Tibetan languages-dialects or different languages?

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White Sakura
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Tibetan languages-dialects or different languages?

Post by White Sakura »

Is it correct to compare the different Tibetan languages to French, Italian and Spanish? I mean, are the Tibetan languages really so different to each other as the Romance languages are? So a person cannot just get used to another dialect? Must sit and lern it as another language?
If it is different languages then for every prayer text the first question is, what Tibetan that is? Or is there one Tibetan language spread in the western countries?
I never heard that there are different translators of different Tibetan needed in my country. So I thought, Tibetan is one language and all Lamas speak that, no matter which area of Tibet their ancestors come from. Are the monks all trained in one main Tibetan language?
Malcolm
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Re: Tibetan languages-dialects or different languages?

Post by Malcolm »

White Sakura wrote: Fri Jun 25, 2021 8:05 am Is it correct to compare the different Tibetan languages to French, Italian and Spanish? I mean, are the Tibetan languages really so different to each other as the Romance languages are? So a person cannot just get used to another dialect? Must sit and lern it as another language?
If it is different languages then for every prayer text the first question is, what Tibetan that is? Or is there one Tibetan language spread in the western countries?
I never heard that there are different translators of different Tibetan needed in my country. So I thought, Tibetan is one language and all Lamas speak that, no matter which area of Tibet their ancestors come from. Are the monks all trained in one main Tibetan language?
The scriptural language is the same, but dialect and pronunciation require Tibetan translators between Amdo people and Central Tibetans. These days Tibetans from different parts of Tibet tend to use Chinese as their common language when interacting with other Tibetans who do not share their dialect.
"Conceptuality is great ignorance,
causing one to fall into the ocean of samsāra."
—Māyājālamahātantra
White Sakura
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Re: Tibetan languages-dialects or different languages?

Post by White Sakura »

Thank you Malcom.
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Supramundane
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Re: Tibetan languages-dialects or different languages?

Post by Supramundane »

A famous linguist once explained the difference between a language and dialect with the following aphorism:

"a language is a dialect with an army and navy"

I.e. there is no linguistic cut off or structural difference. It is simply a political distinction.
White Sakura
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Re: Tibetan languages-dialects or different languages?

Post by White Sakura »

Supramundane wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 10:02 am A famous linguist once explained the difference between a language and dialect with the following aphorism:

"a language is a dialect with an army and navy"

I.e. there is no linguistic cut off or structural difference. It is simply a political distinction.
that is why maybe the term "dialect" ist not fitting for the Tibetan language". German language also has dialects but every German can understand every dialect. Including Austrian dialect. Then there is Swiss German and that is not understandable for Germans from Germany. That is why Swiss German is not just called a dialect. It is rather another language. Or something in between.
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Supramundane
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Re: Tibetan languages-dialects or different languages?

Post by Supramundane »

Yes, very true.

But politics dictates the distinction too; if Switzerland were part of Germany, then Swiss-German would be called German, right? Just as in China, there are hundreds of languages which are totally different and not mutually comprehensible, but we lump them all together and call them Chinese. It is simply a political designation.
Malcolm
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Re: Tibetan languages-dialects or different languages?

Post by Malcolm »

White Sakura wrote: Mon Jul 05, 2021 8:01 am
Supramundane wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 10:02 am A famous linguist once explained the difference between a language and dialect with the following aphorism:

"a language is a dialect with an army and navy"

I.e. there is no linguistic cut off or structural difference. It is simply a political distinction.
that is why maybe the term "dialect" ist not fitting for the Tibetan language". German language also has dialects but every German can understand every dialect. Including Austrian dialect. Then there is Swiss German and that is not understandable for Germans from Germany. That is why Swiss German is not just called a dialect. It is rather another language. Or something in between.
No, they are dialects. All dialects spoken by Tibetans have undergone changes in pronunciation, but these follow regular rules, so that there are mainly differences in colloquial terms for things.
"Conceptuality is great ignorance,
causing one to fall into the ocean of samsāra."
—Māyājālamahātantra
White Sakura
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Re: Tibetan languages-dialects or different languages?

Post by White Sakura »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 06, 2021 2:04 pm
No, they are dialects. All dialects spoken by Tibetans have undergone changes in pronunciation, but these follow regular rules, so that there are mainly differences in colloquial terms for things.
great to know. So a person only needs to learn the general shift from his mother tone to, for example, Kham Tibetan? And a lot of colloquial terms?
tingdzin
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Re: Tibetan languages-dialects or different languages?

Post by tingdzin »

LhakpaTsamchoe,who was the star of the film Himalaya, told me that on the set of the movie,the actors (from India, Central Tibet,Khams, and Dolpo) could not understand each other and required interpreters.

Sorry to put a damper on your hopes.
SilenceMonkey
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Re: Tibetan languages-dialects or different languages?

Post by SilenceMonkey »

White Sakura wrote: Wed Jul 07, 2021 7:14 am
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 06, 2021 2:04 pm
No, they are dialects. All dialects spoken by Tibetans have undergone changes in pronunciation, but these follow regular rules, so that there are mainly differences in colloquial terms for things.
great to know. So a person only needs to learn the general shift from his mother tone to, for example, Kham Tibetan? And a lot of colloquial terms?
You're asking how Tibetans learn to understand each other? Or are you asking for advice about which dialect to learn first?
White Sakura
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Re: Tibetan languages-dialects or different languages?

Post by White Sakura »

SilenceMonkey wrote: Tue Jul 13, 2021 12:59 am
You're asking how Tibetans learn to understand each other? Or are you asking for advice about which dialect to learn first?
question for Tibetans.
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