument).

ངས་ཇ་མར་གྱིས་བཟོ་གི་ཡོད།                          I make tea with butter.

TLAN 103 Colloquial Tibetan I, lesson 7

Future Action and Inherent Nature of Habit

  1. Future action

To express a future action is straightforward; it can be translated with the English auxiliaries “will”, “going to” and means that somebody will do something in the future.

Most future auxiliaries are formed by using the འབྲེལ་སྒྲ་ (connective particle) together with the essential verbs “to be”:

བདག་ (self)གཞན་ (other)
(volitional = བྱེད་འབྲེལ་ལས་ཚིག་) གི་ཡིན།   གི་མིན། (question with anticipation of self) གི་ཡིན་པས།   གི་མིན་པས། (གས།   ག)[1]  གི་རེད།   གི་མ་རེད། (question) གི་རེད་པས།  གི་མ་རེད་པས།
(non-volitional = བྱེད་མེད་ལས་ཚིག་) àsame as གཞན་ forms: གི་རེད།     གི་མ་རེད། (question) གི་རེད་པས།  གི་མ་རེད་པས། 

There are a few general differences between the future auxiliaries and the present tense auxiliaries:

ང་ཚོ་ཟ་ཁང་ལ་འཐེན་ཐུག་འཐུང་གི་ཡིན།             We will have (“drink”) noodle soup in the restaurant.

ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་ཟ་ཁང་ལ་འཐེན་ཐུག་འཐུང་གི་ཡིན་པས།  Will you guys have noodle soup in the restaurant?

ཁྱེད་རང་ཆང་འཐུང་གི་མིན་པས།                                                             Will you not drink any chang?

ང་ཆང་འཐུང་གི་མིན།                                                                        (No thanks), I will not drink chang.

ཁྱེད་རང་གི་གྲོགས་པོ་ཕྱི་རྒྱལ་ལ་མགྱོགས་པོ་འགྲོ་གི་རེད།     Your friend will soon go to a foreign country.

མ་བྱན་འདིས་སྡེར་མ་འཁྲུད་ཀྱི་མ་རེད།     This cook will not wash the dishes (with emphasis on this cook).

སང་དགོང་ཁོང་ཚོ་མོག་ཐུག་བཟོ་གི་རེད།                 Tomorrow evening they will make momo in soup.

ཁོ་རང་མ་བྱན་བྱེད་ཀྱི་རེད་པ།                                                              He will work as a cook, right?

སང་ཉིན་ང་ཚོ་ལ་ཁ་ལག་ཁ་ཚ་པོ་མང་པོ་(ཟ་ཡག་)རག་གི་རེད།       Tomorrow we will get (to eat) lots of spicy food.

རྗེས་ལ་ང་ཚོ་གྲོད་ཁོག་ན་གི་རེད་པས།                                     Will we get a stomachache afterwards?

There are two more commonly used future auxiliaries: མཁན་ , and  ཡག་

In comparison to the future auxiliaries discussed above, the meaning remains more or less the same. However, there are differences in emphasis:

Simply replace the connective particles ཀྱི་གྱི་and གི་. with མཁན་ , and  ཡག་!

སང་ཉིན་ང་གྲོང་ཁྱེར་ལ་འགྲོ་ཡག་ ཡིན།                                 Tomorrow I will (for sure) go to town.

དོ་དགོང་ང་ཚོ་ཇ་ཁང་ལ་འགྲོ་མཁན ་མིན།                                        Tonight we will not go to the tea shop.

ལོ་རྗེས་མར་ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་བོད་ལ་ཕེབས་ཡག་ ཡིན་པས།                 Will you (really) go to Tibet next year?

བླ་མ་འདི་སང་ཉིན་གསུང་ཆོས་གནང་མཁན ་མ་རེད་པས།            Isn’t this Lama going to give a Dharma teaching tomorrow?

ཁྱེད་རང་ག་པར་ཆུ་སྐོལ་ཡག་ཡིན།                                                  Where are you going to boil the water?

From the grammatical viewpoint, ཡག་ and མཁན་ are nominalizers, which means that they turn verbs into nouns. They can do much more than functioning as future auxiliares – but that will be covered in a later lesson.


