Our Tibetan language courses can be taken alone, without attending the Summer Institute. If you attend the Summer Institute, these courses are included in your tuition.

All Tibetan classes will be transmitted live via Zoom and recorded for viewing asynchronously through our Online Campus (Moodle). Tibetan language course recordings will be available until October 4, 2023.

To register for the complete Summer Institute please click here.

Beginning Colloquial  Tibetan

July 6 – August 2, 2024


Nima Bhuti


Dr. Gerry Wiener


Prerequisites: None

This class is oriented toward students who have no experience or little experience with colloquial Tibetan. During the Summer Institute, we will introduce the eight categories of Tibetan letters, how to spell Tibetan words aloud, how to pronounce Tibetan letters and words, and how to read and write Tibetan. We will also introduce some useful phrases and sentences.

The Eight Categories of Tibetan Letters

  1. Thirty Consonants
  2. Four Vowels
  3. Ten suffixes
  4. Five prefixes
  5. Two sub-suffixes
  6. Superscribed Letters
  7. Subscribed Letters
  8. Punctuation

On learning these eight categories of Tibetan letters, students will be able to read Tibetan texts aloud with correct pronunciation.

Required Text:
Tibetan Language for Daily Use, A Textbook for Beginners: Introducing 8 parts of the Syllables by Nima Bhuti – Books on Google Play

Intermediate Colloquial  Tibetan

July 6 – August 2, 2024

Also taught by Nima Bhuti and Gerry Wiener, this course is for those students who already have some established grounding in colloquial Tibetan. The focus will be to gain further fluency in reading, speaking, listening, and understanding Tibetan using the Central Tibetan dialect. Classes are mostly in Tibetan with minimal English.

Required Texts:

Speak Fluent Tibetan by Dr. Chok Tenzin Monlam Peltsok (Google Books)

Speak Tibetan the Tibetan Way by Nyima Dekyi (Google Books)


Students should know:

  1. The equivalent of the first 35 chapters of Speak Fluent Tibetan and Speak Tibetan the Tibetan Way.
  2. What the essential and existential verbs are and how they are used (yin, min, red, ma red, yod, med, ‘dug, mi ‘dug, yod red, yod ma red)
  3. Demonstrative pronouns (‘di, de, pha-gi, ya-gi and ma-gi etc.)
  4. Personal pronouns (nga, khyed-rang and khong etc.)
  5. Volitional and non-volitional verbs
  6. Transitive and intransitive verbs
  7. Verb tenses (past, present, and future) and auxiliary verbs
  8. Basics of locative, genitive, and instrumental cases
  9. Some understanding of the difference between honorific and non-honorific words and when to use them
  10. How to read somewhat more complex Tibetan sentences aloud (but not necessarily understand their entire meaning)

Reading Tibetan Buddhist Literature

July 6 – August 2, 2024


Mark Seibold


Course description: This course is oriented towards reading Tibetan Buddhist texts and literature. In Session 1 we will read a selection of passages from various texts to acquaint students with different genres of literature. In Session 2 we will focus on a single text to allow students to gain experience working with a root text and a commentary as the basis for developing familiarity with Tibetan grammar and developing reading skills. Interesting and important grammatical points are explained in the context of specific passages. Opening and closing chants are done in Tibetan. Students are encouraged to practice reading aloud to learn the rhythms and feel of the phrasing of the language and train in the traditional discipline of jor-lo, “reading the connections.”

Prerequisites: Instructor’s permission is required for new students. Please contact mseibold@nitarthainstitute.org to check your level.

Which Tibetan course would you like to take?

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