Online Tibetan Language Program
LRZTP has created an online part-time Tibetan language program to give you the opportunity to study Tibetan from the comfort of your home.
The Foundations in Tibetan Language Program progressively covers the essentials of the spoken and written language over a period of three years, and then there is a fourth and final year of advanced studies which focuses on Dharma Tibetan. For this program we welcome students with diverse backgrounds and commitment to the language. Prospective students might be those who already study Tibetan Buddhism, those who wish to communicate directly with their rinpoche or geshe, those interested in Tibetan culture and in communicating with Tibetans in their native language, and/or life-time learners seeking personal growth. Students are welcome to join a full year’s program of study for each level or to take modules individually without committing the full study program.
The online program may also be joined as preparation for LRZTP’s two-year intensive Tibetan language and interpretation program, and we encourage those who intend to do the program and have little or no experience with the language to do so.
At LRZTP, besides studying the Tibetan language on an intellectual level, we have the aspiration to implement the advice of His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama in regards to educating the heart.
The Tibetan language is an integral part of a culture that has at its core the practices of compassion and wisdom. We encourage the students to engage in the study with an altruistic motivation. This will help us to be supportive of each other during class time, to find understanding and tolerance for our differences, and to practice gratitude for all the learning opportunities we receive.
Overview of the four-year program:
Foundations in Tibetan Language – Elementary Level: Modules 1 – 5 (Dates: 03/2021 – 03/2022)
Foundations in Tibetan Language – Intermediate Level: Modules 1 – 5 (Dates: 03/2022 – 03/2023)
Foundations in Tibetan Language – Advanced Level I: Modules 1 – 5 (Dates: 3/2023 – 3/2024)
Foundations in Tibetan Language – Advanced Level II, Focus on Dharma: Modules 1 – 5 (2024 – 2025 dates and courses to be announced)
An extensive explanation of the modules of each level of the program you will find below.
Students who successfully complete all modules of any level of the Foundations in Tibetan Language program will be awarded a certificate of completion for that level. Special certificates of completion will likewise be awarded to those students who successfully complete the Elementary Level through Advanced Level I (three years) or through Advanced Level II (four years).
Foundations in Tibetan Language – Elementary Level: Modules 1 – 5, and Intermediate Level: Modules 1 – 5
In a series of five modules for each level, students will be introduced to the basics of the colloquial language with a focus on colloquial grammar, vocabulary and useful situational dialogues. The modules will be taught progressively and students without any prior experience with the Tibetan language are strongly advised to start from module 1 of the Elementary Level. Students having prior experience with the language who satisfactorily know the alphabet, how to read, basic sentence structure, and so forth may start from whichever module is most suitable to their language level. *All modules of the Elementary Level and Intermediate Level are available as self-paced study courses using the class recordings from 2021-23.
Advanced Level I: Modules 1 – 5, and Advanced Level II – Focus on Dharma: Modules 1 – 5
Also in a series of five modules for each level, in the Advanced Level I modules students will gain continued exposure to the colloquial language to fluency and proficiency in using honorific language in conversation. Then on the foundation of knowing the colloquial language, the students will be introduced to the written language by first learning the basics of written grammar. Then they will progressively be introduced to diverse writings in Tibetan as well as Dharma topics and terminology as preparation for Advanced Level II – Focus on Dharma.
In the final level of the program, Advanced Level II – Focus on Dharma, the primary focus of all five modules will be learning foundational Dharma terminology through the study of essential Dharma texts. The final year will also include some translation exercises. Students who did not participate in the first two levels of the program are welcome to join modules of the Advanced Level I or II as long as they have an adequate level of colloquial Tibetan (for Advanced Level I) and written grammar knowledge (for Advanced Level II). The Advanced Levels I – II classroom is primarily Tibetan involvement which requires the student to be fairly comfortable with working in Tibetan.
Each module runs for a duration of eight weeks and will be conducted over Zoom by LRZTP senior teachers. The main teacher for program is Geshe Tenzin Wangdak with the help of other senior LRZTP teachers. Optional group review/speech training sessions conducted by native speakers will be available to the students each module for a small additional fee.
For students who would like to practice conversation and/or receive individual tutoring outside of class, LRZTP also offers online individual Tibetan language tutoring with native speakers. Please go to the Online Private Lessons page for more information.