In special contexts, there is another way of asking questions about actions in future. It is used when applying the rule of anticipation and using the བདག་ auxiliaries. If this is the case, you can “take the short cut” and replace the complete auxiliaries with just གས། (for yes/no questions) or / (for questions with question words or giving options)

ལོ་རྗེས་མར་ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་བོད་ལ་ཕེབས་གས།                    Are you going to Tibet next year?

སང་ཉིན་ཁྱེད་རང་ག་རེ་བྱེད་ག /                             What are you doing tomorrow?

ཁྱེད་རང་ཆང་མཆོད་   ཤིང་ཏོག་ཁུ་བ་མཆོད་               Are you going to have chang?

Or are you going to have fruit juice?

This also works when you are included in the group of people (in the sense of ”How if we do …?” “Shall we do …?”)

ང་ཚོ་ཆང་ཁང་ལ་འགྲོ་གས།                                       Shall we go to the bar (“chang house”)?

This alternative use is also common in Colloquial Tibetan, but it will not appear in any exams or quizzes. Instead, we will focus on the complete future auxiliaries discussed before.

Technically, this structure is a future form but regarding its meaning, it refers to all times. It is used to indicate that somebody does something always and very generally, not from choice or decision but because it is his/her inherent nature to do so. This is why the essential verbs to be are used as auxiliaries. The action can be volitional or non-volitional; the main thing is that it generally takes place due to habit or natural inclination.

འབྲས་ཆུ་ལ་སྐྱེ་གི་རེད།                                  (It is the nature of) rice (that it) grows in the water.

དགུན་ཁ་གངས་འབབ་ཀྱི་རེད།                         Snow (naturally) falls in winter.

བོད་པ་ཚོ་ལོ་གསར་གཏོང་གི་རེད།                     (It lies in the nature of) the Tibetans (that they) celebrate Losar. J

འདི་འདྲས་ཟེ་ལབ་ཀྱི་མ་རེད།                          It is not said like this (according to the rules and nature of the language).

This structure points to a future action, but it takes a special form with special “auxiliaries”. It is a particular way of indicating that oneself will perform a (beneficial) action on behalf of, in favor of, or for somebody else, so this usage is limited to the first person (plural or singular).

There are three things to be known:

  1. Oneself volunteers here, or politely insists on doing something, so the “I” or “we” is emphasized by a བྱེད་སྒྲ་ (agentive marker).
  2. Three auxiliaries can be used:

དགོས་ (usually pronounced like དགོ་), (དགོས་ literally means “need”, so you can think of it as something that needs to be done, and you volunteer).

ཆོག་ (slightly more formal than དགོས་ but very similar) (ཆོག་ literally means “allowed”, so you “allow yourself” or “feel free to” do something for somebody else).

ཡོང་ (used when the action implies a movement, i.e. one volunteers to do something and then “comes” back, ཡོང་)

རྨོ་རྨོ་ལགས།      ངས་ཁྱེད་རང་ལ་གཞས་བཏང་དགོས།

རྨོ་རྨོ་ལགས།      ངས་ཁྱེད་རང་ལ་ཨེམ་ཆི་སྐད་གཏོང་གི་ཡིན།



Examples for volunteering:

ངས་ཉོ་ཆ་བརྒྱབ་དགོས།                                I will do the shopping (for you).

ངས་ཁ་ལག་བཟོས་ཆོག                                 I will make food (for you).

ཞབས་ཞུ་བ་ངས་སྐད་བཏངདགོས།                  I will call over the waiter.

ངས་ཚལ་དང་ཐུག་པ་ཉོས་ཡོང་།                      I will buy vegetables and noodles (and come back).

ངས་འཁྱེར་ཡོང་།                                                  I will come and bring it.

Since one volunteers intentionally, only volitional verbs can be used. Also, this is only used when doing a favor or benefit to someone else. Tibetans would not say something like the following sentence – they are far too polite and prefer helping each other 😉

ཁྱེད་རང་ལས་ཀ་འདི་གནང་རོགས་གནང་།           ངས་སྐྱིད་པོ་བཏང་ཆོག                     

Will you please do the work. I will enjoy myself 

[1] See page 3

TLAN 103 Colloquial Tibetan I, lesson 8

དུས་འདས་པ་ནི་ The Past Tenses

Introduction to the Past Tenses

The Tibetan past tense has structures equivalent to the simple past in English (e.g. “I went”) and the present perfect (e.g. “I have gone”) but there is no particular grammatical structure for the past perfect (e.g. “I had gone”). In such cases the simple past is used.


