Tibeto-Birman language
Phrasebooks > Tibetan phrasebook

Tibetan (བོད་སྐད་ / ལྷ་སའི་སྐད་) is the main language of Tibet, and its accompanying regions and among overseas Tibetan communities around the world. Tibetan is spoken by several million people in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of the Chinese People’s Republic, the Chinese provinces of Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan, as well as the neighboring countries Bhutan (around 4,000 speakers), India (over 124,000 speakers), and Nepal (around 60,000 speakers). Written Tibetan is used as the religious language in the countries where Tibetan Lamaistic Buddhism is practiced (e.g. in Mongolia and parts of China proper). Tibetan communities also exist in Taiwan, Norway, Switzerland and the United States of America.

The Om mani padme hum mantra in Tibetan

We have a separate Amdo Tibetan phrasebook for that dialect.

Pronunciation guideEdit

While Tibetan spelling in the written language is fairly standard throughout the ages and regions, spoken pronunciation is very diverse and there are many, often mutually incomprehensible, dialects.

In recent times "Lhasa dialect" has been taught to foreigners as a standard. However, there is neither an easy nor a widely agreed standard on how to indicate the phonetics of speaking Tibetan using the Latin alphabet. So be prepared for confusion and fun as you try to pronounce these phrases and hear many different pronunciations from the locals.

VowelsEdit

Like "a" in "alone"; like "a" in "cat" (a).
Like "aw" in "paw" (å).
Like "e" in "bet" (e).
Like "i" in "in" (i).
ཱི
Like "ee" in "seen" (í).
Like "o" in "so" (ó).
ྲྀ
Like "e" in "father" (ö).
ཱུ
Like "ue" in "glue" (ú).
Like "oo" in "soon" (ū).
Like "ee" in "seen" but with rounded lips (ü).
Like "ay" in "day" (ą).

ConsonantsEdit

Like "k" in "skill" (k).
Like "g" in "garden" (g).
Like "ng" in "sing" (ng).
Like "ch" in "charge" (ç).
Like "j" in "jar" (xh).
Like "ny" in "canyon" (nj).
Like "t" in "stop" (t).
Like "d" in "drop" (d).
Like "n" in "never" (n).
Like "p" in "spot" (p).
Like "b" in "beat" (b).
Like "m" in "mighty" (m).
Like "ts" in "weights" (c).
Like "ds" in "adds" (x).
Like "y" in "you" (j).
Like "z" in "zoo" (z).
Like "s" in "treasure" (zh).
Must be trilled - just like Italian "r" (r).
Like "sa" in "sand" (s).
Like "sh" in "shut" (sh).
Like "l" in "lonely" (l).

Common diphthongsEdit

Like "k" in "kill" (kh).
Like "ch h" in "punch hard" (çh).
Like "t" in "time" (th).
Like "p" in "pit" (ph).
Like "ts h" in "fights hard" (ţh).

Phrase listEdit

Some phrases in this phrasebook still need to be translated. If you know anything about this language, you can help by plunging forward and translating a phrase.

BasicsEdit

Common signs


OPEN
ཁ་ཕྱེ། kha chad
CLOSED/SHUT
ཁ་རྒྱག་པ། kha gyabpa
ENTRANCE
འཇུག་སྒོ། jug go
EXIT
ཐོན་སྒོ། thön go
PUSH
བིགྱར་གྱབ། Bigyar gyab
PULL
ཐན། Than
TOILET
གསང་སྤྱོད། sang chö
MEN
བུ། bu
WOMEN
བུ་མོ། བོུ། bu mo
FORBIDDEN
བྱེད་མ་ཆོག je ma chog
SHRINE THIS WAY
མཆོད་མཇལ་ཡོད། chö jel yö
Hello.
Tashi deleg (བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས།)
Hello. (informal)
De-po ()
How are you?
Khye-rang ku-zug de-po yin-pe ()
Fine, thank you.
De-po yin. Thug je che.
What is your name?
Khye-rang gi tshen-la ga-re zhu-gi yod? (polite) Khye rang gi ming ga re yin (informal)
My name is ______ .
Ngai ming ___ yin.
Nice to meet you.
Khye-rang jel-ney ga-po joong ()
Please.
Thuk-je zig ()
Thank you.
Thuk-je-che (ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ།)
You're welcome.
()Yin dang yin
Yes.
Re (རེད།)
No.
Ma re (མ་རེད།)
(Note: Yes and no are usually expressed using an affirmed or negated version of the question ending.)
Excuse me.

gong-pa-ma-tsom / gong-ta

I'm sorry.
Gong dag
Goodbye
Chagpo nang, as in take care

kha lay shug (said to other person if they are staying): kha lay pheb (said to other person if they are going)

I can't speak Tibetan [well].

nga pö-kay [yag-po] kyab gi mey

Do you speak English?

khye-rang in-ji-kay she gi yö pey?

