Tibetan language


The Tibetan alphabet is an abugida of Indic origin used to write the Tibetan language as well as Dzongkha, the Sikkimese language, Ladakhi. Tibetan language is generally classified as a Tibet-Burman language of the Sino-Tibetan language family, although the boundaries between ‘Tibetan’ and other Himalayan languages are often unclear.

The language is spoken in regional dialects, which although they’re mutually legible, generally cannot be understood by speakers of different oral forms of Tibetan.

It is employed throughout the Tibetan plateau and Bhutan and is also spoken in parts of Nepal and northern India, including the Sikkim.

In general, the dialects of central Tibet (including Lhasa), Kham, Amdo and some smaller nearby areas are considered Tibetan dialects. Other forms, particularly Dzongkha, Sikkimese, Sherpa, and Ladakhi, are considered by their speakers, largely for political reasons, to be separate languages.

Although spoken Tibetan varies according to Tibet region, the written language, based on Classical Tibetan, is consistent throughout. This is probably due to the long-standing influence of the Tibetan empire, whose rule embraced (and extended at times far beyond) the present Tibetan linguistic area, which runs from northern Pakistan in the west to Yunnan and Sichuan in the east.It also goes from the northern part of Kokonor lake (Qinghai) south to as far as Bhutan.

The Tibetan language has its own script that it shares with Ladakhi and Dzongkha, which is derived from the ancient Indian Brahmi script.


EnglishTibetan EnglishTibetan
Thank youthuk jay cheyMilkom ma
Good Bye(said when leaving)ghaley shuMilk teacha ngamo
Goodbye(Said to the person who is leaving)ghaley pheyTibetan teapur cha
See youja yongMeatsha
That’s itreyYak meatyak sha
No, it’s notma reyVegetablestsel
NeedginFishnya
Don’t needmagooFruitshingto
Please(drink or eat it)nen ro nangYoghurtsho
Did you understandha kho song ai?Sugarchey ma ka ra
Understoodha kho songSalttsa
Did not understandha kho ma songChiliseben
How much?Gormo khatseur rey?It’s deliciousshimbo du
It’s expensivekhong chenbo duIt’s hot (spicy)kha tsa po du
Give me a discountkhong doktsam jakthangIt’s hot (in temprature)tsapo du
What is this?di kha rey rey?It’s coldtrang mo du
Is it there? Do you have?duk gey?Highland barley alcoholchang
Yes, it’s there/we haveduRoadlamka
No, it’s not there/we don’t havemin duMountainri
My name is…ngye ming la….yinMountain passla
What’s your name?Kheyrang khi ming la kha rey rey?Riverchu / tsangpo
Where are you from?Phayul kha nai yin?Laketso
I’m from……nai yinValleylung shong
Sorrygon daNomaddrogpa
that’s goodyapo duRightyey
that’s isn’t goodyapo minduLeftyin
i like it la gapo duTentgur
i don’t like it la gapo minduVillagetrong sep
i feel happy / i’m gladkyipu duSnowkhang
IngaRainchar wa
Youkhey rangHot springchu tsan
He/shekhongTractortho la
Motherama laYakyak
Fatherpa laHorseta
Unclea khaWhat’s the time?Chu tso kha tsoe rey?
Sistera cha laTodayte ring
Teachergen laYesterdaykay san
Elder brotherjholaThis yearthalo
Mr/Mskusho laNext yearthu sang
WhenkaduTomorrowsan yi
WherekabaThe day after tomorrownan nyin
WhosuMorningshokhai
Whatkha rayAfternoonnyin gung
Which one?kha giNight (evening)gong mo
Howkhan dresMonasterygom pa
Hoteldrong khangChapel / Templelha khang
Roomkhang paLama / Monklama / trawa
Toiletseng chueReincarnation / Incarnationtrul ku
Showerchu khangRinpocherin po che
BednyitriMay i take a photopar gyab dig gi ray peh?
Keydey miStatue of Buddhakun drag
Lost the keyday mi la songScripturepay cha
Electricitylohospital (clinic)men khang
Candleyang lamedicinemen
Belongingsja ladoctora m chi
Foodkhalaoxygenyang long
Drinktung yagi have a headachego nagi du
stomach achetro kho na gi du