(The auxiliaries in pale letters are not common and just listed here for your information. You do not need to learn them actively.)

བདག་ (self)གཞན་ (other)
(volitional = བྱེད་འབྲེལ་ལས་ཚིག་) (པ་)ཡིན།   (པ་)མིན།  མེད།   (question) (པ་)ཡིན་པས།  མེད་པས།(inferential) (པ་)རེད།   (པ་)མ་རེད།  ཡོད་མ་རེད། (question) (པ་)རེད་པས། 
(non-volitional = བྱེད་མེད་ལས་ཚིག་) བྱུང་།     མ་བྱུང་།  or སོང་། མ་སོང་། (question) བྱུང་ངས།  མ་བྱུང་ངས།  or སོང་ངས།  མ་སོང་ངས།(direct) སོང་། མ་སོང་།     (question) སོང་ངས།  མ་སོང་ངས།

Practice: Complete and alter the sentences below.

ཁེ་ས་ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་འགྲེམས་སྟོན་ཁང་ལ་ (yes or no question)
མདང་དགོང་ ག་དུས་ཉོ་ཆ་བརྒྱབ་ 
ཁེ་ཉིན་ཀ་ང་ རོགས་པ་ཐུག་གར་ཕྱིན་statement
ཁེ་ཉིན་ཀ་ ཆང་ཁང་ལ་ཆང་འཐུང་ 

Find more sentences … གུང་སེང་ལ་ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོས་ག་རེ་ག་རེ་གནང་པ་ཡིན།

Examples for volitional actions refering to བདག་  (self):


Last weekend I watched a movie at the cinema hall.


Did you also go to Tashi’s birthday party་?

ང་ཕྱིན་མེད།      ངས་ཉོ་ཆ་བརྒྱབ་པ་ཡིན།                                      No, I didn’t. I did some shopping.

ཟླ་རྙིང་ང་གཉིས་ཀྱིས་ཆང་ས་བརྒྱབ་པ་ཡིན།                                   Last year the two of us married.

ཁེ་ས་ཁྱེད་རང་གིས་ཐུགས་སྤྲོ་བཏང་མེད་པས།                                Didn’t you give a party yesterday?

Examples for non-volitional actions refering to བདག་  (self):

ངའི་གྲོགས་པོ་རྒྱ་གར་ལ་ཐུག་བྱུང་།                              I happened to meet my friend in India.

ངས་ཁོང་འགྲེམས་སྟོན་ཁང་ལ་མཐོང་བྱུང་/སོང་།                I saw him/her at the museum.

ཉེ་ཆར་ཁྱེད་རང་ན་བྱུང་ངས།                                           Were you sick recently?

ང་ན་མ་བྱུང་/སོང་།                                                         No, I wasn’t sick.

Some verbs imply a movement away from the speaker. Then the auxiliary སོང་ should be used instead of བྱུང་ :

ངས་ཚིག་གསར་ཚང་མ་དྲན་པ་བརྗེད་སོང་།                              I forgot all the vocab.

ང་བུ་མོ་འདི་ལ་སེམས་པ་ཤོར་སོང་།                                              I fell in love with this girl.

བྱུང་ cannot be combined with other auxiliaries (like སོང་) when functioning as an auxiliary!

It is either one or the other.

ང་ན་བྱུང་སོང་།                      I got sick.

Examples for inferential statements refering to གཞན་ (other):

ཟླ་བ་སྔོན་མར་ངའི་སྤུན་མཆེད་གནས་མཇལ་ལ་ཕྱིན་པ་རེད།           Last month my relatives went on a pilgrimage.

ཡིན་ན་ཡང་ཁོང་ཚོ་རྡོ་རྗེ་གདན་ལ་ཕྱིན་ཡོད་མ་རེད།                    However, they did not go to Bodhgaya.

ཁྱེད་རང་གི་ཅོ་ཅོས་ཕྱི་རྒྱལ་ལ་སློབ་སྦྱོང་བྱས་པ་རེད་པས།               Did your older brother study abroad?

