Sessions 1, 2 and 3

One full Tibetan language course (Sessions 1, 2 and 3) is included in your Summer Institute tuition, regardless of whether you register for one, two or all three Summer Institute sessions. 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 for two months after the end of the Summer Institute.

Beginning Colloquial  Tibetan




Prerequisites: Open to all registered students

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.

Intermediate Colloquial  Tibetan (continuation)

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 15 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)

Tibetan Buddhist Literature 



Mark Seibold will teach literary Tibetan at this year’s Summer Institute.

Mark has been a student and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism since the early 1980’s. At the inivitation of Dzogchen Pönlop Rinpoche he joined the Nitartha faculty in 2005 with the instruction to create a Tibetan language track. His current projects include a collaboration with Lama Tsöndrü Sangpo, a Nyingma Lama in the lineage of Chatral Rinpoche, on a translation of the Padma Khatang, a famous text attributed to Yeshe Tsogyal that chronicles the life, teachings and enlightened activity of Padmasambhava, as well as several projects related to Tibetan grammar.

Course details will be coming soon.