The classes will be held twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The same material is taught twice a day: at 3:00 – 4:30 pm and 8:00 – 9:30 pm Indian Standard Time (IST). Students can choose the timing that is most suitable for them. For those who are unable to attend the live class sessions, the recordings of the live classes and class materials will be made available. Any previously taught modules may be joined at anytime using the class recordings. Please see below for course registration.
The optional review/speech training sessions will be held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays at 3:00 – 4:15 pm and 8:00 – 9:15 pm IST. On Tuesdays and Thursdays early review/speech training sessions are also offered at 12-1:15 pm IST. The sessions on Thursdays and Fridays review the Wednesday class and the Saturday class is reviewed during the sessions on Tuesday and Sunday. There will be approximately eight sessions (ten hours total) per timing each module. Students may register for one or both days according to their selected class time. Students are not obligated to register for or attend these sessions.
Students who successfully complete all modules of a level of the program will be awarded a certificate of completion by LRZTP.
Course Description of Elementary Level: Modules 1 – 5
The primary focus of all modules of the elementary level is learning colloquial Tibetan. In these modules, students are progressively taught the Tibetan alphabet and pronunciation, how to read, essential colloquial grammar, new vocabulary and everyday situational conversation. Any materials within the module plan which cannot be covered due to time constraints will be carried over to the following module.
Module 1 (10 March – 08 May 2021) Students are taught how to recognize and pronounce the Tibetan alphabet, how to read, basic sentence structure, greetings and dialogues about the classroom and locations. They are also introduced to personal and possessive pronouns, usages of the verb “to be” and “to have” in Tibetan and simple verb conjugation, honorific language and other aspects of the colloquial and written language.
Module 2 (12 May – 10 July 2021) Picking up where module 1 left off, this module will continue teaching general colloquial vocabulary and dialogue with a focus on how to make introductions, simple conversations, and talk about leisure-time activities. Students will also be taught how to use various grammatical particles for denoting negation, plurality, questioning and so on. They will also continue learning how to conjugate verbs in the different tenses, especially the past tense, and other aspects of colloquial grammar.
Module 3 (21 July – 18 September 2021) Continuing where module 2 left off, this module will continue introducing the student to general colloquial vocabulary and situational dialogues about the seasons/weather, eating/cooking, shopping, one’s preferences/habits and future plans. It will likewise continue teaching how to conjugate verbs in the different tenses with a focus on the future tense. Students will also be taught various grammatical structures for requesting and imperative speech, the formation of questions and other aspects of colloquial grammar.
Module 4 (29 September – 27 November 2021) Picking up where module 3 leaves off, this module will continue introducing the students to the salient aspects of the colloquial language. Students will be taught how to use numbers for telling time, talking about dates and schedules, birthdays and so forth. They will also learn how to talk about travel and how to ask for and give directions. This module will also teach further verb conjugation along with an introduction to common secondary verbs and verbalizers, etc. as well as other aspects of grammar.
Module 5 (05 January – 05 March 2022) This final module of the elementary level continues introducing the students to useful, new vocabulary, grammatical structures and situational dialogue. In this module students will be taught how to talk about clothing and the body as well as how to talk about work. They will also learn how to use speech that denotes consequence – i.e., therefore, because, etc., and some contrasting conjunctions such as although, even though, etc. This module also introduces speculative speech, modal verbs, verb auxiliaries denoting probability and so forth.
Course Description of Intermediate Level: Modules 1 – 5
The primary focus of all five modules of Intermediate Level will continue to be on developing a good foundation in the colloquial language. Each module will progressively introduce the student to relevant vocabulary and grammatical structures in conjunction with situational dialogue building on the materials covered throughout the Elementary Level. There will also be in class exercises, quizzes, optional homework assignments for each module. (Any lesson materials that do not get covered during the module due to time constraints will be carried over to the following module.)
Module 1 (16 March – 14 May 2022) Picking up where module 5 of the Elementary Level leaves off, module 1 will continue synergistically introducing students to the salient aspects of the colloquial language. In this module students will be introduced to situational vocabulary and grammatical structures revolving around how to talk about postpositions, going places, how to rent a room, clothing. They will also be introduced to verbalizers, different ways to say “only”, conditional speech, how to compare and other aspects of the language.
Module 2 (15 June – 06 August 2022) Continuing where module 1 leaves off, module 2 will introduce students to situational vocabulary and grammatical structures related to conversation about different kinds of work, health and sickness, animals, etc. They will also learn how to use reported speech, terms denoting probability and guessing, comparatives and superlatives, and so forth.