ལགས་ཡོད་མ་རེད།        ཁོང་གིས་རང་བྱུང་ཡེ་ཤེས་སློབ་གླིང་ལ་སློབ་སྦྱོང་བྱས་པ་རེད།                                                                                                              No, he didn’t.         He studied at RYI.

ཨ་རི་ལ་ དབྱིན་ཇིའི་སྐད་སྦྱངས་པ་རེད།                                                  He learned English in America.

Examples for direct statements refering to གཞན་ (other):

མདང་དགོང་ཁོང་ཚོས་ཐུགས་སྤྲོ་ལ་ཞབས་བྲོ་བརྒྱབ་སོང་།    Yesterday evening they danced at the party.

ཐུགས་སྤྲོ་དེ་ལ་ཕོ་གསར་གཅིག་ར་བཟི་སོང་།                   One young guy got drunk (there) at that party.

ཆང་ས་ལ་གཞས་སྙན་པོ་བཏང་སོང་།                              Melodious songs were sung at the wedding.

དེ་ལ་ཡང་ཞབས་བྲོ་བརྒྱབ་སོང་ངས།                                             Did (people) also dance there?

ཁོང་ཁེ་ས་ཕྱི་པོ་སླེབས་མ་སོང་།                                               He/she didn’t arrive late yesterday.

བྱུང་, which principally refers to བདག་ (self), can be used in two more ways:

  1. When བྱུང་ is used as an auxiliary (in relation to བདག་) there is a special emphasis on the speaker’s experience (see the examples for non-volitional actions refering to བདག་  on page 3).

In certain contexts it can also be used with volitional main verbs when the statement is about something that was (intentionally) done by somebody else to onself:

ངའི་གྲོགས་པོས་(ང་ལ་)ཚིག་མཛོད་སྤྲད་བྱུང་།                      My friend gave me a dictionary

(I received it from him).

ངའི་འཛིན་གྲོགས་ཀྱིས་ང་ཁོང་གི་ནང་ལ་སྐད་བཏང་བྱུང་།      My classmate invited me to her/his home

(I got an invitation).

ཁོང་གིས་(ང་ལ་)ཁ་པར་བཏང་བྱུང་།                                      He called me on the phone

(I got his phone call).

སྐྱིད་པོ་མ་བྱུང་།                                                  It wasn’t fun for me/us. 

སྐྱིད་པོ་བྱུང་ངས།                                                 Was it fun for you? (rule of anticipation)

གུང་སེང་ག་འདྲས་བྱུང་།                                      How was the holiday (for you)?

ཡིག་ཚད་འདི་ཚོ་དཔེ་དཀའ་ལས་ཁག་པོ་བྱུང་ང་།  These exams were very difficult (for you), right?

If an additional སོང་ is added as an auxiliary for direct statements about the past, སོང་ becomes the auxiliary and བྱུང་ the main verb. Such statements can be used for oneself or others:

ཡུལ་སྐོར་སྤྲོ་འཆམ་སྐྱིད་པོ་བྱུང་(སོང་)ངས།             Was the sightseeing pleasant for you (or others)?                           

སྐྱིད་པོ་བྱུང་མ་སོང་།                                            It wasn’t fun (for me/others).

བྱུང་ as a main verb can also mean that somebody “got” something or that something “were there”/ “occurred”. The receiving subject or location then takes a ལ་

ཁོང་ཚོ་ལ་ཕྲུ་གུ་སྙིང་རྗེ་པོ་ཅིག་བྱུང་པ་རེད།                        They had a lovely child. (inferential)

སྒྲོལ་མ་ལ་མེ་ཏོག་ཅིག་བྱུང་སོང་།                                      Dolma got a flower. (direct)

ལོ་སྔོན་མར་བལ་ཡུལ་ལ་རྙོག་གྲ་མང་པོ་བྱུང་པ་རེད།           Last year there were many problems in Nepal. (inferential)

བདག་ (self)གཞན་ (other)
(volitional) ཡོད།     མེད།   (question) ཡོད་པས།  མེད་པས།(inferential) ཡོད་རེད།   ཡོད་མ་རེད། (question) ཡོད་(མ་)རེད་པས། 
  For non-volitional actions regarding oneself the གཞན་ forms are used.(direct) འདུག   / བཞག   / ཤག མི་འདུག (question) འདུག་གས།  མི་འདུག་གས།

Examples for volitional statements/questions refering to བདག་ (self):

ང་ཚོས་མོག་ཐུག་བཟོས་ཡོད།                           We have made Momos in soup (and they are here now).

