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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Learning is the Only Way to Preserve Tibetan Language: Samdhong Rinpoche

February 26, 2010

Yangsham & Max French
The Tibet Post International
February 22, 2010

Dharamshala -- Tibetan Language Inheritance
society observed the UNESCO International Mother
Language Day in Yongling School Hall, Mcleod Ganj
yesterday. A panel discussion was also organized
on the topic of the preservation of the Tibetan language.

Tibetan Prime Minister Pro Samdhong Rinpoche gave
a talk on the approaches of preserving Tibetan
language, while Karma Monlam, Joint Secretary of
the Joint Education Department, spoke of the
translation of new vocabulary into Tibetan, and
Master Sonam Gyaltsen of the Sarah College for
Higher Tibetan Studies described the structure of
Tibetan grammar. Over 100 people attended the
discussion and were invited to raise questions regarding these topics.

Pro Samdhong Rinpoche stressed the importance of
a single written language, without diminishing
the variety of dialects among different regions
of Tibet, "it is alright to speak with your own
dialect, but it is very important to have a
common written script to keep the language
integrated." He commented on the strong
connection between Tibetan language and Buddhism,
arguing that, "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism
are only able to be fully studied in the Tibetan
language. This is also true of Tibetan Medical
and astrological teaching, which have a great potential to serve humanity."

Concluding his speech, the Prime Minister said,
"The only way to preserve Tibetan language is to
learn it. If we Tibetans encourage our children
to learn the Tibetan language, then it will be
preserved." He also joked about the Tibetan
language internationalizing, saying "the Tibetan
language will not disintegrate, as it has already
become an international language, but if it is
not preserved, we Tibetans may have to learn it
back from blonde-haired, blue-eyed foreigners,
but this would be a shame on us."
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