Module 3 (17 August – 08 October 2022) Picking up where the previous module leaves off, this module will introduce situational vocabulary revolving around going on pilgrimage, Tibetan new year, people’s characters, etc. Students will also be introduced to nominalizers, infinitives, relative clauses, use of adjectives, intensifiers and so forth.
Module 4 (19 October – 10 December 2022) This module will pick up where the previous module leaves off systematically covering situational vocabulary and dialogue including the birth place of Buddhism and the Buddha etc., how to speak about temporal placement and sequences, and relevant colloquial structures.
Module 5 (04 January – 04 March 2023*) The fifth and final module of the Intermediate Level will continue introducing the students to situational vocabulary with dialogue revolving around Buddhist subjects. They will also be introduced nominalizers for stating “the way to” do something, various secondary verbs, how speak about being “finished”, “almost done”, “just done”, and other aspects of the colloquial language. (*No classes the week of Tibetan new year 20 – 25 February 2023.)
Course Description of Advanced Level: Modules 1 – 5
The primary focus of the first two modules of this level is gaining fluency in the colloquial language as well as learning honorifics and how use them situationally in conversation. Then the focus will turn to learning the fundamentals of written grammar, writing and getting to know the differences between the spoken and written languages. Throughout all modules students will gain continued exposure to fundamental Dharma terminology and will be given exercises to help hone their colloquial language, reading and writing skills.
Module 1 (22 March – 13 May 2023) Advanced Level module 1 continues where the final module of the Intermediate Level leaves off in teaching the colloquial language. The goal of this module is to gain a higher level of fluency and confidence in conversation. The colloquial lessons will teach advanced colloquial structures as well as include situational conversation topics related to Buddhism in which one gains gradually exposure to Buddhist terminology. Honorific language will also be introduced throughout the module and students will be engaged conversationally as much as possible during the classes. Introduction to Tibetan “cursive” handwriting (khuk-yik) will begin in this module, and course work will also include diary writing and other exercises.
Module 2 (24 May – 15 July 2023) Building on where the previous module leaves off, the emphasis of this module will continue to be on gaining a higher level of fluency and confidence in conversation as well as appropriate use of honorific language. Therefore, honorific language will be introduced throughout the module and students will be get the opportunity to use honorific language in conversation during the classes. Advanced colloquial structures as well conversation topics related to Buddhism will be taught throughout the module, and students will continue to learn Tibetan “cursive” handwriting (khuk-yik) along with diary writing and other exercises.
Module 3 (09 August – 30 September 2023) This module will continue to build on the colloquial language with the aim of gaining a higher level of fluency and confidence during conversation including the appropriate use of honorific language. In the course of this module students will also be introduced essential elements of the written grammar in preparation for the coming modules as the emphasis turns to written Tibetan and Dharma language. Students will be exposed to Tibetan sayings, poetic song lyrics, short stories, news articles as well as participate in discussions and be given practical writing exercises.
Module 4 (11 October – 02 December 2023) In the final two modules of Advanced Level I students will continue developing fluency in the colloquial language but the primary focus will be on study of the written language and gaining an understanding of the chief differences between spoken and written Tibetan. In the classroom students will also continue to practice using honorific language in conversation and gain continued exposure to Tibetan sayings, poetic song lyrics, short stories, news articles, etc. as well as participate in discussions and be given practical writing exercises.
Module 5 (03 January – 02 March 2024*) Building upon where the previous module leaves off, the fifth and final module of Advanced Level I will introduce higher levels of written Tibetan as well as further develop the students’ colloquial Tibetan through constant usage in the Tibetan medium classroom. Students will continue to learn about the chief differences between the spoken and written languages as they gain continued exposure to diverse genres of written Tibetan. They will also be given practical oral and written exercises over the course of the module. (*No classes 07 – 13 February 2024 for Tibetan new year celebration.)
The general fee for each eight-week module is $180.
The optional group review/speech training fee is $35. per selected timing.
We offer a fee concession to ordained Sangha members ($108. per module) and to FPMT Dharma center staff ($135. per module).
We do not wish that the finances are an obstacle to you participating in the program. If this is an issue for you, please contact us: email@example.com
*Module fees are inclusive of all materials. Registration for each module is completed upon the completion of registration form and fee payment.
Cancellation policy: In the case that a module has to be cancelled the module fee is refunded. If the student cancels in the week before the course begins, then 75% of the module fee is refunded. If the student cancels within the first week of the course, then 50% of the module fee is refunded. No refund is issued after the first week of a module.
For more information, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org