ངས་ནང་སྦྱོང་བྱས་མེད།                                 I haven’t done my homework

(could also mean: “I did not do my homework).

ཁྱེད་རང་གིས་འོ་མ་ཉོས་ཡོད་པས།           Have you bought milk? (is there some now?)

Examples for non-volitional statements/questions refering to བདག་ (self):

ངས་དྲན་པ་བརྗེད་ཤག                           I have forgotten! (including surprise)

ང་ར་བཟི་འདུག                               I have got drunk. (and the effect is still there …)

Examples for inferential statements refering to གཞན་ (other):

བཀྲ་ཤིས་ལ་ལས་ཀ་གསར་པ་རག་ཡོད་རེད།                    Tashi has got/found new work (and he still has it). à inferential

སློབ་ཕྲུག་ཚང་མ་སླེབས་ཡོད་མ་རེད།                            All the students have not arrived/did not arrive. à inferential

Examples for direct statements or questions with འདུག་, བཞག་, ཤག, མི་འདུག་ …

ཁོང་གིས་སྒོ་ང་ཚང་མ་བཟས་འདུག                             He has eaten all the eggs (I just noticed that the eggs are finished as a result)

མོ་རང་གིས་ཁྲོམ་ལ་ཅ་ལག་མང་པོ་ཉོས་བཞག                 She has bought many things on the market!

ཁྱེད་རང་གིས་ང་ལ་དེབ་གསར་པ་བསྟན་མི་འདུག             You haven’t shown me the new book.

Sidenote for further reference: If you want to emphasize that you or someone else has already done something and the action is finished, use the past form of the main verb and replace the auxiliary by ཚར་སོང་། (“the action is finished”).

ངས་ཁ་ལག་བཟས་ཚར་སོང་།                                    I have already eaten food.

བློ་བཟང་གིས་ནང་སྦྱོང་བྱས་ཚར་མ་སོང་།                      Lobsang hasn’t finished his homework, yet.

TLAN 103 Colloquial Tibetan I, lesson 9

There are various possibilities of expressing the verbs “to be” and “to have” in the past and future tenses. Some of them have already been discussed in the previous lessons.

ལོ་སྔོན་མ་ང་དགེ་རྒན་མིན།                                              Last year I wasn’t a teacher.

སྔོན་མ་ཁོང་མ་བྱན་རེད།                                                  Previously he/she was a cook.

དེ་དུས་ང་ལ་དངུལ་མང་པོ་ཡོད།                                       At that time I had a lot of money.

ཁེ་ས་ཚོང་ཁང་ལ་མི་མི་འདུག                                           Yesterday there weren’t any people in the shop.

སྔོན་མ་སྔོན་མ་བླ་མ་རྩ་ཆེན་པོ་ཅིག་ཡོད་རེད།                     Once upon a time there was a sacred lama …

This works for the past tense but not for future statements.

ཡོང་ then includes that something “comes out to be” or “turns out to be” in a certain way (expressed by adjectives), or that somebody will get something (expressed by nouns). It is treated as a main verb and combined with auxiliaries! Use the non-volitional auxiliaries when referring to བདག་

ཐུགས་སྤྲོ་ལ་སྐྱིད་པོ་ཡོང་གི་རེད།                                                   It will be(come) fun at the party.

མ་འོངས་པར་ཁྱེད་རང་ལ་དངུལ་མང་པོ་ཡོང་གི་རེད།                     In the future you’ll have lots of money (literally: “a lot of money will come to you”).

ཡིག་ཚད་ལས་སླ་པོ་ཡོང་གི་རེད།                                                   The exam will become easy.

འདི་མ་རབ་འདྲ་པོ་ཡོང་ཀྱི་རེད།                                                   This will become somehow impolite.

ཡིག་ཚད་ལས་སླ་པོ་ཆགས་གི་རེད།                                                The exam will become easy.

ཡིག་ཚད་ལས་སླ་པོ་ཆགས་སོང་།                                                   The exam became easy.