Is there someone here who speaks English?
dhir inji-kay shenyan yö pey.
Help!
Rog pa je
Look out!
Phar toe
Good morning.
ngadro deleg
Good evening.
gondro deleg
Good night.
Sim shag nang
I don't understand.
Ngai she gyi med

ha kho gi mey

Where is the toilet?

Sang chod gawa yö rey.

ProblemsEdit

NumbersEdit

  • 1 chig
  • 2 nyi
  • 3 sum
  • 4 zhi
  • 5 nga
  • 6 drug
  • 7 dun
  • 8 gyey
  • 9 gu
  • 10 ༡༠ chu
  • 11 ༡༡ chu chig
  • 12 ༡༢ chu nyi
  • 13 ༡༣ chu sum
  • 14 ༡༤ chu zhi
  • 15 ༡༥ chob nga
  • 16 ༡༦ chu drug
  • 17 ༡༧ chu dun
  • 18 ༡༨ chu gyey
  • 19 ༡༩ chu gu
  • 20 ༢༠ nyi shu
  • 21 ༢༡ nyi shu tsa chig
  • 22 ༢༢ nyi shu tsa nyi
  • 23 ༢༣ nyi shu tsa sum
  • 30 ༣༠ sum chu
  • 40 ༤༠ zhib chu
  • 50 ༥༠ ngab chu
  • 60 ༦༠ drug chu
  • 70 ༧༠ dun chu
  • 80 ༨༠ gyey chu
  • 90 ༩༠ gub chu
  • 100 ༡༠༠ gya

TimeEdit

Clock timeEdit

DurationEdit

du ring

DaysEdit

today
དེ་རིང་ (de ring)
yesterday
ཁ་སང་ (kha sang)
tomorrow
སང་ཉིན་ (sang nyin)
last week
གཟའ་འཁོར་སྔོན་མ་ (za khor ngön ma)
next week
གཟའ་འཁོར་རྗེས་མ་ (za khor jey ma)
Sunday
གཟའ་ཉི་མ་ (za nyi ma)
Monday
གཟའ་ཟླ་བ་ (za da wa)
Tuesday
གཟའ་མིག་དམར་ (za mi mar)
Wednesday
གཟའ་ཧླག་པ་ (za hlag pa)
Thursday
གཟའ་ཕུར་བུ་ (za phur pu)
Friday
གཟའ་པ་སངས་ (za pa sang)
Saturday
གཟའ་སྤེན་པ་ (za pen pa)

MonthsEdit

When referring to months, the Tibetans distinguish between their own calendar and the internationally used calendar. For the purposes of this phrasebook we only want to refer to the latter and this is quite easy, since it follows the pattern:
"foreigner-month-<number 1-12>-pa"
ཕྱི་ཟླ་<xx>པ་
chhi da <xx> pa

The numbers are listed above. The only exception is for January, because the Tibetan for 'first' is not chig pa but དང་པོ་ dang po, so:
January = chhi da dang po

Writing time and dateEdit

ColorsEdit

Color
ཚོན་མདོག་ tseun dok
Blue
སྔོན་པོ་ ngeun po
Yellow
སེར་པོ་ ser po
Green
ལྗང་ཁུ་ jang koo
Red
དམར་པོ་ mar po
Brown
སྨུག་པོ་ mook po
Black
ནག་པོ་ nak po
Orange
ལི་ཝང་ li wang
White
དཀར་པོ་ kar po

TransportationEdit

Bus and trainEdit

DirectionsEdit

TaxiEdit

LodgingEdit

MoneyEdit

EatingEdit

Bon appetit!
ཞལ་ལག་མཉེས་པོ་ནང་གོ། shelak nye po nang ko
delicious
ཞིམ་པོ་ སྤྼོ་པོ་(H) shimpo t(r)opo (H)
meal
གསོལ་ཚིགས་ sol tsi'
meal, food
ཁ་ལག (NH) ཞལ་ལག (H) kalak, shelak

BarsEdit

ShoppingEdit

DrivingEdit

AuthorityEdit

This Tibetan phrasebook is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!


Learning moreEdit

Tibetan language disambiguation page - Standard Tibetan and Tibetan phrasebook in Wikidata together