Practicing Tibetan out in the World 

-Theresa Bachhuber, TTP Student from Germany 

Between the different types of language learners there are, I unfortunately am not the type to learn easily just through conversation. For one, I am not a very outgoing, extroverted person. Striking up a conversation with a Tibetan person in English is challenging enough, in Tibetan basically impossible. Secondly, not everyone who looks Tibetan necessarily speaks it, and those who look and speak it aren’t necessarily Tibetan. Walking around Boudha one may feel like the opportunities to practice ones Tibetan are endless, however as it turns out most people one encounters wearing a Chuba are actually Sherpa. Tibetan monasteries in India and Nepal these days are mostly made up of those stemming from Himalayan regions such as Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan.  

I myself am currently staying at such a monastery, and I have had the thought that my Tibetan would improve rapidly. I would talk to all the monks in Tibetan all day, or at least hear them talk to each other and pick up a word here or there. Well, actually, the monks talk to each other mostly in Hindi, Nepali or a Bhutanese dialect. If I do gather up the courage and try to talk to someone in Tibetan, I often won’t understand their answer because the Tibetan dialect these monks speak here in India is different to the dialect we learn in Nepal, or the monks will make fun of my pronunciation (yes, really).  

BUT slowly I’m learning that tse po dug is the same as tsa po dug, de mo the same as de po yin pä and shog pa ma deleg is a valid answer to shog pa deleg. So, I will not give up, and keep on trying my best 😊 

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