ཐུགས་སྤྲོ་འདི་ལ་སྐྱིད་པོ་ཆགས་ཀྱི་འདུག                                        It is getting fun here at this party. (direct statement)

ཁོང་སྨྱོན་པ་ཆགས་པ་རེད།                                                           He became crazy. (inferential)

དགོང་དག་ལ་ཉི་མ་དམར་པོ་ཆགས་ཀྱི་ཡོད་རེད།                            In the evening the sun turns red. (general/habitual)

ཁོང་ནད་པ་ཆགས་སོང་།                                                  He got sick (lit.: “He became a patient”). (direct)

རྩམ་པ་དེ་གོང་ཆེན་པོ་ཆགས་འདུག                                  That Tsampa has become expensive.

ཁོང་ཨ་མ་ཆགས་ཀྱི་རེད།                                                 She will become a mother (unintentionally).

The last example is about someone becoming something unintentionally. If volition is involved, you can use བྱེད་ instead of ཆགས་ This is often used when talking about professional activities:

ཁོང་གྲྭ་པ་བྱེད་ཀྱི་རེད།                                                                 He will become a monk (intentionally).

ཁོང་གིས་གྲྭ་པ་བྱས་པ་རེད།                                                                      He became a monk (intentionally).

ཁྱེད་རང་མ་བྱན་བྱེདཀྱི་ཡིན་པས།                                                Will you become (= work as) a cook?

ཡག་པོ་བྱུང་སོང་།                                                           It turned out well (for us/me).

ལོ་སྔོན་མར་བལ་ཡུལ་ལ་རྙོག་གྲ་མང་པོ་བྱུང་པ་རེད།           Last year there were many problems in Nepal (inferential, simple past).

  1. Simply put the present tense of the verb at the end of the sentence and leave out the auxiliary:

ཕྱུ་པ་འདིའི་གོང་བཅག   གོང་དཔེ་ཆེན་པོ་འདུག    Lower the price of this chupa. It is very expensive.

སློབ་སྦྱོང་ཡག་པོ་བྱེད།                                          Study well.

ཕྱག་མང་པོ་འཚལ།                                             Make many prostrations.

For negative imperatives (“Don’t do x”) simply add a negation particle (དགག་སྒྲ་) before the verb. The negation is the most common usage of this form.

ང་ལ་མགོ་སྐོར་མ་གཏོང་།                                     Don’t cheat me!

The imperative statement becomes clearer when using the imperative form of the main verb, which can often be done by adding a ན་རོ་ to the vowel:

ཕྱག་མང་པོ་འཚོལ།                                             Make many prostrations.

ཕྱུ་པ་འདིའི་གོང་བཅོག                                   Lower the price of this chupa.

ཚུར་ཤོག                                                            Come here!

ཕར་རྒྱུག                                                            Go away!

ཡག་པོ་ཉོན།                                                       Listen well!

In case of an order not to do something, these special imperative forms of the verb are replaced by the present form, just like above:

ཚུར་མ་ཡོང་།                                                     Do not come here!

ཕར་མ་འགྲོ                                                       Don’t go away!

ཁོང་གི་ཁ་ལ་མ་ཉན།                                           Do not listen to him!

These forms can be used within familiar circles but rather not in official surroundings, since they are very direct (and sometimes not so polite).

They can be simply combined with the present tense form of the verb and express a huge variety of imperatives, from polite requests and good advices to strict orders.

དང་ refers to an action at the moment of speech

སྒོ་ལམ་སེང་བརྒྱབ་དང་།                                                              Close the door immediately (now)!

ཨ་ can also refer to future moments and is therefore more general. It implies a sense of care and affection and is therefore a friendly advice rather than an order.

སེམས་ཁྲལ་མ་བྱེད་ཨ།                                                                 Don’t worry!

ཤིག་ expresses a direct order. In spoken Tibetan it implies that the speaker has a higher position in a hierarchy and could therefore become somewhat rude when used in an unapproriate context.

ང་ལ་དངུལ་གཅིག་གཡར་ཤིག                                                      Lend me some money!

ཤོག་ (which als means “come!”) implies a friendly encouragement or invitation to do something (“come on, do …!”).

ཞིམ་ལོད་ལྟ་ཤོག                                                                         Have a taste!

In Tibetan there is no actual imperative for people addressed in the honorific form. Instead, one makes a polite request using རོགས་(གནང་ ) (which literally means: “give help”):

ཁྱེད་རང་གིས་ང་ལ་རོགས་པ་གནང་རོགས།                                     Please help me.

དེབ་འདི་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ལ་ཕུལ་རོགས་གནང་།                          Please offer this book to Rinpoche (h).

ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་ལྷོད་ལྷོད་གནང་རོགས་གནང་།                        Please relax (H).

ལྷ་ཁང་ལ་ཞལ་ལག་མ་མཆོད་རོགས་གནང་།                       Please do not eat food in the Lhakhang (H).

གོང་ཡང་སྐྱར་མ་སྤར་རོགས་གནང་།                                  Please do not raise the price again.

The polite request usually goes along with the use of honorific speech (ཞེ་ས་) but is also used in familiar contexts.

ང་གཉིས་མཉམ་དུ་འགྲོ་དོ།                                   Let us go together, the two of us.

སྦྱོང་བརྡར་བྱེད་དོ།                                              Let’s do some practice.

ང་ཚོ་ཚང་མ་སྐྱིད་པོ་བཏང་དོ།                              Let us all have fun!

ལྟོ་ཕད་འདི་ཉོ་དོ།                                               Let’s buy this backpack.

When talking politely, the honorific form can also be used when you are included in the action:

བོད་ལ་ཕེབས་དོ།                                                 Let us go to Tibet.

All imperative and polite request forms can be combined with each other, so it is possible to express the whole range of situations, from simple orders via familiar talk to formal polite requests:

ཕྱག་དེབ་འདི་གཟིགས་དང་།                                                        Buy/ read/ this book (immediately) (H).

ཡིན་གཅིག་མིན་གཅིག་ངའི་སྐྱེ་སྐར་ཐུགས་སྤྲོ་ལ་ཕེབས་ཤོག                          (Please) come to my birthday party

in any case!

ཆབ་ཚ་པོ་མང་པོ་མཆོད་ཨ།                                                          Drink a lot of hot water (H).

ཁྱེད་རང་གི་ནང་སྦྱོང་སང་ཉིན་ཁྱེར་ཤོག                                        Bring your homework tomorrow.

Negation + verb (present tense) + པར་བྱེད་ / པར་གནང་ + ཨ་

ཚིག་གསར་དྲན་པ་མ་བརྗེད་པར་བྱེད་ཨ།                          Make sure that you do not forget the vocab.

ཁ་ལག་མ་རུལ་བར་བྱེད་ཨ།                                                          Don’t let the food become rotten.

བུམ་པ་མ་ཟག་པར་བྱེད་ཨ།                                                          Do not let the vase fall down.

ར་མ་བཟི་བར་བྱེད་ཨ།                                                                 Make sure that you do not get drunk.

Note that the negation particle is placed right before the main verb.

The connective (གར་): “going for doing x”, “going to do y”
Shig – imperative, order.

The particleགར་ is placed between a volitional verb and a verb of motion. A verb of motion is always involved here, since one moves somewhere in order to do something:

Volitional verb (present tense) + གར་ + verb of motion + auxiliary (can be any tense or mode)

I went to the gomba to learn.

I went to the ____ to ____.

Nga chorten la – kora gar gyab ka drop –

Nga kora gyab gar chorten la drob –

I went to the DHARMA TEACHING __ to ____ listen…

Ka SANG – sung cho – to kar – chin pa yin

To listen: THO, NYAN, SHU (receiving empowerment)

write shu – Shu can be to ask, to talk.

Long song –


He went to the shop to do some shopping.


My older brother and older sister will come to Nepal to learn Tibetan.


I go/ I am going to the White Monastery for studying.


Today we went to Thamel to buy some things and many presents.


Tomorrow Rinpoche will go to Bodhgaya to give Dharma teachings.

PEB ROG NANG – PEB TANG – dro mo –

Peb = people we honor, honorific.

She za – not for friends, little kid – could use BYUK – imperative.

Not for animals – use BYUK for animals.

PHEB ROG NANG  – please –

People older than you – pheb rog nang – encouraging to do something.

Come on, do this !

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